Alas Poor Bryce. His prick led him astray.
He failed heeding warnings. He let his little man override advice from older, less susceptible men.
Bryce succumbed to Donna’s cajoleries. Pleasurable as he found their screwing, what happened afterwards severely screwed him.
Donna and Bryce are neighbors of mine in our complex. She’s a somewhat longtime resident. Bryce recently blew in from Utah. He works in IT. Until he gets his Las Vegas footing, finally decides whether he can hack the Mojave, his month-to-month lease covers an absentee California landlord’s rental investment.
A man in his early 20s, Bryce only reminds me of one aspect of myself at that same age.
He is nowhere near as sharp as I was then. Being cautioned about Donna and still getting to know her horizontally her proves this.
One look at Bryce and it’s obvious why Donna had no hesitation letting him into her secrets. Brawny, a boyish smile above his square jaw, and brown-haired, he’s led a drug-free life without cigarettes, alcohol, and soda. Healthy meals along with juice, milk and water have rewarded him with shiny hair and fresh skin women glimpsing him probably envy.
Why, Bryce would be insufferable if he wasn’t one of the biggest cunthounds I’ve ever met. But he is and we get along pretty well. Besides, being born after 1978 makes him a Mormon I know untainted by the now disavowed Latter Day Saints’ belief that claimed blacks inferior.
Individual parishioners hewing to such crap is one thing. However, when one’s faith promotes it all congregants are suspect until proven otherwise.
Donna and I are contemporaries. One needn’t squint to see that as a younger woman this Southern California beach blonde was a quite attractive surfboarding bunny.
Maybe Donna once issued whiffs of Gidget, too. Though I’m thinking a Gidget who consciously swished her fanny, swigged 80 proof straight from bottles rather than use the element to marinate party melons, and swore as if she invented Tourette’s.
Nonetheless Donna likely beguiled back then, too. Years and miles aside, she retains a decent measure of that sway now. The power it maintains over one man in particular astounds.
Aware of her allure, she developed a flirty nature at the expense of maturity. Rather than becoming a woman of substance, she simply added to what boys liked.
Conversing with her, she confirmed a suspicion. That women named Donna born after February 3rd, 1959, maybe as late into middle 1960, were named such by their mothers in tribute to the subject of Ritchie Valens’ hit tune.
Sweet as the teen-age dream Valens crooned about, is as sour as the disposition of the real Donna among us today.
Donna traveled a log rocky road from desirable to dismissible. Childless, she never became matronly. Without having issued progeny, she had no need to comport herself in a sage manner while passing along useful advice to a daughter or son.
The poor woman remained an object of attraction who inwardly denied time’s inexorable advance while downplaying or altogether ignoring the obvious signs of that march.
Say this for Donna: now in her late 50s, she maintains much of a pleasing to the eye figure. Capris and shorts show off respectable legs and crop tops display a midriff one wouldn’t mistake for a bulging topographical chart.
Whether through lucky genes or augmentation, Donna’s bust proudly projected far more than delved. Aware of this gift, nearly diaphanous peasant blouses that billowed open when some trifling need compelled her bend forward lightly draped her substantial upper carriage.
Although her face has lost plenty of elasticity and character lines have furrowed into wrinkles and the Mojave has fried her short hair into dried straw, the world does not recoil from a ravaged woman.
Usually when I read how some press agent has convinced a columnist or social media site to exclaim his or her one-time luscious client still resembled some kind of superlative, my rejoinder is “Your client hasn’t been ‘flavor of the month’ since the late 90s. The phoenix being parroted now, the one that’s supposed to astound the public, is a phantom who realistically cannot compare with this year’s models.”
Yet the compliments that accrue aren’t ever intended to be swallowed as Gospel. These gestures are purely vanity strokes. They are equivalent to Casablanca’s Captain Renault’s analogy of pretending to get his bar tab then pretending to pay it.
Like the debtor and receiver, all are in on the ruse behind the notions of age-resistant transcendent beauty. In Donna’s case she deludes herself and truly believes her own self-glorification.
She shares accommodations with three men. No one in this small community has much in the way of means. Every one of them stands close on either side of the margin. Pooling their meager resources enables them to rent a one-bedroom apartment. Given this quartet’s composition, it isn’t hard imagining the devil often banging at their door.
Two stumblebum rummies pick up half the monthly tariff. Billy, the fourth tenant, contributes more than just rent. He and Donna had been high school sweethearts who’d entwined into young adulthood but then unraveled. Dumb luck reunited the pair after bad luck had played havoc with their lives.
Billy’s made the most of his second chance with her. Should he follow her any more blindly, he’d be considered Donna’s shadow.
He neither sees nor hears or refuses acknowledging the harpy she frequently becomes. Billy must have a transparent of Donna stored and readied in his mind when she rants. When she brings the noise he simply uses it to cover today’s abomination with the delightful dervish who captivated a teen into young manhood.
Won’t Billy do his utmost never to lose her again? Poor bastard.
During her comet phase, Donna had most likely been the girl voted Best Dessert. At the same time in the same high school Billy played the fuckup. Better believe only stellar prep school jock stardom spared him some judge giving him a choice between the marines or jail.
Arthritic as he’s become, genial Billy retains vestiges of the strut. He does what he can to keep in shape but nothing short of horse hormones will increase his muscle tone.
Nonetheless in the summers when the Mojave routinely hits molten degrees during afternoons, they are an impressive pair of specimens either immersed in or sitting around the complex’ pool. Donna struggles into tight two-pieces whose tops she barely avoids spilling out of. If he ever wore them, Billy has thankfully retired his banana slings for roomy almost knee-length swimming trunks.
Seeing so much of their physiques exposed awards senses of how each might’ve impressed when California youths made looking good effortless. Of course had both taken better care of themselves they’d appear healthier today.
The hold Donna has over Billy is by turns compulsive and capricious. There are times, mostly when she’s drunk and loud, when Donna forces Billy to twist and jump because that’s how she survives. Then there are other times when she’s drunk and loud and mean she demeans him because the act exorcises whatever torments her.
We in this complex are cursed that Donna not only possesses a voice which carries and penetrates, but one that also bludgeons. Particularly fatal to the four’s privacy, Donna’s inability to practice the least amount of discretion or circumspection. With her what isn’t out in the open soon enough?
There is nothing incidental eavesdroppers won’t know after a while about those four residing together.
Does she take particular delight in humiliating Billy? No. I’m sure hers are unconscious eruptions.
The ax she uses as a scalpel against him stems from the wealth of mutual information and experience they’ve compiled. If she’d known the two other lodgers over the same length of time and closeness, Donna would be reading them aloud at full throat, too.
Rather than stir his resentment and provoke retaliation, Billy remains quite sanguine. Either her invective goes in one ear and out his other or his head is of an impervious element. He has yet returned fire. After what Donna unleashed in regards to her and Bryce, any chance Billy will retort or serve up a backhand against her skull are even more remote.
Probably on one of those summer days when the air nearly hot enough to smother, Bryce saw Donna lounging in a chaise poolside. Or maybe he watched her swim the laziest of laps. Solid as the heat sometimes feels in Las Vegas during the deepest least forgiving weeks of summer, it’s enough to pound the good sense out of the best of us.
One instinct Donna has developed and refined – she knows when she’s being observed. Once she had Bryce transfixed I bet she took him as her due.
What woman in our complex hadn’t seen tall, handsome, and muscular Bryce casually stalking around? Just his being near possibly revived a lot of dormant thoughts in women believing themselves rendered asexual through motherhood, age, or lethargy.
I don’t know how easy it was for Donna to have him wend his way around her. At her best, Donna is two kinds of flirty: in the unintentional innocent occasion, and the both parties aware of her manipulation sense. Learned as Donna is, practitioner of plenty of old tricks Bryce might find new, what she offered – packaging aside or maybe the packaging enhanced the gift – couldn’t have been denied.
She home-delivered herself to his door.
The setup contrived, didn’t she knock on his door? He did nothing to deny her. He did nothing to resist. Bryce probably thought Donna his due.
It’s no surprise Bryce didn’t tire of her quickly. Donna interested him. She kept him interested.
Having had a past chockablock full of partners, she possibly expended a whole gamut of sexual frivols to maintain his taste for her. I’m sure that’s the premise of more than one Colette short story. And as in the French writer’s denouements the young lover eventually becomes exhausted of the mature woman sating him.
In those stories doesn’t the discarded woman take a philosophical turn? She shrugs her shoulders, reconciles herself, and either seeks out or waits for another younger lover to fascinate for a while. That’s fiction. For poor Bryce, Donna became too real life.
I bet he summoned all his skills to eject her softly and gently. He probably saw excising Donna as an easy extraction. If I were him at his age, I might’ve thought she would’ve been grateful for our pleasant exertions and my attention.
The older me, the me of now, could’ve told him women like Donna don’t favor being discarded. If there’s any kicking to the curb to be done, they do it.
I don’t imagine she accepted her dismissal calmly. Oh! What am I thinking? She didn’t!
On a cricket-quiet August night, Donna’s air raid siren voice informed us. Almost immediately after Bryce had vacated her sweet spot neighbors heard the effects of inflamed rejection fueled by Old Knee Break, a discount brand rotgut that also removes paint and maybe fingerprints as well.
What she served Bryce was either a supreme compliment or major mortification. No surprise if what she announced made records skip and incited spit-takes.
“That white boy brung a BIG nigger dick to our motherfucking parties!”
Hearing that just didn’t open eyes. It probably stuck eyelashes to foreheads.
From then on she raged in a prolonged torrent. One guesses any breaks were for slugging refills.
Once she eradicated Bryce from her system, Donna pivoted onto Billy. As she had in the past, and will certainly repeat in the future, she assailed his manhood. His shortcomings got worked over and roasted then flayed for good measure. She mentioned, no, she lauded, gangs of prior lovers including, oddly, the recently cursed Bryce.
Billy’s equanimity further incensed her.
As he had before, did he hear her rant as a thunderstorm only needing waiting out? Had he heard these harangues so often they no longer bruised him? Shrike as she could be, did Billy adore Donna so deeply that contending with such outrages part of his bargain to keep her?
The way she abases him is criminal. That he allows it is worse.
Nevertheless their latest contretemps ended as all the previous ones had. As all the future ones will.
Donna’s roar gradually lost its bite. She started slurring. Her growl softened.
How listeners knew the worst had subsided? Readers of a certain age might recognize the Poppy Family. In the early 70s they sang a hit tune titled Which Way You Goin’ Billy?
Once Donna’s anger wanes, and one may suspect just before she passes out, she croaks these stanzas: “You are my whole, babe/My heart and my soul, babe/I’d have nothing to show, babe/If you were to go.”
I suppose that’s the sort of naked sentiment which might extend an impossibly immense amount of forgiveness and understanding. I shall never know.