Her ass was very round. And nice. And I imagined it tasted like mocha. I only had two dollars in my wallet, though, and could not pay for any services — and even if I would've had the money I wouldn’t’ve because I had this fear about STDs. But all the same I did want to. The thoughts of viruses killing me brought me to some kind of sobriety even in that borderline blacked-out state, however, and won out.
I’d been stumbling around on a sidewalk after walking miles back to Adam’s shitty flophouse of a place from a bar. They left me there because I was drunk and didn’t want to leave.
There was a Jewish girl there who showed zero interest in me but for some reason the alcohol told me all things are possible. I was stuck to her the whole night and kept embarrassingly raving about the beauty of this "Jewess" to my curly-headed friend Aiden. I'd been reading Thomas Wolfe.
My dysfunctional then-sometimes-girlfriend was also there, watching the whole retarded scene unfold, and ended up slapping my face so hard I couldn’t hear anymore. The folks drinking on the patio laughed super loud when they saw that. Smack. Another hot flash of that singular, crystal deafness. That pure, blaring tone. My friends left, and I eventually did too, without a car. Asheville was a new city to me. I had been romanticizing it though — as I said, reading Thomas Wolfe — and thinking about running away at the time. Glad I didn’t. Bunch of hipsters who would most likely be intolerable now. Or as Mikey calls them, the cult of woke.
No address but a basic idea. After refusing a flask from another walker — a black man walking in slow strides down the street in massive JNCOs, appearing to hover towards me — falling down and slicing my hand bloody on a metal sign I grabbed for support, I finally got back to the city. Cars were honking their horns at me on the interstate. I probably shouldn’t have been walking there and am lucky I didn’t die. I also thought about my sister, then. She was not too far away at a college in East Tennessee. What if she saw me in this state? What if she was in one of these honking cars. I almost wanted that to happen, but then again, that kind of collision of worlds would be too much right now.
Back in the downtown area in the inky black darkness of some warehouses I fell down again, and was talking to myself, but this time there was an echo. A...sexy...echo.
It was garbled and unintelligible. Someone was calling to me. I headed into the pitch darkness towards the sound unafraid and not caring too much if it was a trap and I died. She wanted to know what I needed and she dragged me across the street and I thought I was getting mugged. “Do you like the ass? Grab the ass.” That was our introduction as I recall. She pulled my hand behind her and slapped it on her partially exposed bottom. Mmmm. Yes. That was very impressive.
When my friends asked what I did later, they were unimpressed. “You didn’t fuck her!? Nothing!?” There was no way to explain this to these idiots. But I also don’t think they were actually surprised. What happened was that I had just walked her home. Mikey’s words had popped into my head too, about sex workers and all that. So much of it — so much of the time — these women wouldn’t have ended up being hookers if they hadn’t had a shit life. But Mikey does get too goddamn preachy sometimes, too.
I waxed eloquent to the woman, with her thick, dark hair to her shoulders, about why did you become a prostitute and isn’t there some other way, while Juanita — that was her name — ignored my bullshit and shouted across the street to a homeless guy — I assumed he was homeless — shuffling around in garbage by himself in the gas station parking lot caddy-corner, about how she needed her DVDs back.
I asked if she was safe. She pulled back her blouse to reveal a switchblade knife tucked into her dark purple bra strap. Damn, her breasts were nice, too. She could have fucked me up for sure. I kissed her on the cheek while worrying that maybe I could get AIDS from her sweat, turned left, and lumbered on down the road like a moron. Chafing now and horny, I made it to my friend’s front porch. The ice-water-logged cushion on the wicker sofa was an evil mockery when I laid down on it, locked out of the house. I got there just before sunrise. I’d made it. I was a goddamn GPS. An accomplishment at least after all the fuck ups.
I’d meet Mikey at a college course held in the Smoky Mountains the same week. Part of the joint trip to Asheville with my friends, but they’d be dropping me off and heading back home to northwest Indiana. As for Juanita. I have no idea what happened to her. But she did have a nice ass. And I do hope she is okay.