"SWALLOW"

So, it's about eight o'clock on a Friday night and we're headed to the movies downtown. It's not that long of drive or anything, but it's enough for me to over analyze things like usual. Pete's driving because he's the only one with a car. Mary's in the passenger seat, and Kate is in the back, with me. I'm staring out my window trying to avoid any eye contact because I really don't feel like talking to her. She's probably waiting for me to say something, but I'm not going to.

She looks real nice tonight. She's got a cute face behind cute little glasses. She looks pitiful, but in one of those cute, puppy-dog kind of ways. I glance over to see if she's paying any attention to me; she isn't, but she turns and sees me looking at her. Her cheeks crimp up into one of those really oblivious smiles, so I just smile back. I figure how pitiful and oblivious she looks is really going to screw over the night. Hell, if anybody's going to screw over the night, it's me, like usual.

We pull up to the theatre and park somewhere up front. Pete and Mary get out of the car and hold each other's hand, like couples are supposed to do, I guess. I forget that Kate is there for a second, so she does the honors and grabs my hand. We're a couple Whatever.

The show ends pretty late, which means I've got to sit through a bunch of shit until I can get home to my bed. I guess you could say I really don't want to be here, but I am, because I guess this is what teenagers are supposed to do on Friday nights.

After about ten minutes of trailers, the lights dim and our movie starts rolling. The four of us scramble to get comfortable, and I keep scrambling, because I can never really get comfortable in these cramped seats, no matter how comfortable they are. So I'm sitting there scrambling for a good minute or so, when Pete leans over and starts messing around with Mary. I feel like an asshole, because I'm sure Kate is staring at me with her cute puppy-dog face, waiting for me to do the same. Whatever, this looked like a good flick on the commercials, and I haven't treated myself to a decent movie in ages.

It's been about a half hour or so, and I've gotten to that point where you forget you've got a prior engagement with the world, so you smirk and scowl with your new friends in your new home on the big screen. And then you-know-who starts scrambling again, and you've got to glance over to her, because you know she wants you to. I figure I shouldn't be a complete dick to her, so I tear my eyes from some action sequence. They never do much for me anyway.

I glance over to her, but in one of those subtle kinds of ways. She's watching the movie, smiling, with her cute puppy dog face. (The theater is still blaring and the big screen is still lit up in car-chase-pizzazz, so it's safe to assume that that action sequence is still going strong, and I couldn't care much less for action sequences) I lean over and kiss her on the cheek. She does one of those quick turns as if to suggest that I was diverting her attention from the movie, and even as if to suggest that I startled her a bit, but I still figure that she was waiting for me. She looks back at me and smiles, and we start kissing. I'll admit it, too: I start to feel relatively good with it all, relatively right. But I suppose that if this were with any other relatively good looking girl such as herself, I'd be feeling relatively right then too.

We go at it for a good amount before the music starts to dull down again. I start to pull away to get back to the movie but she keeps at it, so I keep at it. I start to figure that this is all going to my head, and I need to stop fooling myself, because I know that I'm not a good kisser, and I know that she knows that I'm not a good kisser. Like I said, it's all going to my head, and I can't figure what's in this for her? Then, I remember.

We're a couple.

Something turns me off for a second, but she gets playful and starts to bite, which is fine by me.

We're a couple.

We keep at it.

She slides her hand down my jacket and grabs my belt. I can't decide if I want to scramble or not. She bites my lip, pulls, releases, and laughs. I laugh, too. I guess I have to. She smiles and says she'll be right back. I say OK, try and relax, and watch her leave. She's got a real nice ass for that cute puppy dog face.

I look back at the big screen, and start to get antsy. I try and get back into the movie, but for some reason it's doing nothing for me. I realize that the lead role was killed off somewhere along in the action sequence, so I figure it's going to end soon.

Good.

I remember that we came here with Pete and Mary, so I look over at them, and they're talking and kissing. Pete sees me and tells me that we're heading out soon to go back to his place, and I say "Alright."

Kate comes back and the other two get up, and I assume we're leaving. I take Kate's hand and we make our way back to the car.

Like I said, it's not a long drive or anything, so we make it back to Pete's house pretty quick.

Good.

We go inside and sit for a while, just talking. We eventually decide that we need something to do. Drinking is never really on the top of our list, so we head on to what Pete considers the next best thing…Balderdash. Whatever. I don't bother telling him what a lousy idea that is, so Kate heads upstairs to get the box. She asks me to come with her, and I'm still antsy, so I go. Pete shouts up to us that it's in the closet in his room.

We get to the upstairs hallway, and it's lined with doors. She says she's going to

go back down to ask Pete which door is his. I say OK but figure she could have just hollered to him. Whatever.

She heads down and I wander into a room that I guessed was Pete's. It is. I can tell. It's walled with boisterous neon bar lights, a couple of New York Giants billboard posters, 2006's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Calendar, and a bulletin board. Boring by all means. There's a porn mag sticking out from under his bed, so I kick it under. I don't know why.

I hear footsteps coming back up the stairs, but they stop again. I go out to meet them, and stop to hear Kate whispering to the two downstairs. She tells them not to come upstairs, and I shrug it off. I tell her I found the room, and she follows me in. She says something about the lights, laughs, so I laugh. I open the closet, grab the Balderdash box, and say that I think it's a pretty lame game. She agrees with me. What else is she going to do?

We laugh, and she kisses me, so I put the box down and kiss back. I'm antsy.

We feel around for the bed, sit down, and keep at it. She bites and I bite back, and everything is fine. We start to get a real feel for each other. We stop to smile at each other, and then get right back at it. I can hear our lips make contact over the buzzing of the bar lights, and assure myself that this is way better than fucking balderdash.

We keep at it.

I don't know how much time passes by, but I don't really care. I recall her telling the two downstairs not to come upstairs, and I'm glad.

We stop to breathe. And smile. I go in for a little more. She stops me, smiles, and makes her way off of the bed to the floor, kneeling. I breathe, and through the dark, and the neon, she smiles. She grabs my belt, unbuckles, unzips.

And I fucking scramble.

To my feet.

To my head.

To my wellbeing.

To my dignity.

To my senseless, abrasive, and dignified wellbeing.

What the hell is wrong with me?

My hands fly to my head, and I stare back into the piss yellow neon darkness in front of me; she's crying. And I say what any other senselessly abrasive and dignified asshole would say.

"I'm sorry."

I bolt down the stairs to where Mary and Pete are. And there they are. Kneeling in prayer, hair in a tie, she stomachs her pride and swallows him whole. Pants at ankles, head sprawled back, he gives her his all. And she takes it. And I run out the door. And I run some more. And I keep running.

Run.

Run.

Run.

It's not that long of a run.

So I run.