|Confessions of a Fuck-Up Artist
||[Oct. 12th, 2016|12:43 am]
Night swim at the Y after a fuck you of a day.
It started with me running late for work and cramming myself into an AM Uber to the office. The ride's going smooth enough, traffic thick but manageable, and it looks like I'm gonna make it on time despite oversleeping. But then my driver gets this call (ringtone *unidentified animal screaming hysterically*). In the course of what turns out to be an increasingly heated conversation my driver starts clocking kamikaze velocities up 285. I can't make out what he's saying as I'm too busy contemplating the collisions and jackknifed trucks in our wake. He barks what sounds to be Klingon into the phone and then throws it out the window. He drives steadily onward for a moment of awkward silence then grabs another phone from the glove box (where a pistol's rubber-gripped handle sits visibly between folded maps and fast food napkins). He texts a quick message one handed while informing me that we'll be making a quick detour. Before I can protest or plead for my life he zips into the emergency lane cranking up the volume on some teenage pop diva anthem.
Fifteen minutes later, right, and I'm at the parking lot of this shithole apartment complex with a backseat view of my driver bouncing I don't want to know who's head off the front window. It's mesmerizing really. The face hammers into a squished scream, gets peeled back, and thrown back into the impressively shatter proof glass. The process repeats itself numerous times until two gold teeth break off that squished scream. Only then does my driver hit the brakes on pulling a Gallagher with this guy's skull. He scoops up the gold teeth, gives them an appreciative weigh of the palms, pockets them, and bag of trash tosses this poor asshole to the curb.
With the demands of whatever unknown vendetta that drove us here now met, my driver hops back into the car as if he just came back from getting a pack of cigarettes. Offering no explanation for what just transpired he peels out of the parking lot. After a second stop at a nearby QuickTrip where my driver refueled himself with some sort of shake I didn't arrive at, so much as was flung into, the curb of the office some forty minutes later than expected only to crash land into a 1st class ass-chewing from the boss.
Though lacking the dire immediacy of my morning commute the day from there piled up into one big shit sandwich minus the bread, mayo, and chips.
But none of that matters now. It's eight hours after the fact and my mood's enhanced by an after work joint smoked through Oakland Cemetery before catching the #21 down Memorial to melt into an evening swim.
Step out of the men's locker after a shower and the Y's pool area always reminds me of the Nav. Maybe because it's about the size of a small hangar, one big enough to land a Seahawk in with space for a refueling team to greet it. Maybe it's the walls painted Spartan gray and diplomatic blue - the opposite colors employed by the fast food joints that makes coming here necessary. Maybe it's the cold efficiency of the whole layout. Check it out. There's a steam room where you can sweat your balls off with mute silhouettes. Then you got this sauna of bubbling human soup to boil the stress out of your muscles in. It's got one of those rooms lit with a red bulb, where it's hot but not steam room hot, but packed shoulder-to-shoulder with old men with nothing on except gold chains and towels if you're lucky. The main attraction however is the vast pool, with four competition long lap lanes with two side pools attached - a shallow one for the kids to splash around in and another for water aerobics - each separated by a jutting extension of the royal blue checker tiled deck. Crisscrossing the lanes from above dangle yellow and blue pennants. Above them khaki painted steel girders where mushroom shaped cameras spider crouch watching. On the other side of the pool from where you exit the shower rooms is a triptych of floor to ceiling high windows. Through them the last muddied violets and burnt oranges of the dusk sink beneath the shadowy pines under which flow the black waters of a creek along kudzu shores.
With back to this view slouched in a white lifeguard chair, a young man taps away at his phone.
Outside of the lifeguard and myself the only other people in the pool area is Thursday night meeting of the Aqua-Fu Clan over at the aerobics pool. There's five of them, each heavily tattooed, each in their third trimester, and each performing a series of synchronized martial-arts moves. All of them wear black swimsuits save their leader in the front who wears an immaculate white one piece. There's a deadly elegance in their Aqua-Fu, as if they're each ballroom dancing with an invisible partner that they occasionally punch in the throat. Flashes of the squished face against the windshield pop from memory across the eyes.
Gold teeth snap out of the gums and roll down the window before the wipers catch them.
Choke the shudder, shake off the wince, be here now.
Tunnel the focus into the lane, exhale the damage, pinch the absence of breath with gut, hold it until it can't be held no more, and spring off the deck inhaling deeply. In giddy punk-rock defiance of the no-diving sign ("I'm not gonna let the Man tell me how to swim, man!"), I slice into cold water to torpedo fire as far up the lane as these smoker's lungs will carry me. From there I burst out of the water to swim as if trying to catch a boat I've fallen off of. When I get to other end of the lap I kick off and freestyle it hard to the other end. Sure I pack a lot of fat around the muscle, but so does an Orca, and it's one of the last things you want to fuck within the water. I dive back under - run silent, run deep.
Remember the folks taking me to see that movie when I was a kid. Orca - the Killer Whale. It was love at first sight when I saw the movie's poster. It was on the back of all the Marvel comics this one month. It featured this Gaiju sized panda-whale bursting from dark waters with a whaleboat shattered against its back into a spray of flotsam. One of the whalers, cast into the air after the panda-whale's strike, had a harpoon raised ready to thrust cold iron with dying breath at the white Yang of an eye against the beasts Yin black hood. In the horizon of this carnage is a seaside town flame consumed with smoke trailing off the destroyed docks. But through it all the Panda Whale's got its jaws open as if in the middle of saying - "You see what you get, land monkeys? You see what you get when you allow man's hubris to awaken the primordial rage of the sleeping depths? You get mother-fucking death by Orca bitches!"
Well that was that. I, along with every other kid in my class, just had to see Orca the Killer Whale or be shunned as one of those not-in-the-know. The begging of the parental units went into overdrive from the moment I got home from school after it being all any of my friends could talk about. Mildly curious themselves and my having managed to stay off the Shit List for a full week straight got me at the premiere opening night in a rough neighborhood in Brooklyn where dad could smoke a joint in the theater with impunity. I bounced and squirmed through the ticket line, the concession stand, and the trailers. Then there was the Paramount mountain logo against the screen and then... nothing. To this day I have no memory of what happened in that film except some dude was talking a lot and after a few minutes of this instead of world destruction by Panda-Whale. I passed the hell on out. The folk's woke me for some scene of a whale jumping out of the water in front of some flames or some shit but it was too late... I fell back asleep immediately.
I come up with a gasp and hurl myself backwards Free Willie style gulping in another lungful of air before lunging back underwater. The chlorine's fresh and stings the eyes so I swim with eyes shut, doing spirals as I simulate angel aerial combat through the aerial killing fields of Milton's Paradise Lost. I can feel the oxygen reserves burning quick but I pull back the reins on the instinct to come up for air. I sweep my arms and propel myself with a kick grinding through the underwater burn blind to see how far, how long this old man's body can go.
Survey says... not long at all.
Visions of planes diving with wings ablaze as the bullet riddled canopy fires off and with a muffled explosion the pilot ejects from the cock pit up, up, and..
... the surface of the waters bursts as I launch out of their depth like a trident missile only to instantly collide into what with my eyes still closed assumed was a screaming beach ball.
Springing back to my feet and adjusting to reality it hits me that I've veered off course from the lanes to surface in the Aqua-Fu Clan's dreaded Hydro-Dojo. Oh and also that I've just now head-butted their Sifu in the gut apparently.
Don't let the weight of their pregnancy fool you. Don't let the prohibitive drag of the water lull you into complacency either. For in the time it takes me to stuff as many apologies into a breath as humanly possible they already had me circled. Mama Sifu stands facing me with hands patting down the curve of her belly as if inspecting it for any cracks. She's got chestnut hair pulled into a pony tail, black rimmed goggles from which magnified eyes blink in disbelief, and across her chest a tattoo of a skeleton in a polka dot dress and bow who sits on top of an hour glass from which splay fiery wings. I look closer at the skull and see it has a gold tooth that seems to sparkle off the water dripping down Mama Sifu's skin. I'm so transfixed on the tattoo that by the time I register that the rest of the Clan are moon-hopping in on me two of them have already seized me grabbing a wrist apiece.
Alright, playtime's over I figure, and while I am loathe to use my caveman's physique on a pregnant lady or two, I raise up my arms to give a Herculean flex in order to break free. I grunt, I growl, free weight enhanced biceps and pecs and triceps strain until finally... I give up. The students of Aqua-Fu are imbued with an Amazonian strength beyond my own.
Switch to Plan B. I beg, threat, cajole for them to let go of me already only to get dead eye fish stares from them for my efforts. So I start hollering at the teen lifeguard but the kid just sits there in his special chair phone focused the whole time. Finally, though I've often been too proud to ponder doing so before, I turn to a higher power - shouting towards the ceiling-cameras to save me. From above the cameras swivel and turn to point in every direction of the pool area where I and the hostile Aqua-Fu Amazon Moms are occupying.
Mama Sifu gives a little near zero gravity hop and lands gracefully in what I can't help but notice is the optimal distance for working over a guy who's got his arms Amazon locked.
I stop screaming and catching my breath accept the situation with a sad shake of the head.
"What are you?," Mama Sifu asks with monotone authority.
"Sorry," I answer truthfully and get a slap from one of the Aqua-Fu cadets standing beside their master.
"What are you?," Mama Sifu repeats the question with no affectation of any emotion or region.
"I am totally 100% repentant as fuck over here and I apologize sincerely for any impertinence..."
Another slap from the other student not binding my arms.
"What are you?," Mama Sifu repeats as if asking for the first time.
"Someone who picked the wrong pool that's for sure..."
Slaps four and five arrive one right after another from Bad Cop - Worse Cop.
"What are you?"
"A writer, a lover, a son, a sailor, who's worked from fleet to office, street to stage while having seen more shit go down than all of you and those you carry will ever know."
The next slap comes backhanded from Mama Sifu personally, it hits hard enough to fire a black flash bulb across the eyes and leave what feels like one bitch of a bruise rising out of the numb.
"What are you?"
There's a moment when an ordinary dream of recycled memories and locally filtered archetypes is about to shift into a full-on nightmare. You discover an apprehension dripping somewhere in the back of your head. You strain your ear but can't find the source of it anywhere. The longer you listen the faster and louder drip. Frantic it is only too late that you realize the sound you hear is your own heart racing in terror at what the mind hasn't comprehended yet. My being awake makes this nightmare no different save that it is one from which there shall be no rousing. If I'm going to get out of here I better...
The next smack comes with iron fingers that whip into the ear and floods it with a tinnitus drone.
Swaying to the telegraphic beat set by the pain instinct kicks in and I buckle at the knees in my captors grip plunging under the chest high waters. As they readjust their balance for the 240 pounds of man-orca that just went dead in their arms, I spring out of the collapse far enough to head butt Mama Sifu right in the nose. In the resulting shock I manage to pump enough adrenalin to shake one of the Amazon gripping my right arm to splash a wave into the two who were working me over's faces, and grab the wrist of one of the remaining hands binding me. I peel it off and clear to submerge again to run silent, run deep my ass to safety.
I throw my arms up for the dive when the woman who had my right moon-hops in front of me, her lovely snarl inches from my gasp, and she delivers a point-blank karate punch to the sternum.
You wouldn't think 240 pounds of man-orca could fly backwards but my entire backside slapping hard water would prove otherwise. The airs knocked out of me. Can't think. Just glugging as much air as fast as possible my wrists are grabbed again and I'm forced thrust upward back on to my feet.
It's the two women who were slapping me around that have my wrists and the two that had me bound that flank Mama Sifu who eyes me fierce while wiping the blood from her nose.
Huffing like I was chain-smoking through a climb up Stone Mountain the laughter comes. Not like the laughter of jokes. Not like the laughter of good times. Not even the liberating and haunted laughter of true madness. No this is the laughter that follows the orgasm that kept the blade from the vein plunged in a toilet ready to flush.
"That's what I am," I answer Mama Sifu between the giggles and tears.
My captors give a twist of my arms in directions not meant to be reached by the non triple jointed and the other two students wind up wooden plank shattering knuckles until Mama Sifu raises a finger. The ladies relinquish their Aqua-Fu Grips and Brick-Busting punches.
"Yes," Mama Sifu says raising her arms outwards as if receiving benediction from the watching spiders above, "that is exactly what you are. A beast at an altar beyond its understanding, barking hollow threats at those that dwell above from the invisible food-chain."
Bounded shrug, small shake of head, and what else is there to say except - "I don't get it."
"It is not for the beast to understand... to beg and to bleed is all that's left to know."
"You're fuckin' crazy, lady, you know that right?" I brace up for a kick to her gut and freeze up when reckoning the baby she's carrying. Some things are bigger than instinct and must be surrendered to unless another breath is bought at the cost of that which can never be regained.
"Living in mute terror, living in hidden anger, living in the past as the flesh fattens and stumbles into the dwindling years... this horror makes of bedlam a paradise and from its clutches we will see you liberated."
These words trigger a signal in her flanking adepts and simultaneously they both grab a fistful of her immaculate white one piece and tear it away from her body with impossible ease. They discard the tattered swimsuit so that it floats there between us, a second shed from something that's risen from the depths of waters clearly marked - "Here there be monsters".
Whatever the hell it is I was gonna say at this point has evaporated in my throat into a gasp.
Mama Sifu takes one of those walking on the moon steps towards me, her torso bobs out of the surface and I can see two Eye of Horus's have been tattooed around the nipples of heavy breasts before they submerge again leaving me staring at the little skeleton girl sitting on the winged hourglass. She's up close, I can feel the tautness of her belly press against my own. Her mole-women goggles swollen with a stare of alien intention and from her busted up nose blood trickles around a rapturous smile, drip down the chin, and splatter on the skull of the little skeleton girl.
A hand rises out and reaches out to brush an unshaven cheek before wrapping fingers around the back of my head. She then rises up on her toes while pulling me down into a kiss that I cannot even pretend to resist.
It's been weeks since I've been kissed but I melt into it as if it's been years. For a part of me knows on a strictly cellular level that I'm not just kissing one woman but all the wo/men I've ever kissed and should've kissed and never kissed except in grunted visions of wish. In this kiss one hand holds me by the back of the head and the other serpent slips beneath the band of my navy blue swim trunks. Beneath a touch well beyond the clumsy grope I administer to sleep instead of scream on the Internet all night what was shriveled with fear hardens in resolve to spit in the laugh of death.
She pulls away from the kiss and smiles - I notice for the first time the silver tooth. The hand behind my head slides down grab me by the jaw as if about to Alas herself of some Poor Yorick or another. She locks my eyes on her magnified gaze. With a lick of my lip I taste her blood as a velvet firm grip piston slides with a languor as sweet as it is agonizing. Then the disciples join on. The student binding me on the right begins kissing along my shoulder and the one on the left sinks baby vampire bites into the neck. Meanwhile the two flanking Mama Sifu do the same - with the one on her right not just kissing but reaching beneath the water to delicately work fingers along her mistress's sex even as the one stationed on her sinister side pinched a nipple between black fingernails. Had I been flogging this horse myself it would've been dead on contact but she knows how to coax and repel the Kundalini. Under the caress of her student I can see the first micro-tremors heralding a grander oblivion and within her grip I'm allowed only to approach as far as she allows. I'm silent, savoring the small splashes of water around us, the sound of suckling bites, the undulating groans rising to echo around the pool, faster the strokes along my cock as I'm driven beyond the need to breathe, and there's a little fireball building up inside a pocket sized dragon that strains at the shackles of its caves ready to roar and there's a twist of excruciating delight contorting around her face that ruptures into the roar of those predatory goddesses waiting outside the campfire glow.
I glance down to catch a glimpse of the little girl skeleton tattoo which now seems to have a cello tucked between her on the hourglass and completely animated plays a song only I can hear.
It's too much and no amount of tantric prestidigitation can stop what needs to come so the first spurt of dragon-fire erupts...
... just as she releases her grip from around my cock and uses her other hand to dunk my head under water.
I flail with orgasmic sputters and fighting back the urge to gulp as I burnt up all my oxygen as she burnt me out of orbit into climax. I feel the others join in and press down against my shoulder as I struggle to break back into the air. Fear, panic, and as I glug back a lungful of pool consciousness dwindles to an ember until the panic-pain recedes around the darkness and as the last drops of cum fire all I can see is a spark.
A golden spark hovering out there where no light should reach and as it approaches me (or perhaps as I float towards it) so that as it grows closer I can see now that it's one of the gold teeth slammed out of that dude. Around the tooth the world radiates back into existence as throbbing blurs of gray and blue and shadow black sharpen. Focus. The gold tooth is dangling from a gold chain wrapped around the hairy stump of a neck from which my Uber driver this morning is staring back down at me soaking wet yet with his sunglasses still on somehow. I'm supine on cold tiles at the edge of the pool and my driver, donned in only a speedo and jewelry, is straddled over me delivering a steady series of slaps to the chops to stir me fully awake. I go to breathe but end up coughing up chlorinated pool water and phlegm. When I finally do start inhaling oxygen again I realize that my savior isn't getting off me.
"What happened?" I ask glancing over to the see the pool is completely empty while the lifeguard remains slouched in his chair tapping obliviously on his mobile device.
"You're alive," my driver answers with an accent cinematically appropriate, "that's what happened. What else is there to know of the past save that is over and not everyone made it? What's next though? That's the question you need to ask yourself. Do you lose the grudge, the extra pounds, the pack a day and an ounce a month habit and start taking responsibility for your blessings as well as for your failures? "
Maybe because he saved my life, maybe because I'm in shock, but instead of saying nothing or thanking him or vowing a better man I answer - "Probably not, no."
At this my driver nods with bemused dignity giving an avuncular pat of the cheek - "Then in that case maybe stop beating yourself up about it so much, huh?"
With that he rises off of me, adjusts his speedo, turns around, and without looking back exits the pool area.
I continue to lay there staring up at the drop ceiling beyond the beige rafters camera mounted with remote eyes staring down at me. A long silence then with a shriek of the whistle the lifeguard announces the pool is now closed.