Catchy (Sitting 61) M, Leo and the First Meeting…August 11th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Grateful he was.

Matthew sat quietly in his overstuffed and overpriced first-class seat on the midnight flight from Washington, D.C. to Las Vegas.

The plane was dark. It was quiet. Most of the passengers had taken their tiny element of a sleeping pill and disappeared into slumber.

That was also true of Leonora, who quickly explained that she was exhausted from the audition and needed to get some solid airplane z’s on the trip because she had a meeting the next morning with the symphony coalition, to discuss health benefits.

Her excuse, like every performance in her life, was well-rehearsed and inadequately presented.

As Matthew had gotten to know her, he liked her less and less, and so found himself burying his interest and passions into their sexual adventure.

She was opinionated. Matthew had always viewed himself as open-minded–easy to get along with–but in her presence felt defensive. He hated it when she insisted he start calling her “Leo,” because she viewed herself, in the realm of business, intellect and art, as a lioness.

“You are what you claim to be,” she mouthed.

Matthew nodded, quite certain that many claims were being made every day by mortals which made the heavens laugh.

What really troubled him was when she started calling him “M.”

Just the letter “M.”

When he asked her why she was doing that, she said, “I’m encouraging you to grow. You need to realize that you’re on a journey to fill out your name.”

Matthew didn’t know what the hell that meant, but was in no mood to have it explained further and end up with more dents in his body work. He was also afraid that if she started in trying to become his psychoanalyst, he would have to be more forthcoming and tell her that she was much less than she presumed.

Her oboe playing had never been great, but had become even less proficient as she started to complain about the fellow-members of her quintet and the unwillingness of the symphony conductor to listen to her suggestions on seating and tone.

She viewed Matthew as an ignoramus, even though he had spent many years enjoying classical music, and had a very good friend at the university who was an oboist. Matthew kept his mouth closed except when they were kissing.

It was especially difficult that day, when she met him at the airport, explaining that the audition was long, she had to wait, and then it turned out that she had some sort of microscopic, tiny split in her reed, which prohibited her from gaining the full height and depth of her range. She requested another time to audition but the committee refused. So she failed because they were inconsiderate.

Matthew listened to her rail for a solid hour–against the walls, the furniture, the paint and the chairs that surrounded her, blaming everything she possibly could for her setback–except for the fact that she was insufficient for the moment.

It was the strangest relationship of Matthew’s life. There was a deep-rooted part of him that loved her madly; an exotic jungle passion that nearly left him breathless. But as a human being, she had selected the portions of intelligence that she revered, while ignoring the virtues that make such knowledge applicable.

Matthew remained silent.

Sitting in the darkness of the airplane, glancing over at his sleeping lover, he began to cry. It actually turned into a tiny sob, which he hoped nobody else heard.

He was so embarrassed. He was ashamed–but also enraged, because here he was, with a defunct liver in his body, battling for his life, simultaneously apologizing for breathing.

How in the hell had it gotten so complicated? What was he going to do?

He reached into his pocket and pulled out his own remedy for insomnia–a tiny flask of a brandy which included a shot or two fo sherry. He downed the remainder of the contents and put his head back. Sleep still refused to come–so he cried.

Matthew finally dozed off, with tears streaming down his face.

*****

The following morning, in Washington, D.C., Soos decided to get started on her project.

She thought she had the easiest assignment of all. Michael Hinston, who had been a Congressman, wining and dining lobbyists who were salivating for his vote, now had a humble one-room efficiency at the YMCA. His marriage to the Lutheran minister had been annulled when she discovered all the trials and tribulations chasing him, threatening to destroy his life. She loved him, but she still wanted out.

So he was alone with his twin bed.

Soos called Michael and he agreed to meet with her at ten o’clock A.M., at a little diner he claimed had the best waffles and scrapple on the East Coast. Soos explained she had never eaten scrapple–avoiding it because the ingredients seemed to be the rear-end of every barnyard creature. But Michael said she would probably enjoy this batch.

Arriving at the diner, they found a booth in the back. They embraced–the kind of embrace that merged “old college friends” with some tenderness of man and woman, and a huge immersion in fellow-travelers of faith.

As Michael pulled away he had tears in his eyes.

“Why are you crying?” asked Soos.

Michael chuckled. “Because I can–and I am the luckiest man in the world to be able to cry this morning.”

Soos took the next ten minutes to explain to Michael what had transpired with the abduction and the request made to her–to contact him, the goal being some secret discovery about his involvement, which was beyond her comprehension.

“Well, since neither one of us know what it means, or have any idea of the significance, I think it’s good that we came to eat waffles,” said Michael.

And eat they did. Soos ended up actually enjoying the scrapple, though she thought it was a little salty.

They just talked. It was a conversation that would be difficult to explain to a stranger, so filled with tenderness that it would always be remembered as priceless.

“There was a time in my life,” Michael said, “when if you had told me that some organization or guy had chosen me for special attention, I would have assumed it was just great foresight on their part. I wasn’t just arrogant–I was religious about my arrogance. I actually believed that God wanted me to be the best father in the world. The best husband. The best extra-marital lover. The best Congressman. And of course, the best cheater in Washington, D.C. Sometimes when you’re going for the best you forget that it has to begin with good. You know–good, better, best?”

Soos smiled. She had always loved Michael because he was clever. Unfortunately, cleverness could have dangerous blow-back.

Michael continued. “I almost lost everything. Let me edit my own statement. I did lose everything–but I never actually had it. I just pretended. I pretended so hard that, honest to God, I could not imagine what was happening when my first wife left me for a Lesbian and my second wife left me because I was a criminal. Everybody leaves me.”

He grinned. “And I really can’t argue with them. They’ve got really good reasons.”

“So I don’t know why anybody would want me to do anything. I did fix the radiator in my room, so when winter comes I’ll be warm. That was pretty nifty.”

Michael paused.

“Will you talk to me about Matthew?” he asked. “I don’t think I ever loved a man as much as I love Matthew. I don’t think I ever told him that. I was afraid he would make fun of me.”

Soos giggled and spit out a little bit of her coffee. “He would have.”

Michael chuckled. They sat for a moment. Soos reached over and took his hand.

“He’s dying,” she said.

Michael lifted his head, shocked.

“Not quickly,” she explained. “But his liver is shot to hell, and gradually, he’s just poisoning himself. “And he has a new girlfriend that has the personality of a prickly pear.”

Michael laughed. “What you’re saying is that she is difficult to sit down on and talk to.”

For some reason, Soos found that statement hilarious. She laughed and snorted, gaining the attention of half the diner. A dirty look from the proprietor finally made her sober up.

“I don’t want to get you kicked out of your favorite diner,” she said.

Michael waved her off. “Forget about it. I waffle on my favorite diner.”

He smiled with the innocence of a ten-year-old boy. “What can I do for Matthew?”

Soos considered and then injected, “Got a black market liver in your pocket?”

Michael crinkled his brow. “No,” he said, “but I have a liver in my body.”

“Don’t you need that?” mocked Soos.

“Yeah, but not all of it. I could give him a piece of mine.”

Soos shook her head. “That’s ridiculous, Michael. Anyway, you probably wouldn’t be a match.”

“But what if I was?” queried Michael. “What if I held the key to Matthew’s life the way Jesus held the key for mine?”

Soos groaned, a little disgusted. “So now you think you’re a savior?”

“No,” said Michael. “That job is filled. It just seems like if you could save someone, why not go ahead and do it?”

A lightbulb went off in Soos’s head.

“Oh, my God,” she said. “Is it possible that your part in this, whatever…mission…is to help Matthew and bring him to Jesus?”

Michael teared up again. He took the final bite of waffle laying on his plate, seemingly deserted. He chewed, swallowed, and looked Soos in the eye.

“My dear sister,” he said slowly, “I can’t imagine a greater calling.”

 

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Catchy (Sitting 57) Avoid the Saddle…. July 15th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3734)

Matthew leaned up from his prone position on the bed and kissed the very naked back of Leonora, the oboist.

“Don’t do that,” she complained. “Now my back is all wet from your gooey lips and I feel cold.”

“You’re welcome,” said Matthew with a lovey-dovey hum.

The two of them lay in the bed, very still, for a solid minute, maybe two. Matthew interrupted the silence.

“You had a great idea,” he said.

“Which one?” Leonora asked.

“You know. When you decided to divide our evening into two parts–dinner, then the movie–and you declared it two different dates, and so when we ended up coming to my place to have sex, it was like we were finishing up the second date…”

“Actually the third,” corrected Leonora. “You forgot about the time we spent with the quintet in the Gallery.”

“So we waited until the third date, then, to have sex. Very proper,” Matthew noted approvingly.

“I thought so,” purred Leonora.

“You know what I like?” asked Matthew.

Leonora suddenly sat straight up in the bed and turned to Matthew. “You’re one of those. One of those goddamn guys who can’t keep his mouth shut and go to sleep. You’re part girl. That’s it, you know. You’ve got to have conversation, commentary, closeness and cuddle-wuddles to make you feel like what we did had really deep meaning, instead of being like two baboons cracking a nut.”

Matthew eased up to sit on his butt. “Wow. There’s an image I don’t need. So are you gonna think I’m weird if I tell you that this was great, and it felt great and you were great?”

Leonora sighed. “No, I think I pretty well knew that when you finished your orgasm by singing ‘American Pie.'”

“I always liked that song,” said Matthew. “Very underrated.”

“And so are you, my dear,” she said, patting him on the head. She pulled back the sheet and walked across the room totally naked, attempting to gather her belongings.

“Are you leaving?” asked Matthew.

Leonora turned to speak to him as she squeezed into her panties. “Yes. I have a life. My horn calls me. I have friends. Somewhere in my house I have a pet cat, even though he rarely makes an appearance. I just assume he’s still there because the food disappears and the house smells like shit.”

As she finished speaking, the doorbell rang. Matthew looked over at Leonora and mouthed, “I don’t know…”

He leaped to his feet and said, “Hold on a second. Let’s both put on those thick white terry cloth robes, and go to the door and answer it, pretending we are Mr. and Mrs. Normal Tourist from Des Moines, Iowa.”

“Make it Rapid City, South Dakota and you’ve got a deal,” said Leonora.

They donned the robes and headed to the door. Opening it, they found Soos standing there with a gentleman who greatly resembled Jubal Carlos, but with a much different haircut.

Matthew, displaying great shock, asked, “Don’t you think you should call me first before you just show up?”

Soos pushed past him, gave Leonora an uncomfortable hug and stepped into the living room. “We tried to call. You don’t answer, you’re never home, your mailbox is full. It’s almost like you’re dead, but nobody’s found out yet.”

The Jubal lookalike held out his hand. “I’m Jasper–Jubal’s brother. Nice to meet you.” He, too. walked right past the visitors from the Dakotas and stepped into the living room.

Jasper and Soos found nice seats on the couch as Matthew pointed to Soos and said to Leonora, “This is my friend from college. We call her Soos… Ahhh…You’ve already been introduced to Jasper…”

He turned to Soos and Jasper. “This is my…What should I say? My protegé in love.”

“What the hell?” Leonora gave a quick wave to Soos and Jasper.

Matthew, stung by his own awkward description, stumbled into the room. “What is it you want, Soos?”

Soos looked around the room, her eyes falling on nine or ten bottles of Jack Daniels, sitting in a corner, abandoned.

“Well,” she said, “I thought that since you’re the executive producer of this organization, you might like to have an update.”

Matthew sat down in a big, plump chair. “Well, actually, I get updates on the news broadcasts.”

“Well, that’s not very personal,” said Jasper.

“Exactly,” said Matthew. “That’s what I’m trying to avoid. Getting personal.”

“Who are these people?” Leonora asked Matthew, obviously perturbed.

Soos stepped in to offer an explanation. “We are his comrades, business cohorts and missionaries, if you will, on this project to make Jesus popular again. You may have heard of it…”

Leonora rolled her eyes like eyes had never been rolled before. “Yes, I’ve heard of it.”

Turning to Matthew, she asked, “Are you part of this?”

Matthew pointed at Leonora and said, “Great question. I got the thing started. Jubal Carlos, who’s his brother…” He pointed to Jasper. “Picked up the ball, and now it seems that Little Boy Blue is blowing the horn of insanity.”

“No shit,” said Leonora.

“Ooh, a non-believer,” Soos squealed with some giddy glee. “I love non-believers.”

“I am not a non-believer,” snapped Leonora. “I just don’t call it God. When I was asked in college about my faith, I told them I was a Panist.”

Jasper wrinkled his brow. “Panist?

Leonora stepped across the room and found her own seat in a straight-back chair. “Yes. Greek. Pan–all. Ist–me. I believe in everything, everyone and every creature. I make no distinction between the busy ant and your Jewish God.”

“Wow,” said Soos. And nothing more.

Matthew sat back admiringly. For the first time in many years, he realized he had made love to a woman who actually had a brain.

Soos, unperturbed, launched.

She explained that Michael Hinston had become an inspiration in Soulsbury to all around him–a leader and compassionate man, seeking to help others.

On and on she spoke. Of miracles. Moments. She mentioned the wonderful series done by Jennifer Carmen in North Carolina, featuring Jubal’s life and story. She nearly cried when explaining that the United Nations had put out a proclamation stating that this was to become the “Decade of Kindness.”

When Soos finally slowed up, Jasper jumped in. “Word has it you’re not that enthusiastic about the things we’re doing, Matthew. Is that right?”

Matthew just sat and stared at Jasper. He didn’t want to hurt the feelings of a man he had just met, but he also didn’t want to lie and pretend–especially in front of his exciting new lover.

“It’s just my experience,” said Matthew, “that the more you believe in God, the weaker you become. I’m tired of being weak.”

Jasper stood to his feet, strolled across the room, turned on his heel and began.

“Did you ever hear the story, “Horace the horse? Yes, Horace the horse lived in a barn. Unlike the other horses, he determined he never to be trained, saddled and used to herd cows and ride across the plains. So every time the saddle was brought in his direction, he spit, snorted and kicked, scaring away all those who tried to tame him. The ranchers who owned the horses decided to refuse Horace any food. So when the other horses went out to work for the day, and Horace had a lot of time on his hooves, Horace decided he would trick them by trying out the pig feed and the chicken portions. At first he felt very smart, but he got weaker, sicker and pretty soon, he could barely stand on his four legs.”

“One day a young girl–the daughter of the owner of the ranch–brought him an apple and a bag of oats. It tasted so good. The next morning Horace the horse decided he’d join his brethren. So when they placed the saddle on his back, he didn’t look on it as a burden, but instead, an opportunity to carry someone else’s burden.”

Jasper stopped his story like a preacher does when he finishes and it’s almost time for the Doxology.

“What the hell…?” asked Matthew. “Horace the horse??”

Leonora interrupted. “Oh, you didn’t understand, Matthew? Our friend Jasper, here, thinks that all God’s creatures should be saddled. Saddled with guilt. Saddled with fear. Saddled with rules. And saddled with worry.”

She paused. “And if we’re not saddled, well, they’re going to tell us right now–there’s no way we can be happy.”

Jasper tried to interrupt but Leonora held up a hand. “No,” she said. “You shut the fuck up. You come waltzing in here, and you’ve decided that you’ve got so much God you just have to spill it on everybody else. Well, here you go, big fella. Some of God’s horses don’t want saddles. They want to run free. They want to see a mountain in the distance, and believe it’s thirty miles away, start running toward it and discover it’s a hundred. But they still keep running. Here’s your problem. That little Dixie accent you throw in so you’ll be like part of the people? You think it makes you sound real. Simple. You know what I hear when you talk like that? I hear little girls screaming, running from the church that was just firebombed by the Ku Klux Klan. So if your goal today was to impress me with how wonderful your Lordy Lord is, well, you just made me hate the son-of-a-bitch even more.”

The room fell still.

Soos quietly stood to her feet and said, “You’re absolutely right. We’ve been rude.”

Jasper nodded his head, and walked toward the door. “I was wrong. I must have gotten in my preacher mode.”

The two left without saying another word, finding their own exit. After the door shut behind them, Matthew sat in his chair and Leonora walked over to stare out the window at the Las Vegas playground below.

They had learned a lot about each other in a very short period of time.

The question was, could they live with it?Donate Button

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