CHANCE GIM sat at the desk in his home office and looked down at the long list of names, phone numbers and personal data. He had numbered them. One hundred and eleven. All women. The youngest, eighteen, the oldest, twenty-six. All proportionately built. Carefully weeded from an even longer list of three hundred and eighty two.
Like fruit, he thought, you gals are ripe and ready, oh so fucking ready, to be added to the lovelies I already have. All I have to do is give you my song and dance and you'll jump from the tree right into my basket. Ha ha.
Yessiree, old Chance now had the pick of the crop. But it wasn't always like that, so easy, so sweet and easy. Oh, no, not at all. For, prior to his fantastic plan anyway, he even had trouble getting near a babe, let alone having her do his every sexual wish. Like sucking his cock and fucking him. Willingly. And in front of two other guys, no less. And come back for more! Again and again.
At twenty-five, Chance looked younger than his years, but the years had not been kind. Far from it. He was a loser when it came to the ladies. Christ, he once said to his image in the bathroom mirror, I couldn't get laid in a cathouse with a fist full of hundred dollar bills! It was true, he couldn't.
For how many females are out there, who would want to fuck a cadaver? A ghostly white, even vampire white, cadaver, at that. One dressed all in black, the cadaver's favorite color, who reminded anyone with even one good eye of a funeral parlor director, or an evil looking mortician.
Or Lurch of The Addam's Family fame. A long and lanky Lurch, for Chance displayed his ghostly pallor on a 6' 5" frame. And he always, but always, covered the frame in black denim trousers and black knit shirts. Is it any wonder that women immediately thought of him as weird, strange, and downright warped looking? A freak, a loner, a loser. All in black. And ghastly white.
It didn't help his chances with women, not in the least, that he was well off financially by inheritance, owned his own home, same inheritance, drove a brand new car and could wine and dine them in the finest of restaurants. Chance never got the chance to go beyond the first meeting. His looks and demeanor saw to that.
It wasn't two years after he had graduated high school that his widowed mother died and left everything, the big old house and a quarter of a million dollars, to her only child. And left him a lonely hole in his heart the size of Kansas. This, coupled with his general failures with women, had him feeling so lonely, so out of it all, and so depressed he even considered suicide.
But, and in spite of it all, one could say, Chance was, as his mother was, a fighter. He had watched her cope with her husband's sudden death and the almost failure of his real estate company because of dad no longer being at the helm.
Instead of caving in and folding up her weeping tent, she fought back. In less than three months, she had not only turned the company around, it had one of the best years in its thirty-year history. "Son, make lemonade!" was her war cry.
So Chance took his lemon of a life and squeezed it. All he needed, he reasoned, was a plan. A plan that would change things and make them better. One that would rescue him from his doldrums and turn things around, just as momma had done with a failing firm. All it would take was time. And, given his now rosy financial picture, he had plenty of that commodity...
IN TIME, a very short time, a plan did emerge. He called it Plan A even though he had no Plan B at the time. Perhaps, he reasoned, I won't need a Plan B!
Plan A popped out in the form of an ad in the personals column of the local newspaper:
SWM (A Leo!), Financially secure, 20, 6'5" 170#, black hair, green eyes, seeks female for one-on-one relationship. Yeah, I like long walks and cozy dinners for two, but I also dig weird music, strange movies, and kinky novels. If I sound like your bag of tricks, contact me at: BOX 12462.
He received six responses to Plan A. And dated all six, even the two overweight ones, but only once. None of them, not a one, wanted a second date. One date was sufficient, thank you, Lurch. Why don't you go and tend to a grave someplace. OK?
Plan A, it seemed, sucked big time. Chance considered running the ad again, giving it a fair chance to work, so to speak, but gave up on the idea. He didn't have the heart to go through the bullshit again.
What I need now, he pondered, is a Plan B. But he had no Plan B in mind. So he took to staying in the house and reading. Perhaps a Plan B would be sparked by something in a book, some phrase, some idea. But the only books he found in the big bookcase of his father's den were of the boring kind to him.
Business books, ho hum, accounting books, yawn, real estate books, bleh, not one with even a glimmer of fiction or general interest in it. He couldn't see a Plan B emerging from this conglomeration of ho hums, yawns, and blehs. But his momma was still in the background, inspiring him.
He looked at the bookcase and said, out loud to the air around him,
"C'mon, you fucking lemons, get your dumb, lazy asses off the shelf! You're going into cold storage in the basement." And they did, not even caring that more exciting reading matter would soon replace them.
When the lemony books had all been stored away, Chance looked at the now empty bookcase. It reminded him of a shell, an empty shell. Very much like him. What it needed, like Chance, was filling up. And fill it up, he sure did, and in one helluva hurry.
One quick trip to Samuel's Used Books store was all it took. "Sam," he told the proprietor. "Here's a hundred bucks. Box me up some of your best twenty-five cent books, would ya?"
Sam, being quick with basic math, said, "You want I should pick out four hundred books for you? Just like that? You don't want to pick them out for yourself? You want me to do it for you? Just like that?"
"Yeah, Sam, just like that. Just don't throw in any ones that are so friggin' ratty, they'll draw flies, OK?" It was OK by Sam. A hundred bucks doesn't walk in every day of the week, that's for sure. Especially when it throws in an extra twenty just to deliver them. All twenty-odd cartons.
When the books had been ensconced in their new bookcase home, Chance gave them the once over. Sam had, sure as shit, been truly eclectic in his picks. There was "The Poetry of Robert Frost." And one called "America in Pictures." Also included was "Adventures in Literature," a book Chance saw as having some possibilities for exposing a Plan B.
There were also books on politics, government, gardening, and basic homemaking. And one by a Wendell Wilkie, called "One World," that Chance thought might hold promise. At least until he read into the book a bit. Wilkie had been, ho hum, a Republican presidential candidate, yawn, in the last century, bleh!
Stifling a yawn, Chance picked out two to get him started in his quest for Plan B: "Forty Years of Murder" by Keith Simpson, a retired British medical examiner. Just like Quincy, Chance reckoned. And "The New Ager's Biography of Aleister Crowley," including, it said, many passages from Crowley's "Magick in Theory and Practice!"
Chance set fire to some logs in the fireplace, fixed a gin and tonic, and settled in cozily for some good old-fashioned reading. He started on Simpson's book first, but threw in the towel halfway through. Yeah, Simpson was as good an M.E. as old Quincy, maybe better even, but who the fuck cares?
The book on Crowley was a totally different matter. Crowley, it appeared, had also been a bit of a loner, and an outsider. An oddball to most folks. One with weird ideas of the world. But, to Crowley, these weird ideas of his was the way the world should be, and had to be, in his vision, anyway.
Some called Crowley a genius. Others called him the king of depravity. But, Chance thought, at least they called him something. Crowley was also known as a poet, a mage, a prophet, and as a man who was well versed in all things odd or occult. Yoga, Freemasonry, Witchcraft, Black Magic, and others of this ilk were in his bailiwick. He was also seen as the most notorious magician of the last century, or any century for that matter.
One particular quote by Crowley, among the many the book offered, grabbed Chance and made him think, really think:
"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law." Aleister Crowley.
Shit, thought Chance, this guy even created a new law! Do whatever the fuck you want, Jack! I like this Crowley guy. He had class!
Crowley's catchword, it appeared to Chance, was "Thelema." Which was somehow linked to something called The Golden Dawn. It was rough reading, very rough reading, but he did come away with a few things.
He read how Crowley had created a tradition known as Thelema, leading to the Thelemites, which was, and is, a spiritual or religious system centered on ideas of freedom and personal growth.
But, when Chance read that OTO stands for Ordo Templi Orientis (Order of the Eastern Temple), a magical order that leans heavily on Thelemic principles, Chance skipped ahead a lot. A whole lot. Paragraphs and pages fell by the wayside. In rapid order. The Golden Dawn, poor thing, never got a chance to come up.
.... There is more of this story ...