Alan Semrow ~ Players of the Game

They’ve got us all lined up at these tiny card tables in this cold Catholic high school auditorium. I had to pay fifteen dollars for this. They told us it was for charity. We even get complimentary off-brand Oreos and fruit punch. I’m sitting with my plastic Dixie cup, looking at this woman. She’s got short brown hair—a yellow bow in it. A little weight on her, but nothing bad. She’s wearing a red blouse, sprinkled with rhinestones. She’s cute, though. Smiling at me. Her name tag reads, “Deb.”

She puts her hand out. We both know we’ve got about six minutes of absolute bliss. My effin’ friends told me this would be fun, a way to get out of the house. She says, “Deb.”

And I reply, “Patrick.”

She winks and it’s almost off-putting. I’ve met women like this before.

Deb says, “Tell me about yourself, Patrick.”

“You first.” I put my hand to my mouth, as if to say, Oh no, I didn’t.

I win a chuckle out of her. She tells me, “I just was at the Y. I swim after work every day. I’m looking for nothing in particular. My fricken friends told me this would be fun, a way to get out of the house. God help us all.”

I nod. “Sounds pretty familiar. Where are you from?”

“Chicago. The suburbs. I know someone who hates it when I say I’m from Chicago, because I’m not actually from Chicago. But I’m from near Chicago. I live around here now, though. I work in customer service.”

“That sounds fulfilling.”

Deb shakes her head and digs her hands into her parted hair. She mutters, “It’s fucking glorious.”

I nod again. “Understandable.”

“Where’d you come from?” Deb asks.

“A kilt fitting. I’ve been wanting to get back into my heritage. An homage of sorts to my ancestors.”

She starts to laugh uproariously. A huge laugh. One of those laughs that must cause everyone around to her flare up with her in laughter. I can tell from her laugh that she smokes. I can tell she probably laughs at her own jokes often, hasn’t been laid in a while, is probably lonely. “You’re kidding, right?” she asks.

“No,” I reply.

“You went to a kilt fitting? Is that even a thing?”

“I’ve decided I want to start wearing them more often. Get back into my Scottish heritage.”

“You’re Scottish. Like super Scottish? What’s your last name, Patrick?”

“You can’t ask me that.”

“I can ask whatever I want. That’s the rule.”

I put both hands in the air, as if to say I’m so really very super confused. “Did I miss something? They give a guidebook?”

“What is your last name?”

“Rudolph.”

Once again, Deb starts to laugh. “You are so full of shit. That’s not Scottish.”

“My great grandmother’s last name was McLain.”

She slaps her hand down on her knee, smiles up at me. I’ve seen looks like hers before. All the sweet girls who loved me. Angels, flowers, pearls. I broke a lot of fragile hearts back then. I really did. Deb says, “You did not just come from a fucking kilt fitting, you doof!”

I grin. “You’re right. You got me.”

“You didn’t have me.” She kicks her leg out at mine and starts playing with my feet.

I pull mine away. “Tell me about your j…”

“Tell me about the best sex you’ve ever had.”

“What?”

Deb throws her hands out for mine across the table, touches them. I remove mine instantly. She eyes me, grins real sexy. “Aw. You’re the timid type, aren’t you?”

“I’m just simple.”

“Tell me!”

“No way. Not appropriate.”

“Say it.”

I roll my eyes, succumb. “The sex with the girlfriend I had before my wife. That was the best. We were both such feckless little creatures, begging for the world to take us on.”

Deb’s tongue scoots out of her mouth and traces her lips. “What did you do to her?”

“What do you mean?”

“How. Did. It. Make. You. Feel?”

“Happy. Usually pretty happy.”

“She let you cum on her face?”

I bite my lower lip, look around the gymnasium. The streamers falling from the beams on the ceiling, the posters on the wall. I look at the couples—all short-lived. Just a bunch of insta-relationships. Some are smiling. Some wear no expression at all. I look back at Deb and tell her, “Yes.”

“How did you fuck her?” she asks, running her yellow-painted fingernails along the outer edge of one of her arms. She’s got a rose tattoo on her wrist.

I cross my arms in my chest. I tell her, “Every way you could ever imagine.”

“Mmm. You on top? Her on top?”

I raise my eyes brows, sighing briefly. “It was a real good thing.”

“You liked the way she gulped your cock down, didn’t you?”

“Yes.”

“Let you cum on her face. Fuck her tight pussy.”

“Yes.”

“Sounds marvelous, Pat. Good for you.”

Nancy had really been a sweet, wild child. She was my spring awakening right after a bitter winter. She liked old seventies music. She read a lot of books. She talked a lot. And she laughed real nice, real quiet. We had a good thing, me and Nancy. A real good thing. I used to call her my lady giraffe. And she called me her rabbit. We bought a goldfish once and we named her Billie Bob. She cried the day the fish died. We both fucked it up. We fucked it up real good.

“You want to ask me now?” Deb says.

“What are you doing after this?”

Deb turns from me and pays some attention to the rest of the auditorium. I watch while she checks out the other guys, looks to the top of the stage where the crucifix hangs. She makes a ducky face with her lips—seemingly unconvinced, not confident. She looks back into my eyes, “You loved her, didn’t you?”

I nod my head at Deb and I feel bad for her. I reply, “I did. I really did.”

Deb spins both legs to the side of the chair and stands up from her spot in the seat. She says, “I imagine it’s time to switch soon. I should be going, though.” She puts her hand out. I shake.

Deb says, “It was really very nice to meet you, Mr. McLain.” And then she grabs her purse.

 

Alan Semrow lives in Wisconsin and is a graduate of English from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. His poetry and fiction have been featured in multiple publications, including BlazeVOX14, Red Fez, The Bicycle Review, Earl of Plaid Lit Journal, Potluck Magazine, Blotterature Lit Mag; The Rain, Party, & Disaster Society; The Commonline Journal, Crack the Spine, Indiana Voice Journal, EAP: The Magazine, Former People: A Journal of Bangs and Whimpers, Golden Walkman Magazine, Barney Street, and Wordplay, and he won the Essayist Award from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point English Department for his nonfiction work. In 2015, his stories are set to be featured in several journals, including TWJ Magazine, The Biscuit, DoveTales Lit Journal, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, The Chaffey Review, and The Radvocate. Semrow spends the majority of his free time with his boyfriend, friends, family, and Shih Tzu, Remy.
You can read more of Alan’s fiction in DM 91 ~ Kinderszenen.
AF 7
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