“MAYBE YOU CAN JUST GET SO SMART THAT YOU don’t want to have sex anymore,” Tana says. She’s wearing a T-shirt and boxer shorts and is bent over into some kind of yoga pose. A class she’s taking at school. “Fortunately I’m not that smart,” I say. “Is it customary at Cornell to do yoga in your unmentionables?” “Nope. For the girls it’s mostly Lycra and thongs. Who can we ask who’s really smart?” I sit on her pink desk, studying a collage of handsome pop stars and teen idols that’s been tacked to her bulletin board for as long as I’ve known her. “While it’s true I’m no longer a college man, it’s been my experience that man developed brains to get more sex, not the other way around.” “I mean, Glenn is totally brilliant,” she says, breathlessly, although that might be part of the yoga. “He can’t be that brilliant if he doesn’t want to
have sex with you.” “Says you. His doctorate is on applied semiotics.” “Can’t say I’m too familiar with the subject. Now applied semen – otics…”
“You mock,” she says, stretching for her toes, “what you don’t understand.” “Welcome to the story of my life.” “You have to listen to him talk about it. I get so fucking hot just hearing who he’s reading.” She rises and walks toward me, mock-seductive. “Lacan… Derrida… Foucault.” I growl appreciatively and she reconsiders her approach. “So enough about my misery,” she says, folding her arms. “Who are you boinking these days?” “A mouth like a sailor, you.” “Come on, fess up. What about that waitress? The one with the silky blonde hair and the perky tatas?” “Heidi,” I say. A summer fling. We used to hook up after her late shift at Bennigan’s, when her silky blonde hair smelled tragically of stale beer and smoke and even her tatas were exhausted. “We hit a point.” “Let me guess…. She got tired of being a booty call?” “Excuse me for not wanting to jump back into a serious relationship.” Tana perks up considerably. “Let me see them again.” I pull down the collar of my shirt, exposing the dimeshaped scar – the one I can show her while keeping my pants on.
“Dag,” she says. “Bitch was mental.” “No argument here. But we had our moments.” Tana sighs melodramatically. “And now you’ll never fall in love again.” “On the contrary. I plan on falling in love many, many times.” “True love is just a joke?” “Jokes are funny. True love is not only bogus, it’s hazardous to your health.” “Get stabbed by one psycho…” “I’m serious,” I say. “Some chemicals in your brain trick you into thinking you’ve got feelings for someone. And that’s when the troubles begin. Let your guard down, and it’s like Lucy with the football.” “You’re supposed to be cheering me up.” “I thought that I was. Did you not catch the Peanuts reference?” “I think this new job is going to be good for you. At least you’ll meet some people you didn’t know in high school.” My new job began the morning after my interview. As directed by the Pontiff, I met Rico near the ticket counter at Port Authority. My audition. The work was, not surprisingly, illegal, but as far as I could tell, relatively low-risk, at least for me. The Pontiff had a system for pot delivery as innovative as it was audacious, allowing desirers of the devil’s lettuce to let their fingers do the walking whenever the need arose. An operator was standing by – Billy, the Sisyphus in a wife beater I’d seen at the apartment.