The God of Beer

by Tom Badyna


After the thing, she was with sixty men in the next 18 months, or does that
seem like a lot. what if she didn’t count the one weekend she had three,
three doctoral candidates in archeology, one friday and saturday,
technically all on saturday, twenty-two hours, because that sunday she went
to a patio bar in the harbor and all three were sitting at a table having
beer, two stella artois and a dos equix, and she went up to the table and
said so you’re all friends, it seemed so cosmic to her, to sexually wreck
three guys from three bars in twenty-two hours and have them turn out to be
friends and archeologists, and none there among the four knew what the
others knew or didn’t. she didn’t sit or stay for more than one gin and
tonic at the bar. so not counting the cosmic she went bonobo with 57 in 543
days, one every ten days because rarely did she get it on with a man more
than once. Of the fifty-seven — not counting that saturday in june, long
summer white night — there were six she screwed twice, two she did three
times, and one she did six times nonconsecutively a sweet guy the least
filthy less and less so each time on both counts a sad triumph for her. he
was happier. that’s seventy-two bangs in 543 days and nights. married
twenty-five year olds do it that much or more, depending on the survey,
magazine or friends. she said that sucking 57 dick over 18 months was more
personal than before the thing. with brad, dave and slim, it was relatively
impersonal, close your eyes and think of england, if england was sex. slim
was high school and had a short curved dick that was all so much work to
keep hard it was more like an affliction than part of him, and dave named
his dick daniel boone, and then there was brad, and sex was brad, brad was
dick, cock, turn a switch, boing, there it was, six point two inches clean,
kind of lovely and odorless, bicep hard, a disney penis, brad was the human
she got biological with and had to think she had brad’s penis is her mouth
or vagina or ass because it was more like just penis. it was impersonal,
floaty, and whether or not the orgasm and sensations and technique were
good or bad, it was pilates yoga with a dick, a lexus stationwagon stick,
his sperm had a new car smell, it was christmas presents from a
billionaire, it never hurt, it was better after the thing, balling 57 was,
climbing mount porkie-a-lay-la, going for perv and bodily hurt hunger, the
emotions were richer and more complex and larger, encompassing more than
sex, they were sharing a lost world, a loss of the world, a loss of
meaning, refugees after the apocalypse with a future of radiation poisoning
and ugly death like leprosy, it was often grandly tragic, so it was
restraint, chastity to limit it to fiftyseven in 543 days. the thing was
not a terrible event or piece of knowledge like her father had molested her
or her sister. or her lifelong best best friend had moved away, or sartre,
or brad had cheated on her, or she looked on his computer and found a
google history filled with uglies when she had been pure porn with him,
once lubed a fireplace poker and worked it up his ass. it was at breakfast
in june, june again, long summer white nights, the thing. he was at the
table in the half an octagon of baywindows breakfast nook of the kitchen in
brad’s house, and she was cooking breakfast while he read the paper. she
was at the stove in apron tied tight to loose t shirt and plaid boxer
shorts too big, and he looked at her and said I love you, I love you
barelegged and barefoot, you’re so sexy standing there with smooth brown
legs I’m lucky, and she said, there’s no such thing as love. she just said
it and it pleased her to say it. though she didn’t smile, she didn’t know
if she believed it or if it had been on her mind, and brad laughed, we’re
just chemical reactions. my chemicals love your chemicals he said, and she
said, no, not that, and then nothing more and it was silent for a while and
he said what’s wrong, is something wrong, and she said, is something
fucking wrong. what the fuck are we doing, we have jobs and come home and
cook and visit fiends and go to movies and out to dinner and talk about
movies and find new music and think tomorrow we’re going to read books so
we’ll talk smart about what we already know and we might get married and
have kids, we might do this forever, and what the fuck we doing, and brad
said, let’s hie to the beach, let’s pack a chilled cooler with chardonnay
and cheese and fruit and go to the beach sun and water and how that you
said makes you feel alive and connected to body and life the cold salt
water, and she said she liked the idea of wine, but the rest he can pack up
himself and stick it, and she was pleased, though her expression was not,
not to look at her, or out her eyes, these were not good emotions though
they felt pleasing, tingling, like possibilities, a dare, an unknown, and
brad said i’m going to paint the garage, and she said good for you, do you
want help, and he smiled, yeah, and she said, hire somebody then, and that
felt good too, though painting the garage sounded like an okay thing to do,
it sounded tragic, that a twenty-four year old woman would paint the garage
on a sunday, get a dab on her freckles and have a cialis moment with brad,
because you never know when the moment is right, brad’s testicles were a
cialis factory he took for calm for granted, twentyfour years old and her
life was like a cialis commercial with handsome brad who loved her like a
perfect actor, and brad went out and began scraping the garage and she
started in on the dishes but stopped and put on a halter top and was
depressed in the mirror that it didn’t show enough, that it was finally
conservative, as were her shorts, she had nothing to dress like she felt,
not how she wanted to, she did the best she could, she went and drove and
stopped at a patio bar and sat at a table and drank and at four o’clock
brad found her and tried to be lovey dovey and understanding, help me, he
said, what’s wrong, and she said you’ve ruined my life, and he said there
was nothing else, he had tried it and no matter what you did you ended up
with a woman and a home and a job and that’s what it was, and she said who
are you, six years and i don’t know who you are, i know less who you are
everyday, and he said why are you doing this, and she said she didn’t know,
and he said what is it, and she said she it was like a day where the sun
just didn’t set ever and you didn’t know why and though it was the same sun
shining the same on the same scene everything was different, and he smiled
and said he understood, for now, and she said is that a threat, and he said
no, and she called him a pussy, you fucking mealy drone clone pussy wishy
washy good little nazi american style pussy weeny wimp sap, do fucking
something, and he said this is all there is, what do you want, africa’s
been explored sorry i’m not good at math so wallstreet’s out, and even they
learm that at the end this what there is, going to a movie with your
squeeze and walking broad street with globe streetlights lit in the long
white dusk and having drinks and feeling swoozy and swell that you’re with
you, that’s fucking sexy and all there is, and she said you said swoozy,
you fucking said swoozy, i’m getting fucked by a mannequin that says
swoozy, good fucking grief, and he said, okay, we’re making a scene, are
you coming home with me, and that was the thing, she knew she had to go
home with brad or to brad’s house and sleep it off and go to work and call
him with a list for the grocery, if she let this go, which if she didn’t
she had nothing, she wasn’t going to explore africa, and neither were the
assholes she had been drinking with, he was looking, bill, at her and brad,
there were no poets or anyone with anything going on, but bill for a few
minutes talking to her thought he might, he might explore something, and
she had said don’t you know there’s nothing, and he, bill, had looked hurt
and mad a bit instead of leering. brad said, let’s go, and she said are you
going to get mad, and he didn’t like at all how she said that and said i
don’t know what’s got into you but come home when you’re ready.



Tom Badyna is from Toledo, Ohio; worked variety of jobs — roustabout, roughneck, coal miner, cook, tombstone engraver, so on — in a dozen states before settling on being a stonemason and bricklayer twenty years now; currently lives on Long Island NY and has lately taken up writing; published number of stories in Underground Voices and The Republic of Letters.

Photo by Beryl Gorbman


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