The Good Doctor 74
The sex had been epic and now Pete’s breathing was almost back to normal. I licked a bead of sweat off of his temple as it traveled south and figured that while he was totally drained it might be a good time to tell him. I murmured, “You know, it’s funny but Lionel came by the club today.” While his expression grew dark, darker, darkest, I explained what had happened at the club earlier today.
“Why didn’t you tell me earlier? I’d have called the son-of-a-bitch!”
I said, “And what, screamed at him? Pete….he wants to be your friend again. He told me that you won’t talk to him.”
Pete looked down for a second. “I talked to him!” He sighed and then said softly, “Okay, so it was just long enough to tell him I didn’t have time to talk to him.” He sounded almost like Jase does sometimes when he’s trying to explain why he did something that he knew he wasn’t supposed to do.
I looked into his blue eyes as I wrapped my fingers around his still chubby dick and said, “You need to settle this, for you more than anyone.”
As my fingers closed gently on his still chubby cock his eyes shut for a moment and then only partially opened, then he sighed and looked at me. “I will, I’ll work it out. It’s time.”
The health club opens at five in the morning but, believe me; I’m not dumb enough to be here then. I usually come in at eight and this morning I was standing behind the check in counter looking to see who was here and to see if we’d gotten any more new members when my mom appeared out of nowhere and grabbed my arm. Of course she didn’t grab it like a human being but pinched the muscle between two fingers and then dragged me into my office.
“Ow, Ow, Ow, Ow!!!!!” Finally I was able to twist out of her grip.
I rubbed my arm. “ARE YOU INSANE? THAT REALLY HURTS!!!!!”
“Eric, don’t be such a baby!”
I was twisting my head and my arm trying to get a look at the damage. “That’s gonna leave a huge bruise you know!”
“Eric, what is going on with you and Lionel?”
“Whadya mean? Nothing is going on.” She should be working for the FBI.
“Don’t lie to me! Eric, I saw you two on the news. And it sure seems obvious that something is going on.”
My mother always has this determined look to her, this hands-on-the-hips look. “Why do you always assume that I’m lying to you? I’m totally innocent in all this. Lionel is just trying to get to Pete and he’s using me.”
“You’re trying to tell me that all that lovie dovie crap I saw on TV was aimed at Pete? Why would Lionel do that? He’s married!”
I sighed. “Well, apparently, Lionel is one of the rare straight guys who doesn’t care what people think. Anyway, he was Pete’s best friend and then they had like this big fight and haven’t talked to each other in years. Lionel’s been trying to talk to Pete about it but Pete keeps blowing him off and Lionel figures that he can’t ignore this.”
“Well, Eric, why haven’t you tried to talk to Pete? This is something spouses do!”
“Whadya mean why? Whadya think I been doin? He won’t listen! He says yes because, well, basically he always says yes to me but then he doesn’t do it!” I leaned back in my desk chair and tore open a Snickers bar.
My mother looked at me like I had just pulled out a French fried rat instead of a Snickers bar. “You’re not going to eat that are you?”
“Ma, that’s what you do with them.”
“Eric, you can’t eat a Snickers bar at 8:15 in the morning! Didn’t you have breakfast?”
“Well sure, pancakes with bacon but, well, I get hungry.” I cupped my hand over the Snickers because she had this look like she was gonna rip it outta my hands but then she seemed to forget about it.
“You need to call Lionel. We need to get this settled.”
“Ma, it's not up to you and me, it's up to Pete.”
She stared at me for a moment and then slowly shook her head. Finally she said, “Call Pete and get him here later. I’ll make sure that Lionel is here.”
Pete was wearing a light gray suit with a white shirt and a deep pink tie. His dark blond hair was hanging over his forehead and he looked wary, like he expected this to be painful with no real chance of accomplishing anything.
Lionel was wearing a Navy blue blazer and grey slacks, his shirt was white and his tie a deep red. He looked like a guy who just got caught cheating on his wife and was trying to explain.
Lionel said, “There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about what we had.” He shook his hand in the air like he was trying to erase an impression.
“I don't mean the sex! But hell, even that was good. I mean you being my friend. How often does that happen? How often are guys that close?”
Pete said, “I'm not the one who killed it! If you didn't want the sex anymore you could have just told me!”
Lionel dropped his head. “I know. I've relived it all. I've thought about it every way there is to think about it.”
He looked up into Pete's eyes. “I've undone it in my head a million times. In my dreams I didn't say those things.” He shook his head slowly. “But I can't undo it. We both know I was an asshole but I'm begging you to let it go.”
Pete stared at him and I could read on his face what was going on in his head. I could tell that he wanted to agree but just couldn't get the words out.
Apparently Lionel saw the same thing. He grinned and said, “Awe c’mon, give me a fuckin break. I’ll suck your dick on the corner of Green and Elm and give you half an hour to draw a crowd.”
It sounded good to me. I looked at Pete laughed and said, “Hey if you don't want it.......”
Pete slowly shook his head and then laughed. “You’d really suck my dick?”
Lionel grinned and said, “Well, since you’re happily married, we better make that metaphorically suck your dick.”
“Well, at least I can say that the mayor volunteered to metaphorically suck my dick.”
Lionel leaned against the wall. “If you’re gonna spread it around you better hurry. I’m resigning.”
Pete got it out first. “Resigning?”
Lionel nodded. “My grandfather has been bugging me.”
Pete said, “Grandpa Collin?”
“The very one. He’s been pushing me to join the firm and well, I managed to avoid that for quite a while but he’s figured out that being mayor of this town is like two hours work a week and he called my dad.”
Pete said, “Pressure?”
“Like you wouldn’t believe. Now they’re making noises about trust funds, which they control, and how I need to do real work.” He sighed. “I always knew that it was just a matter of time.”
“Well you don’t know anything about investment banking. How do they figure you can do that?”
Lionel laughed. “It’s mostly schmoozing. Everyone I’d be dealing with has been with us for years, hell, decades. It’s just buying them lunch and if they’ve got a problem you turn it over to the people that do that.”
I said, “Well, if you quit, who’s gonna be mayor?”
He shrugged. “Special election.” He pushed off the wall and looked excited.
‘Hell, you oughta go for it, Eric! Ya know, after you and I were on the television City Hall got like seventy-five phone calls from people saying that I should quit messing with you. Believe me, in our little town that’s a lot of calls. When that adult book store was trying to open in town we only got like a dozen calls.”
“Me? You mean I could be mayor?” Behind Lionel Pete looked like he was turning white.
“Why not? Like I said, it doesn’t take much time and all the real work is done by the Deputy Mayor. He’s been there like forever because every new mayor keeps him and between him and the city council, they do everything. You could still run this place. Besides, your mom is on the City Council so she knows how things work.”
Pete finally found his voice but he seemed to be stammering. “Eric I don’t think…..”
I said, “My mom is on the City Council?”
Lionel nodded. “Sure, that’s why she’s always there. Well, you knew that. I mean you did know that she did that didn’t you?”
When does she find time to do all that? “Oh yeah, sure. I guess I knew but, you know, didn’t really think about it.”
Pete said, “Lionel, I don’t think Eric has the time that you need to devote to that job. He’s got this place to run.”
“But that’s the thing! It doesn’t take any time. You stop in City Hall once a day to sign crap and then you take off. I mean there’s other crap too but it’s nothing. The last guy was a full time pharmacist at Walgreen’s and Eric’s already got what you need most for this job, everyone likes him. That’s what politics is all about. Besides, it pays fifty grand a year.”
I said softly, “Fifty grand?” I make more than fifty thousand running the health club but still, an extra fifty grand would be nice. Pete makes way way more than that so he never really thinks about money, whatever he wants he buys, not that he really is all the interested in material things.
Pete said, “Eric, you make more money than you need.”
“But I could, you know, buy stuff.”
Pete sighed. “Eric, what do you need that you don’t have? I’d buy you anything you wanted.”
“Yeah but like when you and my mom were figuring what college was gonna cost for the kids, and it was like no big deal for either of you but she had to put in my share.”
“Eric, that’s not important! My money is your money.”
Even I knew that that wasn’t necessarily true. “No it isn’t. You get to make the decisions with your money, in the end I mean. But there’s more to this than just money. I really think I’d be good at it. People really do like me. Well, mostly. And hell for that matter I’ve had sex with at least fifty percent of the women in this town that are my age, at least the ones that don’t bark and chase cars. And they still like me!”
Rose plopped down into the chair on the other side of the table. She was swathed in beige velour and made me think of an enormous bunny who was wearing way too much lipstick. Her breasts never seemed to stop jiggling back and forth.
It had taken a lot of work but I had managed to get a small table pushed behind a large fichus tree and when I moved my mom’s sign that was pushing her turkey lasagna I almost felt that I had some privacy.
Rose didn’t appreciate all my work. “What the hell are we doin sitting back here, Eric? Nobody can see us! I’m trying to show this off!” She ran her blood red fingernails over the cloth. “Whadya think? Isn’t it yummy?”
“VELOUR, Eric! My new workout outfit! For cryin out loud, six hundred bucks worth of Burberry’s finest. The guy at Saks told me I looked like a million bucks!”
“What guy at Saks?”
“The salesman, who else?”
“Rose, whadya think he’s gonna say? “No, you look like shit but you just spent six times what you shoulda spent so I’m gonna lie to you!”
She glared at me. “You know, you really are a little pill!”
“Rose, sometimes I think that I’m the only person on earth that sees things the way that they really are.”
She gave me an astonished look. “YOU?! YOU?! She leaned forward dug her fingernails into the tabletop and said, “Eric, of all the people that I know you are the very least in touch with reality!”
“No I’m not, Rose and this outfit that you’re wearing is the perfect example of that! I understood right away that you’d been conned. You’re the one that’s in denial!”
“Listen you little twerp! I was not conned! Everybody but you thinks this outfit is stunning! You hear that? Stunning!!”
I really didn’t want to fight. For one thing I was still thinking about this idea of running for mayor and Rose seemed like the perfect person to ask about that.
I sighed. “I guess it’s okay, Rose. God knows you can afford it and the salesman probably needed the commission and the only people that will probably even look at it are the other oldsters.” I rested my chin in my hand and said, “So what, velour reminds you of World War II or something? Were you maybe wearing velour when you were handing out cups of coffee to the Pillsbury Doughboys goin over seas?”
Without seeming to be aware of it Rose had rolled up one of my mom’s menus and had twisted it into a horseshoe shape. “IT’S NOT THE PILLSBURY DOUGHBOYS YOU IDIOT!!! It’s just the plain Doughboys! And no, that was like a million years before I was born during WW1! You little twerp!” When Rose gets excited her aim is total crap so when that menu came sailing across the table at me I only had to dodge slightly to the left and it ended up flying into a pot of fake Canna’s twenty feet behind me. And I did know that Doughboys were not Pillsbury Doughboys but I wanted to aggravate her.
“Rose, will you forget about that! I’ve got a decision to make about something and I need your help.”
“Eric, what could you possibly have to decide beyond maybe crunchy or smooth?”
I made a face at her. “Very funny, Rose! Well, to begin with, Lionel is resigning as Mayor and he says that I oughta run for the job.”
Rose almost choked on her iced tea. “Mayor? Mayor??!” Then she put her drink down and laughed. “He was kidding! That’s gotta be it, kidding.”
“No, Rose, he wasn’t kidding! He said I’d be great at the job. He said I was a natural politician.”
She was shaking her head. “Eric, you can’t be a politician in this town because you’ve already screwed half the people in it and when you’re a politician that’s supposed to come later, after the election.”
I glared at her. “Again, very funny, Rose. Besides, I was just a kid then. I’m sure all those women have forgotten about it.”
She smiled. “Oh sure! “I got porked by the new mayor but I’m not gonna tell a soul.”
“Rose, we all did things as teenagers that we’d like to put behind us as we get older. I mean I’m sure you did things in the back of a Stanley Steamer that you wouldn’t want on the front page of the paper.”
Rose got a conspiratorial look on her face leaned forward and whispered, “As a matter of fact, when I was eighteen……”
I quickly held up my hands. “No, Rose! C’mon, gimme a break! I don’t wanna hear about you and a couple of rumrunners wrestling in a rumble seat.”
She leaned back and said, “Right, it’s all about you.”
“The important question here is should I do it, should I run? You know, it pays pretty good.”
Rose took a sip of her tea. “Well actually, and believe me it kills me to say this, but you probably would be good at it. Not, mind you, the work of being mayor because that requires thought but then in this town there isn’t much of that, but the politics of it.”
Then she put her elbow on the table and rested her head on her hand. “Have you asked your mom about this yet?”
She smiled. “Pity I can’t be there when you do.”
I thought, “Ow!” Then a few seconds later, “Ow!” And a couple of seconds later, “Ow!” again.
Jase said softly, “Are you awake, Dad?”
I rubbed my forehead where the pain had been and opened my eyes. “What were you doing, Jase?”
“I mighta poked ya.”
“I wanted you to wake up.”
“That’s why they invented the words, “Wake up, Dad!”
“Can I ask a question?”
I rubbed my forehead again. “I guess.”
He knelt down in front of the sofa so that his eyes were even with mine. “Will I be hot? You know, when I get big.”
“Hot? You mean like have a fever?”
He shook his head. “I don’t think so. Ernie’s mom said that you were hot and then she made a dreamy face.”
I blinked my eyes. “Hot? What’s a dreamy face?”
“She was talking to Ernie’s Aunt Carol when we were playin army and his Aunt Carol said your name and Ernie’s mom said, “He’s hot!” and she made this dreamy face like she does when she really likes something.” Then when she saw me and Ernie she didn’t talk any more. Ernie said she’s crazy but it seemed like she really meant it cause she got all weird.”
I heard the door to the garage open and close and then heard Pete walk into the kitchen and start talking to my mom.
I leaned over and kissed Jase’s forehead. “I think you’re pretty hot right now. And when you get big you’re gonna be even hotter. But I think that Ernie’s mom was just teasing. She probably knew that you were there.”
Then suddenly Pete was behind Jase and he knelt down behind him and pulled him back against his chest and kissed the top of his head. Then he bent over Jase and kissed me.
“How you guys doin?”
Jase said, “Ernie’s mom thinks dad is hot!” Which was exactly what I didn’t want him to say.
Pete put his head next to Jase’s and squeezed him gently while he rocked him back and forth. “Your dad is hot!”
My mom yelled from the kitchen, “Boys! There’s bruschetta!”