Le Desperado d'Amour, a short story by StevenHunley. Date added: 2011-10-25. Times viewed: 1948.
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- Intro: a man plots to regain his woman one last time
Le Desperado d'amour
The thing about Liz was that he wanted her bad. Their affair was still fresh, had just barely started, so he couldn’t get enough. Everything about her was just right. She was petite, exotic, (half Apache) and her hair reached to her butt. She made him feel like a man. So, when three weeks later, she’d grown sick of him and had enough, he knew he was in trouble. He’d known from the first he’d only been intriguing because she’d been intriguable. He’d only been seductive because she’d been seducible. He knew his limitations. But now he was in deep, and knew he couldn’t go cold turkey. He’d have to taper off slowly. How? By sleeping with her one more time. He needed to come up with a plan.
The first thing to do was to plant a thought in her mind. So he drove to her work. She worked for a dude he’d gone to school with. She stuffed tuxedos into wrappers in a tuxedo shop. When he got there that’s exactly what she was doing. He walked in the back door.
“Hi Baby, what’s up?”
She gave him a stare that read, “Not welcome.”
“You wanna go out to eat tonight?”
“No, I can’t. We’re all going to a movie after work.”
“So that’s how it is,” he answered tersely, “Well, I just got some rojos. You’re not the only one who can eat them you know.”
With that he walked out, hopped in his car and drove away. Simple as that. Just mentioning rojos would send up a red flag. Rojos, or reds, was the street name for seconals, a serious barbiturate. She loved them herself but knew he couldn’t handle them. Just one would put him out; as it had that first night they partied. They were her drug of choice. It was the Apache in her. Barbiturates were the closest thing to alcohol there was in the pill world. She’d developed the stamina to stay up and keep on partying, fighting their effects. He hadn’t. He’d always been a smoker, not a splasher. Barbiturates were not his cup of tea. So she’d know he was desperate.
“That should be enough,” he thought, and he was right. All it took was his hint and a couple hours of her imagination to work. That was his recipe for success, one red flag and a little imagination.
When he called up Jim, her boss, he had only one question and instruction.
“You takin’Liz and Robin to a movie tonight?”
“I’m gonna get Liz over here if it kills me. I want to know what’s up with her. Call to let me know, but give me the signal. Ring, hang up, then ring again. Otherwise I won’t answer.”
“O.K. We’re leaving right after work.”
The thing about Jim was that they were thick as thieves, having known each other since third grade. It had been hanky-panky in school when they were younger, now it was hanky-panky in the street. They’d grown taller that’s all. When he hung up he looked at his watch. It was six. He had over two hours to prepare. The first thing he did to get ready was to roll a joint and make a list.
He needed to think. Like Lawrence Olivier playing Hamlet, he would make it the performance of a lifetime. He wanted her that bad. He didn’t want to be left alone.
By the time the joint was glowing half-way down he knew what he needed. It would all be based on the performance, a bit of scenery setting, and two props. Where could he get two cans of beer? That one was easy. There were two empties still in the trash from the last time she was over. Budweiser. He couldn’t stand the stuff. If she’d had told him she drank Draino there would have been empty tins of it in the trash. With women he’d learned to do whatever it took. Name your poison. He fished the cans out and considered just where they should go. But no, wait, the car should be first, as that’s what she’d see on arrival. The car would be her first clue.
Out at the curb was where it was parked. He started it up and turned the wheel toward the curb till it touched. Then he gunned it a bit ‘till one wheel crept up over the curb.
“Typical way a drunk would park,” he said to himself, “or a dude on rojos.”
Then, half-way up the walkway to the door he dropped the first can.
“Typical sloppy splasher move.”
Then he closed the door with the lock thrown, but not quite. You could still open it but not fail to see that it had been improperly locked. In the center of the rug he placed the other empty can. He felt a little like Hansel or Gretel dropping breadcrumbs.
“She’ll be hot on the trail now.”
Just then the telephone rang. Then it rang again, and again, and again. He let it. About ten minutes later it rang with the code. It was Jim.
“They’re talkin’ about you. She’s getting all worked up. We got one movie to go, it’s a double feature.”
“Good,” he replied, “let them talk.”
Why shouldn’t they talk about him? Both girls knew him and his ways. Besides, wasn’t he their best weed connection? I mean, a guy’s got to be popular with the ladies doesn’t he? Whatever it takes . Of course they cared. He was a valuable asset. Time, at this point, was on his side only.
He played a few tunes, but not too loud. He didn’t want to miss the phone. About ninety minutes later it rang again, about fifteen times. When he heard that he smiled, not to her, not to the darkness, just to himself. Then within minutes it rang with the code.
“She’s all upset,” said the Jimster, “We’re coming over.”
“Whatever you see, Jim,” he counseled, “don’t believe it.”
“I won’t,” he laughed, “I won’t.”
He turned on the kitchen sink, splashed some water on himself over his hair, face, and the front of his shirt. He left it running, then walked into the living room and peered out the window, up the street, into the darkness, looking for headlights. He didn’t have long to wait. While they were still a half block away he ran up the stairs to the bedroom and flung himself on the bed. He waited; nothing. No sounds. After five minutes; nothing. It was a false alarm.
“What kind of jerk am I?” he thought, and trooped back down the stairs. The next time it was real. All the way real.
He ran up the steps again, fell prostrate on the bed; attempting a pose that was as wasted as possible. Then he heard voices. First they were at the door, then nearer, then in the kitchen. He heard the water turned off and empty beer cans hitting the sink. Then it was her footsteps on the stairs.
Right then, at that second, was when he knew where he went wrong. He hadn’t thought it all out.
“How can I,” he thought, “a guy O.D.ing on a combination of alcohol and barbiturates possibly hope to perform? I’m almost out cold. I’m a mess. I’m the last man on earth who can get it up. Oh my God, what have I done?”
Then he heard her voice. It said,
“Oh Baby, what’s happened to you?
Yeah, she coddled him like a big baby. Why not? That’s what he was. Yeah, the others left. And yeah, he did sleep with her as planned. But in order to keep her Apache blood from killing him dead, he cuddled up, played dumb, and there was no hanky-panky as expected. They slept quite close, like two nestled spoons, and the last thing he remembered was how warm she felt, and the scent of her long black Indian hair. The last thought he had before he slipped into a non-drug- induced unconsciousness was,
“And I’ll think of some way to get her back. After all…tomorrow is another day.”
He was a regular Scarlet O’Hara.
Oh, and yeah, it was the performance of a lifetime.
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