It's Always Time Act 03 Ch. 01byOblimo©
Act Three: There's Always Room
Chapter One: The Dark Side's Light
"Dee? Dee! Is that you? What are you doing here?"
Dee glanced up at the tall, lean blond man threading his way through the crowd. "Hello, Yves."
"Hey," Yves greeted, kicking away a stool and reclining backward against the bar, elbows propped up on the mahogany countertop. "How are you? You look—"
"Drunk?" Dee brushed a few strands straying from Yves' low, long ponytail away from his whiskey glass.
"Well, yeah, a little. But I was going to say 'great.'" Yves waved at someone across the room. "No one's seen you for days," he told Dee. "We were all sorry to hear about your grandmother."
"She'll get over it."
Yves blinked. "Uh, okay. So, Dee, why are you here?"
Dee nursed his drink. "To get drunk and to get away from my girlfriend."
"Well, you came to the right place, then," Yves said. A man in a business suit approached but Yves shooed him off with a shy, polite smile. "On both counts. I didn't think you were seeing anyone, Dee. It's been almost a year since your last breakup, hasn't it? Who is she?"
"Galatea. I made her last Sunday."
"Jesus, Dee, that's a crude thing to say," Yves said.
Dee squinted up at him. "What are you doing here, Yves? This place is full of swingers on Thursdays, and that's not your scene. You're more…what's that dumb phrase you use? 'Serial monogamist?'"
"Existential monogamist." Yves shrugged, whipcord muscles rolling against the tight, tan, sleeveless tee he wore beneath an unbuttoned white dress shirt. "Friday is single's night, and that's no fun. On weekends, this place is full of kids."
"If you weren't six-foot-four, Y, I'd think you were twelve," Dee grumbled.
"You're a mean drunk. I'm glad you don't drink often."
"I'm not a mean drunk. I'm a stupid drunk. I told Galatea I needed some time alone, some time to 'be me,' and here I am, in a bar, drinking bourbon." Dee rolled the tall whiskey snifter over his fingers. The jigger of amber alcohol crawled up the glass.
"You're drinking it like a pro."
"But I hate bars." Dee took a tentative sip of whisky. "And I hate bourbon," he groused.
"Then why are you here? Did you two have a fight?"
Dee contemplated his half-empty snifter. "Sort of."
Yves leaned in. "What about?"
"My girlfriend thinks I'm a god."
Yves shook his head, chuckling. "I thought that's what all guys like you wanted."
"Maybe." Dee made a sour face. "But this is different. If Galatea thinks you’re a god, she makes you a god."
"Okay, you are a stupid drunk." Yves leaned back, arms folded. "But that still doesn't explain why you're here."
"I told you already."
"No, Dee." Yves rapped a knuckle on the mahogany bar. "I mean why are you here, in a gay bar?"
Dee surveyed the clusters of men around the bar and high tables. "It's safe."
"I beg your pardon?"
"It doesn't work with men," Dee said. "Or maybe it does, but I can control it better, because I understand men." He emptied the snifter in a single toss. "But I don't understand women," he coughed.
Yves eyes rolled. "I can't believe it. A drunk and bitter Deiter Detwiler. I never thought I'd see the day. C'mon, let me drive you home."
Dee slid the snifter across the countertop. "You don't believe me."
"It's more like I haven't understood a single thing you've said. You're absolutely crapulous, as my mother likes to say."
Dee tapped the snifter with a fingernail. "How many women are in here, Yves?"
Yves took stock of the crowded barroom. "About three or four."
"Notice anything about them?" Dee asked, not taking his eyes off the snifter.
"All right, I'll indulge you." Yves twisted around, surveying. "Well, now that I've made a jackass of myself," he said, frowning, "they're staring at me."
"Guess again," Dee muttered, but Yves was already speaking. "Wait a minute." Yves frown deepened. "They're all staring at you. What's up with that? It's not like you’re the only cute guy in here. Or the only straight guy, for that matter."
"Watch them." Dee pushed himself away from the bar. "And then watch me."
Dee strolled across the room. Three pairs of eyes swiveled to watch his every move. The bartender licked her lip and dropped a shot glass. A woman in a booth in the corner scissored her legs, squirming in her seat. The girl by the payphone broke into a sweat, downed her beer, and retreated to the restroom.
"What the fuck?" Yves muttered.
Yves watched Dee bear down on a coed clad in a little black evening dress. She boggled, a deer in headlights, as approached, ignoring the quizzical glares of the two men at her table. Dee stood opposite her, nonchalant, and said something. The coed clambered up onto the table, knocking over wine glasses and kneeling in a platter of tapas, her two friends jerking back in shock.
Yves jumped away from the bar. "What the fuck?"
The coed clawed her way up Dee's denim shirt and dragged him into a clinching lip-lock. Dee backpedaled, arms windmilling, but the coed just hummed and squeaked and clung to him as he fell over backward. The bolted-down table stood fast while the coed in the tapas platter slid forward before both she and Dee hit the floor. She lay astraddle over him for a few more seconds before finishing off the kiss with a delirious, happy squeal. "Oh, wow! Um. Hi!"
"What the fucking fuck?" cried Yves, the only other sound in the barroom.
The coed looked up, noticed that everyone gawking at her, blushed redder than a beet, leapt to her feet, and fled out the front door. Her two stunned friends moved to help Dee up but he said, "I'm fine, I'm fine. God, I'm sorry, I didn't think—Look, just go after her and make sure she's all right, okay? Go, go!"
Dee stood and made his way back to the bar. Yves looked everywhere but the other three women had vanished. Dee bellied up to the bar, daubing tapas off his pants with a napkin. The carousers slowly got back into the swing of things. "What the fuck did you say to her?" Yves hissed.
"I said, 'Hi'," Dee sighed. "Just 'Hi.' It's getting stronger. Or maybe the less I say, the more powerful it gets?" He laughed. "That would fit. It would also mean the only way to control it is to yak my head off."
"Control what?" Yves asked.
Dee's eyes narrowed at the whiskey snifter. "My voice," he said in a deep register carrying strange harmonics and rattling all the glasses on the countertop.
Yves heard a few muffled cries from the women's restroom. "Okay, Dee." Yves swung his legs over a stool, "you've got my attention now."
Dee signaled to the remaining bald and beaded bartender for a refill. "I had a rehearsed hissy fit," he told Yves. "Bitch-bitch-bitch, walk out the door. You know what I mean."
"Famously," Yves agreed darkly.
"Anyway," Dee said, "I just wanted to go out for a walk. I circled the complex a couple of times and then headed north on Route Four."
Yves nodded. "I've been your neighbor for three years and I've carpooled with you for two. I know your routine."
"I'm flattered." Bourbon swirled in Dee's snifter. "So I'm walking up the bicycle lane on the side of the road, but every once and a while a car will slow down and honk at me. A few even pull over. After about half an hour, well…" Dee pulled a wad of crumpled post-its, chewing gum wrappers, receipts, and notepapers from a pants pocket. "About twenty women had gotten out of their cars—on the throughway—just to give me their phone numbers."
Yves fanned the papers scrawled with names and numbers over the countertop, examining each one in turn. "Huh."
"I didn't realize anything weird was happening—I've had much, much weirder things happen to me today, weird like you wouldn't believe—that is, until…" Dee sighed, and dropped two twisty sickles of dull steel onto the countertop.
"What are those," Yves said, "bent can openers?"
"Look closer," Dee said, warming the snifter between his palms. "They're handcuffs. They were handcuffs."
Yves scrutinized the ruined cuffs. The chain between them had snapped, the hinges of the manacles torn and useless. "I don't get it."
"A couple of cops, female state troopers, pulled over," Dee explained. "They said they were looking for a suspect that had fled the scene of a domestic disturbance and I matched his description. I was in such a funk I just followed directions, lying down on my stomach with my hands against my back, until they locked those handcuffs around my wrists, rolled me over, ripped off the tops their uniforms, and announced I was under arrest for 'public fuckability.'"
"I don't believe it."
"Neither did I, until they yanked my pants down around my ankles. Now that I think about it, they were acting lot like that girl who just jumped me. I was answering all their questions and following their instructions with either a quick 'Yes ma'am' or a 'No ma'am.' The less I talk, the stronger it gets."
"So what the Hell happened?"
Dee stared down the barrel of his glass. "One rode my face while the other attempted an ambush blowjob. Which itself is no big deal. I had about twenty of those yesterday. But I'm in love with Galatea, and the two cops were maniac, out of control. So I broke out of the cuffs, pulled the psycho off my face and plopped her down over the cop on my cock. That brought them around. They were mortified. One of them was married. They broke the patrol car's concealed camcorder and drove off. What are you looking at me like that for?"
"You are so full of shit."
"I said I'm in love with Galatea and I damn well meant it. She couldn't piss me off so damn much otherwise."
"No," Yves said, "I believe that you're in love. It's the rest of your story that's pure bullshit. I'm driving you home."
Dee eyeballed him. "You're a black belt in judo or something, right? Nidan or whatever?"
"I'm an assistant instructor aikidoka," Yves said, skipping the usual lecture.
"What do you think of this, Y-sensei?" said Dee, reaching down with one hand and raising the snifter to his lips with the other. A second later Yves found himself perched on a stool on top of the bar, his head bumping against the ceiling. "Should I be able to do that?" Dee lowered his glass.
Dee launched back into his narrative unfazed. "So being gang-raped by a couple of girls in uniform kind of bummed me out, and I decided to get drunk. At the first bar I tried, a jealous boyfriend punched me in the face and broke three of his fingers. Next, I tried Phase Five, thinking I'd run into Ursula's crowd there, but it must have been bi-curious night or something, and I barely made it out alive.”
"Last call," the bartender announced. "No table dancing, fella," he added to Yves.
"I've got to take my friends home." Yves leapt off the countertop, open shirt flapping like a cape, and caught the stool just as it started to fall. "And you're in no shape to drive either, so give me your keys and come with me. And this time you're going to start the story from the beginning."
Dee handed him the keys to his Volkswagen. "It's a long story," Dee cautioned.
"I don't care. Tell me everything, from the fucking beginning, got that?"
"I got it, Yves," Dee downed the last of the bourbon and pulled the last of his cash from his wallet. "And it does begin with fucking, ironically enough."
"I don't care," Yves repeated.
"So it all started," Dee began, "when I decided to masturbate with a Jell-O mold to see what it would be like to fuck a goo girl so I could write some porn about it on the Internet."
"You can skip that part," Yves said.
* * * *
Yves' Jeep sped down Rural Route Four. Dee stared out into the false dawn of Zodiacal light ghosting the horizon as he finished his story. "Bee wanted the nanomek so much he tried to kill me, and I wanted to be rid of it so badly—I could not stand to look at it a second longer—that I, well, I gave it to him. He ran off. I haven't seen Bee since. I hope he hasn't done anything stupid."
Yves grimaced, shoulders sagging, but he watched the road and said nothing.
"Then I drove Galatea home." Dee sighed. "And that's it. Now you know the whole story."
The Jeep's canvas top rustled for a minute before Yves spoke. "So, to sum up: You're in love with Galatea. Galatea is a meliae, a honey nymph of ancient myth."
Yves gave Dee a sidelong glance. "Made out of Jell-O," he added.
"The ancient myth isn't about Jell-O, obviously," Dee said. "The first honey nymphs were probably created from real honey or sweet tree sap. Something all-natural. Tomoe said I could look it up on the Internet."
The Jeep drew near a faded billboard advertising "The Channel Apartment Home Community: Efficient Luxury for Executive Living." I've driven by that damn sign twice every work day for four years, Dee thought. I still have no idea what that slogan means.
"But Galatea's made out of Jell-O," Yves repeated.
"She's more nanomek than Jell-O," Dee said, "although she keeps asking for collagen. That's the protein in gelatin. It would give her nanomek more raw material, or make her stronger, something like that. I don't really understand that part."
Yves shrugged. "Okay. But the myth of the meliae is just a cover-up for guys who are into goo girls, an Internet fetish that's been a secret part of human history for thousands of years, even during the age of Atlantis, which really existed until it was destroyed..." Yves glanced sidelong again. "…destroyed by said goo girls."
"Slow down," Dee cautioned. "There's always a cop with a radar gun right there. Always."
Yves coaxed a few more miles-per-hour out of the Jeep's taxed engine. "Probably not tonight."
"'Public fuckability,'" Yves reminded.
"Yeah, yeah." Dee crossed his arms. "Anyway, yes, Atlantis really existed until it sank under a goo girl rampage. Unless Tomoe was lying, but I bet she has a rule against that."
Yves hit the brake and pulled the Jeep onto the off ramp. "Oh, right, Tomoe Exposition. I forgot that part: the myth is a cover-up for the fetish, but the fetish itself is just a scheme of this medical supply company to make a quick five bucks."
The Jeep lurched to a halt in front of a closed iron gate. A welded, green placard declared "Welcome to The Channel Apartments" in flaking gold letters.
"You could say that, yeah," Dee said as Yves unrolled the driver side window and waved a keycard at an electric reader. The reader's red LED eye winked and the gate rolled open.
"And Galatea's a lime meliae," Yves said, timing the Jeep's entrance through the yawning gate so closely Dee thought he might shear off a side view mirror. "The most powerful, dangerous, and horniest honey nymph of them all."
Yves drove by the deluxe apartment homes of Channel One and Two. "Every man that's ever made one becomes so overwhelmed by her insatiable, sexual appetite that he succumbs to sublimation, which in this case means he's consumed and slowly destroyed by perpetual orgasm."
Channel Three, a complex of family suites, swooped in and out of sight as the Jeep bounced by.
"Every man, that is," Yves said, leveling a finger at Dee, "until Deiter Detwiler, who, despite his nice-guy exterior, is such a freaky sex machine that the he overwhelms her."
The Jeep rocked as Yves goaded it over a speed bump. "Uh," Dee said, "I'm not sure I'd put it that way—"
"I'm not finished." Yves pulled off a hairpin turn into a row of covered parking. "So this super-freak Dee and this super-nympho Galatea spend four days in a nonstop fuck-a-thon, each trying to one-up the other in a triple-X battle of the sexes to prove, once and for all, who's the most perverted: men or women."
Dee threw his hands in the air. "What the Hell—"
"Shut up. But while Galatea tries to drown Dee in sex and Dee tries to get Galatea so turned on she'll burn up and dissolve, they wind up learning a lot about each other and..." Yves paused for the most theatrical, sarcastic eye rolling Dee had ever seen. "...fall in love instead." The Jeep lurched into a narrow parking space. "In fact, Galatea loves Dee so much that she uses meliae magic or 'nanomek' or whatever to give Dee preternatural strength and endurance, which saves his life when Bee, that creep who lives on the first floor, tries to kill him."
Dee's shoulders sagged. "Um."
"It took days," Yves said, hauling up the emergency break, "days for Dee, as clueless as he is impervious, to finally realize she had given him these incredible gifts. For some stupid reason, this makes him bitchy. He treats her to one of his infamous, rehearsed hissy fits. He walks out on her, leaving her alone for hours, leaving her wondering if he's ever going to return, or whether he's going to dump her when he does return."
"…Wow," Dee eventually said, "I really fucked up, didn't I?"
"Yes, Dee. You really did. If your story were true and not some delusional break from reality, that is. Good God, Dee, what you just told me makes my teenage wet dreams sound like Ibsen plays in comparison."
Dee sank in his seat. "You don't believe me?"
Yves glared at him but then shook his head. "I don't know yet, but I'm going to decide soon enough."
"What do you mean?"
Yves unbuckled his seat belt and leaned across Dee to pull on the passenger side door handle. "Dee," he said, pushing the door open, "do me the honor of introducing me to your beloved."
"I don't know," Dee said, unbuckling, "You'd be the first human being she'd ever meet." Dee blinked. "Other than me, I mean."
"I think you just made my point for me."
"You're right. Let's go." Dee hopped out of the car. "Whoa, I'm pretty woozy."
Yves joined him on the parking lot pavement. "You drank half a bottle of bourbon on an empty stomach. I'm surprised you're still vertical."
Dee marched off down the footpath. "I need to apologize to Galatea for being a total jackass. Then I'll pass out. Come on, if you're coming."
"I'm coming," Yves said. His reserved parking space was closer to the side entrance of their apartment building than the front. "We should go by the front door and ask security if they've seen Bee. Hell, we should call the police."
"You'll want to see if Galatea is real first," Dee suggested, "and if she isn't you'll want to call the police about me, not Bee. That's what you're really thinking, don't deny it. I may be drunk but I've known you for years."
Yves frowned, following. The sienna colored aluminum siding of Channel Four's three stories looked garish in the sour sodium floodlights. Dee tapped his keycard against the door's sensor and gave the security camera a curt nod. The metal door clicked open. Yves flashed his keycard past the reader before following Dee up the cement staircase. At the entryway to the second floor Dee stopped and turned. "Do you smell that?"
Yves inhaled. "Smells like a spa. It's nice. Is Ursula making perfume again? Why are you breathing funny?"
"That's Galatea's…scent," Dee said, flushing. "I didn't realize you could smell it all the way down the hallway."
"For a possible figment of your imagination, she smells great. She should bottle it and make a fortune."
Dee shook his head. "It's not her perfume. It's her, you know, scent. Up close it's pretty raunchy."
"Oh. Wow. Or, 'Ew.' I'm not sure which. Doesn't matter. Get going." Yves watched Dee mince down the hallway. "You're walking pretty stiff there, big guy," he smirked.
"Shut up," Dee said. The back of his neck prickled and he turned around. "Yves, what is it? You're in a ready stance."
Yves stood, shoulders squared, forward leg and elbows bent at relaxed angles. "Your front door is open."
Dee squinted down the hallway. The door to his apartment canted a hairbreadth ajar. "Good eye," he whistled. "I think I broke the door jam when I left. It's no big deal."