“Alas and alas! You may take it how you will, but the services of no single individual are indispensable” Robert Louis-Stevenson
Benny Mellors had been abstaining from asparagus in the hopes that he would walk away from this date with at least a blow job. In fact he had been harvesting his semen with fresh pineapple juice since the day he asked Margo Parkins out on Tuesday last. Benny’s homosexual hombre, Pedro Alfonso, had said that this was the right path to take. Pedro Alfonso had assured Benny that he had experienced various penises in all shapes sizes and tastes and he knew his way around the do’s and don’ts and the ins and outs. Asparagus was a nay and pineapple juice was a yay.
Pedro Alfonso had been concerned that there wasn’t enough time before the pineapples could flavour the juice in Benny’s balls but Benny had improvised and doubled up on the required intake. He wasn’t sure if Margo was the type of woman who would ready herself for a blow job on the first date and so this operation was more of an insurance policy than anything else. If it did happen, and Benny knew the if was big, then he wouldn’t want her to walk away with a bad taste in her mouth. Benny was a modern man.
As Benny left for the date, literally juiced up to the nines, Pedro Alfonso told him not to punch a gifted horse right in the mouth. And there was no sense in what Pedro Alfonso had said but Benny knew that Pedro Alfonso had a loose grip of the English language at best. Pedro Alfonso was from Japan.
He met Margo at an old Italian hole in the wall called Donny’s Old Hole and Benny knew that he had made the right choice when Margo sighed at the blind violinist on the corner stage. The violinist was not younger than eighty and played the violin like a dusty wooden puppet that was mismanaged by some invisible puppeteer. His eyes were guarded by fashionable sunglasses that were incongruous with his delicate frame which was bound to snap or get carried off by a draft or a sneeze.
They sat down to Pinot Noir and Margo, clearly the intellectual, began to tell Benny how men were the worst thing that had ever happened to women. Benny realized that although he was a modern man, Margo was liberated and he worried that such liberated women were not prone to first date blow jobs, or to blow jobs full stop. Benny had loved his asparagus and felt he had sacrificed it for a conversation that sounded like it was stitched together by Facebook statuses and ready to present itself generically no matter who the listener was. Then she told him that she had been to New York where her soul had grown and Benny thought he would never have a hard on again in his life.
He took himself to the little boys room and looked down at his penis whom he had named D.H. Lawrence way back in the fifth grade when D.H. Lawrence had started to take a keen interest in things. D.H. Lawrence looked so alone as he dutifully went about his day job of urination. D.H. felt that his work was all floppy and repetitive and there was no hard on to it.
And so for the first time in a while D.H Lawrence spoke up, framed within the enamel of the urinal:
D.H. Ours is essentially a tragic age
D.H. It is rather hard work.
Benny:I don’t think she likes me
Benny: Margo, my date that’s who. I don’t think she likes me at all. I think she thinks that I am a disaster. I may be a disaster.
D.H. We have got to live no matter how many skies have fallen!
Benny had finished urinating but was still holding his penis out in conference.
Benny: She makes more money than I do
D.H. The Bitch-Goddess? Success? The one that got her first is the real dog among dogs, if you go by success
Benny: Ok well I don’t know what that means. I am going back out there, D.H. you need to keep calm and use your head.
Margo was giggling at the blind violinists awful rendition of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and D.H. Lawrence stretched and stirred in his pants and Benny swore he heard him shout “GIVE ME THE DEMOCRACY OF TOUCH!!”
Margo gave no indication that she had heard the yelling penis and Benny sat with a large slug of his wine and the fighter in him ordered a goblet of pineapple juice. The violinist was also taking in his fair share of wine and the atmosphere finally settled into the rhythm that was Donny’s Hole.
They ordered puttanesca and Benny informed her that it was the pasta that the whores used to eat hence the name. Benny was appealing to her intellectual side with his knowledge of fun facts. Margo said that she preferred napolitana but that tonight she wanted to try something new and she sipped her wine with her eyes on Benny while the old man fell off the stage and broke the tension.
Donnys Hole froze as the old man clawed his way back onto the stage like the resurrection a fallen superhero. He abandoned the violin on the floor and once he got back on stage he started to wildly recite poetry in Russian, frantically gesticulating at nothing in particular as he was just so fucken blind. The manager, who was himself old enough to be ten years dead, stood by in a vigil of shame with his hands folded by his belly and head bowed as if praying. Benny reached under the table to touch Margo’s knee and if D.H.Lawrence had had hands he would have given two thumbs up. Benny had read in a health magazine for men that the knees on a woman were particularly sensitive and from the flush on Margo’s face Benny made a mental note to buy the next edition for further information regarding the various parts of the female body.
On the stage the old man raved and his movements became wild and loose. Each limb seemed independent from the body as a whole and it was as if the invisible puppeteer above was conducting an opera from a completely different stage and he had forgotten about the blind old puppet still strung from his fingers. Benny ordered more pineapple juice.
Margo had begun to notice that Benny had been ordering a respectable amount of fruit juice and out of curiosity she ordered herself a glass. Perhaps the pineapple juice is to die for, she thought. Benny wondered if the pineapple juice worked its magic across the spectrum of genitals and he high fived himself in his brain as he thought about the two birds he might kill with only one stone.
The couple, and they were a couple now as they had shared the ravings of a blind man, sat in Donny’s Hole sipping on pineapple juice. Margo was oblivious to its powers and Benny was in the early stages of acid reflux. They ordered more and the old man shouted unabated, he was left to his insane reckoning on stage as he was a problem to nobody.
Benny and Margo were half way through their gelato when the old man stopped his ravings so suddenly it was as if his voice had crashed into a pole. He stood on stage for a few seconds, more suspended than rooted, and then he picked up his violin which made a perfunctory twang and he guided himself off the stage and crashed head first into the wall. It was evident that he was newly blind and that his body was confused and child-like in this fresh darkness. The sounds of the restaurant clanked awkwardly into his ears and he had no way of gauging their direction, but the panic in him was long dead. He clung to the wall until a waiter carrying an order of some sweet smelling fruit juice led him into the back room where the performers were kept. The old man sat down and put something on his head that looked like a pink towel or ballerina outfit. He put his thumb into his mouth to use as a gag and he bit down as his shoulders shook.
The evening ended with a little kiss and a welcome handful of boob but otherwise Benny and Margo went to their separate houses to urinate for what would feel like the rest of their lives. The next day Pedro Alfonso made Benny an asparagus pie and said in his broken English, “never count your chickens in a basket”