Loner Magazine - Company

Company

By Mike Griffis

Leaving the dim, romantic lighting & the chatter of happy couples behind me, I step out of the restaurant for the night. My friend had called me while I was on the floor, so I called him back as I walked to my car (as if being on my phone made me a less horrible person for ignoring the homeless between me and there).

 “Hey, you called?”

“Yeah! I was wondering if you could do me a favor.”

“Sure, what’s up?”

“Can you bring me over some weed?”

 That’s actually pretty tame as far as favors go, coming from him.

Apparently, somewhere along the line, I developed a reputation as that guy. The one you text with thinly veiled requests when you need something you’re not sure how to find: What do you have on hand? Could you bring some girls to my party?

At least weed I can pick up at a store. Easy. No asking around the kitchen, waiting for days. No digging around seedy corners of the internet & setting up fake phone numbers to text call girls.

 “Sure thing. How much do you need?”

“I don’t know, this much.”

 I open the door to my car and stop, while I wait for him to elaborate.

 “I’m not sure that’s as helpful as you think it is.”

“Oh, yeah, I’m holding, like a medicine bottle?”

 I get in the car, lock the doors & put my key in the ignition.

 “I’ll just bring over a couple grams.”

“Sounds good. When can you get here?”

“An hour, maybe two.”

“See you then.”

Hanging up, I make sure my Bluetooth is on & start my car. The stereo beeps to life & starts playing the music I was listening to before my shift. I skip the first few songs & listen for a second. Before I can look up where I’m going or what I’m getting, a message from my friend comes in demanding my attention: “Text me when you get here, have company over. ;)”

Using the magic of the internet, I find a dispensary nearby & glance through their menu, checking the prices of what I need against the tips in my pocket. After making sure it’s balanced out, I put the address in my maps & follow the directions there.

 ***

I pull up a little farther away than I would have had I known where the building was unassisted, but not far enough away to really justify redoing my parking job. Turning off the engine, I double check my pockets, making sure I have everything I need: Recommendation, check. California ID, check. Cash, check.

I get out of the car & lock the door behind me before pocketing my keys as well. I slip my phone & wallet back into my pockets as I make my way up onto the sidewalk. As I walk up to the entrance of the storefront that, very clearly, is the establishment I’m looking for, I can’t help but notice a group of young men with backpacks & skateboards hanging around a bus stop bench, around one older black man just sitting there.

 I head inside, passing a door warning “ALWAYS CARRY YOUR REC!!” and “NO REC, NO MEDS!” as I approach a blocked out window with a slit at the bottom for documentation. I set my items on the counter for him to review.

“New patient or returning?”

“New patient.” I respond.

“Fill out the paperwork on the hook.”

 I glance it over quickly, standard boilerplate collective agreement. Initial initial initial sign date. I slip the paper over the counter as well.

“Come on in.”

 There’s an audible BUZZ as the door beside me unlocks. I push it open and am immediately greeted by the pungent scent that comes with storing & using weed in confined space.

 Done with the necessary formalities, the budtender takes a much friendlier stance with me.

“How can I help you tonight, brother?”

I ask to see the strains I knew I want from checking online just to make sure everything was as it should be & had him weigh out my order.

 “It’s your first time, right?”

“Here, yeah.”

“Nice, well you get a free dab if you want.”

“Well, I mean, if it’s free.”

 I’m not entirely sure what I just agreed to, but my hopes that it was some sort of edible sank when I saw him staple the paper bag of herb shut. He takes the bag with him to a corner of the store, next to a giant bong & a blowtorch.

“Over here, brother!”

Hesitantly, I join him in the corner as someone gets buzzed in behind me.

“Be right with you!”

“Yeah, no problem,” I hear, behind me.

 The budtender takes a small pick & uses it to peel off a small ball of resin, placing it in the heavy metal slider in the bong.

“Oh shit, looks like there’s still some left from the last hit. Oh well, guess you get some extra!”

“Lucky!” the guy waiting chimes in.

“I know, right?!”

 The budtender starts up the blowtorch, setting its flame to the metal slider.

“Careful not to touch the bong itself! Hot.”

Never one to back down in front of an audience, I put my mouth on the bong, inhaling as much of the slightly cooled smoke as I can.

When I came up, a surprising amount of smoke was exhaled.

 “Holy shit! That was an Olympic hit brother!”

“Thanks man. I should — uh — get going. Have a good one.”

 I only manage hold my cough back until I make it out of the building, onto the street. Immediately upon my feet hitting the pavement, I started hacking. It takes me a minute before I can start breathing normally, and when I do, I notice the bench area has cleared out, with the exception of the older black man. I give him a polite nod as I pass by heading back to my car.

 ***

 As soon as I make it back to my car, I pop the truck & stash the paper bag of weed in there. I get in, setting my phone on the passenger seat and my keys in the ignition. I start the car by muscle memory and shift back into drive. I point the steering wheel out off of the curb, but as I begin inching forward, I have trouble remembering what to do next. I can’t remember the basic mechanics of driving.

Panicked, I pull back over, making sure my wheel touches the curb and put the car back into park. I stop the car, slouching back in my seat, closing my eyes.

Breath in, sat. Breath out, nam.

 Sat. Nam.

I haven’t practiced in ages; the words don’t really mean anything to me anymore, but I’m not really sure they were ever supposed to mean anything in the first place. Either way, they remind me of sunshine & grass and anything that might take me away from the fact that I am sitting in a car I (apparently) cannot operate at who-knows-when-in-the-morning in East Los Angeles seems worth a shot.

I wish I could lay down for a minute, I would feel so much better…

No! Imagine being found like that, someone knocking on the window in the morning. That would be such a stoner thing to do!

But, I mean, it’s not laying down that’s that problem, that sounds awesome. But not laying down here…I need to go home. I know I have one of those. I can identify it, but I can’t piece together how to get there, where it is… Anything helpful.

Ok. Let’s try this the other way around. Where am I now?

… That — store? Shit. That’s not helpful either.

 There’s something in my rearview mirror. What is that? A set of headlights? Did someone leave those on or are they sitting there?

Well, there isn’t really anything I can do about it…

I know I could do this normally. Asking anyone would be a dead giveaway I’m gone, but maybe I can figure this out. Muscle memory? Maybe it’s one of those things like walking, where it seems impossible to describe when you break it down & think about each moving part, but is so simple to actually execute.

This, it turns out, is not one of those things.

I fumble with my phone, opening the case & punching in my passcode. It takes a few tries, but I get it open to the home screen. Once there, I’m at a complete loss of what to do the get the information.

These are the kinds of situations I would normally make snarky jokes about with my roommate, but for the life of me I can’t figure it out. I know this can help me; I just have to figure out how.

I could… hail someone else to drive me — but I don’t know where I would tell them to go… and then I’d have to find my way back here. I don’t know if I can (or should) park here overnight either…

I should have something with my address on it… A card? Yes! I needed it to get inside the store… I just used it! The space that usually holds my ID in my wallet is empty. Right, to get in the store, with my rec which is… Fuck!

The headlights are still there!

What are you waiting for?

I feel like I have to pick between the lesser of evils: being found outside a dispensary tomorrow with a bag of weed in the trunk (which will skunk up my car as soon as the sun comes up with my luck) and my license wrapped up in a form letter from a “doctor” that quasi-legally allows me to purchase marijuana OR calling and trying to convince someone to find me.

Seriously, are they waiting for someone?

Are they waiting for me?

Are they watching me?!

I could try to find my ID again? Would that really even help me though? I don’t picture the same apartment when — no, that’s an old address. Fuck.

Ok. My phone? I feel like I’ve literally told my phone “Take me home!” before. Let’s search or something.

Phone. Maps. H-O-M-E Enter.

Fuck. I really hoped that was going to work.

What else can I try?

I press the icon which clearly signifies the phone function of my phone & am presented with a number of names — most of which I recognize (can at least attach a face or relationship to), but none that immediately jump out as being helpful.

 My parents? Fuck. No. What they don’t know…

My brother? What time is it there? Would he even be up?

My mentor? I mean, if anyone could it would be him.

He worked in drug treatment. I’ve smoked with him before (regularly, actually). Yes, we’ve smoked at my place! This is perfect. If anyone can help me it would be him.

I know there’s a way to send him my location, even if I don’t know where it is. Pins? Something like that?

He can walk me through how to get that for him.

I just need to make the call.

I press the line on my phone that reads his name & my speakers immediately play the dial tone.

With each ring, I try to piece together what I’m about to say:

I need help!

Ring…

I don’t know where I am.

Ring…

I’m so scared right now…

Ring —

“You’ve reached the voice mailbox of –”

Fuck. Ok, leaving a message won’t help me, all that would do is raise questions later, when I’m sober.

Any message I leave is more likely to be the centerpiece of an intervention than anything else — well, that or a case against me in court if something really gets fucked up.

BEEP!

Oh shit, no! No message. No message!

What will I do when he asks me about this random call in the middle of the night? Well, I suppose I’ll have plenty of time to worry about that later.

I can say it was about work or something (that’s perfectly believable).

 Those headlights are still there.

Just sitting in my rearview mirror.

Taunting me.

Fine. Wait there if you want.

Fuck you.

 ***

Between all my coughing & my steady coffee-based diet, my mouth had grown rather parched. I know I don’t have anything to drink on hand without looking, but there has to be some place I can reach on foot.

I gather up my phone & headphones, grab a wad of bills from what’s left of my tips, yank my keys from the ignition before stepping out of the car, taking a look around to see if anyone is actually around. Someone is sitting in the car behind me (with the headlights on), but he doesn’t seem to notice me as I walk down the street.

I make a conscious effort to walk normal: Shoulders over hips. Crown up. Straight ahead.

I realize I don’t actually know where I’m heading. I know I need to get water, just get a bottle (as much as I hate to support that industry). I mean, any place should have them, it’s just a matter of finding someplace that’s open.

Is it late? I can’t tell. Everything around here looks closed though. There has to be something around here that’s just always open, right?

Phone. Map.

Store? Convenience store?

Yeah, that looks… fine. Is that close?

Uh, sure, whatever.

Around the block, I lose sight of my car. My directions are replaced by an incessant buzzing. I look down, my friend is calling.

Shit. How long has it been?

Didn’t I just talk to him?

It’s not like I can’t answer this call, he’ll think something’s wrong & that would just be harder to explain later.

RING

I need to tell him something if I do answer though.

But I can’t just say what’s going on out in the open, other people could hear me.

RING

RING!

 “Yo!” I manage to pull together.

“Hey, just wanted to make sure you were still coming over.”

“Yeah, I got the stuff. I had to — uh — take a walk. I’ll be there soon.”

“Ok… Everything alright?”

“Totally, totally. I’ll tell you a story when I get there, alright?”

“Alright.”

Beep beep. Shit.

“Sorry, my phone is saying it’s about to die & I think I might need it to get back to my car… I’ll text you when I get there.”

I feel like that was a pretty clear. My mentor would have understood what I meant… if my friend didn’t, I’ll explain it to him soon enough.

 I turn around to find I just happened to stop in front of a gas station. There aren’t any cars filling up & the floor space is empty, but it’s brightly lit & there’s a neon sign proclaiming: OPEN.

I stop the directions on my phone & pocket it as I approach the glass double doors to this oasis, but neither pulling nor pushing moves the door.

I check the sign again. It definitely says open…

 Checking the inside again, there’s no one shopping, but there is a clerk at the register… And there’s a little bullet-proof window set up for night exchanges. Guess that’s what I’m looking for.

I walk up to the window and wait for the clerk to notice me. (I was already that guy trying to get into a locked door. I’m not gonna make more of an ass out of myself if I can avoid it.) I don’t have to wait too long.

He looks me over suspiciously before asking,

“What do you want?”

“A bottle of water?”

“What size?”

“Just, the biggest you have.”

He gives me a quick nod & disappears into the back of the store.

 I look around the neighborhood I’ve found myself in. A car pulls up to a pump; the driver gets out, slides his card & starts filling up his tank.

 I turn around to find the clerk standing there, holding up a giant bottle of water.

“Perfect.” Whatever, that’ll work.

He pushes a couple buttons, reads off a couple numbers & I hand him a bill with a slightly larger number printed on it. I accepted a bill back with my receipt, but let him keep the coins.

“Goodnight!” I wish him, disappearing into the night (or, at least, around the corner) to take a long drink from my water bottle, away from prying eyes.

 Finding my way back to my car wasn’t nearly as arduous as I had made it seem to my friend (but to be fair, I ended up covering a lot less ground than initially envisioned). I took my time walking the blocks between me & my car. As I passed by the storefront, I noticed the same man was still sitting on the bench. He didn’t seem to have any affiliation with the dispensary, but he was still here.

 I know enough time has passed that he shouldn’t have to be here still…

 His stoic presence strikes me as that of an authority figure, but I can’t put my finger on what kind. Maybe spiritual? I could see him as some sort of priest.

There’s that church, they send me misleadingly titled fliers all the time with that pot-green background & smoke effects hoping to trick stoners into going to church. I could totally see him being behind that.

Is that what he’s doing here?

 I just talked to my friend. He knows I’ll be there soon enough.

I want to see what’s going on here.

 I hang around the bench, first leaning on it from behind it, then sitting down, next to the man.

He didn’t say anything, which almost felt like a constant invitation to say something. Anything. This very uncomfortable, very threatening feeling persisted.

 ***

 It’s the cold that finally convinces me to return to my car. I unlock the doors and put on the jacket I keep on the backseat before getting into the driver’s seat. I have to shove the water bottle between my seat & the door, but I get everything situated away easily enough.

 I start the car & turn on my headlights.

Phone. Map.

Now, where am I going?

 I know I don’t have my friend’s address saved in my phone, but I can picture how to get there:

Off the freeway, past the pet store, up the hill.

I just need to get to… Hollywood…

Places of interest… Yeah, that should be good.

Start route.

 I cautiously check my surroundings before putting the car in drive and accelerating, propelling the car in a U-turn, toward the freeway according to my phone.

Although my motor skills have returned, I’m still relieved to find the freeway relatively unoccupied when I merge on.

 Open freeways at night is really the only redeeming quality about driving in Los Angeles. Traffic can happen at almost any hour (and seemingly without reason), but those moments when you aren’t stuck in traffic… There’s something about having four lanes to yourself, the sheer amount of infrastructure supporting you — just you — that’s staggering.

 My meditative moment passes when I realize I recognize these signs. I’m coming up on my home. This is the place!

I’m tempted to pull over, climb into bed, resume my quest tomorrow, but a sense of duty pushes me to keep going. I’m on my way already, it’s just marginal production costs to go the rest of the way to my friend’s house. I drive past my exit, continuing down the highway toward my destination.

I almost don’t need the directions to get where I’m going from here, but it’s reassuring to have a second opinion on the matter still.

Free of my reliance, I almost don’t notice as my phone lets out one last dying beep, the battery exerting the last of its charge.

That’s fine. I know the way from here. Right at the light, past the pet store, up the narrow street toward the top of the hill.

I park the car around the corner from my friend’s house.

I look at my phone, dead in the cup holder next to me.

Shit. I’m supposed to text him. There has to be a charger around here somewhere.

I ransack my bag, my glove box, the console between my seats — anywhere I can think of. I’m able to come up with several cords for my phone, but no connecter to plug it into my cigarette lighter to actually charge my phone.

It’s not like turning around now is going to help anyone… He should already be expecting me anyway…

I get out of the car, heading around to the trunk. I parcel out the supplies that are for my friend, put them in the paper bag the dispensary gave me & slip them in jacket pocket as I close the trunk, locking the doors as I start toward the gate to my friend’s house.

I go out of my way to trigger the security lights, hoping my friend will notice them turning on & check the cameras, giving him at least a little warning before I show up at his door.

I can see the light is on in the living room as I step up to the door.

Knock, knock, knock.

Around back, I can see the light from his pool radiating into the night. The place looked a lot cleaner than the last time I was here.

I was here until, what? 8 AM?

I watched the sun come up over the city while a popsicle melted next to the hot tub. The sunrise was beautiful — as was the girl next to me — but it was also a reminder of the responsibilities I had to do now that it was technically tomorrow.

Reluctantly, the four of us that were left standing put our clothes back on & headed out into the morning, hoping to at least grab a cup of coffee before heading back to work.

Does he have a doorbell? Shit, I should have checked for a doorbell before knocking. No one likes knocking at the door.

No one who knocks is supposed to be there.

They text. Or call.

Fuck me.

 Maybe it’s too late. I can’t even tell what time it is…

Before I have to decide whether to leave or knock again, I see my friend come out from his bedroom. Barefoot, in PJ bottoms & no shirt, he comes to the door.

 “You made it!” he says, welcoming me in.

“Yeah. Sorry about that. Had to take a little — uh — detour,” I explain, closing the door behind me.

We walk into his kitchen, where he pulled down a glass from his cupboard while I procured the bag of goods from my jacket.

 “You want anything?”

“Some water would be great.”

“Sure thing,” taking down another glass. “So what happened? Were you pulled over?”

“No, no. Nothing like that, I just. I got the weed,” emphasizing the fact by holding up the bag for him, “and it was my first time there, so I got a hit out of this like, industrial bong? I just had to walk it off — then you called.”

I take a sip of water as he lets out a sigh of relief.

“You only had THC? You’re just really high?”

“Yeah.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen you this high.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever been this high before.”

 “I was worried man. And then I thought you blew me off, but really you were trying to connect and I just didn’t get you! I’m so sorry man,” opening is arms toward me, “Come here.”

I have to stand up from the stool I am sitting on to lean into his hug, but I’m not opposed. There’s something off — but familiar — about his rhythm, his cadence, his energy…

 “Are you sure you’re alright to drive? I can call you a cab or something,” he offers when he’s done with his hug.

“Nah, I think I’ll be fine. It would be awesome if I could charge my phone though,” pulling my currently-useless phone out of my pocket.

“Yeah, no problem,” taking my phone, plugging it into his charger in the connected living room.

Following my phone, I take my glass of water & relocate to the couch.

Hearing a commotion (or perhaps just growing bored in waiting for my friend to come back), a young woman — someone I recognize from the last party here — comes out from the bedroom wearing the missing T-shirt from his outfit.

This must be the company he mentioned.

“What’s going on?” She asks playfully, before noticing me on the couch. “Oh, hello.”

“Hi.”

“You two met at my party, right?”

“Yeah.”

“Oh, funny. I don’t remember meeting you…” She claims.

 ***

Toward the end of the party, my mentor comes into the living room to get me, where he knew I’d be, standing around the mirror with the rest of what would become the sunrise club.

“I gotta pee, but run a couple lines out to the girls in the hot tub. I’ll be back there in a second.”

“Sure thing,” I assure him, as he heads to the bathroom.

Using the razor on the mirror for just this purpose, I scoop some of the coke onto a CD — rendered useless much earlier in the evening — before breaking up any clumps and forming short, even lines.

Wearing just my towel, I make it out to the hot tub with my disc of powder before he gets back, offering my makeshift straw to the naked women in the bubbling water.

His girlfriend takes the rolled up bill & inhales a line.

The next woman over is already done for the night.

My mentor comes back outside just as I offer the disc to the only other person in the water, Company.

I line up the straw for her as she comes in, but instead of getting in position, she begins snorting my finger. Not entirely sure what’s going on, I look over to my mentor & his girlfriend — the only two people I really know outside — confused.

They’re seeing this too right?

I take my finger back, putting the bill in its place, which she begins to suck. There’s no way she actually got any powder; the tip is soaked when she gives it back to me (only after making a point of making eye contact with me as she “inhales”).

I can’t tell if my mentor declined to partake of his own accord (maybe he got some inside before returning to the tub) or if he noticed it would be futile to make any attempt with the current equipment.

I take my queue & head back inside to the girl I was standing next to.

 ***

“It’s ok. I’m not offended,” I offer up with a smirk.

It’s pretty clear that wasn’t the response she was expecting, but it’s hard to gage her reaction too much as she closes the distance between her & my friend, wrapping her arms around him.

“I didn’t mean to keep you waiting,” my friend assures her, giving her a quick kiss.

“It’s fine. I just wanted to get a drink of water.”

“You can have some of mine if you want,” extending my half-full glass towards them.

“Aw, that’s sweet,” twisting her body to face me. “I’ll go get my own, thank you though,” heading over to the cabinets.

As she walks away behind me, my friend starts to laugh.

“You’re going to kick yourself tomorrow when you realize her ass was right in front of you the entire time & you were too high to notice.”

She makes her way back while drinking from her glass, setting it down on the coffee table in front of me when she’s done.

“You’re high?” She asks me, rejoining him.

“… A little,” clearing my throat.

“The kid’s stoned out of his mind,” my friend interjects.

“I was,” defending myself, “I feel a lot better now. I remember being so… scared.”

“But not here, right?”

“No. Not here.”

“Good. I want you to know, you’re safe here.”

“I appreciate that,” taking a drink from my glass of water, almost emptying it.

I look around. Behind the windows, the night is still out there looming, but inside everything is tidy & clean. The bright lights accent the white furniture & rugs.

This is essentially the exact opposite of the neighborhood I was so recently trapped in.

When I look back over, I see her whispering sweet nothings into his ear.

“You want what?”

“I want you to fuck me senseless,” she repeats, loud enough so that I can hear.

“That’s what you said last time…” he almost sounds a little disappointed.

She gives him a sultry glare & playful shrug, but doesn’t have much to say about it aside from that.

“As long as you’re sticking around for a minute…” producing a small bag of pills & extending it my way, “You’re the one that got these for me, right?”

A little closer, I recognize them immediately.

“Yeah, why?”

“Do you ever like, run out of energy with it?”

Holy shit they’re rolling.

This certainly explains why they’re still up.

How did I not notice that earlier?!

Maybe I am higher than I think…

 “I mean — in my experience, you usually end up having to remind yourself to stop & like drink water, take care of yourself, that sort of thing.” 

***

Bright lights. Loud music. Freedom.

I know it has to be late because the last DJ started playing a couple songs ago.

As one song transitions to the next, two girls (who are just a little too attractive) confidently approach me out of the crowd.

“You wouldn’t happen to know Molly, would you?” the taller one asks, leaning into a space usually reserved for people I’m more intimately familiar with.

“That’s totally a fair question, she’s not with me right now though.”

“Awww. Well, have a good night.”

“You too, ladies!” but they’re already gone.

I can’t help but smirk.

“Can you believe people are still asking?” tossing my head back to where my roommate had been dancing around me all night, only to see she isn’t there.

I look around the room, finally finding her hugging the wall.

The crowd had thinned out by now, negating the actual need to dance-walk through, but I do for the fun of it. About half-way, a guy stops me (as politely as you can stop a stranger really).

“Hey man, just wanted to let you know you have been killing it, like — all night.”

“Thanks, I appreciate that. Enjoy the rest of your night.”

“You too man,” he says, fading back into the crowd.

I make my way over to where my roommate is, against the wall to hold herself up but still bobbing her head to the beat.

“Come on, let’s get you home.”

I help her out of the club, checking the time on my phone once we get outside. The trains are about to start service for the day (which had been my plan all along, party ’til the trains turn back on), but something tells me my roommate isn’t going to want to wait.

I call a car to drive us home.

 ***

That doesn’t seem to be the response my friend was looking for.

“This isn’t really the… situation I’d usually take it in though, so…” trying to smooth over whatever I said that frustrated him.

“Don’t worry about it,” she reassures him, pressing her mouth to his. He grabs her ass while they kiss.

She starts laughing as soon as their lips pull apart.

“You can look at my ass if-you-want-to…” looking back at me, “It is right in front of you after all.”

I learned long ago when a woman tells you that you can do something in that tone, she means you should; so, I oblige.

She does have a nice enough ass, if that’s what you’re into.

“You know what I really want?” pressing herself against him.

“What?”

“To take a bath.”

“I can turn the pool on –”

“Nooo, I want a bath,” pleading with him.

“Ok!” relenting. “Will you be alright out here?”

“Yeah. No, I’m fine.”

They head back, through his bedroom, into the master bathroom. I can hear the water start filling the tub over her laughing.

How long does my phone take to charge? How long have I been here? I realize the solution to all of my problems is just checking my phone and that would mean getting up off the couch…

I really should get up, I decide, but before I can act on my new found conviction, my friend comes out from his room.

“Oh good! You’re still here.”

“Oh sorry, was that long? I –“

“No no, don’t worry about it. She just, I don’t know, wants to keep an eye on you back here? I don’t know. She said to come get you.”

“Who am I to refuse?” About to get up anyway…

Walking into the bathroom, I notice the tub is half full. She is sitting next to it with her hand dangling in the water.

“Is it hot yet?”

“Not yet,” taking her hand out of the (apparently chilly) water.

“What the…” muttering to himself.

He goes over to the faucets, turning them off & on. Finally, he gives up.

“I’m going to check the water heater,” leaving the room. 

Once he’s gone, she stands up & walks over to me.

“Are you feeling better now?”

“Yes, thank you.” 

She pushes my glasses up my nose, back into place.

“I like your glasses.”

Oh shit. Say something!

“I like your…” Why didn’t I think of something before I started talking, “Ass.”

Yeah, she’s clearly very proud of her ass. That was a safe bet.

“You can play with it if-you-want-to,” bending at her waist to reach into the water.

I grab her ass, she snickers as I do. Slowly, I start to play more aggressively, before working my way around front.

I snap away, hearing footsteps behind me in the bedroom.

My friend comes in, sticks his hand under the running water then turns back around, disappointed.

After watching him leave, I turn to see her looking at me, still in the same position from before.

“Do you want to fuck me?” (Has anyone ever answered that question with “Uh, no thanks”?)

“Su–yeah.”

She chuckles, “Well tonight’s your lucky night.”

I resume my position & start to work my fingers inside of her.

The sound of footsteps pulls me away again as one more time my friend checks the water.

This time, he turns off the faucet currently running & checks the flow from the other faucet.

“You’re kidding me…”

He drains the tub, then begins filling it again from the new faucet.

“Come on, let’s get in the pool while this fills up.”

“But what about him?” Giving her best pouty eyes.

“He can…watch the tub fill up. Right?”

“Sure. I’m capable of watching a container fill with liquid.”

“See? Come on.”

“Oh, ok… See you soon!”

They head outside. I can hear them splashing in the pool, her laughing.

The tub fills up. The water gives off steam, heating the room. I realize the extra layers of clothing I put on while trekking around east L.A. probably aren’t necessary in here.

I remove my jacket, shoes & socks, setting them outside the bathroom door in the bedroom.

I hear sounds, from behind me — the window? Them outside?

I can’t really make out what that sound is. I feel like I’m listening to a song I know I know, but at a volume too low to make out the tune or key.

I head back inside the bathroom, take a look at the tub.

A watched tub never fills, I suppose.

I hear more sounds. Splashing? Yeah, so that’s probably them.

But then there’s that… hissing? Yeah. What’s that?

Is that the tub? It’s probably the tub.

Or the bushes by the window.

Right?

I stick my hand in the water. It is very warm. Very relaxing.

I close my eyes, breathing the steam in & out with each breath cycle.

Sat. Nam.

I notice the the tub is getting full, so I shut the flow of water off. I don’t normally take baths, so I don’t know what else to do to prep it for use and just do nothing until they come back into the room, towels wrapped around themselves.

Tossing those towels aside, they simply sit into the water, already naked.

I must have been lost in thought for an unreasonable amount of time.

“You can get in if you want…” My friend offers. “Unless you just want to watch.”

“Oh, right.”

 I take off the rest of my clothes: T-shirt, jeans, boxers.

They had shut the door behind them when they came back inside, so I can’t put these with the rest of my clothes. I set them at the same place on this side of the door, in hopes it will remind me to gather the others on my way out.

I get in the tub with them.

It becomes very obvious to me this tub was not designed for three people; I get the feeling that two would be pushing it, but it’s not like I can get out now.

I settle up on the opposite side of her from my friend.

He starts kissing her, moving his hand up her thigh.

She leans back, presenting her chest to us. He grabs her breast, she makes eye contact with me. I take her other breast, start sucking.

He looks over and sees me.

Unsure how to react, he looks up, deferring to her judgement. She leans her head back, eyes closed in rapture.

What else did he expect when he invited me in?

I suck at her nipple for what seems to be an extraordinarily long time for foreplay with no variation. Eventually, my arm goes numb.

Straightening it, in an effort to restore sensation, adds half a foot to the trajectory of my head, putting my face in close proximity to hers.

Fuck it. I go in for a kiss.

She entertains the idea, but is not enthusiastic enough to warrant continued action.

In an effort to save grace, I migrate down to her neck as I handle her breast with my now free hand.

I notice my friend has neglected his duty and take over his position, placing my hand on her thigh and resuming where my friend left off (as I did earlier).

He does not approve of this, that much is clear from his face, but she is having such a good time he dare not say anything.

Instead, he kisses her. This time, she kisses back with extra tongue.

From…somewhere, I hear — a voice:

You can move, you know.

Was that her? Him? Me?

Did I just imagine that? It doesn’t look like anyone said anything…

I really would love to get out of this position though…

I slide out into the other corner of the tub. Now free to move as well, she gets up, pins my friend against the wall & begins giving him a blow job.

In doing this, she also presents her ass toward me. I play with it, spread her cheeks apart & continue with my fingers before positioning my hips behind her.

Still not entirely sure this is happening, I’m hesitant to insert myself. I can’t help but eliminate any remaining softness as I press against her, rubbing myself against her.

Fuck it. If this isn’t consent, I don’t know what is.

I pull back, position myself & thrust, fully inserting myself into her.

My friend jerks up, in shock.

“Are you ok?! Do I need to –”

“Shh!” and a hand are all she can manage, but that’s all she needs to communicate her wishes: I keep going.

She begins to rock back & forth, pinning both of us against our respective corners of the tub.

Down on him, back on me.

Down on him, back on me.

Down on him, back on me.

There’s a very nice rhythm to it and, honestly, it is a relief not to have to hold myself up & thrust. My muscular stamina was beginning to be expended, whereas I was having just the opposite situation in other areas…

Despite my best effort to keep my/our torsos out of the water, her positioning requires our bodies to occasionally submerge in water, each time killing all sensation & any progress toward climax.

What I really want is to switch positions, maybe have her go down on me for a bit. Surely he wants to actually have sex with her too, right?

I look to his corner of the tub where she plays with his semi.

Shit! He’s fucking rolling, of course he can’t keep it up.

Ok. Well I can’t keep this up & I don’t see myself finishing anytime soon stuck like this. I’m going to have to try moving again or fake it.

She immediately sits up once I remove myself from her.

She’s still going down on him, but seems fixed.

I look around for something to drink, all I can find is a flat can of diet soda. I take a sip.

Ulk.

Ok, we’re done here, let’s just get some water.

My friend notices I’m done & stops her. He gets out, bringing us both towels from the closet.

I gather my clothes, heading to the guest bathroom to get dressed again.

When I come out, my friend is waiting in the kitchen.

I grab my cup from earlier, bringing it over to fill up in the sink.

 “So… that was crazy.”

“Yeah,” clearing my throat as my cup fills.

“Good story to tell later.”

“You bet.”

“So, how much do I owe you for this?”

“Uh, the usual.”

“Cool,” he peels it off, then breaks off a little extra, “for your trouble.”

“Thank you, that’s very generous.”

“Do you need me to call you a car?”

“Nah, I’m good. My phone should be all charged up, too.”

“Can’t forget that.”

My friend heads back toward his room, stopping just before he reaches the threshold.

“You know, you can stick around if you want. I think she wants to talk for a bit, but — she might ask for you later,” before adding, “That was all her, obviously.”

“I feel fine. Thank you though.”

“Alright. Get home safe.”

He heads into his room.

I finish my water, gather my things and head out into the night.

Mike Griffis is a post-production professional and producer working out of Los Angeles. Fascinated with digital media & its practical applications for artists, he can usually be found by his computer, but he has been known to be lured away by a good book or the promise of a “good story later.”

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