Defrauded of the Parrot Lotto

My parrot is almost an adult.  His head used to be entirely gray, but now it’s growing in bright sunny yellow, which is a sign of sexual maturity.

These are the words he can say: “ABE!  I’m ABE!” “Silly Beak” (his nickname); “Step up,” “Cock-a-doodle doo!” and “Toe-orrist.” It used to be “terrorist” because he chases after me and gently bites my toes of they’re painted red, like a game, but I started calling him my little Toe-orrist, and it stuck.  He also imitates the sound of my sneezes and the microwave beep.

Oh, a jerkola parrot at birdie daycare in the next cage taught him something new: “Hey, Baby!”  He loves it.  So, now I have a catcalling bird, and I feel like his friends are a bad influence.

Anyway, I have a bad thing that I do to him every now and then.  It’s cruel but I think it’s funny as hell.

Abe LOVES peanuts in the shell.  He likes to hold them in his little dinosaur foot, upon them and fling the shells all over my floor, and then devour the nuts.  If he could, he would live off of peanuts.  I have to ration them to one or two a day, because otherwise he would become a malnourished bird fatass.

The joke is: I take the peanut bag out of the fridge and put it on top of his cage.  It’s made of heavy-duty transparent plastic.

Abe crawls up there, and when he sees a huge bag of his favorite food, he goes nuts with excitement, like he won the Parrot Lotto.  His eyes pinpoint and dilate, his beak drops open,  and then he raises his wings up from his body and starts dancing back and forth.  I’m a leprechaun with a pot of gold!  BONANZA!

He runs over to it and immediately tries to grab a peanut.

Thing is, he can’t: the bag is transparent but the plastic is too strong for his little beak to penetrate.

Peanut heaven so near, Abe.  So near, yet so far away.

He crawls madly over the bag for a few minutes, trying to find/bite a way inside.  When he can’t do it, he starts squaking in frustration and glares at me (can’t tell whether he’s asking me to help him, since I AM the provider of food and peanuts, after or, or whether he’s hating my guts).

Abe doesn’t hate me.  Abe LOVE me every single day.  We hang out for hours together whenever I’m home, and I take him with me when I go to visit the Collector. On the airplane, he sits with me in his travel crate.  The vet gives me drops to put in his water so he is sleepy and doesn’t make noise. Collector is a bit jealous of him (who can be jealous of a little bird?  I never play with Abe when the Collector is home; I only make sure he’s fed and watered and put him to bed….and I neurotically dust-buster the floor because God forbid Abe molts or flings a few pellets on his furniture).  The Collector says Abe needs to be “more independent.”  I told him that is not how parrot psychology works; they need to be near their “flock.”  Leave a parrot alone too much, and it starts to develop the anxious, neurotic behaviors you see in animals in shitty zoos (and human felons in solitary confinement, I will add) : relentless pacing and self-mutilation.

I only torture Abe with peanuts once or twice a month, because it’s funny, but sometimes I do the opposite: I let him into the ENTIRE BUCKET of pellets for a few minutes, and he dances and swims around like Scrooge McDuck in his gold coin money vault.

Love that bird.  I don’t have much in my life that loves me, but he does.

The Collector’s Riding Boots

As I wrote in an earlier post, another thing that he asked me for my birthday was to tell him two fantasies.

Now, I generally don’t like to give the Collector fantasies because it allows him to put his foot in the door, psychologically speaking.  Our BDSM interests are similar enough that they overlap, so I’m sexually content.  You tell someone your private fantasies, and it’s like they’re reading your diary or dream journal.  It’s one of the reasons I respect my clients: sure, they’re paying top premium for a luxury service, but, at the same time, MOST (not all) of them are making themselves very vulnerable.

But, I agreed to do it, so I did.

The first one was the tamest thing I could think of, but still be legit.

I’ve documented my attraction to men’s footwear in the past (here, here and here ).  Now, I know the Collector used to play polo when he was young–you know, that rich-person sport that’s like golf on a horse?

I asked him, with trepidation but a longing I could barely control, if he still has his boots.

He made me wait for about a week, because he’s a calculating fucker and he also likes to spring surprises.

I came in the house and he was cooking dinner (of course.  I know it’s a wholesome hobby, but this guy has a really weird relationship with food.  I say that as a former anorexic.), dressed in a male riding habit sans helmet.

I was hypnotized. Picture Peter O’Toole in riding boots and just shoot me now.

Now, this guy is a sick fuck, like most of the sick fucks I fall in love with, except even sicker, but I  can’t deny that I’m very sexually attracted to him. Like most of my long-lasting relationships, it’s sort of the glue that keeps us together (well, he does love art, and he’s a fascinating conversationalist).  That and my Daddy issues, which are probably going to ensure I never reproduce because all the guys I like are geezers.

I couldn’t take my eyes off of him and his boots.  They even made a little rapping on the hardwood floor as he walked around.

“You…you look beautiful,” I mumbled, staring.

He was chopping radishes for the salad.  He has a big knife rack that is magnetic, a  magnetic strip down the wall.  When he uses the knife, he doesn’t even have to look down.  He can follow his fingers. I find it terrifying and very erotic.

He smirked at me.  Yes, the Collector Condescending Smirk.  If there is anything this guy loves in life, it’s knowing he has someone by the proverbial balls.

He laid down his knife.

“What do you think you can do for me, Margo?”

I took off my dress, dropping it to the floor, and sank down to my knees.  There was a time, years ago, I would have been self-conscious about doing this, but I’m not anymore.  I don’t have any shame.

He marched past me, heels rapping, and had a seat on the sofa in the big room.

“You can worship me,” he said.

I immediately scrambled over to kiss his shoes and breath in the leather smell.  I laid down on the floor so that he could press on my exposed neck.

“They’re 20 years old and they need to be serviced.  Do you think you can do that?”

“Definitely,” I panted.

“You’ll do it every week then.  And I’m going to teach you how to ride.

You can masturbate now. Let me see it.”

So I did.

Owl Snatcher

After a few days of reflection, I just HAD to post about this one…

So I’m at the grocery store, and I see an ugly ceramic owl pot-pant.  It was ugly, but it was an owl, so I had to have it.

I picked it up and realized I did not have a basket.  So, I put the owl down by the rotisserie chickens and BBQ and ran outside for a basket.  I was only gone for 30 seconds.  AT MOST.

When I came back, so crazy old jerkola had MY OWL in her shopping cart!

“Excuse me, Madam, that’s my owl,” I said.  “I just left it there so I could get a cart.”

“If you wanted it, you shouldn’t have put it down!”

A confrontation ensued.  Did I mention this thing was $8.99?  I am officially a crazy lady at the grocery store fighting over something useless.

Eventually, I SNATCHED IT OUT OF HER CART and ran away with it.  She did not pursue, presumably because I appeared to be batshit insane.

I told The Collector, and he thought it was hilarious.

Something else: he calls me a witch (not in the derogatory sense).  He says I enchanted him and I enchanted men for a living, sexually. Recently, he went to a “psychic” by Purple Passion.  He said, “I’ve never done this before because it’s not my thing.  I don’t believe in it.  But, I wanted to ask a real witch what I should get the new little witch in my life.”

Dunno what it is yet, but I’ll get it soon.

Dressing for the Collector

The Collector was in a foul mood and the best thing to say about it was that at least I had nothing to do with it: it was work-related.  The subject of his rage was a certain Irish attorney practicing in Dublin, whose primary offense, as far as I could judge, was “being recalcitrant.”

(Now, call me crazy, as I don’t know jack about the law, but I thought “being recalcitrant” on behalf of one’s clients was part of the job description.  I could be wrong.)

I cautiously tried to get him to talk about it, because most people like to talk about their problems and things that are making them upset, and I certainly didn’t want to come across as if I was oblivious (oblivious! to his bad mood! ha! ha!) to his unhappiness.

He kept scribbling notes in the margins of the document he was working on (like me, he prefers paper over screen-reading) and said, in all seriousness: “I am going to pan-fry this Mic’s balls on my stove and see if they turn green.”

“I see,” I squeaked, and beat a hasty retreat.

It’s probably a sign of an unhealthy relationship that when he gets into truly bad moods–whether they have to do with me or not–I become very fixated on figuring out what I can do to make  him relaxed and happy again.  The Surgeon was mercurial and moody, and when he got into one of his inexplicable bad moods, I’d try to reason with him for a few minutes and then hang up the phone and ignore him and check back in after a few days and viola! he was back to normal. With more normal (“healthier”) men, he wants to vent a little bit and then he wants space to be mad without someone picking at him, which is certainly easy enough to provide.  As long as he’s not taking it out on you, what’s the problem?  He comes to you for emotional support when he’s ready; you can’t force it upon him.

The reasons for my desire to “fix it” are pretty obvious: it’s no fun to be trapped in a house with a tense, dangerous animal whom you know from personal experience could turn on you.  It sort of sucks the tranquility out of life.

So, after about 48 hours of this (during which I stayed out of the apartment as much as possible when he was there), I decided that I would try to do something special in order to get his mind off things.  I felt a little bit guiltily about doing this, because I realized that his emotional well-being was not my responsibility, and if you wander into that role too often, it means your relationship has taken a turn into co-dependency or abuse.  But I did it anyway.

(Incidentally, he’d displayed very little interest in me sexually during this time, which was unheard of.  He’s a wolf; he’s on me all the time.  I actually don’t understand how a man of his age has the stamina.)

I went to my closet and picked out a dress he’d given me months ago that I’d always declined to wear:

creepy dress

Now, he gives me clothing whenever  the fancy takes me (I certainly never ask), and I usually enjoy it because the man has, let’s face it, truly exquisite taste.  The only thing that I don’t like about the clothes he buys me is that they are clearly more expensive than what I can afford, which makes me feel self-conscious about wearing them–it’s not a self-esteem issue, it’s not that I feel I don’t “deserve” a few new expensive clothes, it’s that I feel like I’m somehow misrepresenting myself.  Spend enough time in New York, and you get to meet a lot of money frauds and social climbers.  I certainly don’t want to be one of those people.

This dress, though, was different.

Something about it rubbed me the wrong way, and it took me a while to figure it out–I mean, objectively, there was nothing wrong with it.  It’s a beautiful dress, in fact.  It has a ton of detail, the pleating is beautiful, I love the colors, and it’s unique.  I also really like lacy dresses this year, and this dress has lacy sleeves and overlay.   Cute, right?  Perfect for Spring.

I still didn’t like it.

He suggested that I wear it out to lunch one day and I took it out of its box for about the tenth time and laid it on my bed and took a good, hard look at it, and it hit me:

It was the dress a 10-year-old would wear to Sunday Mass or some special occasion.

What the fuck?  I mean, seriously, what the fuck?

I picked it up and walked out to him, holding it out.

“Where did you buy this?”

“A very nice boutique close to my office.  I pass by it every day.”

I scowled.  “Is this a dress for a kid?”

“Does that matter?  Don’t you think it’s pretty?  Does it not fit you?”

I turned it inside out and rummaged for the size tag/laundry instruction tab sewed into the lower seam.

“Collector! This says size 14/16!  I’m not a 14/16 in Women’s or Junior’s!  This is a kid’s dress!” I groaned.

“Well, it looked like it would fit you,” he said, all innocent-sounding.

“I’m not wearing it to lunch!  It’s weird!”

“Wear whatever you like.  I would hate for you to be uncomfortable,” he said, incredibly and completely without irony.

I put on something else and put the frilly dress back in its box in the back of the closet, just like I stored its implications in the back of my mind. Anyone who reads this blog will know that I am one of the most sexually open-minded people you could hope to meet, but I do have my preferences, and any sort of age-play where I’m in the minor/submissive role squicks me out.  God knows I got a ton of cheesy spankings dressed in a schoolgirl outfit when I was still pro-Subbing, but that was professional, so it was mostly an eye-rolling embarrassment.

So, flash-forward to the present, when I’m asking myself exactly what I can do to knock this guy out of his bad mood because being in the house with him like this is making me grind my teeth with anxiety and Abe is not exactly enjoying it, either.

Now, unless he has a super-important deadline or a mandatory business call on Skype for some overseas client, he always makes time for dinner.  Sometimes he has me pick up carry-out and eats at his desk, but usually dinner is a sit-down affair, and he cooks it himself.

With trepidation, I took the dress out of the box and tried it on for the first time.

Well, he was right: it fit…mostly.  The bust was too snug, presumably because girls don’t have tits yet, and the hem was short because girls are usually not almost 5’10”.   It covered my ass by a few inches and I could wear it in public without causing a scandal, but I’d have to remember to be careful about picking things up, but I have a few dresses like that and once you get used to it, it’s not a big deal.  Just make a man do it for you.

I ran over to his office and rapped on the door, praying that this was not going to be a terrible decision.

He said I could come in, so I opened the door and and scampered inside, smiling widely.

“I just tried it on.  Can I wear it for dinner?”  (As you know, I’m usually not allowed to wear clothing in the house.)

He sat there at his desk, looking me up and down, bemused.

“You look very pretty.  What, pray tell, has brought this on?”

I gave him what I hoped was my sunniest smile.  I do have a pretty smile; my clients told me that all the time.

“I wanted to make you happy.”

“That, my dear, is always the right answer,” he said, and rolled back his chair, standing up.


*                                 *                                *

For dinner that evening, he was eating a small steak and snails with greens.  I got a grilled cheese sandwich with the crusts cut off and the sandwich itself was cut into cubes.  And a salad.

It took me halfway through the meal to raise the crucial point: “Uhh, Collector, why do you get steak while I’m eating kid food?”

“It’s not kid food. If it was kid food, I would have made it with Velveeta or that awful American ‘cheese product’ you eat over here. That sandwich has Gruyère!

If he ever reads this, I am going to be in deep trouble, but sometimes the things that come out of his mouth make me question his mental state.

He put down his silverware.  “Margo, allow me to suggest something to you.”

“By all means.”

“Sometimes, in our past, when something bad or traumatic happens, it’s a bit like a train track that was executed incorrectly, made crooked, so that the train could not follow.  It either stops moving or derails.  Do you see?”

“I think the metaphor is strange, but I cautiously think I understand what you mean.”

“When we get older, and have control over our lives, we can re-create these experiences and do them correctly, in a healing way.  We can make the train track straight.”

“It sounds to me like you’re just describing Repetition Compulsion.”

“Repetition Compulsion is futile and compounds our misery and we all do it, unfortunately, to some extent.  What I am describing is something else.

Do it again.  Do it correctly.  Take nourishment from it, and confidence, and….healing.”

“But you can’t go back again.  Nobody can go back.  Childhood’s gone, and who the fuck wants to visit that swampy nightmare, anyway?”

He nodded.  “People change, as, indeed, we must.  But we still contain all variations of ourselves.  That’s what I’ve been asking you to focus on in your therapy.”

“I’ll think about it.  I’m still not sure I fully understand.”

“Just keep an open mind.  We’ll revisit it later.  How is the grilled cheese?”

In fact, it was delicious.


Past the swimming pool, there is a grove of trees.  If you walk it, more trees.  I was confused at first because I thought, Well, Europeans (exception of Russians) already chopped down all their big trees, and don’t have any wildlife left but deer and squirrels. It wasn’t like I was going to get eaten by a bear or a cougar.  Euro forests are just big tree parks.

There is a stretch of beach where nobody can go because endangered birds nest there.  There are signs in English and his language.  Behind that, the trees.

The trees were mostly Birches. I thought, for some reason, they would be coniferous; evergreens.

I went into the trees.  I tried to be very careful because I have an awful sense of direction. It’s honestly the worst of anyone I’ve ever met; it would be comical if it wasn’t so bad.  I’ve gotten lost on fucking hiking trails.  The GPS is a balm to my soul, like a safety blanket, but I didn’t have it then.  It doesn’t work over there.

I tried to pay attention to where I was going so that I could get my way back to the beach.  Also, the ocean has a smell and makes noise.

THEN the kid came up, the eldest son.  I heard him come up because he was crunching stuff underneath his shoes.  Guys are mostly loud.

Was it a hundred yards…?  I was only a hundred yards into the trees.

I was startled.  There was no reason for him to be there.

He said that he wanted to show me where he and his brother played “Pirates.”

There were five or six boulders, each the size of a car or a bed.  It looked very incongruous (is that redundant?).  I wondered how they got out there, piled together in the middle of nowhere.  Then I remembered my undergrad geology class: they were probably moved by a glacier thousands of years ago (geology, should anyone ask you, is basically the history of rocks).

“Let’s see if I can fit now!” he said, and climbed up the boulders like a billy goat.

There was a slim crevice between the stones.  He had to take off his jacket, but he dropped through it.

He popped up and extended his hand: “Let me show you!  There’s a space under here.”

I turned around and headed back to the beach.  All the hair on my arms was standing up.

Ten Things

His birthday was coming up, and I had no idea what to buy him.  What do you get for the man who has everything…?  He was harder to shop for than the Surgeon, which is saying something. For Father’s Day I’d given him a Waterman pen that I had inscribed and a piece of a meteor that crashed in the Soviet Union in the 1950s.  He loved them both, but now I needed some new ideas.

So, I went to him and asked him if there was a gift he thought he’d like to have.

He thought about it, and then came back to me later in the day.

“There are three things you can give to me.  One is list of ten things you think you can do to be a better submissive.  You can also make a list of things you think inhibit your progress.

The other two are fantasies you have that you haven’t told me about yet.  Something that I could do for you.  Things that tell me something about you.”

Over the next week, I sat down to work on my list.  This is what I came up with:

  • Stop resisting
  • Don’t hide things.  Try to be more transparent.
  • Try to keep an open mind about situations and activities you presume are going to be bad.
  • Finish getting your hair lasered.
  • Personally follow up on the grocery deliveries to make sure all of the ingredients are there before he starts cooking so that there is no dinner crisis.
  • Think about what you can do to ensure his comfort.
  • Be present without radiating expectation.
  • Express gratitude.
  • Make him feel like God.
  • Return library books on time so they don’t call the house.

I don’t know?  Usually I’m very good at stuff like homework, but this one was challenging.  Do you think it’s good?  Or good enough?  Maybe I should take the chores off….though, seriously, life would be much more sedate and harmonious if the man never ran out of  Parmesan cheese again.

On the back of the sheet of paper, I wrote: “I’m afraid of you sometimes and this makes it difficult to trust you and be vulnerable.  Also, I think you can be impulsive.”

Then I just sat there and stared at the paper.

No One Leaves the Table

Dinner started out fine.

He’d made lasagna and I’d helped with the salad and made the table. When dinner was served, he sat at the head of the table, and I was on his right.  The young one sat on my other side, and the elder one on the other side of the table.

The older one seemed tense, sitting stiffly in his chair, and picking at his food instead of eating it, which was not normal for him.  Those kids wolf down their food–I’d forgotten how much teenage boys can eat.

Dad was talking a little bit about his day, and didn’t seem to notice his son looked uncomfortable.  He was talking about his experience in court.  He thinks having to swear on a Bible is hilarious.

Then, the kid dropped the bomb.  And he said it in English.

Let’s just say that he’d gotten himself into a problem.  He’d committed a sexual impropriety that could get him into major, major trouble at school.

Everyone froze, and it was only by the skin of my teeth that I avoided bursting out in nervous panic-laughter “Wow! Better you than me, buddy!”  There is no way in hell I’d admit this to his father in person.  In fact, I wouldn’t even tell him this bad news when we were both on the same continent.  I’d tell him from someplace safely far away, like Antarctica.

You could have heard a pin drop.  The boys and I were frozen, heads down, staring at our plates.

He put his silverware down, not looking at his son, and said, “Tell me: is this a girl from school, or some random bar slut from the village?”


I sneaked a glance at him across the table, and he looked so anxious and miserable that I felt sorry for him.  What he did was stupid, but it wasn’t bad.  It wasn’t predatory.  He was definitely in a fucked-up situation that needed to be diffused, but it wasn’t the worst thing ever.  People make mistakes, especially young people.  Frankly, if I was a parent, I’d be considerably more upset if he’d committed a horrible act of bullying or violence, or was caught cheating on his college applications.  I’d be more upset if I found out it was drugs, or he drove drunk and killed someone.

I tried to be supportive, because he seemed scared (can’t say that I blame him.  I was scared just being there).  I said, “Well, that’s bad news, but I don’t think it’s anything that can’t be dealt with. It’s not the end of the world.  I’m sure your family can help–“.

“Be quiet, Margo,” said Dad.

I shut up and returned my eyes to my dinner plate.

“Why are you such a disappointment, (Older boy)?  I’m glad your mother is not here.”

Well, that’s just plain cold, I thought.

“Uh, this is a family matter, so I think I’ll give you some privacy and go to my room,” I said, my voice a little high and screechy.

(It did not occur to me until later that the reason the older boy chose to break the bad news at the dinner table, with his brother and me there, in English, instead of behind closed doors with his father, was that he was hoping our presence–mine, specifically–might help keep his father on his best behavior.  I could be wrong about that, though.)

I pushed out my chair, stood up, and started walking out of the room.

Behind me, he brought his hand down on the table so hard it made all the plates and silverware jump.

“No one leaves the table!” he yelled.  And this is not a man who raises his voice often.

I jumped, immediately turned around and returned to my seat.

You could cut the tension with a knife.  It was terrible.

The young one on my left reached out and grabbed my hand.  His palm was cold and sweating.  I carefully avoid any touching after the incident where he picked me up after my stupid decision to play thumb wars, but I did not take my hand away now.

“Well?  Answer my question,” said Dad.

I looked up.  Dad was tense but otherwise unruffled.  The son was twitching…probably a mixture of fear and rage.

Incredibly, he picked up his dinner plate, and, I swear, was about to chuck it right at his father’s head.  It would have hit, too, because he was sitting only a few feet away.

At the last second, he changed his direction and threw it against the wall behind him.  The food went everywhere.  I actually screamed.

“I hate you!” The kid yelled, getting out of his chair.

Oh boy I really don’t want to be here right now, I thought.

“Sit down right now,” said the father, and his voice was serious as a heart attack.

Or what? I wondered. He’s bigger than you now!  How can you force a teenager to do anything?

He stood there, red-faced and panting…and then sat back down.

“Margo,” said Dad, softly: “Get a new plate from the kitchen and pick up the food off the floor.”

I immediately got up to do it.  I washed my hands and got out a spatula and some big serving spoons.  The lasagna was not in one piece, but its remains were in one location. T salad had scattered all over the floor.  There was tomato sauce on the wall and on the floor.  The plate was broken.  If it’d made contact with Dad’s head, it probably would have knocked out a tooth or split his cheek open.

Nobody was talking at the table behind me.

He’s going to make the kid eat it, I thought.

I stood up and stared at the floor and asked if I should throw it in the garbage or down the disposal.

“Bring it to the table.”

“Uh, where?  What?”

“It’s yours now, Margo.  (Older boy) has given it to you.  Have a seat.”

I sat down stiffly and pushed my first meal, barely touched, out of the way to make room for the second plate.

Bon Appétit,” said the father, who then had a drink of wine, picked up his silverware, and resumed eating his meal as if nothing had happened.

So did I.  Thanking God that the wooden floors were clean, aside from whatever polishes the cleaning crew used.

“How is (Older Boy’s) meal, Margo?  Does it taste good?”

I didn’t know how I was supposed to feel.  I just didn’t want the situation to get any worse.

“It’s fine,” I said, mechanically shoveling food into my mouth.  But nothing was fine.

“You know, (Older Boy),” he said, conversationally, “I am not the one who is doing this to her.  You did this to her.  You caused this.”

I looked at the younger one on my left, who was not eating and looked like he was going to cry.  I felt terrible for him.

“Don’t worry.  It’s okay,” I said, which was a lie, but I didn’t know what else to say.

The meal continued in silence.  Dad finished his portion and leaned back in his chair with his wine, master of his domain.

“The meal is over when Margo finishes her plate.  How do you feel about that, (Older boy)?”

“I’m sorry.”

So, now we have another problem: I do not eat as much as a growing teenage boy.  His portion was probably twice as large as mine.

It took the better part of an hour, and by the end I hoped I’d never see another bite of lasagna in my life…but I choked it down.

He told the older boy to clean the floor and wall and to clear the table: “I’d make Margo do it, but I think she might need to throw up.”

I did.  I did indeed.

Maybe the kid is onto something, I thought.  Maybe this guy needs to be killed in his sleep.

With that, he rapped his knuckles on the table and got up from his chair.

Class dismissed.

I went straight to the bathroom.  When I got out a few minutes later, after heaving and brushing my teeth, I saw the older boy still sitting alone at the table, staring straight ahead.

I went to his father’s bedroom.

When I got up in the morning, the floor, and the wall, were clean.

Meet the Boys II

So, the next evening started as a scene of domestic tranquility, until it got weird and sexualized.  It was actually so normal that it struck me as bizarre, because readers will know that normal is not my thing and it was not exactly typical in my childhood homes.

Dad was in the kitchen making dinner–a pork loin–and he’d baked bread, too, so the house already smelled good.  I was in the big room playing chess with the young one. I was losing, as usual, because I’m the world’s worst chess player (I’m not so bad at the logic part, but the game involves spatial reasoning, and I can’t reason my way spatially out of a wet paper bag), but we were enjoying ourselves.

After he mopped me up with ease in about a dozen moves, I asked him if he wanted to play again.

“Yes!” he said.  “It is fun!  When I play with Father, I always lose.  Everyone always loses with him.”

Oh, believe me, I know, I thought, but of course I did not say that.

Then, I suggested that we switch colors because maybe I would get his good luck if I played black.

He said that he always played black, and so I did the next reasonable thing and challenged him to a thumb war.

It was the first time I ever touched the boy, other than when I shook his hand when I met him.  As I said in my last blog post, I’d been trying very hard to avoid even the slightest suggestion of impropriety.

Well, for whatever reason, we both found it hilarious and started laughing.  He was making these kung-fu noises before he smashed my thumb down.  We were both laughing really hard and telling each other not to cheat.

Then I said we should arm wrestle, and that was even funnier because it was even more ridiculous.  He is only 14, but he is still bigger than me and I have skinny little bird arms that have gotten even skinnier because I haven’t been able to lift weights since the grease fire (couldn’t risk opening the wounds), so the “competition” was a joke and we were both laughing our heads off like it was the funniest thing in the world.  You know how sometimes something is so funny that you can’t stop laughing…?  It was like that.  The tears were coming out and I was probably running my makeup.  I don’t know why it was so funny.

Then he suddenly stood up from the table, ran over to me, and picked me up.  He started spinning me around, making helicopter noises, until I had vertigo.  I was screaming and laughing, but I didn’t seriously tell him to put me down, so I guess it’s my fault…?

He ran with me into the kitchen to show his Dad.

“Look!  See what I’ve got!” he said.

Dad looked up from the oven, with a big smile on his face: “I see you take after me!”

The kid started laughing again and reversed himself, making car motor noises, and started to run off down the hallway.

“Hupp!  Don’t run too far with my prize, boy!” His father shouted after us, laughing.

He carried me into the reading room just off the hallway, which is essentially a minor library.  It has windows in it, and the orange sunset light was coming in, but it was a bit dark.  New York doesn’t have the amazing, world-renowned sunsets of my homeland, but sometimes the colors still come through.

Then the elder son came in.  The one who’d looked at me in my bath the night before.

I don’t think that I can convey the change of atmosphere in the room.  We both stopped laughing immediately.  You could have heard a pin drop.  It was as if the temperature dropped 20 degrees.

He strode right up to us and extended his arms…and then said, incredibly:  “It’s my turn.  Give her to me.”

What THE FUCK?!  I thought.

The young one gripped me tighter and started to back away.

“Put me down, please,” I said.  My voice was calm, not breathless or screetchy. I was suddenly scared and I wanted to re-exert control. I also noticed that in all the roughhousing, my skirt had ridden up.  I was wearing bike boyshorts underneath for modesty, so nobody was getting a show, but, when your skirt goes up, well, it’s a thing.

He did not put me down!  WHAT?

I started to try to help myself out of his arms.  I wasn’t making a huge fuss because I didn’t want to be dramatic, but I wasn’t going to just sit there and take it.  The situation had suddenly gotten weird. Also, even though I’m skinnier now, I’m not a small woman–I’m quite tall and I’m not going to let some teenager hold me after I told him to put me down.

THEN it occurred to me that he did not put me down because he was scared of his brother.  I don’t think he was ignoring me; I think he was off in his head.

Something is going on here that I don’t understand, I thought to myself. I felt I was looking at two boys that had a secret together.

The older one approached again, still holding out his arms.  Like I was a book or an inanimate object.

“Put me down NOW!” I repeated, and rolled out of his arms and onto my feet.

Then came the voice from behind us, in the doorway.  It was in his language, so I couldn’t tell what he said, but it sounded a lot like What is this?

It was Dad.  The Calvary had arrived.

He extended his hand to me and I immediately ran over to him.  I know that made me look weak, but I was scared. At the same time, I didn’t want to get the young one in trouble, because he hadn’t done anything wrong.

“(Young one) and I were just horsing around,” I said.

Dad stood there, appraising the situation.  I understood, instinctively, that the boys were afraid of him.  There was a lot of tension in the room.

He told the younger one to keep an eye on the pork loin in the oven, and then took me by the hand and pulled me down the hallway to his bedroom, where he fucked me, quickly and violently, on the carpet.  The competition–if that’s what it was–had apparently excited him.  I tried hard not to make noise, but, you know, it had to have been obvious to the boys what was happening.

Then we all ate dinner at the table.  I guess you can imagine the ambiance for that one. Dad was the only one with any appetite, but we all ate, all right.  The wit here, on the scenic Western slope, is: If he’s treatin, you best be eatin.

Secrets run in families like streams of water, down through generations.

Welcome home.

Meet the Boys

I’ll probably have to take this one down quickly.

He had two teenage sons, and I was nervous about meeting them.  I don’t have much experience with young people aside from my years teaching undergrads, and my students were, technically, adults.

I rehearsed it beforehand: be friendly and unobtrusive.  Convey the impression that you’re not trying to move in on the family unit in any way.  Nonthreatening.  Avoid PDAs with Dad.  Let the boys decide how much (or how little) interaction they want to have with you.

One thing that I was worried about was the age difference.  I’m not remotely attracted to younger men, and even if I was, I’d never so much as flirt with the children of a man who allowed me into his household.  That’s unspeakably disrespectful.

However, I’m in a weird Twilight-Zone age bracket right now: I’ve lost weight again and gotten really skinny, and I get gray hairs and botox on my forehead, but (I think) look younger than I am…?  My point being that I was concerned that the boys could be sexually attracted to me.  I didn’t want to send them that message.

I picked out the dress I was going to wear when I met them.  It was conservative, navy blue, and had a high neck and a collar.  It was an attractive dress, but it wasn’t sexy.  It was a dress that I could teach in, or that I could wear to a formal corporate office.

He went through my closet and picked out my favorite yellow sundress, and said, “Here, wear this.”

This is a beautiful dress, but it’s revealing.  It shows my back because it has spaghetti straps and it’s a little bit low-cut in front.  I couldn’t call it SEXY–it’s not something I would wear to a bar or nightclub–but it’s not conservative.  You can see a lot of skin.

“Are you sure?” I asked.

“Of course I am sure,” he said.  He’s always sure.

I met them and could see them taking glances of me during dinner.  I had to ask myself: what was the point of putting me in that dress?  Was he being competitive with his own children?  Was he showing off?

For my part, I was as demure as possible and mostly just looked at the table.

The next day, he told me to take out the younger one because he needed some “time alone to talk” with the elder one.

I took out the younger one and I am happy to report that it was a success!  I had a successful interaction with an adolescent!  I wish I could write a lot more about it, but I have to respect his privacy.  We spent all day together!  He really liked me!  We played chess and lots of stuff.  I like him a lot.  He is a good kid; still sweet.

We came back to the apartment and I saw something that did not auger well: I saw the elder brother walking out of my room.

There was no reason for him to be in my room.

He didn’t see me, so I just hid and pretended like it didn’t happen.  Then I rushed in there and checked my stuff and my drawers.  Nothing looked rifled through.  But, he was in there.

Then, later, Dad had to go back to his office for a little while–this was after dinner.  I followed the schedule and went to take my nightly bath.

I did not close the door all the way.  I guess, for that, I have only myself to blame.  But it wasn’t very open.  The crack in the door was 2 inches at most.  And I would like to say that there was no reason for the kid to be in that hallway.  His bedroom is on the opposite side of the apartment!

So, I was laying in the water, and then I looked up into the mirror, and saw him looking at me through the crack in the door.

I was startled, of course, but I didn’t freak out.  I mean, I’m an adult, and it’s not like I don’t understand male sexuality. Furthermore: when you live with people, sometimes awkward things happen. I had platonic male roommates in grad school.  I saw them getting dressed once or twice and one of them told me he heard me having phone sex with the Surgeon. So–the awkwardness, it can happen…?!

But this kid (I guess he’s not a kid, he’s in his late teens) just hovered outside the door.  The correct, appropriate response if you spy someone bathing is to retreat and pretend like it never happened. He wasn’t doing that.

I thought, maybe he doesn’t know that I know he’s there. 

I carefully, slowly reversed my body in the tub so that I could look him in the eyes.  Now, there was no question.

He didn’t move.  I couldn’t see his entire face, because the crack in the door was so small, so I couldn’t read his expression.  He didn’t seem to be jerking off–I couldn’t see any movement.  But who knows.  He was definitely looking.

Well, I’m in this hugely vulnerable situation.  I know most of my readers are guys and probably won’t appreciate it.  I am naked in a bathtub and there is a boy who is spying on me and KNOWS that I know it and he’s not getting lost, which is VERY scary and hostile.

I wanted to stand up and walk over and slam the door in his face!  But I couldn’t, because if I got up from the water, then he would see me naked!

Well, I was still FURIOUS and I’m not going to be pushed around by a damn teenager! Sorry, guy, you don’t get to jump the social hierarchy!  I didn’t want to say “Wait till your father gets home!” because that would make me sound weak.

“Hey! John (not his real name)!  I see you!”  I made a gesture at my eyeballs and pointed at him.  “FUCK OFF!”

He retreated.

I didn’t tell on him because I didn’t want to provoke him.  Live and let live, and you know teenagers are impulsive anyway…

But then there was the following night…

Abe’s Night Terrors

Every now and again my parrot, Abe, gets a night terror.  This is why I am confident that he must dream of things.  I’m not sure what he dreams of–probably that something is coming to eat him.  He is a prey animal, after all.  Dogs dream (presumably) of chasing squirrels.  The parrot must dream of being snatched by a raptor.

He falls off his perch, to the bottom of the cage, and shrieks at the top of his lungs.  He wakes me up and I run to him in the night, terrified that he’s hurt himself somehow.

I pull him out of the cage to inspect his body.  Sometimes he’s wet because he fell into his shallow birdbath.  When he’s wet in the middle of the night like that, it scares me because he doesn’t carry his wings right when his feathers are saturated, and I worry that I need to take him to the hospital.

I hold him on the sofa until he is sleepy again.  I sing to him and keep the lamp on.

I worry about what he has nightmares about.  He’s not stupid.  He’s smart, just in a different way from mammals.  He’s curious and he can figure out puzzles. In his eyes, you see something, it’s not mammalian but it’s there. I love him so much.  I also feel badly that he has to live indoors with me, many thousands of miles from where nature intended him to be.

This Autumn, he will finish going through puberty. I will need to buy a girlfriend for him because it is unnatural for him to live all alone, the only one of his kind.  He will not love me as much when he has a female of his species, and that makes me sad…but I tell myself that what is important is what is important for ABE.

He has been such a joy to my life that I am happy to have another parrot in the house.  It will take a while to find the right one, because Meyer’s parrots are rare.  I am going to name her ABIGAIL (get it? Abe and Abigail?) or SWEETLING.  I won’t let them have babies or give them a nesting box…but you can prevent parrots (at least the ones I have experience with) from having babies if you prevent them from nesting.

I’m just going to go cry now.