Because I Knew I Shouldn’t

Carol was a loser, my favorite kind of loser. She never had enough money in her pockets to pay for her share of an adventure and that was annoying, but all the other ways she failed were magnificent. It was impossible for me not to love her.

She lost every job she ever got but the way it went down, the job always lost her. She’d get bored and stop showing up at some point, usually within the first six months. She could always find another one. People loved to hire her. She walked in looking like she didn’t give a shit. She had this way of making people want her to think they were cool. People are naturally drawn to someone who has a good look and an easy way about them. And if that person seems bored and unimpressed with you, like Carol inevitably did, most people tend to flap around and pull out every trick in the book. What’s funny is that I don’t think she even noticed. That was the joke. She didn’t care. She really didn’t give a shit.

But like I said, she was a loser. That’s how I thought of her even though I was fascinated just like all the rest. She wasn’t bored by any one person or party or conversation. She was bored by it all. Being alive bored her. Life was a drag. I always got the feeling that if she only had to live for three of four months she’d be pretty happy. But anything beyond a few months was intolerable. I kind of understood. I kind of wished I felt too good for all this shit, too.

Everyone thought her name was Carl. She spoke so slowly and with such a strange drawl. She didn’t sound southern, but it was definitely what you’d call a drawl. Imagine someone talking to you real slow, slow enough that you’re wondering if there’s maybe a head injury involved or a minor stroke. Now imagine they’ve half swallowed their tongue. That’s how Carol/Carl spoke. People who met her wondered where she was from with that accent of hers but it wasn’t an accent. There was a rumor in the late 90s that she was raised alone by her Mom somewhere deep inside rural Georgia on a commune. No. She was from Cincinnati. She just talked slow & lazy.

I’ll call her Carl since everybody always did and she, of course, never gave enough of a shit to correct them.

Carl almost never wore the same clothes more than once or twice. She picked through the clothes being sold by kids on the sidewalk. Her clothes never fit right. Mostly, they were too tight. Her legs too long for her pants, leaving her ankles exposed. I don’t think she ever wore socks. She wore large t-shirts that hung off her bony shoulders. Her hair was always a wreck, hacked off at odd angles over her ears. The latest pair of sunglasses she picked up were already twisted and bent, leaving one eye exposed over the top. She looked nuts. And hot. And just the right amount of crazy that everybody wants to fuck.

I never fucked her. I wanted to, but it just never seemed like the right time. Or maybe I knew how I wouldn’t be so into her anymore if we actually fucked. Somehow, it never happened. Instead, I watched Carl fuck everyone else. A lot of girls. Almost nightly. Carl got around. I followed.

I paid for the cabs. I bought the first round. I watched the girls single her out, cut off her supply lines to other options, rope her in. The joke was on them. She didn’t care. She was easy. Come by, say hello, dance a little, show her your ass or maybe just your collar bone. Kiss her before you ask her to fuck. It’s easy. Let’s go. Don’t mind me, I’ll tip the driver and make sure you get up the stairs okay. I’ve got the keys. Here we are.

Seventh floor walk up. “You need to keep quiet. The lady next door sings opera and will bang on the walls if we’re too loud after midnight. There’s no sink in the bathroom, use the one by the oven. I’ll sit over here, right here, by the window.” Carl was on the bed by then. Carl, sitting with her knees wide, looking confused. The girl, any girl, every girl, I don’t know their names, the girl would stand there for a minute. What should she do? Carl didn’t know. Carl wouldn’t say. “Get on your knees,” I’d offer. Me, in the corner, I can tell you what to do. “Feel her through her jeans.”

Something different each time. “Drop to your knees.” “Rub her through her pants.” “Bite her thighs.” “Grab her face and kiss her.”

I took my time. Their clothes came off slow, the belt before the jeans. Each button had its own moment. “Let’s not rush things. Push her back onto the bed. Reach under her shirt – just your finger tips. Go slow. Slower. Even slower,” Carl would shiver, “Yes, like that,” I’d say.

I sat with my feet hooked on the rung of the chair, my knees up high. I sat and lifted the window that looked over the fire escape to let some cool air in. I watched them with the streetlight shining through the window, casting a yellow light. “I want to see your tongue behind her ear.”

Carl laid there. Carl waited but didn’t expect. Carl was always surprised by it all, unclear what was happening or why. Carl’s hands in the air, hovering, never sure where to land. I watched the girl undo each button. I watched the girl lift the tank-top over Carl’s barely budding chest. I watched the girl tug at Carl’s jeans. I watched the girl lick Carl’s belly. I stood up.

Sometimes, when it seemed necessary, I walked over and moved the girl. I grabbed her head and moved it where I wanted it to be. I pulled her down to her knees. I grabbed her hands and helped her push Carl’s knees wide, wider. “Yes, like this,” I’d breathe into her hair. These girls, every one, smelled like soap. Freshly scrubbed for the night. Wanting to get lucky. Squeaky clean. They wound up here, with Carl and me, in this dirty little apartment. Not getting fucked, no, but fucking. Fucking this woman. Feeling something new. Peeling back the layers. Touching the woman they wanted from the bar. Exposing, button by button, her flesh. Here was Carl. Exotic, bored, filthy Carl. This was something new. They would leave us changed. Or at least, I convinced myself that they would.

I had them suck on Carl’s clit through her little boy’s underwear. I had them flick their tongues on her tiny, hard nipples. I had them spit on a finger and stick it up her ass. I had them open their thighs and jerk off in her face. Sometimes I stood behind and held them against my chest with my arm wrapped around their shoulders. Sometimes I told them that Carl liked to watch. Sometimes I stared down at Carl’s mesmerized expression and let the spit drip off my lips.

This girl, the one I’m thinking of now, I held her tight against me. She was in costume. Catholic school girl. Halloween. Carl and I were cowboys with painted on mustaches and plaid shirts. Carl was still in her boots. I was in my socks. Carl was flat on her back on the bed with her knees hanging over the edge. I stood with her knees between mine. The girl was in front of me, bent over. I had her thighs in my hands, my fingers just hidden under her skirt. I wanted my fat dick in her pussy. I wanted someone’s sloppy drunk fingers in her mouth. She bent over Carl and kissed her like a girlfriend. Loud kisses. Sucking smacks. I dug my fingers deeper into her thighs. I saw Carl’s hands move.

Carl looked at me and I froze. This never happened. Carl didn’t pay attention. I don’t know if Carl had ever really noticed that I was there before. I didn’t know what to do. Our eyes locked. I heard the girl gasp and it wasn’t until then that I realized Carl had her fingers inside her. Carl was doing something other than just lie there. I didn’t know what to think about that.

I felt them fucking. I felt her ass move, pushing her cunt against Carl’s probing fingers, pulling them deeper inside her. I lifted her skirt. I saw her panties pulled to the side. I saw Carl’s fingers slicked and twisting in and out of the girl’s hole and I tried to remember her name. Was it Jane? I’d never met anyone named Jane, such a simple name, and yet, I think that was her name. Jane. Or not Jane. I don’t know. I would never see her again.

Carl fucked Jane/not Jane that night. Fingers inside her. Staring into my eyes. I held the girl in place. I slid my hands over her hips. I helped her rock back and forth. I humped the air behind her ass, nearly coming from pure desire as I watched her grind against Carl’s fingers. Carl started laughing through those last moments. The girl moaning. My teeth grinding. Carl laughed loud, sounding like a donkey. I felt the girl start to wander and I spat my words out to distract her from Carl, the idiot, the loser, fucking Carl, laughing like a god damned donkey.

I told this girl to come. I told her how fucking dirty I knew she was. I told her she was crazy to trust us. To follow us home to this filthy place. To let me hold her like this, not even seeing my face. I told her how hard she made me. I told her I would come with her. I told her to shut up. To take it. To forget about Carl. I told her to come get it. “You’re not here for Carl,” I told her, “You think you want that but you just want to get fucked by anybody.” I told her she was a dirty little cunt who jerked off in her apartment alone by the radiator, staring out the window. I told her how the guys she meets every day grab their dicks later and think about her sweet little mouth on their cocks. I told her how easy it is to see it in her. I told her how I knew the moment she walked over to us in that bar. She came as I talked. Her face was wet.

I bent over and pressed her body against Carl and jerked off against her ass before letting her up to go to the bathroom. “There’s no sink in there,” I shouted, reminding her. She didn’t answer.

I walked her home. I walked them all home. Jane (or not Jane) lived a half hour walk away. I enjoyed the cold night. Some of the girls asked me about Carl. A few asked about Carl and me. This one didn’t say a thing. This one seemed to know. I walked her to her building and all the way up to her door. She let me press myself against her back as she unlocked the deadbolt. She let me squeeze her tight against me, my face pressed between her shoulder blades, before she pulled away and through the door into her apartment. “Good night,” I whispered hoarsely.

I heard her latch the chain on the other side of the door. I stared at the doorknob. “Goodnight,” I heard her whisper on the other side. It was a first. I pressed my hand against the door. I was sure she was there. I couldn’t remember her face completely. I couldn’t remember what she looked like. Just the plaid skirt and the white socks. How her back looked. The hairs on the back of her neck. The soft fuzz I felt on her thighs. How I heard her cry at the end.

I sat on the steps outside her apartment until I started to nod off. I needed to get home safe. It was time to go. I walked the thirty minutes home, past piles of garbage, wanting to stay out, wanting to go back and ask her something. Was her name really Jane or did I imagine it? What did her eyebrows look like? Could I see her again?

I bought a cup of coffee on the way home, holding it in my fingers until I got inside. Carl was asleep on the bed right where I’d left her, her knees still hanging over the edge of the bed. Her boots on. “Fuck you, Carl,” I thought, surprised by my anger.

I sat in my chair by the window and drank my coffee. I needed to get out of there. I needed to go. I finished my coffee and took a shower. I came back and pulled off Carl’s boots. I eased her body up onto the bed and slid a pillow under her head. I climbed into bed and curled around her. “I should go,” I thought. My fingers moved between my legs. I jerked off listening to Carl snore. Smelling her dirty jeans. “I need to get out of here,” I said out loud, coming with a jerk of my hips. I fell asleep with my mouth open against the pillow, wondering how many hours I would manage to sleep before it started all over again.

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