Pleasures of the Flesh: A tale told in between blackouts.

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I drink a beer while I shower. Its icy cold and bitter taste contrasts deliciously with the hot water. I shave and dress. Legions of green glass bottles, standing silently, await me in the fridge downstairs. I inspect their ranks and hand pick several lucky soldiers to accompany to the living room. We drink, until I am the only one left. Friends blur in and out of the room until a bottle of Bacardi 151 enters, carried on a litter by vestal virgin priestesses. I shuffle forward on my knees and offer my consciousness in serene sacrifice.

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We dance until the heat overcomes us. We jostle off the dance floor and collect our things from the tables. Heavy mirrors line the corridors, reflecting back our dazed, sweaty selves. At the elevator, we laugh and talk too loud, and older couples watch us out of the corners of their eyes. "Up to no good", their accusing, sideways glances tell us. And we are, of course.

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We move from room to room, chain drinking beer until a numbing lethargy overcomes us.

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She sits by the window, framed by the curtain and held still by the light of the lamp.

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She throws her head back and laughs. In my mind flash visions of her earlier that night, dancing, with the same abandon and beauty. I am thick and clumsy, leaden, numb from head to toe, but I have the drunk's luck.

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I am ugly tonight, but heavily medicated. She sits on my lap. Her hair is short, and I tease the fuzzy hairs at the nape of her neck. She turns to me, and I don't see her for what she is now, or can be years from now. I see her naked in my bed.

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We are in a cab, driving across the Key Bridge. Healy Tower glowers down on us from the city on a hill, and my hands grope her breasts as we maul one another in the back seat. We break apart, breathing hard. She laughs quietly, and the cab driver concentrates on the road.

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I turn on a CD, and she sits on the bed. She wants the decision made for her, and I unzip her dress and and unhook her bra. She stands and wriggles from the dress as I pull off my clothes. She sits down again, and I lay her back. I kiss her on the lips, caress her hair, and begin the slow slide down.

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Light from the streetlamp slides in, illuminating her pale skin. She glows like warm moonlight, her desire made visible. I am both aroused and leaden--numbed by the beer.

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I play my fingers down her spine, lightly touching the soft flesh at the top her cheeks. She rolls over and climbs onto me. She closes her eyes, her hands on my chest.

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Stirrings. I am conscious again. She dresses quietly as I lay on my side. I watch her pull on last night's pantyhose, and quickly put on her bra and glittering dress.
"I want to get out of here before your roommates get up."
And she pulls the door shut with a click behind her. I hear the creak of the stairs, and her footsteps through the ruins of the living room. The door shuts softly.

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Bright afternoon sun streams in through the window. The comforter writhes across the sheets, and she is still in the bed, brought back by the perfume and the musky smell of last night.

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