The Sanctimonious Twitbysophist801©
Almost a year ago angiequesophie assisted with the editing of this little story. My thanks for the assistance!
Rowan and William Muse
The sun was about to slide, without fanfare or ceremony, to the far side of the Rocky Mountains. The Flat Irons were cast in shadow that made the monolithic black rock appear wet and slick. The few rock climbers that were scaling the face of the massive Irons had long since taken the hint of fading sunlight and repelled to safe ground.
Rowan was driving his twenty-year-old Bronco (a vehicle Ford stopped manufacturing quite some time ago replacing it with the Ford Explorer). William was sitting next to him in the passenger seat. The Bronco was a four-wheel drive monster that got poor gas mileage but was the best vehicle Rowan had ever owned for off-road destinations. The vehicle's high suspension, over-sized wheels and four-wheel drive made it possible for Rowan to go places in the Rockies only deer and nameless furry critters (that squeaked stranger-warnings) could go.
William and Rowan had known each other for more than 12 years, having met in college while going to school in Nebraska. (I know, where is Nebraska?) They'd started a home repair service back then, that included painting homes, dry wall, and some tile work. Looking back on that time in their lives brought chuckles, mainly because neither of them was business minded enough to know what they needed to do to make a profit. Still they had kept the business afloat through their last two years of college allowing them to pay for tuition, books and a small brownstone apartment. Each of them took their friendship for granted, even though they disagreed about almost everything, which fostered a creative tension between the two men.
It was this disagreeing nature that probably made them such good friends. They always told each other how they felt about love, sex, and life in general. Their disagreements were always steeped in philosophical jargon that rose from the fact they both loved copious amounts of coffee, beer and cannabis. When they did get into philosophical encounters about the nature of experimental democracy (Rowan believed democracy, as we know it in the United States, was still a great experiment) or why Sartre's existential thought was too esoteric for most people to even care about, their discussions inevitably included forays into the morality of sex.
While Rowan did not express himself with colorful language William had no problem using hardcore language when discussing, well, everything. Rowan thought William probably did this more to shock people leaving them with their defenses down. Then, as people looked at him with stunned expressions he would then slip beneath their defenses and sweet talk them. He was exceptionally good at doing this with women.
William also owned, or was owned by, a great Saint Bernard named Rufus. Rufus was one of those dogs who loved everyone but had this way of opening his mouth, letting his tongue dangle free and drooling copious amount of spittle. If Rufus was at your feet you could count on your shoes being covered with Rufus' slime. For William, Rufus was probably more a way for him to meet and pick up women. "Hey, wanna meet my dog?" Between his bad-boy mouth and his loving dog he charmed the panties off most women before they knew what happened.
"Anything that feels so fucking good can't possibly be immoral!" William would often say to Rowan. "There's nothing quite as sweet as the taste of a woman's dripping pussy or the feel of her juices as they run down my chin! Then to see her scream and cum for me is all the reinforcement I need to continue living the lustful life." For William this kind of passion was a value-added part of life the rest of the animal kingdom did not experience. For William it wasn't our ability to think and rationalize that separated us from the animal kingdom, it was homo-sapiens's ability to enjoy fucking for the sake of fucking.
"Willie, you always were full of yourself." Rowan had always referred to William as Willie. "I'm not arguing that good sex doesn't feel good, it's just so much better when the love and respect are also present." William wondered if Rowan had any idea how he sounded at that moment. William believed his friend full of shit, always rationalizing that sex without love was somehow incomplete.
"Bull sheeeet! Sex is sex and love is love. And sex makes me happy!" Rufus let lose one of his super-big chest-deep dog barks. It was as if Rufus was putting the exclamation mark on William's statement. "See, even Rufus agrees!" William would then turn to pat Rufus's enormous dog-head.
"What does Rufus know? He eats, sleeps, slobbers and chases every dog in heat." Rowan knew it a losing battle to discuss the virtues of sex with his friend.
"But he is happy, right?" Rowan had the sense not to step into William's open-ended question. He knew William would then go off on the topic of whether happiness could be taught or if it was inherent a person's chemical composition. Rowan recalled the teachings of Socrates who argued you could teach people to be virtuous. William believed there was nothing "virtuous" about "fucking."
That day was also not a day Rowan felt like getting into a deep philosophical discussion about the meaning of life, love, death, and sex. The reason Rowan was hesitant to get into it with his friend was because he was not a happy man. In fact, Rowan was miserable, conflicted and feeling like his world was coming to an end.
William would often joke that he (William) was nothing but a male slut. If sleeping with anyone who would spread their legs categorized him as a male slut, well, he was. It was probably the only thing William did not challenge Rowan on. In fact, William wore the label with a sense of pride! So William was also lovingly referred to as "Willie-the-wonton-one". Hide your daughters and dogs, William and Rufus are here!
Rowan found it odd that when a man sleeps around he is often referred to as a player or someone who can't keep it in his pants. The usually negative terms slut (or whore) rarely apply to men. However, William knew it applied to him. He could put a woman at ease with his smile while unhooking her bra with the skill of a James Bond. Rowan had to admit to himself he was also just a little envious of his friend.
It was also not uncommon for William to report that he was being treated for gonorrhea or some other form of infectious venereal disease. To this day Rowan didn't know why he never contracted HIV. When he was infected with some form of VD William was very difficult to be around probably because he could not simply "get laid". Sex was probably more of a way for his impulsive self, an addiction, he needed satiated. Hand-satisfaction late at night only helped William get to sleep.
Between the two friends William was still single and Rowan was married to Kathy and had been for almost ten years. Rowan and Kathy were college sweethearts and told anyone who would listen that they would be together forever. Rowan once asked his friend why he had not hooked up with someone special. William's response was quick and to the point. He'd said matter-of-factly, "Because I love fucking too much." Rowan would momentarily be taken back by the comment then nod his head in understanding. After all Rowan chose not to become a Priest because he'd discovered the joys of sex, he just preferred it with the same person.
Rowan had married right out of college. Even though he had discovered the joys of sex, wonton, abandoned fucking, his strict Catholic upbringing carried a very powerful emotion. No it wasn't an emotion, it was an ingrained response called guilt! Hell, every time Rowan let himself enjoy the sexual joys of a young woman, his guilt got in the way. It was insidious to the point where Rowan often talked himself out of a sure-fire opportunity to get laid! When Rowan got to the point where he began to feel guilty about sleeping with Kathy he decided marriage was the answer. The sacrament of marriage would absolve him of his catholic guilt, yes?
We all know you cannot simply confess your sins to get rid of guilt. Wait a minute, maybe we all don't know this?
It was probably because the two men were so unlike each other that they were good friends. Their lives were never boring. There coffee-house philosophical discussions always included agreement so they embraced the dialectic in a fundamental sense. At the time they didn't see their relationship as dialectical discourse, but that is exactly what it was. As a result their friendship grew over the years and they always came away feeling like they had seen the world from each-others eyes.
Their conversations sometimes reached a point where they thought they understood what Plato was trying to tell us through his main character, Socrates. Plato believed we learn through dialogue, that we teach by telling stories and questioning the stories. This kind of learning is known as "sophistry". Neither Rowan nor William believed they were Sophists. They were more modern-day bull-shit artists. Teaching was never the object of their discussions.
Rowan and William had been silent for a thirteen mile stretch of Highway 70. Rufus was in the back, his giant dog-head resting on the back seat. Rufus looked asleep but he was waiting for Rowan or William to speak. His tongue, flopping freely from his mouth, let the drool slip onto the back seat. Yes, there were several towels laid out on the back seat to catch Rufus' spittle.
"You sanctimonious twit!" William said the words with a smile on his face as he slapped Rowan on the back. The statement seemed to come out of nowhere, pulled from the heavens to shock Rowan. It was a statement that definitely had Rowan's attention even if Rowan had no idea what his friend was trying to say.
"Willie, what-the-fuck are you talking about?!" Rowan did not know why William was referring to him with derision.
At the time he probably had no idea what sanctimonious even meant. He did know that to be referred to as a twit was not meant to be a compliment. The disjoint was highlighted by the fact William was smiling when he called him a twit. William was a master at delving out insults while and, at the same time, making you feel pretty good. It was how he seduced women, got laid, then walked out the door.
"Kathy. You know, the woman you call Snow. The woman who thinks you are something special." He spoke the single name as if it explained everything. Rowan did know the reason he felt like shit was because of Kathy.
"Kathy?" Kathy had been Rowan's wife for almost ten years. She was his college love and the woman he thought was his soul mate. He honestly believed he'd married that one person he was fated to be with forever. Forever? Is anything forever?
At that moment, as they drove down Highway 70, Rowan wondered if anything lasted forever.
As William got on his case Rowan couldn't help remember how he'd met his true love, Kathy (aka, Snow). It was through Kathy's sister, Angela (or Angie as she was known to friends) that Rowan had met her. Angie and Rowan had been getting together on weekends, usually connecting in Rowans' off-campus apartment for a meal and long evenings tearing up his futon. Rowan, at the time found he was living life almost as vicariously as William, but with less zipless sex. Whenever he had the opportunity to get laid, well, he did. Then Rowan would go to confession, or go for a long run, to deal with the guilt that always followed.
Being a sanctimonious twit is synonymous with being fucked up. William was a male-slut but Rowan was simply fucked-up.
As Rowan recalled that relationship he realized he was always holding something back, mainly because of his inexperience and the fact Angie always seemed to exude an undefined tension that ran through her body. The sex was just sex, nothing memorable. But when you are a 22 year old male who spends a good part of every hour ruminating over sex, despite the Catholic guilt, Angie satisfied the rumination. She was an attractive young woman who never placed any demands on the relationship.
Angie and Rowan had been doing the week-end get together at the apartment Rowan shared with William. Rowan could remember Angie, even though she kept returning for insatiable sex, that she did not want anyone to know what she was doing. It wasn't because she felt guilty about sex she just feared she would be discovered by her parents who were over-protective Baptists. Her father believed his girls were still virgins and would be that way until the day they married. So Angie made Rowan promise never to talk to anyone about their trists.
The weekend routine went on for a couple of months before Rowan learned Angie had a sister. He'd never met Angies' parents and didn't know where she was from, who her friends were, or what foods she liked to eat. He knew very little about Angie other than she was in his Political Science class, had two moles on her very pale-white ass and had long bleached blond hair. He guessed it was bleached because the rest of the hair on her body was a deep dark brown, almost black. The contrast was exciting but did little to stimulate his needs for intellectual discourse. Their relationship revolved around satisfying very base carnal urges, not mental satisfaction.
So it was by accident, that Rowan and Angie encountered Kathy. They were at the local truck stop one evening late. The truck stop was nothing more than a well-lit greasy spoon but it was the only place open all night. In the small Nebraska town there were no other after-hours places to go. The coffee was horrible, but always hot, and the breakfasts included over-cooked hash brown potatoes and limp bacon. But when you are in college, poor and hungry, complaining about the quality of the food is the last thing you worried about.
Rowan and Angie were sitting at a table in a back corner when Kathy came in with a couple of her girlfriends. It was Rowan who had immediately recognized the young woman as Angie's sister. The big difference was hair color. Kathy's hair was its natural color, a dark auburn, and fell to just below her shoulders.
"Angie, do you have a sister?" Angie didn't hesitate to respond.
"Yes. Why do you ask?"
"I think she just walked in." As Rowan was pointing Kathy turned to see her sister and Rowan. Rowan also felt something stir within his loins and chest he couldn't explain. He was immediately attracted to Angie's sister. Then his Catholic guilt made him rebuke himself for feeling that way.
"Oh, shit!" Angie seemed to try and hide, but it was too late. Kathy was walking to their table.
"This, Angie, is not Kearny." Kathy spoke to her sister Angie as if she had just caught Angie in a serious lie. (Angie had told her sister she would be spending the weekend with a girlfriend in Kearny.) Kathy, like her sister was about five-feet-one-inch tall with long hair. Kathy's eyes seemed to be two very dark obsidian pools that reflected Rowan's smile, his teeth, and his slightly parted lips. If her body was anything like her sister's he knew she was physically fit with a flat stomach and small upturned breasts.
Rowan felt his guilt surface again as he harbored the fantasy of having Kathy and Angie, together! He knew he was damned for having such a thought. The thought, however, would not go away. It was an awkward meeting for the sisters but Rowan immediately knew who he was meant to be with. No, that isn't exactly right; he knew who he thought he wanted to be with, who he wanted to sleep with, whose neck he wanted to bite . . . and it wasn't Angie's neck.
"Please don't say anything to Mom and Dad. Please?" Kathy looked at her sister for a moment then back to me. Kathy was debating whether or not to be honest with her parents, which would cause Angie a world of grief, or look the other way figuring it really was none of her business who she saw. Kathy chose to pretend like she'd never see us. Years later Kathy would tell Rowan she decided not to squeal on her sister because she was also attracted to him. Kathy would also confess that wanting to better know her sister's boyfriend caused her great inner confusion,
It would be six maybe seven weeks after that fateful late night truck stop meeting when Rowan and Kathy would meet again at the Hastings College Student Union. Angie had decided she couldn't see Rowan any longer mainly because she did not like lying to her parents and friends. It created more stress for her than she needed, even if the sex was good. Apparently this had been communicated to Kathy because, when she said hello to Rowan she did not turn and walk away. Within three, maybe four weeks, Kathy had replaced her sister in Rowan's life and would be there for more than ten years.
On the Road with William
Rowan and William continued their drive from Denver towards the Flat Irons of Boulder. Resuming their conversation Rowan was beginning to see this discussion as more than a friend chiding another friend.
"Yeah, you know, the woman who kept your feet warm for the last ten years! The woman you are walking out on. You even left your dog with her to take care of because you couldn't take it anymore." For William abandoning a dog was probably just as egregious as leaving a woman. Rowan was beginning to feel the oppressive closeness of the Bronco as it rumbled down the road. He tried to lose himself in the constant hum of the over-sized tires but couldn't ignore what his friend was trying to say.
William still had a smug smile on his face as he spoke so Rowan still couldn't tell if he was serious. He did know, from a little place deep in his soul, that William was being truthful. He often had problems with being direct so would joke and tease someone hoping they would get the message.
"William, you know she cheated on me! She was the one who asked for the separation. She was the one who waited until my father died to tell me about how good a pussy-licking she'd gotten! And from another man!" Whine, whine, and more whinning. At the time William did not, to save his pathetic soul, understand how he was the one who was at fault, or at least partly to blame. He was trapped in his self-made pity-potty quest where his selfishness blotted out reality. It was as if he was enjoying feeling sorry for himself. It was a classic case of not being able to see the forest for the trees.
Rowan was, at that moment, a bonafied sanctimonious twit! He just didn't know it.
It was true, Kathy, who was all of five feet one inches tall with long chestnut brown hair, had been the one who asked for the separation. Right? Kathy had, naturally thought about how her confession might hurt Rowan. Rowan gripped the wheel of the Bronco tighter as he thought back to what had brought on the "confession."
Kathy and Rowan were living in Denver at the time. They seemed to be doing OK but did not have children and were still renting their home. She worked hard as a medical records clerk and Rowan worked for Metropolitan State College's immigrant training program. It was a carefree time in their lives. There was no doubt in Rowan's mind that he loved Kathy but was also an unaware arrogant male, (some things never change) whose eye was always roving, always looking for that mind-blowing sexual experience. After 10 years of marriage he'd wanted the freedom to be able to enjoy a brief rendezvous with someone and still be able to come home to Kathy's loving arms.
See where does the sanctimonious side of Rowan begin to surface? As they drove Rowan did not see how he was the one that had hurt his marriage. He was also doing his best to rationalize his pathetic Catholic guilt. Hindsight is only beneficial if there is a lesson actually learned, yes?
Brokering the Deal
Rowan had always thought of himself as a forthright upfront kind of guy and did not want to hide anything from Kathy. He really wanted to live his life without the chains of guilt. Again, in hindsight he realized he was lying to himself but thought he wanted the freedom to be with or experience that fantasy woman, those yet-to-be discovered lips that could suck the life out of him and not ask questions. It may also have been possible he was still envious of his friend's frequent bragging about who he'd slept with recently.