.

 

Colgate Money Shot

“Oh man is she pissed,” he said.

I met my friend's husband for the second time - the first was at their wedding - at a bar, and he gave his wife a kiss, and then I asked, where's mine, and he gave me one with tongue, like this. To which I had to cock my head. It'd been a month since anyone had kissed me like that. And then I shrugged. Whatever, we're drunk.

Then we went back to their place and ordered Chinese. I was bragging about my life, which looked good to me, right then. He asked if I wanted to go to a big concert, and I said, “yeah, well,” and he said, “come on,” and I said, “the thing is,” and I said, “yeah, see,” and he said “what's your excuse?” and I said, “see, I have backstage passes to that, I know the guy who-” and he leapt on me and began to beat my head with his fists. We were all laughing.

Then he showed me his computer, a laptop running Linux, and we talked about window managers. His wife was ready to strangle us. “Where's the porn collection?” I asked.

“Oh,” he said. “Go into the tee-ee-em-pee slash goodstuff directory in my tilde and fire up crossover. I have a cron job at work that downloads the new stuff.”

“Wow,” I said, a little surprised. I had been joking. I followed his directions. “This is really something.” I fired up the video player. I said, “There's a lot of files here.” The sound of fake orgasm came through the tiny speakers in the laptop. A massive cock was being thrusted into the pink anus of a young woman, the video 200x200 pixels. Looking at the penis, I asked, “Does that thing have a spine?

I looked over to his wife, whose eyes were shooting billion-watt ruby laser beams at her husband. She got up and went into the bathroom, slamming the door.

“Oh, God, shut that down. I fucked up,” he said.

“She didn't know about this?” I asked.

“No, she's-” The bathroom door opened and she came out, her cheeks puffed in anger. She stood a few inches from him. He looked up at her. She sprayed a huge mouthful of white toothpaste all over his face, shirt, and pants. He just nodded.

She turned from him and gave me a hug. “It was great you came out. Stay over,” she said. “It's late. We'll go get breakfast.” Then she went into the bedroom, another door closing hard.

I looked at him. There was white fluid on his hair and cheeks, on his chest and collar. “You never told her you had a porn collection?”

“No, she really thinks porn is, you know. Demeaning to women. I mean, it is. She's right.”

“Yeah, it is,” I said. I'd been thinking a lot about that lately. “So why did you just show me in front of her?”

“Because I'm really stupid.” He said it with a voice full of melancholy.

“No, but you were -”

“No, see, I'm just really stupid.”

“Yeah, but you -”

“I'm really stupid.

I looked at him. He got up and went into the bathroom, staggering a little bit. We'd probably had 15 or 20 beers, bottles and pints, between us. He came out a few minutes later in a new shirt, the toothpaste mostly gone from his face, except for a dab on his cheek.

“She is an amazing woman. Oh man is she pissed.

“She's great. I really like knowing her.”

“She's beautiful and brilliant and I love her.”

“You've got a lot of movies on that machine.”

It was quiet and late. We were both slouched in our chairs. “Erase them, right?” he said.

“You're sure? are-em minus are-eff?”

“Yeah. All of it.”

“Okay,” I said, and very carefully - carefully, because the rm -rf command should not be used when drunk; it's as dangerous as driving, and can destroy everything you love about your computer - I issued the statement. The hard drive made a noise, then was silent. “It's gone,” I said.

“You should stay over.” It was 3.

“No,” I said. “I want to go home.”

“Stay over.”

I thought about it, but my own bed seemed right after all this. He and I shook hands and I walked home, about 10 blocks.

.  .  .  .  .  

I called the next day, and everything was calm. The real problem had been the secrecy of the collection; even though she didn't like pornography, the fact that he would suddenly spring a fairly sizeable porn-movie-clip in conversation infuriated her more than the collection of jack-off movies itself. “Oh, we're fine,” she said, and they were. “You should have stayed over.”

“It was pretty amazing, the big comeshot moment with the toothpaste. Sort of anti-porn cleanliness shot all over his face.”

“That connection didn't even occur to me, you know. I just was angry.”

This all happened months ago, and the toothpaste-spraying made it a funny story that I told to a few people, but what kept with me was the statement, “I'm just really stupid.” I couldn't get it out of my head. He didn't have a rationale. He didn't excuse his behavior. He wasn't looking to get out of the consequences. He just took it, right on the chin, and knew he'd have to put it right - not weasel out or explain it silver-tongued, but earn back some respect. I had to admire it, the willingness to face himself down, to admit what a piece of shit he could be, which is, I think, the sign of a worthwhile person.


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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

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