“Do you want to fuck?” “Hmm?” “Anymore?” “Of course.” Like everyone else, dismal poverty and ruthlessly wonderful lovers could characterize your early twenties. Never will so many people be in love with you, it has been said. Unless you were fortunate enough to have a few clammy affairs, never will you so enjoy giving a blow job. You were not paying close enough attention and were barely aware you were twenty-nine by your thirtieth birthday. You had settled with Albert, you shared a well-decorated apartment, bills and a bed that he took to sleeping in after masturbating while you showered and pretended not to notice. You did the same, it was the unexploded firework detonated for the purpose of safety and well-being at the end of an ineffective day. It sometimes seemed too much, not enough—that static life threatening buzz. It was obvious everyone was pulling it together and becoming gainfully unhappy. The void left by a life of insufficient funds, without prejudice letters, and date rape drugged drinks was vast and confrontational. What did it want? Pant suits? Nine to five? Pre–approved payments? Yes, clearly it wanted a lot and was swayed by contributions and lateral pressure from your parents and their respective partners. Albert explained he had to start working out to be great again. “Should we be fucking other people?” “No, no, not at all.” He plainly did not have the energy for this. “Something else?” “Like what? You’re so sensitive.” “I’m not sensitive, I just said coming in a girl’s face stings her eyes.” “Yeah.” “Urinating?” “What on me? Or do I piss on you? Does someone jerk off or do we fuck after? Is the piss still on me or is this taking place in the shower?” “It would have to be in the shower because otherwise the floors will smell like it. It’s not easy to get out, probably.” “Yeah. And we just had them redone.” Marriage and children were a stretch you told it, you wavered but your stand-up behaviour kept the wolf at someone else’s door. The same wolf who had gored the fuck out of Sarah’s vintage wardrobe and left her wading in sturdy Lands’ End wear, the one who stole Jason’s balls and had him talking about his children’s gender identity quite a lot lately and contacting high school girlfriends for affection on Facebook, the very same. The wolf that had you assisting. Just assisting, there was no cool title. You made one up mostly, and your mother told people you worked for Michael Ondaatje because your boss’s name was Michael. The pay was good. “You know what Elliot told me? Marina won’t swallow because she’s a vegan and I guess she considers the whole thing an animal product issue.” “Really? She’s hot but she’s fucking nuts.” “Mmhmm.” You pat down and air dry near the open balcony, take a picture of your tits on your cell phone to see how they look. It may be time to consider taking up smoking again, merely for leisure, nights and weekends.