Copyright© 2003 by Carlog Malenkov
Reflections are images of tarnished aspirations.
-- Racter, "The Policeman's Beard is Half-Constructed"
I can't believe it's been that many years. I still remember walking the long, echoing halls of Coolidge High, looking at all the girls I couldn't have. Dripping resentment and overflowing with self-pity and bitterness. Socially inept. Inept in just about every other way.
Especially I remember Marianne. She was a tall, blonde cheerleader with big breasts, round hips, and a well-upholstered behind. (Weight loss and dieting would not become a ruling passion among females for some years yet.) My heartthrob, she was. She made my heart throb, all right. Unfortunately, the reverse seemed not to be the case. She didn't even know who I was and nonchalantly brushed off my feeble efforts to approach her. It was a damn good thing I didn't need to ask her for the the time of day, because she likely wouldn't have given it to me.
Why then, did I attend the thirty-fifth anniversary class reunion? Partly out of morbid curiosity and, who knows, I might just get some satisfaction for all the slights I had endured from my former classmates. Vengefulness has been a part of my nature for as long as I can remember.
The refreshments could have been better. I've never been a fan of stale pretzels and greasy clam dip. The conversation was stale and greasy, too. Who were these people, anyhow? They were graying pot-bellied men and their wrinkling, desperately over-mascaraed wives. Certainly, they weren't anyone I had anything in common with any more... if I ever did.
From across the room, someone was waving at me. She looked vaguely familiar. By golly, it was an older version of Marianne. She showed the ravages of repeated attempts at dieting, with perhaps a botched attempt at a facelift or two thrown in. What the bloody hell could she want with me?
"Arnie! What a surprise to see you here. It's a shame we didn't spend more time together back in our wild and dissipated youth."
I couldn't for the life of me imagine what I had once seen in her. This was one beat-up broad, and she had liquor on her breath.
"Why, hello, Marianne. It's wonderful seeing you here. Seems like almost yesterday that I was walking the hollow -- whoops, sorry -- hallowed halls of Calvin Coolidge High. Your luminous smile was the only thing that kept me from slitting my throat."
"Oh, go on, Arn. I imagine you had other things to live for."
"Yes, but none half as enticing as you. And you haven't changed a bit. A man could do wild and dangerous things just for a fleeting taste of your sweet lips."
"You wonderful liar, you."
Damn right I was lying. Bullshitting my way into her good graces, and possibly even into her bed. But why was I bothering? I've had numerous girlfriends much better-looking than this... and probably better in the sack, too. Nostalgia? Revenge? Morbid curiosity. Yep, that was it.
She took me home, all right, and she had a king-size waterbed. I was lying next to her on that waterbed after our second go-round, making idle chatter and drifting off. All in all, I was musing, it wasn't a total waste of time. She was unskilled and pretty clumsy, but enthusiastic. That usually counts for something.
There was a knock on the door.
"Arnie, this is my husband, Roger."
"Uh, hello, Roger."
"I rather enjoyed your performance... Arnie, is it?"
"That's Mr. Rumplemyer to you, Roger. What did you use for your viewing pleasure, if I may ask? Hidden videocams maybe? I could get you a deal on those things. One of the companies I own manufactures a line of surveillance equipment."
"Now be nice to him, Arnie. Roger means well. He suffers from certain, shall we say, disabilities, and this is one of the few ways he can get any enjoyment out of sex."
.... There is more of this story ...