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August 7, 2010 Posted by | Photo | | Leave a comment

The Return of Jack Collier (Chapter Seven)

The Return of Jack Collier

A Jack Collier Story

By Brett N. Lashuay

 

 

Last week’s entry can be found here.

 

 

 

Chapter Seven: Rising Up Back on the Street

 

            Those first few days, I started with the treadmill, because that was the easiest thing to start on. Walking on a treadmill is boring, all physical therapy is boring, but just walking is worse. That is why Debbie put the treadmill in front of the shiny new TV she’d bought for my return.

 

            I did not exactly live the life of a hermit monk, but it was close. The only people I saw with any regularity were Debbie and Karen. Debbie came over almost everyday to see how I was doing and if I needed anything. She did my shopping and brought me healthy food to build a strong body.  Karen came by once a week for what we were calling talks.

 

            We were calling them talks because being a former and possibly future lover she couldn’t actually perform any kind of therapy. It would be unethical for her to psychoanalyze me, so we just sat around and talked while I tried to get stronger and stronger. Actually, we didn’t really enter into an area that would be unethical, because I decided part of this game was going to be self-denial. There was going to be no mid-level boning, no half-way mark celebratory blowjobs, nothing until I’d reached what I considered to be my top form. In fact, that caused a few sore points with Karen.

 

            “What? Nothing?” she asked when I informed her of the decision.

 

            “Yeah,” I told her. “Nothing.”

 

            “It’s not healthy,” she told me, sounding shocked. “You need the regular release or your goolies will burst or something. I read that in a book somewhere.”

 

            “Would that be a reprint of a Victorian porn novel?” I asked.

 

            “No, it was a medical book,” she said and because of my look she admitted the other half. “It was a reprint of a Victorian medical book, but it was medical.”

 

            “Were you looking for spurious justifications that masturbation was necessary for female health?” I asked her, folding my hands on my already strengthening knee.

 

            “Maybe,” she said, flushing to a sort of pale red. It wasn’t exactly pink, it was just that everything about her seemed to be sort of pale, except for those eyes of course. Those were a deep, vibrant and powerful color. “I mean it’s not like it’s discredited. We still have plenty of evidence that shows it.”

 

            “You were trying to convince Debbie to buy a dildo, weren’t you?” I asked as the light shown in my mind. “If it was something that had come along in the last ten years she’d just claim it was pop psych, but if you could find something from a hundred years ago you could tell her it was established.”

 

            “How do you do that?” she asked. “How is it you always get that right?”

 

            “It’s just observation,” I didn’t point out that while I might get it right when other people are talking about Debbie, when talking to her my record was almost nil.

 

“There are only so many people that make you react the way you did. Don’t you do roughly the same thing?”

 

            “Yeah, but I need notes and things,” she said.

 

            “I’ve known you two longer and more personally than you know your patients,” I told her, which might be true, but wasn’t all of it.

 

            “You know she still doesn’t think the three of us should be all together in one room yet,” she bounced her leg at the knee, which was crossed over her right foot, making me imagine some invisible gnome hitting her on the knee as a repetitive reflex test.

 

            “Yeah,” I nodded. “Why do you think that is?”

 

            “You want me to analyze my girlfriend to my ex-boyfriend?” she asked.

 

            “Am I ex?” I asked.

 

            “Until we make up our minds about what we’re going to be,” she said, “You still haven’t decided how you feel, remember?”

 

            “Yeah,” I nodded. “I think the problem is all the unfinished business I’ve got to attend to.”

 

            “Would that be business like the federal agent?” she asked.

 

            “Alice,” I said.

 

            “Alice,” she nodded.

 

            “I certainly haven’t given her the fair shake she deserves,” I explained.

 

            “Have you called her?” she asked.

 

            “I was told she came and visited me, but I was so stoned at the time I don’t remember,” I told her. “I wish I did, I’d like to know what I said.”

 

            “So why not call her?” she asked, running her fingers through the ends of her white blonde hair. “Find out what you said and see how she’s doing.”

 

            “Maybe,”

 

            “If you’re going to set things to right, you can’t avoid the issue,” she said, sounding less like a shrink and more like someone who could do me some good. “Stop running away and get to it.”

 

            “Maybe.” I looked down at the floor again, which is why I didn’t see the cell phone sailing at my head. I felt my phone though, as it cracked against my skull and landed on the couch next to me. “Ow!”

 

            “I’ll go out of the room, and you call her,” she bent down and kissed me. “If it lasts too long I’ll just go home and I’ll see you in a couple of days.”

 

            “Why don’t you just come over when Debbie’s here?” I asked. “You make it sound like it’s all her idea, but I can’t help but notice your impetuous nature doesn’t have you showing up all the sudden to be with us.”

 

            “Because being with you and her might be a step back for me,” she explained. “A poly relationship is more complicated the more people you put in. I can have a relationship with you, and I can have a relationship with her, but if we’re all together I would have to have both of those while also having a relationship with you and her and then dealing with the dynamic of our group relationship along with the individual relationships and then the dynamic of the relationship you have with her and I sort of need a little more time to sort that out.”

 

            “You mean you don’t think you could hold back the desire to fuck the both of us and you want me to be physically capable first?”

 

            “No,” she said. “I also have the dynamic of my relationship with Pete, my relationship with Angela and my relationship with Pete and Angela and how it relates to any relationship I have outside of that relationship. It’s a complicated relationship thing.”

 

            “Bullshit.” I said, looking at her with a tilted head look she always found a little intimidating. “You love her, you used to love me and may still do so. I love her, I love you. She loves you, she loves me. Simple.”

 

            “No,” she shook her head. “There is a lot more to it than that. I’m telling you, you almost need a flow chart.”

 

            “No,” I shook my head. “You can work it out in your head. You’re over thinking the issue, making the question more complicated than it needs to be.”

 

            “No Jack, this is something we both need to think about carefully.”

 

            “No Karen,” I said calmly. “The only questions that are left are how do we feel and what are we going to do about it.”

 

            “I don’t know,” she shook her head. “I don’t know how I feel about it.”

 

            “Okay,” I nodded. “Me neither. Don’t need a flowchart to tell us we don’t know anything. It wouldn’t help to graph this, because all we’d come up with is that we’re still hot for each other and we’re both hot for Debbie and we miss what we once had.”

 

            “You’re right about that though.” She looked down at her feet and then at me again. “I would want to get the two of you into bed if I saw you together. I could do it too. Neither of you are very good at resisting things you want if someone offers them and tells you it’s okay to take it. You might be good at not banging her while she’s trying not to bang you, but if I offered it up neither of you would be able to resist. I can resist you if you try to resist me, but the two of you together are just too much pretty for me. I wouldn’t be able to handle it.”

 

            “See?” I asked. “Simple.”

 

            “No,” she shook her head at me. “Not simple.”

 

            “Why not?”

 

            “Because how do I know that’s what I really want to do?” she asked, “How do I know that’s what is best for me? And what about Pete and Angela? And how do I know I won’t end up crying into Debbie’s shoulder again?”

 

            “How do we prevent the thing after her birthday?” I asked.

 

            “Yeah,” she nodded. “I’ve loved you for years, but I’ve barely seen you. I could keep loving you from a distance, it would mean I could walk away knowing everything is okay between us. Maybe you and I aren’t good for each other. We’re good together, but good for each other is something else.”

 

            “I didn’t say it wasn’t difficult, I said it wasn’t as complicated as you were making it. Angela and Pete will understand, so long as you’re happy,” I told her. “You talk to them, tell them what’s going on, and they’ll understand. They’re probably getting fed up with me right now, and given my history that’s understandable, but eventually they’ll understand.”

 

            “How do you know they’ll understand?” She asked.

 

            “If they didn’t understand you’re little foibles,” I told her. “you wouldn’t still be with them. Besides, they know Debbie and they like Debbie.”

 

            “How…” she started, but I walked over her sentence again.

 

            “If they didn’t at least get along with her, you wouldn’t be with them or you’d have stopped seeing her,” I said and shrugged. “Simple.”

 

            “You know how long I’ve been in love with you?” she asked, laughing a little.

 

            “When Becky first brought you to the East Center during lunch that one time,” I said.

 

            “She didn’t bring me,” she said. “I was just in tow.”

 

            “Was that it?” I asked. “Was it love at first sight?”

 

            “No,” she shook her head. “That time that Oliver left me at the Palace after that concert and the only person I could think of was you.”

 

            “When I picked you up?”

 

            “Yeah,” she nodded and I thought tears were coming. “You know, that was the first time anyone had ever gone out of their way to help me, and you never even asked why he left me there. You never questioned me, you didn’t make me feel bad, you just came and got me and asked if I was alright and bought me some McDonalds and took me home.”

 

            “I remember,” I said. “But I didn’t really need to ask anything, you told me the whole thing when I got there.”

 

            “But you didn’t interrogate me, you didn’t make me feel stupid about it. You just came and helped me and didn’t talk about it to anyone. I felt like you’d saved me, and you never tried to do anything. It was like having a knight in white armor ride up on a charger. I just completely fell in love with you that night.”

 

            “Was that the right reason to fall in love with someone?” I asked.

 

            “I don’t know,” she shook her head. “But I did, and even when I was mad at you, I was still in love with you, because you were a hero to me.”

 

            “I’m not sure if I’m really the hero everyone thinks I am. I think people keep building a myth in their heads and making me out to be more than I am.”

 

            “You’re my hero,” she smiled.

 

            “What about Pete…or Angela I suppose,” I said after a moment’s thought. “Don’t want to be sexist.”

 

            “They’re good, they love me, but you’re my hero.” She looked at her watch. “I probably should get home anyway. It’s going to be a long drive. Besides, you need call the federal agent girl. I’ll see you in a couple of days.”

 

            “Okay,” I said as I dialed. The door closed behind her as I heard the line pick up and Alice’s melodious voice came over the line.

 

August 7, 2010 Posted by | Fiction, Jack | | Leave a comment