This is another story that has been swirling around my brain for months.
Perhaps I will write it in tandem with Echoes of Mercy – one for when I am feeling sweet, idealistic, funny, and romantic,
the other when I’m feeling tense, angsty, and umm, raunchy!
This snippet has been added to the W.I.Ps Menu.
SUMMARY: College Lecturer, Noah Daniels, feels disillusioned by life, so when he is offered the opportunity to swap his teaching duties for one semester with those of Robert Callinan, the Professor of a “partner” college in England, he takes it. The men exchange, not only their jobs, but also their homes, and it is what Noah stumbles upon in Robert’s house that has him questioning everything he thought he knew about himself.
Sitting with my ass parked on my favorite barstool, at my favorite bar—The Redhead Piano Bar on Ontario— I nursed my bourbon and silently asked myself the usual questions. Well, actually, it was really only the one question phrased a hundred different ways. That’s what happened when you went the route of academia—you learned how to complicate the shit out of things and use fancy-schmancy words. If you thought about it, it was a bit ridiculous to be using three-plus syllable words to ask a question, when most of us were usually seeking a simple one or two syllable word answer. Yes. No. And, if we’d really lucked out: maybe.
I snorted into my drink, remembering the words of my most admired college lecturer, Ross Whedon, Noah, an academic will always take a whole paragraph for what could have been said in one sentence. Christ, even my thoughts were long-winded.
What was my question again?
What the hell is wrong with me?
I mean, really, what the hell was wrong with me? She was gorgeous. Tall and willowy, with long flowing mahogany hair that still managed to look sleek and glossy under the dim lights of the bar. Big brown eyes, clear skin, an impressive rack, and when she walked away from me, I saw she had a great peach-shaped ass.
That’s right, she walked away. Why?
Because I gave her the brush-off. That’s why.
Hence my question. What the hell is wrong with me?
She wasn’t irritating. Her voice didn’t grate. Quite the contrary. She was charming and friendly. In fact, I’d go so far as to say she was interesting and articulate—she was in P.R. Surely that meant she could string together a sentence?—and yet, I’d passed on her not so subtle come-on. I looked at her again, knowing I could have her if I wanted her, but try as I might, I couldn’t muster even the slightest bit of enthusiasm for the idea.
And that was the problem.
Me and enthusiasm didn’t seem to be on speaking terms anymore. All the color had seeped out of my life. I was living a monochromatic, black-and-white photograph of a life where everything was a shade of tedious.
I wasn’t sure how it happened, or even, when it happened.
It just had.
It kind of crept up on me, like a slow spreading parasitic vine, gradually sapping the vibrancy from my life. One day I woke up and everything was gray, dull, and lifeless.
And it had been that way for a while.
Lifting the glass, I paused, letting the bourbon wet my lips before throwing my head back and tossing down the last of my drink. Closing my eyes, I hissed, relishing the searing burn to my throat—a small reminder I was actually alive—a living, breathing, sentient being and not merely a walking talking robot.
If only there was a whiskey burn for my emotions, I’d be set.
Glancing down at the aged cherry wood bar top, I vaguely wondered what they used to achieve such a high polish. It was almost mirrorlike in its sheen. I could clearly see my face reflected upon its surface.
And instantly wished I hadn’t.
After grimacing at the shell staring back at me, I decided scrutinizing myself wasn’t such a good idea. Taking my own advice, I looked up, meeting Seth, the barman’s, gaze. He raised his eyebrow at me in query, and I gave him a brief nod, watching as he poured me another finger of Bookers.
As he slid it across to me, not a word was spoken. I nodded, he nodded, and we both went back to doing our own separate things—me to thinking, him to serving the other patrons. The opening notes of a melody from the piano situated at the opposite end of the dimly lit room, and the dulcet tones of Stella McClaren, floated above the chatter of the Thursday night crowd. They went quiet as she continued. I wasn’t surprised. She was good.
The start of the music was my alarm clock, telling me it must be eight o’clock. Time to head home to the never-ending pile of papers waiting to be graded.
Sighing at the thought of what awaited me, I took another sip of the amber fire in my glass, swirling it around my mouth before letting it seep, drop by drop, down the back of my throat. Once again, I said my silent thanks to the bourbon for serving a dual purpose: numbing and anesthetizing me while at the same time reminding me, with its burn, I was still alive and breathing. Quite an achievement.
Another sip, more swirling and the drip, drip, drip down my throat, then I motioned to Seth to tally up my tab.
The crowd was swelling—the live acts here were good—but I just wasn’t in the mood to be entertained. It was a sad state of affairs, I decided, that I preferred to be home alone reading essays, than here being chatted up by a beautiful woman who probably wanted me to warm her bed as well, if her body language was to be believed.
I looked at her one last time as she mingled with her friends, all long-legged and sexy in her tight black jeans and figure-hugging top, and mentally apologized to her. Though, why I felt the need to apologize was beyond me. If she was anything like my previous bedmates, she’d have enjoyed being impaled on my cock had I chosen to share it with her.
They all enjoyed it because I could fuck them for hours. No problem with premature ejaculation here. No Sirree. They thought it was because I had incredible control, like I was some sort of master cocksman or something, but the truth was a lot more humbling.
None of them excited me enough to get me off, and more and more, it all felt like too much hard work to even try.
It was one of life’s sweet ironies that the less interest I showed in them the more they showed in me. Life could be cruel.
Once upon a time, I searched energetically for the Elizabeth to my Darcy, the Juliet to my Romeo, the Jane to my Rochester, but with each successive disappointment, my enthusiasm for the task waned. Now, I couldn’t even be bothered getting naked with them. Why make the effort when the act itself only left me feeling more empty and hollow than I had before performing it? When the supposed euphoric afterglow I was meant to experience left me feeling aching and raw… as if it were taking something away from me rather than filling me. Having sex, I decided, was like trying to fill a bottomless cup—both physically and emotionally. Really, what was all the fuss about? Why were men so obsessed with it?
I tossed the last of my liquid fire down my throat, pursing my lips at the heat which went all the way down to my belly, then pushed my empty glass away. After sliding off the barstool, I turned toward the cloakroom by the entrance and with a final nod at my favorite barman, bid him farewell. “‘Night, Seth.”