Sweet Spot

Over the last week of September 2014 I instigated an email roundelay. The thread concerned Elmira’s Ass. Oh, I came so close to awarding that title to this post. But if – when – readers got offended, I wanted them spewing umbrage somewhere about the content, not before the first paragraph.

A giveaway title like “Elmira’s Ass” and right there the jig is up!

Now a little backstory to the big backside in question.

Idleness fomented the conversation about Elmira’s ass. Much must happen before I’m confirmed into my new gig. Ambivalence and apprehension vie with anxiety because until the proper authorities sign off, I’m in administrative limbo. However, once I get the job I hope to be in Schaeffer City pdq.

Given the hours on my hands, and given the devil uses such idle implements, my musings ran aground on Elmira. Particularly her ample rump.

In a eureka moment, I wondered whether when upon waking Elmira’s lover/wife/companion/whatever regarded with curiosity the fading pink yet still distinct palm print mapping the right globe of her behind. Yeah. I’m making vast assumptions. There’s a palm print on Elmira’s ass and that she and her significant other sleep naked. Just because Elmira may cohabit in a Boston Marriage doesn’t signify theirs may be a bohemian existence.

Wasn’t there a time she portrayed traits common in conventional women? Panties easily mistaken for bloomers, boring bras, and certainly lights-off sex?

Lights-off sex. Now that restores a good many prurient memories!

But I’m fairly certain in the 25 years or so since she’s settled across in East Bay after flirting with San Francisco, and our last contact in the 1990s, she’s chucked the old garments and lost any confining habits.

Hopefully more than a job lured Elmira into Northern California from Tucson. I like to think Scott McKenzie’s imploring or Gertrude Stein’s formative spirit summoned her. Of the latter, when there was still a “there” there.

During our heyday Elmira was a sturdy girl. Has she gotten stout since? Other questions such as how gray has Elmira’s blonde whitened and whether exasperation prematurely downcast her face weren’t volleyed between us email correspondents. Least not yet.

In my younger and invulnerable undergraduate days and nights at Arizona, we enjoyed overlapping circles of acquaintances. Through no effort by ourselves, this before Kevin Bacon’s Six Degrees of Separation, disparate people in distinct cliques somehow developed solid lines with those whom they otherwise might never have associated.

Or to be prosaic, mods and rockers and toffs comingled at Arizona. By the way, “comingle” was an Elmira locution. The rest of us? We just ramped and romped.

Back then, we unquestioningly took our assigned roles. Women and men. Donuts and hot dogs. Nuts and bolts. Current gender osmosis, the easy erasure of old lines, would’ve been unfathomable in our late 1970s, early 80s swirl. Nonetheless didn’t we exhibit less contrariness with those nonconformists who bucked then-mainstream proclivities? A conservative university in a conservative state, most of us just let others be; just let them live however.

Seems today any professing conservative bona fides might seek out injections of the old ideology. Such adherents weren’t reprehensible then.

I believe the phrase “Well, I’m not in that relationship so it’s none of my business” spared a lot of emotional anguish and attitudinal gnashing. Nor had freak-flag flying yet entered into vogue.

During this time, Elmira began discovering her rainbow self. Her true colors. She who also started selectively obeying. A development complicated by two male factors.

First, a loathsome boyfriend whose rat-bastard behavior purposely impugned. Second, Warren, a suitor whose solicitous comportment and willing devotion manifested themselves too late into Elmira’s transformation. Had Warren arrived sooner, she might’ve gone through some self-deception hoops, delaying who she eventually became through denial.

Why, yes, maintaining facades of normal life was harder decades ago. Explains a lot of the era’s attempted overdoses and successful suicides, no?

Warren would’ve been good for Elmira. More than just a step up our species evolutionary ladder, he would’ve treated her decently. He was and remains a Yankee of the genteel New England sort. Unlike the whip Elmira then attached fealty, Warren wouldn’t have unduly tasked her. Who knows? Perhaps after years of her bonehead boyfriend’s hot & cold that’s how she thought all suitors abused their women. That the case, who wouldn’t have stayed with the known devil?

One night Elmira’s confusion and Warren’s honest conviction met at an intersection. There, they collided. For the rest of us it was a party, vintage 1980. A dark green house squatting on the edge of Catalina Park lent itself to that evening’s mad den. The usual loud, crowded, smoky, booze-sodden atmosphere prevailed. Our intimacies verged upon indiscreet. Oh, no, sorry. That was the drug use.

Had they been on site, the Eagles should’ve dedicated an album to what transpired. (One of These Nights meets New Kid in Town.) Maybe an exceptional time because despite our fall-down drunken, drugged-out excesses it was memorable. Or maybe our excesses kept it memorable.

Plenty went on. Most of it legal; one aspect poignant and unrevealed until the late 90s in Amsterdam. It explained a great deal. It re-ordered a well-known memory.

Anyway, throughout the evening into earliest morning earnest Warren hounded Elmira. Some heart & soul-pouring needed doing. His. And he intended a-doing it, dammit!

A woman, Elmira had intuited his sweet intentions. A conflicted woman, she meandered towards admission and simplification of her life. Unfortunately, Warren’s well-meaning earnest imposition would bring complications. Is there any gentle way of expressing that? Of making an admirer comprehend while kindly deflating him? Certainly! In a quiet glade, preferably in a bosky dell, though not suggested in any address whose walls shook and windows rattled from Highway to Hell.

Each time sincere Warren approached, Elmira recoiled as if he’d pounced.

Their movable Ode to a Grecian Urn continued through a lot of drinking, snorting and toking. By the last straw of the penultimate event perception might’ve become precarious.

While much weighed on Elmira and Warren’s minds, less convoluted life continued unabated elsewhere. Others inside our mob scene sought hook ups. One of the many sniffing out any meaningless up close and personal connection was a fellow named, oh, let’s call him Penn Dutch, shall we?

Formed by merciless proximity to Philadelphia, Penn Dutch behaved after a fashion plenty of Westerners doubtlessly found brusque. If you’re an Easterner, it’s nothing unusual. It’s Philly.

Then, Penn Dutch’s build resembled that of an ox. An image he further promoted by bulldozing instead of walking. He, Warren and I resided at the same dorm. On this fated evening, Warren had chauffeured us in his Deathmobile.

Somehow I found myself standing behind Elmira. Not hot and heavy close. Space between us permitted people to pass.

She and I had known another through a whole host of permutations in the prior three years. We’d reached détente. A few breaks and it could’ve been sweet between us. Though unlike Warren I’d accepted the condition of our irrevocable position. Me trying to make her budge would’ve been futile.

I’m pretty sure I’d stationed myself there to speak with her. Possibly about Warren, a k a Don Quixote. Then, inebriated though not slurring or weaving, maybe a few sloshed words in the right ear might’ve provided enough drunken reasoning to buff her proper suitor. Failing that, well, hooch, dope, heat, closeness, hazy recollections from having lingered under mistletoe at a long-ago Christmas party, and maybe we could mack again like it was 1977.

That wasn’t my intention. Merely a “just might-could.”

Didn’t matter. Elmira leant over something. A table maybe. No, she inspected geegaws our hostess had arraigned on the lowest shelf of a knickknack vitrine. Chicks.

Posed as she was, Elmira presented one of those visions that would’ve had a callypigian adherent (that’s assman or –woman to you, bub) panting harder than Milton Drysdale at the thought of the Clampetts adding to their accounts at his bank.

Hers was the kind of heinie Sir Mix-a-Lot rapped about. I’ve no doubt the thought of grabbing some of that ass crossed my mind. Whether I would’ve acted on the impulse remains lost to posterity.

Penn Dutch did not hesitate.

From out of nowhere, a huge hand seemingly sweeping in from Broad Street cracked and clamped Elmira’s right hindquarter. He’d been walking by. He’d seen opportunity. Penn Dutch grabbed it.

When Mount St. Helens erupted, Penn Dutch’s palm upon Elmira’s tush must’ve been what the explosion resembled. Adding impudence to injury, the man gripped and shook her globe as if he were yanking an Easter ham from the meat bin.

Like I said, the cat was Philly.

And then Penn Dutch was gone … leaving me holding the bag like a chump. Escape was out of the question. What’s the most obvious admission of guilt? Right. High-tailing it.

I expected Elmira to swing around and start flailing. Which why I had my mouth amped for “talk fast.” She never struck those blows.

Instead after a disdainful glare at me, she left. I glanced around to determine whether any other partygoer had witnessed the dodged bullet. Nope.

Almost immediately afterwards, Warren once again went unto the breach. Bad timing. She riposted his parry with a fatal lunge. Only that pair will ever know what words gouged them. However, hers were of such a piercing nature that genial Warren transformed into my favorite rodeo bull, Short Fuse. He went off.

The yelled words he chiseled into stone were, “FUCK IT! WE’RE LEAVING!”

By this eruption, Penn Dutch had reemerged from the moil at my side. We looked at each other and in perfect Tweedledum and Tweedledee unison, stated, “I guess we’re leaving.”

On the careen back to campus, frustrated Warren fumed. Sputtering unmitigated anger rendered him senseless. Elmira had launched him beyond the point.

Decades on, that night is clearer in my mind than any recent meal. For all of us probably – including too long silent Elmira.

We three men chuckle about it – often. It’s a story requiring zero embellishment. Our former caprice and passion are the best parts. Who among us doesn’t miss them? With age we’ve naturally grown more careful – so grabbing strange ass demands calculations and doesn’t that spoil spontaneity?

As for the second, well, there will always be outbursts of lust. But decent passion needs tending, and by this stage hasn’t it all been expended? Or worse, frittered away?

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