The Good Doctor Part II Chapter 3
My mother carried in two large shopping bags and set them down in the laundry room with a clanking of dishware and a grunt. She looked at me sitting at the kitchen table drinking a beer, rolled her eyes, then slowly shook her head.
Naturally I said, rather defensively, “What?” Not that I necessarily felt defensive, but with my mother you can’t show any weakness or you’re dead meat. Not that I really stood a chance anyway, but it’s fun to pretend.
She nodded toward the door to the garage from whence, as they say, she came. “I got more in the car.” For the moment I regarded that as being for informational purposes only. In fact, I had just stacked up five potato chips, crammed then in my mouth, and in my right hand held an icy cold dill pickle waiting to be crammed in next. But I’m an educated adult, and I’m not oblivious to the needs of others, so while chewing as fast as possible, I said, “Wah, ju nee hep?”
She smiled grimly, shook her head, and waving a hand at me she said, “No, Eric, what’s a heart attack from carrying your food into your house?”
I pushed the pickle back into the jar in resignation, swallowed hard and said, “Okay, okay, I’m coming.”
I edged carefully past her on the way out of the house, but she still managed to clip me on the back of my head with her hand and said in a way that only Italian mothers can, “What, I gotta tell you about manners?” Actually, she didn’t have to tell me about manners, but sometimes when I know she wants me to do something, something inside of me just decides to take the long way around, even though, maybe even especially because I know it’s gonna irritate her.
The second seat in her SUV was turned down and it was loaded with shopping bags. I said, “Is this all for us?” It sure seemed like a lot.
She pointed at the two closest bags. “Just those two, the rest are for your cousin Ari.”
“His wife still locked up?”
She nodded yes and said, “Hopefully forever. I suppose she’s a wonderful person, but Ari brings out the worst in her.” When Irish girls marry Italian men, bad things can happen. Although, my second cousin Ari could drive anyone insane. After his wife Carol caught him cheating on her for like the fifth time, she went after him with a ten inch Chef’s knife…again. Not that Ari would have ever called the cops, I mean, he is Italian, but the neighbors saw her chasing him through the neighborhood and since it wasn’t the first time, or, for that matter the second time, they called the cops.
I had just picked up the two grocery bags when my mother said, “Oh, by the way, keep the last Friday of the month open. You’re taking me to dinner.” She pointed her finger at me. “And make sure you got a nice suit, maybe that blue one, the nice one.” Oh God! What the hell is this all about? I hate dressing up!
“Why? Wait…it’s not your birthday…is it?”
She stared at me for a moment, sighed, then slowly shook her head. “Eric, my birthday was two months ago. Don’t you remember the cake you had for me - that I baked? Rose invited me to a fundraiser for some guy she knows that’s running for office. It’s a political thing.”
“You mean Chester Johnson?”
She said, “I guess. She called him Chet.”
“He’s Lurch’s replacement.”
“Eric, don’t call him Lurch!”
“They’re an item.” That was as delicately as I could put it.
“Rose is a wonderful woman and she deserves someone nice.”
“I’ve got a feeling that he’s like some kinda Nazi.”
“Eric! Rose would not go out with a Nazi! But she is conservative, well, about some things, so he’s probably that.”
“I can bring Pete, right?” Pete is like my shield from the people that normally go to things like this.
“Of course! I already called him…it’s all set. Although, I didn't really get much of a chance to talk to him so you might wanna warn him that they’ll probably hit him up for a donation.”
“They’re not gonna try and get money outta me, are they?”
She smiled. “Don’t worry about it. I’m sure Rose knows better than that.” Let’s hope so. I wonder if he's bangin’ her? Don’t think about it, don’t think about it, don’t think about it!
Then, for no apparent reason, but something that was sooo typically my mother, she suddenly looked hard at me up and down. Then she gave me that evil-eye Italian mother look and said, “Are you wearing underwear?”
“Huh?” That sounds like a question a mother should never ask her adult son, but for some mothers no rules apply.
She glared at me. “Underwear! I know it’s the latest thing that you young guys don’t wear underwear, but…”
“Ma!” She suddenly had me close to stuttering, this had to be nipped in the bud. “What makes you think I don’t wear underwear?” Okay, so maybe my voice sounded a little strained when I said that, but frankly, I was just hoping she didn’t decide to check. Mothers know exactly how to turn you back into a little boy. And besides, normally I do wear underwear, mostly. And what business is it of hers anyway?
She waved her hand dismissively. “It’s just that when I visited Carol in jail she mentioned that Ari didn’t wear underwear.” She slammed the car door and then shook her finger at me. “That’s probably why he’s always in trouble.” Honestly, where do women get these notions? And why the hell would Carol say that to my mother? Not that I doubted for a minute that it was true, and it’s exactly the sort of thing my mother would blame for all the evil in the world.
“Carol’s crazy!” Now I’m forced to defend my halfwit cousin. “Ari wears underwear! The last time I saw him his pants were hanging half way down his butt and you could see his underwear.” This was half of a lie. Ari’s pants were hanging halfway down his butt, but there was no underwear. It’s the kind of thing I notice.
My mother went around the car, started to get in, and naturally, she had totally dismissed what I had just told her. “Well, your father would never leave the house without underwear!” That’s probably true.
Then in an attempt to throw her off balance, “What about Grandpa? I bet he would have.”
She glared at me and snapped, “Don’t start with your grandpa!”
At that moment, Jase came galloping around the side of the garage yelling, “Hi, Gramma! I was playing BASEBALL!” His face was flushed from running, his hair was messed up and he had mud on his pants, actually a lot of mud.
She opened the car door and hugged him. I could see the battle going on in her head between getting mad about the dirty pants and her built in desire to forgive Jase anything. I knew from practical experience that this natural inclination to forgive had an expiration date of approximately puberty.
“That’s wonderful, Sweetheart! Did you do good?”
“I hit the ball! And I got to second base!” He pulled up the bottom of his tee shirt and wiped his face, leaving one more dark smear on the shirt. My mother winced, but said nothing. “But they tagged me when I was runnin for third base. But that’s okay, right, Dad? I mean I got pretty far.”
I’m not the smartest guy on earth, but I knew where this was headed. It may be a couple of years away, but puberty had its evil eyes above the windowsill and was eyeing the room. It was baseball today and, as sure as God made little green apples, it would be sex tomorrow. In my mind I sighed, but said nothing about it.
Since Jase hadn’t yet developed the instincts he’d need to protect himself in situations like this, I draped my arms over his shoulders, pulled him back against me and said, “Grandma’s gotta go, Jase, and we gotta get you cleaned up.”
After my mother left, I led Jase into the laundry room and had him kick off his sneakers, which had even more mud on them then his pants. I turned on the washing machine, added detergent and, with a hope that Maytag had come up with a way to handle mud, tossed his shoes in.
“Toss your pants in there, too.”
Jase stripped down to his white Hanes little boy briefs and handed me his dirty pants and shirt.
I said, "You know, a bath wouldn't be the worst thing."
"Dad, I wanna watch TV. I'll take my bath later."
"Okay, but wait a minute." I turned on the washing machine.
"C'mon over to the sink." I pulled Jase over to the kitchen sink and cleaned up his hands and face with a wet dishtowel. He blinked as I wiped his face and stared up at me with his green eyes.
"This isn't instead of a bath, but in addition to a bath."
"I know. Can I eat my salad while I watch television?" I knew without looking that our salads would be in the frig. There was wine on the counter along with a huge round loaf of bread. My mother had already started to slice it because she knew I'd screw it up. In the two grocery bags I had brought in I knew that most of those things would be cold and packed for freezing, but that one of them would be hot and ready to eat now. My mother takes meals very seriously and I could smell something warm and tomatoee with a hint of Parmesan.
"Okay, but try not to spill anything." I pushed his hair off his forehead. "You like baseball?"
He nodded fast. "Yeah." I kissed his forehead.
Just then I heard Pete's car pulling into the garage and despite the garage door being open so that anyone could see, Jase went tearing out to meet him with bare feet and in just his underwear, yelling, "Pete, I played baseballlllll!" My mother would have had a heart attack.
Moments later, Pete stepped in from the garage with Jase in his arms. Jase had his legs wrapped around Pete's waist and was holding his face with both hands so that he couldn't look away and talking a mile a minute about his game and, if possible, Pete was enjoying it more than Jase. His smile was about a mile wide, his deep blue eyes were dancing, and his attention was focused on every word coming out of Jase's mouth. His paternal instincts looked like they were practically boiling over and it occurred to me that in some parts of this parenting business Pete was gonna be a better dad than I was. Pete was organized and even though he's like the busiest guy on the planet, I could see him coaching Little League games and going to all the school plays.
It took Pete about ten minutes to get Jase wound down and set up in front of the TV and then get his own clothes changed into an oversized sweatshirt with a "Support your local NPR Station" logo and faded jeans. He slid behind me while I was getting our salads out and whispered, "I bet you can't guess who my new patient is?"
I leaned my head back against his chest. "Aren't you supposed to keep that secret?"
He laughed. "Well, since my whole staff has seen him plus everyone in the waiting room, I don't think it'll be an issue. C'mon, guess."
The first name that popped into my head was Lurch's replacement. "Chester?"
He said, "You mean Rose's friend? Nope."
"Then I have no idea."
"Mark? Mark as in David's dad Mark?"
"That very one."
"Has he got a big dick?"
Pete laughed. "Eric, you'd be surprised at how seldom I look at a patient’s dick on the first appointment."
I grinned and turned in his arms. "It'd be the first thing I’d want to know."
He laughed. "Boy, that's a surprise!"
I touched his chest with my forehead, laughed and moaned, "I can't help it, I have needs, and one of them is cock!"
"Well, just stop thinking about Mark's dick. I got all the dick you're ever gonna need. Besides, he's kinda family."
"Believe me, I don't actually think about his dick."
"Well anyway, he's looking for a boyfriend."
"You guys talked about stuff like that?"
"Well, you know that guy he was seeing? That didn't work out. And now he's looking again. Anyway, he wanted to know if we knew of anyone." Pete poured us each a glass of wine. "Normally, well, probably normally, I wouldn't talk about that with a new patient, but we know Mark well enough that it got discussed."
"So what's wrong with him? How come he came to see you?"
He laughed and said, "Now that I can't tell you."
"Awe, c'mon!" I mean what's the point of having a doctor for a husband if he's not gonna tell you all this shit?”
"Don't bug me, Eric, I'm not telling you, but I can tell you it wasn't anything major."
"I'm not telling you."
"Hey, he's a member of the health club, if he's got athlete's foot I've got a right to know."
He laughed. "No you don't. And it's not like athlete's foot is a disease."
"Awe c'mon, you gotta give me something! You don't know about his dick and now you won't tell me if he's diseased."
In what was probably an attempt to sidetrack me Pete's hand had slipped into the back of my jeans.
He lightly bit my neck and whispered, "His blood pressure is very good," and as his fingers slipped lower still, "and how come you're not wearing underwear?"
"What is it with my underwear all of a sudden, how come everybody wants to know about that?"
He laughed and started licking the area just under my earlobe. His warm breath was right at my ear and my toes began to curl. "Eric, it's just that you look like someone who wouldn't be wearing underwear. And who else asked you about it? And besides, you were wearing underwear this morning at breakfast, what'd you do, take em off?"
"It's just that boxers get all twisted and briefs feel like they're strangling me."
"Well, that leaves boxer/briefs."
"Yep, but, well, you could try mine, but they're like way too big for you. But they do feel good. Come to think of it they may feel entirely too good for you to handle. They kinda encourage horniness and in your case, that'd be horny squared. I'm not sure the world is ready for that."
He pulled his hand out of my pants, stepped away from me and then said, "Turn around, lemme get a look."
I turned around and then back. This whole notion of being even hornier was beginning to sink in.
"I wanna go get some. Let's go after dinner."
Pete sighed and said, "Awe, what the hell, something’s gotta kill me."
So after dinner we loaded Jase into Pete's Beemer and headed to the mall.
Jase was basically tied down in the back seat, but that wasn't gonna stop him from seizing the opportunity that a trip to the mall with his dads afforded.
"Can I get a computer? Best Buy has got computers."
"No, forget it."
"Ernie's brother's got a computer and he lets us use it, I should have one, too."
"What do you need a computer for?"
"Everything! Dad, you can't do anything without a computer!"
"You're too young for your own computer and besides, Ernie practically lives in our back yard anyway. You can just walk over to his yard and talk to him. Anyway, my computer is in the kitchen and you can email Ernie on that."
"Can I have a duck? Ernie's cousin got a baby duck."
"If you had a duck it would basically be lunch for Charlie. You think he'd let an opportunity like that pass?"
"I wouldn't look at pictures of naked people. David says you think that's what I'd do if I had a computer." Pete made a little sound in his throat that sounded like it was intended as a warning.
"Why don't you ask your grandmother about a computer?"
Pete stared straight ahead, but smiled. "Wonderful save. But what if she says yes?"
I slouched down in the seat. "Hey, she doesn't even want me to have one."
He grinned. "Well, I can kinda see the thinking behind that."
We had just walked into the department store when Jase started pulling on our hands. "Dad, can we go to the Apple store?"
"Jase, we're here to buy underwear."
"I don't need underwear, Dad! I wanna look at the Apple stuff." Yes, gone are the days when he just wants to be with us.
"It's not underwear for you, it's underwear for me."
He was holding our hands and leaning backwards at a forty-five degree angle in an attempt to move us. "You don't wear underwear!"
I glanced around to see if anyone was eavesdropping and then hissed. "I do too! When did you ever see me without underwear?"
"Dad, you already got boxers."
"Yeah, well, they leave me unfulfilled."
Jase said, "Huh?" And Pete said, "It's okay, I wanna look at a new laptop anyway. You get your underwear and Jase and I'll go to the Apple store. Just remember, don't get the ones without a fly cause it'll drive you crazy." Somewhere along the way Pete had acquired a couple of pairs of Calvin Klein's that didn't have a fly and he said every time you had to pee you had to practically get undressed. "We'll meet you in the food court."
Jase dragged Pete away and I stumbled into the perfume department, which is laid out like a minefield just inside the entrance of the store. Four women, all with perfume bottles in their well manicured hands and irritating attitudes, gave me come hither looks. I ducked my head in the universal attitude of I-don't-want-that-shit and headed to my right. It wasn't so much that I knew where I was going as it was that I knew where I didn't want to be.
I stumbled through a jungle of women’s wear of some sort, and to my horror almost knocked over a whole big rack of bras in primary colors, finally emerging into the quiet, darkly wooded men’s department.
I stood there for a moment trying to get my bearings when a woman who was about as big around as she was tall came around a corner and said, "Have you been helped?"
I leaned forward and for some reason whispered, "Underwear?"
She looked at me for a second and then said, "Oh sure. Just around the corner." She led me to the other side of the department.
When she got us there, she yelled, "Harold!"
After a second a head poked out of what turned out to be the changing booths. He was thin and tallish with scraggly brown hair and one of those failed beards where the grower only seemed to grow about a third of the hair they really needed. He looked like a stoner.
He gave us a truly weird smile and said, "Uno momento!"
The lady actually rolled her eyes and said, "He does the underwear." She leaned towards me, nodded towards the area we had just come from and whispered, "If you need any help, I'll be right over there."
Harold cast a wary glance at the departing lady, then turned sideways and came gliding through the racks of clothing. He tipped his head to one side when he spoke, and I'm pretty sure one eye was bigger than the other.
"Looking for underwear?"
I decided to explain the whole thing. "Uh huh. I thought I'd try boxer/briefs. See the boxers tend to get all bunched up and the briefs just seem to strangle my, you know, stuff. Somebody told me that maybe the boxer/briefs would be okay. Does that make any sense?" I figured that if the guy specialized in underwear that he ought to know all about this stuff.
He put his elbow up on a rack of Tommy Hilfiger something-or-other and then rested his face in his hand. "Perfect sense. But o'course you really gotta try'em on."
"You can do that? I thought you couldn't do that with underwear."
He twisted his hands on his head until his bony fingers were pressing against his eyes. Then he spread two fingers, fixed me with the big eye, grinned wildly and said, "Here you can. We give our customers whatever they gotta have and how would you know what feels best till you try em?" Then suddenly he put the little finger of his right hand in his mouth and tore off a piece of his finger nail. "Know what I mean? Nothin knows what your junk likes as much as your junk. And, man, I got junk heaven for ya."
I said, "Junk heaven?"
He nodded and gestured somewhat formally back towards the changing rooms. "Heaven! Why don't you slip into changing room one and slip outta those togs."
"Those jeans and…whatever lurks beneath them."
He lifted the eyebrow of his big eye and said, "Calvin Klein comin right up! Your junk is gonna thank me!"
I closed the door of the changing room and looked around. There was a bench to sit on and hooks to hang clothes, but the door was one of those louvered half doors that began a foot up from the floor and was only about five feet high.
I pulled the buckle on my belt, but didn't take anything off. For one thing, Harold seemed well intended but a little nuts. So when he came back I was standing there holding my pants up and not quite sure what to do.
Suddenly, Harold's face and hands appeared above the top of the door, he was holding a box of Calvin Klein underwear.
"How come you're still dressed?" He tore open the box and threw the empty box behind him. "I see you in Heather, although you'd look amazing in black, too." He tossed them to me, winked and said, "I promise not to look."
I caught them with one hand while still holding up my pants. There was no way I was going to try these on with him watching.
I stared at him and said, "Gimme a few minutes."
"Oh. Oh, okay. But once you've got em on, do some deep knee bends. That's the only way to really get a feel for em."
"Deep knee bends?"
"Right. You'll be amazed at how soft that fabric is."
Once Harold disappeared, I warily took my jeans off, set them on the bench, and pulled on the Calvins. Waves of sensual pleasure washed over me and I thought, "Oh, my God! Oh, my sweet fuckin God!" They felt soooo soft and they just did something to my skin. I ran my hands over my ass and then my cock. It was amazing, it was like I was feeling my skin for the first time, and I was already getting hard.
From somewhere down the hallway, Harold called out, "Don't forget the deep knee bends!"
I slowly squatted down, down as far as I could go, then I kneeled down and thrust forward. The silky fabric and the way that it caressed me made me want to grind my cock into the floor.
Suddenly, Harold's head appeared under the door. "You're lookin fine! My recommendation is two pair in white, two in black and two in heather."
"I'll take em! Can I just wear these home?"
"Aaaah, no. Store policy is that you can't wear anything you buy outta the store. Besides, ah, we gotta send those back to Calvin Klein. You know, they do tests and shit."
He nodded. "Absorbability…and stuff. You know, technical stuff. This is like their only chance to test underwear that's been worn."
I nodded. "I guess I can see that." They felt so good. "Just gimme a minute and I'll be right out." Somehow, at the time, it didn't occur to me that someone might think it was odd that we were having this conversation while Harold's head was under the door of the changing room and I was half way lying on the floor grinding my crotch into the carpet. But apparently not everyone felt that way.
Suddenly, there was a very deep, very mean sounding voice. "HAROLD!!"
An hour later I slid into a booth at the food court next to Jase and across from Pete and laid my head on the table.
Jase yelled, "Dad, Pete bought me an iPod Touch!"
I lifted my head and looked at Pete, he glared back at me.
"Don't start, Eric! You weren't there!"
I waved my hand in dismissal. "It's cool." I reached over, ruffled Jase's hair and said, "I'm sure you'll love it, Kiddo."
Pete leaned forward and asked, "You got your underwear?"
I reached down and pulled the huge bag up on the table. "Twelve pairs."
Pete sounded flabbergasted. "Twelve pair? That's like $300! You spent $300 on underwear?"
I shook my head against the table and squeezed my eyes shut. "It was free. I hadda sign something though." I sighed. "I'm not supposed to tell anyone what happened and I’m not sure I can ever go back into that store."