Wendy sits in front of me. We are silent and one side of her face shines with spit. I’d licked her cheek and left a blob of saliva on her skin just like she did to me the first time we made love. She has a thing for sexual spitting.
The evening from about ten years ago rears in my mind.
We’d started off in an expensive hotel, with two old, puffy rock stars singing their hits: fabulous stuff. She started making out with a Filipino dancer who was in LA getting ready for a Cher tour and they pulled me into a cab which eventually turned into a different hotel room. I was about to get laid by two women and then Wendy put a ball of spit on her index finger and started rubbing it on my closed eyelids and moaning. More spit came and dribbled into the corners of my eyes, blurring my vision. My eyeballs began to burn. I decided the sensation was coming from the shrimp hot sauce we’d eaten at the rock star party. It was full of jalapeños and horseradish. A blowjob might be problematic or interesting, it depended, but what I did know was that glomming spit on my eyes was a turnoff. While she was lubricating my eyeballs, the Filipino girl passed out, so I was stuck. Our love making was similar to a couple of mechanics working on a blown engine, but slowly I started moving around and after we finished we rolled over and went to sleep. Thus began the rain days of our relationship.
“So, believe it or not, I’ve missed you, even though you are a complete bastard.”
“How could that be?” I asked as I handed her a paper napkin to dry her cheek.
“Well, we fit together and I guess I need that, the way we couple. Call me old fashion. There’s no room between us and I like the way you slide across my body. You remind me of those sheets from the Four Seasons. Remember those?”
I nod and close my eyes as if I’m recalling the thread count.
“Anyway, I use you to make my boyfriend jealous. He’s an actor.”
Wendy is a good-looking woman of about 40-years of age or at least I’m guessing she’s about 40. I have no way of knowing for sure, since she guards her birthday like Nazi gold vaulted away in some Argentinian bank. No one will ever find out the date and if they do, everyone, including Wendy, will have to die. She couldn’t live with the public humiliation, those kinds of negative variables: presents, cards, phone calls, best wishes, etc. She’s spilled her guts to me about all sorts of things, but never that one. She’s probably driven it so deep into her psyche that it’s lost forever, the equivalent of Uncle Freddie touching her breast that time down by the river.
Her face is perfectly proportioned. Plastic surgeons call this the Golden Ratio which is a number: 1.68. For Wendy that means the face is 1 ½ times longer than it is wide. Finer points call for taking measurements from the hairline to the bridge of the nose and then a couple of calculations from the eyes to the nose and then down to the chin. Once you compute it all together, and if you are perfect, you get the Golden Ratio of 1.68. Wendy’s face is 1.7 which she says is within the margin of error since all measurement has some human mistakes. She often points out that my dick is really not 8 inches, since I measured it by pushing the ruler too far down into the scrotum flesh directly in front of the shaft. “It’s way less than 8,” she enjoys saying.
I’d often thought about applying the Golden Ratio to my penis. At 8 inches, fully engorged with blood, the Golden Ratio demands a shaft width of about 5.4 inches. With those perfect dimensions, I’d be restricted to having sex with watermelons and cows. The cows would doubtless complain in that cow sort of way that can be so irritating in the pasture.
“Tell me about your friend,” she blurts. “You know the one who killed those guys. What was his name?”
“Louis,” I say, “and it was only one guy. He hurt another one, but didn’t kill him.”
On one of our calls, I had mentioned a home invasion in passing. They happen with some regularity in Mazatlán and with time they get lost in the blur: call it Mexican habituation. Louis had fended off three street level gang members as they came through his compound door. They carried knives and guns, but unfortunately for them, Louis had a pair of pruning shears and a short-handled pickaxe. He was doing some gardening when they rushed inside and the first one through the door yelled, “I’m gonna cut your throat.”
That was a poor characterization of what unfolded. Had he not made the threat, been more polite, maybe my friend would not have driven the pointed shaft of the pickaxe into the top of the man’s head. The sound, which was similar to a thick wire snapping under stress, stopped everyone. The little group at the door stood there for a few seconds and wondered where the blood was and then the man with the pickaxe in his head fell to his knees.
Louis swung with the sharp end of the pruning shears into the face of the second man and the shears went through his cheek and into his mouth, knocking out a few teeth. Louis kept stabbing the side of his face in rapid succession. The third guy, with only one leg through the door, turned and ran, horror chasing him down the alley. The man with the pickaxe in his head was frozen on his knees. The pick of the axe had created a perfect seal in the skull and it was as if the entire combination of skull and pick formed a still life for a window display. Louis continued to stab the second man with the shears until he dropped his gun and also ran away.
Louis looked down at the man with the axe in his head. He grabbed the axe handle and struggled to get the pick out of the man’s head. It was in tight, but once Louis pulled it out the blood spurted in a long curving stream like a garden hose on a hot summer’s day. The man fell backwards. Louis looked at him and thought he was going to bleed out quickly; instead the man reached into his pocket and pulled a gun. Without hesitation, Louis crushed the appropriately named head blade of the pickaxe into the bridge of the man’s nose thereby splitting the head wide open just above the eyes. Brains and blood flew everywhere.
I know that somewhere in this mental retelling of the tale is the Golden Ratio, but I decide not to go into the details with Wendy.
“You don’t want to hear about it,” I say. “It was a bloody mess and my friend is fine and the truth is he has already moved on.”
“How could that be? I mean he killed a man, like what, five days ago?”
“Yes, I know, but he’s an unusual person and maybe someday I’ll introduce him to you, but for now let’s get out of here. I want to take you to the Hotel Belmar for a swim. We can eat lunch, talk about the book and how much you hate it.”
“What’s the pool like?”
“Oh, it’s big and beautiful. You’re going to love it.” We stand and smile at each other and then I say, “Invigorating…yes, that’s the only word.” On the way out I give Tania money to cover the bill, a goodbye, and see you later. Wendy and I cut a path through the Canadians and make our way down the street. We turn onto the Malecon and in the distance the Hotel Belmar rises up to greet us in all its horrific perfection. The hotel pool waits in the garden with a lifetime of bubbling, infectious bacteria. I hope someone will be swimming when we get there. I put my hand on the back of Wendy’s neck and guide her toward our next fun destination.
(Chapter 17 of Living and Dying with Dogs: Turbo Edition)