I sit on the futon, sweating.
A fan blows hot air in my face.
I choose not to do anything but sweat, no television, no music, no books, just the sole act of using my body to turn the hot air around me into salty water from my pores.
I am wearing only boxers, but this one article of clothing causes a massive pool of moisture in my crotch.
I put two fingers down the front of my shorts, across my balls then up to my nose.
The aroma matching how I feel, I nod my head.
In this heat it is simply about survival. I think of myself as a soldier on watch in Afghanistan.
I believe my futon to be a trench.
After hours in the trenches, a man needs a cold beer. This is not going to be a normal beer. This is going to be a beer of reward. This will be a beer to celebrate a hard day’s work.
I peel myself off the futon.
On my way to the kitchen I see my cat sprawled out on the bathroom floor.
I think of my time spent on that same linoleum, wrapped around the toilet bowel. The coolness always felt so good against my toxic, sweaty body.
Smart one kitty.
Perhaps I will get the cat a beer.
I halt at the kitchen entrance. Lucky the soles of my bare feet are coated in hot glue.
Marla is crouched in front of the fridge cleaning it out. The fridge has not been cleaned out in months and smells like Chinatown when you open it.
I want no part of this.
What I want is a cold, refreshing beer. I could taste it in my dry mouth, the only thing dry on my entire body.
I knew if I took a step into the kitchen that I would be roped into this task. Little did Marla know that I spent the day in the trenches and have no energy to clean up Chinatown.
I see the beers at the top of the refrigerator, dripping on the sides because the door was open causing condensation.
Science you make me thirsty.
I stand in my boxers with drool pooling at the sides of my mouth, caught between two worlds: Fantasy and reality.
My eyes dart between the beers and Marla. She can sense me and could turn around at any second. I have to make a move.
“I will go out and buy beer! That’s it!”
My anxiety builds as I try to quickly slide on clothes. This proves difficult with the sweat and the stick. I feel like a fat man trying to go down a kiddie slide.
The rest of the get-a-way goes smoother, keys, money, sunglasses, check.
Not a sound exiting the apartment.
I walk down the street towards the beer store with the Shaft theme music playing in my head.
Should I, in fact, be helping Marla clean out the fridge?
I know I cannot let my thoughts drift in this errant manner again. I think of the men out there who fought for our freedom. Good.
I catch the crossing guard out of the corner of my eye. This is an inspiring man. He knows what he has to do. He has to get people across the street safely. One purpose. One goal. This is somebody I can look up to.
I now walk with speed and focus to the liquor store. I am on a mission. I have a purpose. There is meaning to each step, each breath. There is meaning to my life.
I sit in the park smiling with my purchased beer and watch the condensation slide down the can before opening it.
The beer hits my lips and I feel fucking proud. The ice-cold liquid and my hot tongue are like two lovers who have not seen each other in years.
I have out maneuvered the obstacles put in my way to achieve my goal. No longer was I a grunt in the trenches, I was a General now.
Maybe Marla feels the same way, choosing a task that involves cold air being flushed over her body on a hot day.
I take another swig.
The crossing guard would be proud.