The phone call broke me out of my daydream, and I was a bit startled, to put it mildly. I had recently sold Icarus, the publishing firm that Eric, Bobbie, and I founded, to a large national publishing house. I now lounged near my pool with an ice cold PBR and my favorite pretzels (Rold Gold) when I heard my cell phone buzz with the default dial tone. It was late August, and despite being Oregon (so not hellish like some other places), it was still a bit toasty when it didn’t rain.
“Hello?” I answered, truly unsure of who could possibly want to call me on a lazy Friday afternoon after I basically retired for the rest of my life.
“Is this Mario Mancini?” I heard a vaguely familiar voice on the phone.
“Yes, that’s me. Who are you, though?” I inquired, rather wary to say the least.
“My name is Carly Salazar. I ... work in the secretary pool at Icarus, or at least I did until ... lately. The new management fired me and now ... well, I don’t know what to do. I’m only appealing to you because you’re the only single man among the three previous owners. I’m begging you, please, let me make my case to you. I’m at my wit’s end! I can’t afford to get fired! Please, sir!” the young woman’s voice was clearly that of a very terrified lady.
“You were fired, not laid-off, but terminated for cause? Are you sure of this? Did they at least explain to do why you got fired so early into your time there? I seem to recall that you were relatively new and came highly recommended from the college that contacted us, Hyperion Institute, now that I know your name. They showed me your college transcripts, your GPA, all of that. You graduated cum laude, didn’t you? Eric and Bobbie both agreed on you before I even saw your resume and application. Of course, it had to be unanimous, but they sold me on you pretty fast,” I recollected now, despite the beer.
“Yes ... sir, Mr. Mancini. It’s hard to ... admit this, but I’m ... a Dreamer,” Carly finally confessed to me, “they fired me because I don’t have a work permit, a green card. I’m not legal to work in the United States. I don’t even have a student visa.”
“A Dreamer. You mean that you were born elsewhere, your parents came to the U.S. illegally, and you tagged along for the ride because you were too young to have a say in the matter, right?” I continued, still enjoying my beer, but also getting ... a bit aroused by Carly’s voice, I had to admit to myself.
“Yes, sir. I was just four when they took me here. I don’t know any other country. I have little or no memory of Mexico, though I’m bilingual, of course. Spanish is my first language, but as you can see, I can speak English fluently and without too much of an obvious accent. Please, sir. I know why they fired. I understand. But I need ... work or something. I need to be able to stay in the United States. I don’t know what I’d do if I was deported. My whole life is here, my whole family, too, all of my friends,” Carly sobbed in my ear.
“Now, what exactly do you want me to do for you, Carly? You said that you wanted to make your case to me, but for what? What kind of action? Let’s put our cards on the table here. No, better yet, come here. To this address. 675 Wolfram Drive. Show up as quickly as you can, too. You should make your case in person for what you want. It sounds as if we’ll need some privacy, anyway,” I encouraged her, “take at least some of your clothes and such with you. Some kind of overnight bag, just in case.”
“Thank you, Mr. Mancini. I’ll do as you ask, sir. You’re the only hope that I have left. You won’t regret this, I promise you!” Carly hung up and obviously sounded ready to hurry to my place.
I decided, of course, that I would drop what I was doing and do my best to get my place in company order. I wasn’t the messiest guy, but I also wasn’t the King of Neat Freaks, either. I tried to keep my place in reasonable shape most of the time, but I didn’t panic if it got messy now and then, such as the last time that I had Bobbie and Eric over for a threesome, just the Sunday prior to Carly’s call. We left a mess and I hired a maid service to clean it up, so that was good. I only hired such services irregularly, preferring not to keep permanent staff, just in case they had loose lips.
This situation was a case in point, as I didn’t know if anyone would suspect at least one prospective solution that came to mind. I knew of ladies who regularly let Americans impregnate them to have “anchor babies,” children with automatic U.S. citizenship. I had never deliberately done that to an immigrant woman, but I strongly considered it as an option here. Marriage was another thought, but then the Feds would be occasional guests, and I wasn’t sure that I liked that idea much at all. I valued my privacy and I kept a bit of weed now and then. That didn’t make me fond of too much government attention.
At any rate, there wasn’t time to hire a maid service this time around, plus I didn’t want any nosy maids prying into my business. No, it was best to clean things up myself, and that I did with relative ease, despite the slight beer buzz from the Pabst Blue Ribbon in my bloodstream. It took longer to make ME presentable than it did my house, as I hadn’t shaved that morning. I used the electric shaver and didn’t worry about being too close at shaving, since I knew that some women liked just a hint of wildness. I was just about done and barely had time to pull on a new polo shirt and khakis when I heard the doorbell ring.
It was the same Latin cutie that I remembered from the secretarial pool, but this time she was at her level best. She was a knockout, in fact, if you had to ask me, especially right then. She had long, luscious, jet-black hair and the same lovely, earthy complexion that one typically associated with Mexican women. She could easily have been one of a million ladies of mestizo heritage, but she was remarkably attractive, particularly with her sweet smile and adorable vulnerability. There was just a hint of just how scared she really was, which wasn’t shocking due to the risk of deportation.
“Carly, right? I’m Mario Mancini,” I shook Carly’s hand and she shivered in my presence, “where are my manners? Come in and sit there, will ya?”
“Mr. Mancini, thank you for ... having me over. Sorry to pester you, and I wouldn’t have, if it weren’t so urgent. I could easily be facing deportation soon, depending on how quickly the Feds learn of my situation, which is more likely by the day, as I’ll probably be on the street and have to turn tricks just to eat. I really don’t want to do that, but I don’t see too many options left. You’re a lifesaver, even by agreeing to give me a face-to-face to plead my case.
“Basically, I need two things, and I’m not sure how to get them, but I hoped that you’d find a way to help me with that. I need a new job of some kind ... and some way to work legally and stay in the USA. Pretty soon, if things don’t improve, I’ll need a new home, too. My rent is already late on my apartment and my utilities are already getting shut-off notices. I’m not sure how I would pay them in time to avoid suspension of services.
“I know that I’m putting a lot of things on your plate when you’re ready to retire, but where else can I turn? Mama and Papa? They have nothing left, no nest egg, a roof above my head, but nothing to spare and that would just plain keep things even tighter for them ... plus, I didn’t leave on the best terms with them when I graduated. We still love each other, but Mama wanted me to get married ASAP and Papa wanted me to get another few years of school. It would be humiliating to turn to them again for help, and... ,” Carly wiped away tears and tried not to sound as desperate as she was.
“Carly, did you have any ... possible solutions or did you want me to offer you some?” I now directly confronted her with the issue of practical answers.
“Well ... I’ve thought of some, but I’m not sure how they would help me career-wise. Then again, I have no career now. The only two that immediately came to mind were ... marriage and a baby. An anchor baby, if you will. You could hire a lawyer for me, but they wouldn’t have a good case, would they? What else can I do? I don’t know what else to think of ... Please, sir, I’m at the end of my rope. I have no answers, no prospects, no... ,” Carly wept and whimpered, while, perhaps shamefully, my hard-on grew in length and size.
“Carly, come sit next to me, will ya?” I invited Carly to take a spot next to me on the loveseat now.
“Yes, sir. What do you want me to do? What can I do for you? I’ve been selfish, thinking only of me, but if you do this for me, whatever it is, I owe you ... seriously,” Carly swept her bangs back from her face, fighting back more tears, while I took her dainty hands in mine.
“Carly, would you like something to eat and drink?” I offered her, making her nod and gulp visibly.
“Good, because I have some leftovers, or else we could order a pizza or some Chinese or something,” I proposed.
“Pizza? Pretty please? I won’t eat it all, just a few slices, I won’t ask for a whole pizza pie, just a few slices, that’s all, I swear, sir!” Carly swore, but I put my finger to her lips.
“Shhh ... don’t be silly, sweetie. You see, you’re my friend now. We’re friends. And I’m going to treat you. You get a whole pie and I don’t want to hear any arguments about that. Trust me, I’m rich enough to pamper my friends now and then. Relax, have a beer or perhaps something more ... lady friendly. It’s okay. You’re a guest of mine now and I’m going to take care of you while you’re here,” I reassured her.
“Okay, Mr. Mancini, if you wish that. May I have some wine? Do you have any? I’m ... kinda scared here,” Carly pleaded with me and I smiled at her.
“Of course, you may! I only have a Shiraz and a Chardonnay. Which one, the red or white?” I asked Carly.
“Red, please. Shiraz, right? That sounds good. A nice, dry red. What kind of toppings can I get on my pizza?” Carly requested.
“Whichever ones you want, dear friend,” I told her, making her smile at last, especially as I got out a glass and poured her the Shiraz, handing it to her.
“Thank you, Mr. Mancini,” Carly replied, wiping more tears from her eyes, “you’re a good friend. I’d like the Hawaiian style pizza. Pineapples and either ham or Canadian bacon.”
“One Hawaiian style pizza coming up, along with my Supremo. Manicotti’s is a great pizzeria, I don’t know if you’ve had them, but they beat chain pizzerias hands down. They have breadsticks that you wouldn’t believe, their chicken wings rock, and they even make pasta and hoagies. Great stuff. The meatball marinara is top-notch,” I informed Carly, making her feel more comfortable.
“Thank you again, Mr. Mancini,” Carly told me as I ordered the pizzas for us, plus some breadsticks, wanting to spoil my new friend rotten.
“Call me Mario, please,” I suggested, but Carly shook her head.
“No, sir. I’m your friend and you’re my friend, but you’re still ... a benefactor here ... and an older man. It’s quite clear that you’re in charge of our relationship. That’s as it should be ... and I must confess that I ... have hopes as to what solution you have in mind. Please, let me suggest it. The nicer you are to me, the more I want this. That doesn’t always work with women, I know, but here ... let’s just say that I’m overwhelmed by your kindness.
“I just ... want to be a good friend ... and grateful for your help ... I had fantasies on the way here, but I also felt silly for them, in case you thought me a slut or whore or something. I’m just very torn up about all of this. Would you ... I’m just going to come out and say it ... would you mind putting your seed in my womb? Would you like to fuck me and knock me up? Breed me? Fill me up with an anchor baby?” Carly finally beat me to the punch, putting a smile on my face.
“Well, honey, I’m glad that you finally got to the point, cut to the chase. I’m even gladder that we’re on the same page here. That’s exactly what I have in mind, at least at the start. We could be ... friends with benefits, dear Carly. Not just for making babies, as I think that we’d possibly enjoy the sex for its own sake, too. Besides, you’d probably want more than one baby, wouldn’t you?” I suggested to her, making her nod.
“Absolutely. I want my kids to have brothers and sisters ... and to be honest, I’d love to have a brood of them. I hoped to do that with a husband, after marriage, of course, like a good Catholic girl, but who’s going to marry a Dreamer who had to be bred out of wedlock to have even the one bambino? It’s best to simply let you put them all in me, I think. At least we’ll still be friends, I hope, even if we have a dozen babies together?” Carly asked me, just as the doorbell rang again.
“Certainly, sweet Carly. Friends with benefits, right?” I went to go get the pizza and brought it out after tipping the pizza guy generously enough that he didn’t have the chance to notice that I wasn’t alone.
“There, that’s a good pair of large pizzas, don’t you think? I went and got them deep dish, too. With lots of breadsticks. Starchy, sure, but unless you’re a diabetic, I don’t foresee an issue. Eat up, baby. Let’s have some more wine, too, if you wish, and I’ll have another PBR,” I poured both of our drinks.
“So ... it’s a deal, then?” Carly hugged me tight as we sat down to eat and drink a bit.
“Sure, but I have to warn you that I’m not the faithful sort. As it happens, I’m having an affair with another man’s wife, with his knowledge, even his encouragement, if you will,” I warned Carly, who laughed when she heard that.
“That explains your early and joint-retirement, the sale of the business, and all that jazz. Sir, I know what kind of man you are. You’re a good guy, but you’re also a horndog, a lothario, a skirt-chaser. You like pussy, you like ass ... You like the taste and smell of me, for instance. I could see how hard I made you, in fact. I respect you more for not making absurd claims and insincere declarations of your loyalty, that sort of crap. You don’t claim to be God’s gift to women, but you clearly enjoy them, and you don’t portray yourself as the faithful family man type, either.
“You’re honest, you’re kind, you’re courteous, you’re hospitable, and you’re friendly. You know how to spoil a girl, too. You’ll be a very sweet Daddy to our kids, too. We’re not getting married, we’re not dating, we’re not a couple, right? So, isn’t all that kind of talk putting the cart before the horse, anyway? I wouldn’t ask you to break off your affair with Mrs. Anderson, not if Mr. Anderson’s happy with the status quo. They were very nice to me and if they want you to keep sleeping with her, I see no reason to object.
“We’re friends with benefits and I’m going to be the mother of your children. I know that I won’t lose you, regardless of our formal status. I will get to stay here, anyway, won’t I? It would be tough to marry, anyway, at least until I get my immigration status fixed,” Carly grew bolder as she slipped some wine from her tongue onto mine.
“Naturally, you can and will stay here from now on, babe. Look no further. And if your attitude about sharing is as genuine as the rest of you seems to be, perhaps we can revisit the marriage issue later. So far, I’m not seeing a downside to you,” I told her with a wink, not believing my own words, as I actually contemplated marriage to this Mexican sweetheart.
“So ... marriage not entirely off the table? Wow ... Do you have any idea how flattering it is that you would even consider it, given that we’re not romantic or in love or anything, and in fact have barely formed an acquaintance with each other? I’m just an illegal alien, don’t even have a right to be in this country according to your laws, and you’re not ruling out the option of taking me to wife? Out of curiosity, besides sharing you, what else would I have to do ... to land you as a husband?” Carly turned to me with obvious affection, as I planted a searing French kiss on her mouth.
“Well, we’d probably need time to get your immigration status fixed first, of course. At least long enough to make it less suspicious to the Feds. I’d have to get to know you a little better, of course. That sort of thing. By the way, if you ever want something on the side, that’s not an issue as long as you don’t start getting too jealous and possessive of me. One thing that I cannot abide is hypocrisy and double standards.
“Also, I want to be sure that you’re not trying to control me and use sex as a weapon, that sort of thing. I don’t picture you that way, but time will prove your character and likely improve your odds. I want it clear that I’m in charge of this relationship, married or not. You came to me for help, all well and good, but I have the power in this situation and I refuse to be a doormat, an uxorious husband like some of the fools that I’ve known. One thing that I’ve always known about myself is that I refuse to be put in the position of a milquetoast hubby.
“Don’t get me wrong. I’m going to spoil you rotten, marriage or not. I’ll be very kind to you, shower you with affection, treat you as the adorable young lady that you are, but I refuse to put up with a sense of entitlement. I’ll expect to be appreciated, not taken for granted. I want it understood that if I do something for you, it’s because I WANT to do it for you, not because I’m required to do so. As my grandfather once said to a nurse, ‘I don’t HAVE to do anything.’
“Sorry if this comes across as a bit tough or if I appear as a bit stern or a hardass for being like that, but I don’t roll over for anyone. I’m courteous, friendly, loving, even sentimental at times, but I’ve always felt that chivalry, with its deification and idolization of women, is nothing but bullshit. Especially when it’s expected by the same women who not five minutes before demanded ‘equality.’
“Sorry, I’m ranting again, but you get the idea. I don’t mind showing courtesy to a lady, but I would appreciate it if the women treated it as a nice gesture and a kindness, not as an entitlement. I’m just laying my cards out on the table, since you asked what you’d have to do to get my ring on your finger. I’m very jaded, very cynical, so you’d have to steal my heart with kindness, sweetness, and genuine warmth. So far, though, you’ve got a good head start on that,” I winked at Carly, adding, “end of sermon. Guess Mom should hear this tirade, as she would understand me better ... maybe.”