This will make only tiny bits of sense until you've read: I married a Sex Goddess and all the ones before that
“Everything you have ever done,
every movement of every speck in time,
everything that has ever happened to you by plan, chance, or willful force,
has brought you to this moment right now, right here.
Only you can decide what happens next.
So what’s it gonna be, Rocco? I wanna know. What's it gonna be?”
--- Anna to Mitch, Mitch's Diary.
Ten years in Anna comes home from work and tosses a piece of paper on the kitchen table.
“Have you seen this?” she says to me. I’m in the living room watching the news, but the tone of her voice tells me I’d better come quick.
On the table is a picture from a computer printer. The picture is of two people laying naked on the beach engaged in what can’t be confused for anything but intercourse. Someone scrawled on the margin, “Incredible resemblance. Who’s the guy?”
I crumple it and toss it in the trash. “I guess they don’t recognize me. That’s probably a good thing.”
“Well, now I’ve either got to deny it’s us or tell them everything.”
“Why are those the options? Don’t tell ‘um anything,” I say.
“Shit, Rocco. Then they’ll know,” she says.
And I say, “So they’ll know. Lots of people know. Everyone who was there knows.” I don’t say it because I’m not worried. I’m saying it because I'm shaping the outcome. I'm using that mental power over the material world. All the stuff she tells me to do.
Anna taps her fingers on the kitchen table and looks at me from under her furrowed brow. She's sizing things up but she's not nearly as fast as me.
“How much do you remember?” I say, putting my hands on her hips. I let a hand slide around her back and kiss her neck. She straightens.
She says, “Don’t you ever have to eat?” She says it right before she succumbs and lets my tongue touch hers.
Now I’m going to try to take her back the way she sometimes does to me. The images ripple through my head and I try to get them under control, sequence them. If I think hard enough she’ll hear me.
Separate for a sec. I say, "You getting this?"
"A little trouble. I need more persuasion."
Now she's kissing me. I know I got her.
It happened this way: Anna and I were in Jamaica. I’d taken her there to celebrate our thirtieth birthdays. We were getting old and feeling sorry for ourselves. Anna was getting terribly depressed and I needed to get her out of her funk. There was a place called “Mates” in the travel brochures that looked interesting. People only went there in pairs. Singles were neither tolerated nor invited.
The brochure showed a tropical paradise. Beaches combed by brown-skinned cabana boys with trays of pina coladas. Twenty-four hour buffet of gluttony. Rivers of alcohol. Snorkeling. Parties every night. A privately-owned island just offshore for nude outdoor behavior.
Visitors entered on a Sunday and were encouraged to wear as little as possible, love as much as possible, and consume for the duration of a week. Then the bus would return everyone to civilization.
It didn’t take much convincing for us to accept the encouragement, and before I knew it we had checked into our room overlooking the ocean and had settled in for 24-hour per day fun.
Maybe we were getting old, or maybe we’d just changed our definition of fun. It seemed to be enough to sip cocktails and lie in the shade of the palm trees. We spent most of our days doing that, and took an occasional shopping excursion into the town of Ochos Rios and a tour of the Dunns River Falls where you have to climb up the falls instead of just looking down.
We enjoyed the evening entertainment, and made a few friends over dinner. But the desire to be out and about, trying every sport, eating every food, seeing every tourist trap, seemed to have faded along with our twenties. It was simply great to be together and not have to do anything we didn’t want to do.
On the penultimate night Anna and I got wrapped up in an impromptu rum-beverage drinking contest at the bar on the beach. We were under the grass roof, sitting on bar stools we’d pulled into a circle inside the stand of blazing tiki torches.
There were no rules to this game which turned out to be an adult form of “truth-or-dare” where the stakes were either to perform a bizarre, embarrassing, or otherwise unpleasant task contrived by the devious minds of the opposing team, or consume a large rum concoction in one continuous swallow. There were four of us on each side, and with each “round” a couple took the truth or dare challenge. Eventually, as was the custom, smell of the local crop hung over us and propelled me back to college.
Long, long time it had been that I hadn't felt absolutely free of committment.
I don’t remember what made me cast aside my vivid teenaged memories of the awful results of getting toasted on sweet rum drinks. Maybe I figured I’d take the dares instead of destroying my liver.
I surprised myself by doing the opposite.
Anna almost made me accept a dare on the fourth round but I drank instead, and completely lost count of how many I'd had, which seemed a responsibility only I was holding myself to that I needed to eschew rapidly, so I did. The bartenders egged us on, and probably invented the game in the first place, taking great amusement in how ridiculous we could become. They made blender full after blender full of brightly colored concoctions that took on ever more risqué names.
Anna made me stop drinking when the bar tender handed me a bright red mixture he called a “Limp Dick”. She pulled it out of my hand and put it aside.
There would be none of that in Anna's world. Not even if it was a joke.
The rum drinks had me dizzy, and Anna’s eyes were wide, wet, and blinking and only now was I realizing I'd never seen her so completely fried. She began to babble about the game as being an excuse for delaying the orgy that was inevitable, and that we should start having sex instead of drinking, and a lot of our new friends agreed. She kept taking drags on a joint that people passed around, and the more she did the more she babbled.
I kept putting my fingers to her lips to shut her up, but she’d push me away.
When the dare was proposed it was fairly benign considering what other people had to do. I’d simply lift her bikini top and suck on one of her nipples. We were in a state of mind where that act seemed a perfectly natural display of spousal affection.
Anna was ahead of me and obliged the cheering crowd by taking off her top and tossing it away, somewhere, but I decided I would refuse to comply. Instead, I handed her my drink and took a long drag on something that was hovering between someone's fingers in front of me, held in the lungful of smoke until I got dizzy and then breathed out a very thin mist.
“If it doesn’t work now you’re in big trouble, buster,” she warned, adding, "Little Mitch," just to make sure we got the pronoun antecedant, and our friends joined in, some guys suggesting they wouldn’t have any problem making her happy, in fact, they were quite capable right then.
What propels a man to behave in ways he knows will yield short transient rewards, but will have lasting negative consequences? I’d bet Augustus Caesar could have asked the same question of the populace of Rome. Amenhotep could have posed it to the Egyptian Rotary Club. It's probably the meaning of the cave drawings in France and it was absolutely true of the populace of the resort at Jamaica that day that there was no future. There was only now.
Someone handed Anna something sweet and smoking that didn't smell like the other stuff but was probably the same as what was making me forget if nouns came before verbs in English or Espanol or Nihongo wakarimasen.
What happened next started out clearly in my mind, then faded into a blur of light, flesh, and applause and colors that made everything seem like a system crash on a computer graphics engine.
I remember Anna standing and peeling off the rest of her bikini. Then she pulled me off my chair onto the sand, and I remember thinking that it might not be a good idea to be doing this in front of a bunch of strangers. I might have even said the word, "is," when I was trying to say "these people are going to see my dick is hard," which was okay with everyone, apparently.
We were going too far, weren’t we? What the hell was too far? Where was that place and how could I get there?
In the beginning, I resisted. She got mad and more insistent. I would show her.
“Is this what you want? Right here? Right now?” Climbed out of my swimsuit. “Is this what you want? I showed her that drink didn’t have its supposed effect. I was as manly and as virile as King Kong at a Fay Wray look-alike contest and she was going to wind up on the pointy end of things if I could only figure out how to get my feet to move to walk instead of standing in one place weaving from side to side, which I was doing and quite proud of my performance, besides.
“You got it. Come on big guy,” she said, bouncing on her toes, staggering slightly from one side to the other. “I bet you can’t. You’re too drunk.”
“When I’m stoned, darlin’,” I reminded her, “we’ll be screwing for hours.”
“Screw what? I'm talking about fucking,” she said. And there was cheering from all around, and I remembered something from a long time ago. This vision I had that we were doing it on a beach surrounded by a forest of naked legs.
"We did this once already," I said, I think. It probably came out like, "weeee," though, because she didn't understand me. "Vu," was all I could get out of my mouth of "Deja Vu."
I kept my back to the crowd, then crossed my legs and tried unsuccessfully to hide myself with my hands to protect what modicum of modesty I had left. The group behind us was growing and getting louder. Some of them came onto the sand with us.
“Come on, scaredy cat,” Anna slurred her words, spitting as she prodded. “Come on, chicken. Look at all of those poor guys wishing they were you right now. If those guys were where you are, do you think they’d be just standing there looking like a jerks with their dicks in their hands? No.”
"No," the crowd agreed. She had such audience appeal. It was like a political rally.
"weeeeeeeeene," is what I said when I meant, "You should run for office, they'll all vote for you."
"They'd all be, be fuckin' me, meen, my brains out here. Get ovare here, you, boy."
I didn’t know how to answer her. Should I grab her by the waist, sling her over my shoulder, and bring her back to the room? Gravity would not be my friend if I tried that and I had the feeling the sand would open up and I'd plummet straight to the core of the earth to be burned to vapor in an ocean of molten iron.
I said, "molten iron," and it came out just like that.
"Will you get here you, you, Rocco come here," she said, and stamped her feet. "My leg is wet."
Should I give in? Geezes. I’m standing on a public beach, naked with a painful erection, and my wife wants to have sex right now and all I can remember is that sex has something to do with this dick of mine and her.
Because humanity is so helpful by nature, some people came to our aid. An older, gray haired couple materialized on the sand beside us and as far as I was concerned they'd blinked in from an episode of I Dream of Jeannie. The guy walked up to Anna and kissed her on the cheek. The woman stood next to me and pulled off her bathing suit. Then she put her arms around my waist and started to fondle me, or whatever it was she was doing.
“Do we have to show you kids how to do it?”
“Ackkkkk,” or something like it came from my mouth when I was meaning to say, "Hey, that's mine."
That was it. Anna tackled me, managed to kick my legs out from under me. We wrestled for a minute and I rolled on top of her and managing to land on all fours to keep from slamming into her. I grabbed her arms, pinning her against the sand which was an amazing feat considering how interesting all the little sand particles were when they caught the light that way.
“Well” she said, looking into my eyes. I could feel something digging into the small of my back. “Do it, Rocco.”
Suddenly, my mouth worked. For some reason my brain was reconnected to my spinal cord. Perhaps the fall... “Isn’t this a bit obscene?” I said on the last thread of common sense I could summon.
“What is wrong with you? What are you waiting for? It’s not anything. It’s just sex. Hurry up before one of these other guys kills you and makes me have his babies.” And she growled like a tigeress and bit my lip.
“Just one thing, darlin’,” I said, again amazed my lips worked.
She smiled and glanced and reached down the space between our torsos. “It’s hard. Don’t worry,” she replied.
“I know that. I was just wondering how much this sand was going to hurt…” And I thought I’d make my point. But it didn’t matter because the sand couldn’t get through my senses or hers. I hoped it didn’t bother her.
My memory is incomplete after that. The movement disconnected my brain stem and I can't tell you what I did or for how long. I remember hearing cheering. Cameras flashing. Being surrounded in a circle of legs and bare feet. I remember looking up and seeing what seemed like hundreds of smiling faces.
When it was over I thought Anna had passed out, but she managed to get to her feet, babbling about flying fish and discounts at the dollar store. I chased her the best I could. The action seemed to move from us to someplace else, some other couple. We had inspired the group. Others wanted the spotlight. I remember standing with my wife, staring into a circle of people and hearing her whistle, cheer, and shout instructions to two people clawing at each other on the sand. She was like some kind of sex architect, fabricating scenes from various pornographic movies with flimsy plots about pizza boys and lonely divorcees who's ex-husbands decide to drop in while the new boyfriend is in town.
The next thing I remember is waking up naked on the bathroom floor in one of the rooms of the hotel. Anna was next to me. There were two pillows, I had been on one and Anna’s head was on the other. When I moved it felt as if someone had driven a spike through my head and stuck it into the floor. A wave of nausea welled up from my gut and lodged in my throat.
I crawled to the fixture and was sick. As I lay on the cool tile floor, absorbing as much of the cold as I could before I got sick again, Anna crawled up next to me, equally naked, and equally ill.
When she dropped from the toilet to the floor she said, “This is disgusting.”
I wanted to agree with her, but I was afraid that if I tried to speak I’d be sick again.
Then she said, “Oh God, did we fuck the Colvins?”
Who were the Colvins? I managed to open my eyes enough to look around, and it occurred to me we weren’t in our room. There seemed to be other people’s things strewn around. From where I lay on the bathroom floor I could see the tan lumps of inert bodies on the king sized bed, their limbs intertwined.
“Are they the Colvins?” I asked, swallowing.
“Don’t you remember?”
“I think I remember you raped me on the beach in front of all those people,” I said.
“'Rape' is a bad word. The word is 'fuck',” she said. She had enough energy to slap me on the head which felt like a cake fork driven into my skull. “I was going to say you had been ‘had,’ but I think you were into it as much as I was. Besides, you can’t be raped by the person on the bottom.”
As stupid and sick as it was, being here made me feel good. It was weird and probably immoral, but she was proud of me. I didn’t chicken out. Nobody got hurt, perhaps. There was only one problem. A vicious rum hangover had nailed our bodies to the tile in a stranger’s bathroom.
Well, maybe there were two problems.
Inside one of the Colvins groaned in the pain, and I presume it was the same pain we shared.
Then I realized what question she was asking. “Did we do it with them?” I asked.
“This sucks,” Anna said, ignoring my question. She was moving her legs and arms. “I have sand everywhere…” Maybe it was best we didn’t remember.
“We gotta get out of here. Go back to our room. If we can’t remember them, maybe they won’t remember us.”
The female Colvin stirred and tried to get her feet over her partner’s unmoving body. It wasn’t working.
I said, “Okay, sweetie. We’re going to stand up and go back to our room before these people wake up. Can you do it?”
“We’re naked, Tonto,” Anna said.
“It’s Rocco,” I corrected. “The room key was in the inner pocket of my swim trunks.”
“Where are they?”
“I seem to remember leaving them on the beach,” I said. “What the hell are we supposed to do now?”
“If this didn’t hurt so much, it would be funny,” Anna said. She rolled over on her back and draped her arm across her forehead.
I had to think. Engineering was improvisation, and I was an engineer. I managed to stand and was immediately sick and dizzy. I fought the feeling as I moved into the bedroom where we had been sleeping. Our swimsuits weren’t in the Colvins’ room, but I noticed the bedspread had been thrown to the floor on one side.
I never bothered looking at them. I took their king-sized bedspread and wrapped it around myself. Then I got Anna to stand and wrapped her in it with me.
She said, “Thanks for a wonderful evening,” to the bodies in the bed as we left the room and shuffled down the hall. We managed to find our way to the front desk to the amusement of the housekeeping staff and fully-clothed visitors. Some of them remembered us from the prior night.
“You guys were fantastic,” a guy shouted as he stepped into a golf cart with three other people. He was explaining our evening to the rest of his foursome as he sped on to the first tee.
“See what you did?” I said to Anna when it seemed every eye in the hotel lobby was on us.
“They didn’t see us last night. They’re just looking because we’re standing here in a bedspread.”
On the way back to the room, new key in hand, we passed a bulletin board that displayed the events of the day. Someone had tacked up an instant picture of Anna and I making love on the beach. It must have been one of hundreds. I remember camera flashes going off like we were movie stars.
Anna pulled the picture off the board and held it in her teeth while using her hands to help keep the bedspread secured around us.
“We’re never drinking that much again,” she said and groaned. “I feel like garbage. It will take a week to get over this hangover.”
She was right. It did.
The smartest thing I could think to say at the time was, “And what do you say we don’t do it on the beach in front of fifty people again?”
“I won’t if you won’t,” she said.
We started receiving holiday cards from the Colvins that year. It turned out Mr. Colvin worked for the Secret Service, and I’d always expected he’d used his channels to find us. Anna insisted that all she remembered was that they’d taken pity on us for not having our room keys and agreed to let us sleep in their room until the front desk opened in the morning. I always wondered if there had been anything else.
When Anna and I stop kissing, I realize it must have been some time because there’s a little ache in my neck from leaning my head to the side. Did my memory get to her?
“I was out of control,” she says to me.
“Happens,” I say.
“We never talked about that night. Does it bother you?”
I tell her it doesn’t. I tell her that when we’re old it’s one of the things I’ll probably remember about being young together.
“In a bad way or a good way?”
Because we’re alone, because it’s our house, because we’re both just home from work, because we’re tired, I find the zipper to her dress and pull it down.
“Don’t you ever need to eat?” she asks me.
I guess not.
It goes to compulsion