You act without regard when you think you've got the whole house to yourself. Go ahead, scratch where you like. Sing badly. Stare at the wall. Watch TV shows or listen to music you'd never want anyone to know about.
Right now I was clutching an enormous erection lying in bed. It was a mindless clutch, this erection. It had no real object or desire. It just felt good, this burning need to piss, but holding back till it almost hurt. Half seeing, bleary-eyed, I studied the head of the erection, which was gorged with blood and slimy with pre-cum. The purple, strangled mushroom was huge as I strained and pulled at it, much bigger than the shaft, unnaturally large. It was maybe twice its normal size. The wonder of human anatomy. At the end, we are just organic anti-gravity machines.
"Owen!" A muffled sound. Far away. Was it real? There was the sound of movement. It was all too real. "Owen!" my mother was calling from somewhere in the house.
I grabbed the sheets, scrambled.
"Ow-en," my mother called again, closer, in an almost sing-song. She was downstairs at the hallway. Thank God for big houses. She was heading up. Footsteps. Sharp, heeled. Up the steps. Steady strong, determined footsteps. She was coming. I rolled to my side, pretended to be asleep, hid my aching cock in a mangle of sheet and comforter.
She knocked. Harshly. The door opened.
She was in the doorway. No sing-song now. Sharp impatience. "Owen! Wake up! What the hell's wrong with you? It's almost two!"
"What do you want?" I lazily called out to her and threw the sheet over my head.
She entered the room. Click-clack, click-clack on the hard-wood floor.
She was at the side of the bed. I could sense her looking down at me, could feel her breath, could smell her perfume. The woman had been up forever it seemed. Did she never sleep? She grabbed at my protective sheet. I held on for dear life.
"Get up," she said, pushing, but not too hard, at my covered shoulder. "I need you to do something for me."
Like a scared, but still curiously retarded turtle, my head emerged from under. I peered up at her with as much pathetic helplessness as I could muster. She rolled her eyes. She grabbed my phone from the dresser, almost pulled it from the charger. She turned it on.
"This has a purpose," she said waving the phone at me.
I pulled the sheets tighter. The gruesome Verizon theme wafted up to pollute the air as the phone powered up.
"Mom, go away," I moaned. "And stop messing with my phone."
"I've been calling you all day. I don't have a lot of time. I need you to do me a favor."
"What is it?" I said.
"You need to pick up Seth Ackerman from the airport. I took your dad and sister there this morning and I don't' want to repeat the experience."
Even in my foggy state, I couldn't help but laugh, my erection irretrievably fading.
"I need to do what?" I said, and I didn't care about the sharp note of annoyance in my voice.
"You heard me."
"Why would I do that?"
She slapped her forehead.
"Wait a minute. Why would that be?" she asked.
Now I rolled my eyes.
She wasn't even looking at me. She was busily tapping away at my phone, but talking all the same. "You know full well why you must. Because we're busy. Okay? Because we're selling the company tomorrow. You know, his mother and I. Sheera. Seth's mother. My partner and I."
"Let her get him. She let him lose on the world nineteen years ago. She's responsible. Or let him take a cab. What the hell does he have to with anything?"
She unplugged the phone and let it fall on me. It hit my shoulder, settled just above my still turned face. I rolled to my back to look up at her.
She was not happy. She looked tired. Her usually lively blonde bob looked severely straight and dead. But it seemed she still had time for sarcasm. It oozed out as she continued. "Because instead of being in the office, finalizing dozens of documents my lawyers have waiting for me to review, I'm here trying to get my grown son out of bed as if you were was some kindergartner afraid of his first day at school. Boy, let me think . . . Why should I be asking you to do this one small favor? Because, let me guess, you're doing nothing today. Wait. You've done nothing all summer, except stay up till four every night partying or playing video games."
In a surprise move, as if she was grabbing for a loose basketball, she gripped at the sheets again. She wasn't the only athlete in the family. I held on just as dearly. God, I needed to piss. This was becoming unpleasant. My mother usually had better sense. She usually left me alone. I left her alone. I left everyone alone.
She shook her head as if to say she didn't know what to do with me. "Come on," she said more gently, still half-heartedly tugging at the sheets. "Get dressed. His flight arrives in an hour. I forwarded his itinerary to you on your phone. If you leave right now, you shouldn't have any problem. Are you going to force me to do this? Come on, I just don't—"
"Okay," I said. "Okay. You're the boss."
"Oh, yeah," she said. She turned to leave. "I'm the boss," she said absently.
The woman was stressed. She was exhausted. No more click-clack in her step. Mother left my room.
I slowly got out of bed, stretched and gave a final, sad tug at my cock, seeing if there was any spark of life left. Sure enough, it felt good. Ackerman could wait at the airport for a few minutes. The waiting might do him some good.
"Hey, where do you think you're going? I'm not going home," the smart ass Ackermann said, anticipating that I'd be merging onto the bypass for the suburbs. Ackerman was trying hard not to bounce too much in his seat. The shit must be on some new drug, I thought.
"Take me to the office first," he said. "I need to see your mom. You can take me home later."
"See my mom?" I asked.
"Didn't the word get out to you?" he asked gleefully. "That's the only reason I'm in town. I'm here to fuck your mom."
There was nothing about this high –strung twerp I liked. Nothing. Ever. Not in grade school when we first met and I had to act as his friend to appease my mother, not in middle school when he spent most of his time in theater production while I played football, and certainly not in high school when he smoked pot every day, came out as gay before rushing back into the closet to fuck every girl who fell for his bullshit story, while I played still more football. And now, after a single, sad year at NYU, with his wacked out hair and shit-assed clothes, he was not only unbearable, he enraged me. The only thing that held me back was that I knew I could have snapped his scrawny neck easily. Break his neck. Push his pathetic corpse out the door onto the freeway. Ackerman wasn't worth my time.
"Hey, Hansen." he called out, even tapping me on the shoulder. "I'm just joking. Christ, take it easy. I thought you frat boys could take a little ribbing. Jesus."
I got on the exit for downtown, merged onto the heavy traffic. Where had this new quirk of his of calling me "Hansen" come from? All my jock friends called me that. Seth was neither. No friend. No Jock. The sound of him calling me "Hansen" in his high-pitched nasal was like fingernails on a chalkboard.
"Hansen," he said and I knew now that he persisted just to annoy me. "I never figured you for some guy with mother issues. Dude, leave that shit to me. I was born for it. My analyst spelled it all out for me last month. I'm the only child. No father around. You? You're made for middle management and a cheesy country club with Buffy Blue Eyes, her two and half blonde kids and a white picket fence. Leave the motherfucking to me."
"How long you in town?" I asked braking lightly and then more heavily, almost stopping, as traffic began to a crawl. Why not, my mind laughed at me? Why the fuck not? Why not spend the next hour with this sick fuck stuck in traffic?
"Just a couple of days," he said. "Just here for the closing. Sheera insisted. She said it would look bad if she had no one here with her. I'm right back to campaign headquarters after that. On Thursday."
"Yeah, that's right I heard, my mom told me. Why don't they have you out in the boonies somewhere, you know, in one of the battle ground states? You really at the Obama headquarters?"
"What did I just say?" he said, dragging out the "say" for even more annoying affect. "We have plenty of people like you for canvassing the boonies. Look at me, dude. I'd be lynched in Colorado or Iowa. Christ." He snickered at this and I turned to see him smiling at me through his bushy brows and thick black hair.
I turned up the air-conditioning.
"Boy," he said, "with all this traffic, I think we might have time for me to give you that blow job I've always dreamt about. I've got to know." He leaned forward towards me dramatically. "Your baby sister swears you're twice as big as me. But I don't believe her."
I studied his hair. Strings went this way and that and it was coiffed at least four inches high. The effect was a just out of bed chaos, but I knew.
"How long it take you to get your hair looking like that?" I asked and waved back at a car honking for me to move on. Traffic was moving, which lasted for a about ten precious seconds. Then it wasn't. The torture would have to continue. Seth's silence satisfied. I was glad he was annoyed for a change.
"You impress me, Hansen," he yawned. "You're not supposed to notice shit like that."
I grinned looking straight ahead.
"Nah," he said as if he was having second thoughts. "I just didn't have enough time this morning to get it just right. The failure is mine. I could have fooled you in a second if I had the time. If I had time to do my hair right you would have sworn on your Holy Bible in front of the Supreme Court that you just got done fucking me bareback and had to drag me out of bed for some dancing. I'm no longer impressed with you. You're still a clueless fuck as ever."
I laughed at that, and so did he.
"Look at you!" Sheera Ackerman shrieked at her son yet again. The bitch couldn't stop screaming "Look at you!" The two continued to hug tightly. She gave him another big sloppy kiss right on the mouth. Was that a tongue somewhere in the mix? Good God.
My mother smiled uncomfortably, towering behind them, looked at me for several long beats, was just about to do one of her patented eye-rolls, thought better of it, and motioned for me to follow her. I guess it had occurred to her that the only polite thing to do was to leave the two love-birds alone to catch up. I wanted to tell her not to worry. How wrong my poor mother was! I was sure Ackerman and his mom Skyped daily. I was sure they knew every bowel movement of the other, tweeted the shape and consistency of every lop of shit that dropped from their scrawny asses. I started walking to follow my mother, who had just turned.
"Where do you think you're going?" Sheera said, smoothly unwrapping herself from her son, just holding his hand now. She held out her free hand to me.
"He's the one who wants some alone time with his own mother now," Seth giggled, and dropped his head in a melodramatic, faggy gesture to Sheera's shoulder. "We'd better watch out, Sheera. You and I are a b-a-a-a-a-d influence. "
Sheera looked at me with mock shock, before smiling and taking my hand. "No, I want you both for myself," she said. She pulled at me. I let myself almost stumble forward. "Is that selfish of me? My two favorite guys in the whole world all to myself," she said grinning. "The quiet Viking and the eccentric Actor. What more could any girl want? Yin and Yang. A multi-ethnic sandwich of love. I love it!" she almost squealed, forcing a quiver along her whole torso not so much at the supposed joy of having Seth and me in each arm, but to celebrate her quickness of mind and wit.
"Is that okay, Kirsten?" Sheera asked sheepishly. "Can I keep your little Thor for an itsy bit? I'll bring him back in one piece . . . more or less."
My mother stepped forward, put her hand on my shoulder, and gently nudged me closer to her business partner.
"You can have him for as long as you like, Sheera," my mother said. "Just make sure he comes home in one piece even if you have to just mail in whatever is left . . ." The poor woman was meandering, was missing the point, and now she was stuck. Her sentence was left hanging. The blush on her face was coming on strong.
"I will, sweetheart," Sheera said maternally. "I'll mail all the non-vital organs for you to reassemble at your leisure. You can't honestly ask for more?"
My mother smiled awkwardly, turned and said. "I'll be back with the lawyers. They have so much to go through. All those papers, you know?"
"You go do that, dear." Sheera held me closer, pulled me down close enough so that Seth's stiff and pampered hair was in my face. She held us both to her ample bosom. "Whatever would I do without your mother, Owen? Hmmm?"
I nodded. The only saving grace, the only thing keeping me from pushing her and her fucker son to the floor and stomping out their guts was the certainty that this awful charade would be over soon. Thank God, my mother and Sheera were selling the company.
I stepped into my mother's office to see what if anything had changed in the décor since my last visit four or five years ago and was surprised to find her sitting behind her desk. She looked up. What happened to all those urgent papers her lawyers were chasing her with? She was on the phone, instead, seeming to be having the time of her life.
"Oh, wait, wait, wait," she said, smiling up at me, genuinely happy. "Let me put you on speaker. Owen just walked in."
"Hi Ow-en," I heard my sister Ellie call out in the same sing-song my mother had long ago perfected. My sister's voice was excited, thrilled.
"Hey Owen," my father said.
"How's it going?" I asked, taking a seat, and dug my flip-flops into the carpet. I leaned back on the chair, stretched my arms and yawned.
"Well, we just gave your mom the details of today's adventures. She can fill you in, but we're doing great," my father said.
"Where are you?" I asked.
"Dartmouth," my sister said.
"Nice," I said.
"God, Owen, we just started today, you know that. You knew we'd be at Dartmouth first. I told you yesterday. Don't—"
"That's enough," my father gently said.
"Is it nice?" I asked.
"It's beautiful," Ellie said. "We just finished a seminar type thing and we've got two more programs to finish still. We're heading for Boston College tonight."
"Wow, that's a distance, isn't it? Boston, I mean. Tonight?"
"Nah," my sister said. "What dad? A couple of hours or so you said?"
"Close enough," my father said.
"Cool," I said.
"Yep," my sister jumped in. "All those other Massachusetts school after that, then down to New Haven and then Brown and then we finish off in Philadelphia. I'm saving Swarthmore for last."
"Yeah, that sounds like a lot of fun," I said. "But in the end, you know, whichever school's basketball coach wants you . . ."
"My SATs are stronger than yours were, Owen. I don't need to be accepted as some student athlete like you were."
"No. No. I mean, you're still . . ." I looked up at my mother, who was smiling at me, probably enjoying my discomfort. "Yeah, Ellie, I mean, the whole thing sounds pretty hectic. Pretty incredible."
"Owen," my father said. "We've got to head out soon, but I'm drafting your help to convince your mom to join us in Boston on Thursday. She still insists she needs to be around to wrap up any loose ends. She should be out here celebrating with us, don't you think? Enough with the work. Right? What do you think?"
"Yeah, sure," I said, and the moment I said it I knew shouldn't have.
My mother laughed. "Nick, you should see his face. Oh, my God, he's like salivating here at the prospect of having the house to himself."
"Well, he does have just a couple of weeks or so left before he returns to St. Louis. He might want to blow off some steam."
"What's he been doing this whole summer except blowing off steam? My God, the kid—"
"Kirsten," my father said in a mock voice of warning.
"Well," my mother said. "It's just . . . we'll see. If things go as smoothly as everyone says they will, I'll probably join you in Boston, but I can't say for sure."
"We're going to hold you to that, right Ellen?" my father said.
"We sure will," my sister said.
"Okay. I know you have to go," my mother said. "I love you guys. Have a wonderful time. Safe drive. Enjoy. Be safe."
"Love you, mom," Ellie said.
"Love you, Kirsten," my father said.
"Have fun," I said.
"You're not going to tell us you love us?" Ellie said.
"No. I'm not."
"Killjoy," my father said.
"Well, we love you all the same," Ellie said. Mock kissing sounds and a giggle from her.
"We sure do, son. Keep working on your mom. And before I forget, make me proud tomorrow at that . . . what're they calling it, that closing dinner. Have a dance with your mom for me."
"It's not that kind of dinner," my mother said.
"Well, whatever it is, have fun," my father said.
"Yeah, I'll try my best," I said.
"Bye," my mother said. She turned off the speaker. She looked at me, tried smiling.
"I'm sorry for earlier," she said. "Thank you, for picking up Seth, I mean. That was nice of you."
I had a lot I wanted to say to her, a lot I should have said. Why was it I was the odd-man out in this family? Why did my mother bend over to accommodate anything my sister Ellie wanted but ragged on me non-stop? She didn't really expect me to dance with her, did she?
"Not a problem," I said, getting up off my chair, ready to get the hell home, dive into the pool, raid the liquor cabinet, call up some friends. . . .
"Actually, I need you to stick around a little longer."
"For what? Ackerman's going home with his mother, isn't he? I don't have to drive him home, do I?"
"No. No. Forget those two. I didn't want to, but I won't be able to sleep at all tonight if I don't. I need you to read these documents with me." She motioned to an almost foot high pile of papers on her desk.
I was aghast. It was as if she'd punched me in the stomach. "Isn't that why you're paying lawyers all that money for? Mom—"
"I'm signing those documents, Owen. I'm not . . . If I'm signing something I want to make sure I know what the hell I'm signing."
"We'll be here for hours."
"I'll have pizza delivered."
"What about your secretary or your CFO . . ."
"Owen, that will be our name on those documents. Hansen. Kirsten Hansen. Not someone else's. In a way, you have as much at stake as I do. It's no one's business but ours. This secures our family's future and we're not going to be careless when everything is so close."
I gave a half-hearted last ditch attempt. "Is that why Seth's here? To help his mom with legal stuff?"
"Oh, God, Owen," my mother said. "Who know what Sheera's doing or not . . . I really don't care. I doubt highly she'll be reading documents tonight. That's what I do. That's what I've always done. I read so she doesn't have to. I make sure the machine runs. That's what I do. Why is that hard for you to understand? Now tell me you're going to do this. You're starting to annoy me." She turned away, red-faced.
I was about to tell her to go pound sand, but I stopped, almost ashamed now. I knew why my mother wanted me with her, why she wanted to review the documents alone with me. She was too embarrassed to talk to the lawyers directly, too afraid they'd think she was stupid for asking basic questions. With me at least, she could bounce thoughts around, make sure she wasn't missing anything obvious. At least I wouldn't laugh at her. I was her son, after all. And she had no one else she could turn to.