In a cocaine haze I flush the motel room toilet and check my face. It’s good light so I see the blue cavities under my eyes and tender reds of my nostrils. I repeat squeezing my fists to inflate my forearms and look to the bathtub for a couple of inclined pushups. I want to feel flush and virile but it’s a narrow bathroom and I’d have to lie across part of the toilet compromising the pushup angle. I do a couple more fist squeezes and hold the last one until my face turns pink in the mirror.
She’s sitting on the couch. The television is on, SportsCenter. I know she’s not watching it because I asked her what her favorite sport growing up was and she said bobbing for apples, then laughed for a minute straight. I shouldn’t be nervous or self-conscious since I’ve already paid, but I can’t help wanting to impress.
Once on a date I talked so long about working at the driving range my date went to the bathroom and never returned. I have to ensure that each golf ball is struck at least 5,000 times before it can be thrown away. Of course this is an impossible task, unless you implanted a pedometer of sorts in the balls, and I’ve tried to figure it out but can’t. Instead I pick a golf ball up, let it roll around in my hand, squeeze the dimples, maybe bounce it on the pavement parking lot, and by doing all that I can tell whether it’s been hit more than 5,000 times. There needs to be a certain reflex in the ball. A tone.
This is my first time paying for sex. Old Junior, this Vietnam vet who comes down to the driving range pro shop to drink coffee each morning made the suggestion. Said he’s been paying since the seventies and that some of the buzz disappeared when they made him start wearing condoms but now he wholeheartedly endorses the policy. He gave me a number. I think they call her a madam and she asked me if I was a cop. Did I have any diseases? How much did I weigh? I lied about the weight. I told her I was 165 but really I’m 130, maybe 135 when I’m flush.
It was the girl’s cocaine. Said she was feeling shitty. Said if I was cool with it, she’d even give me a discount. I told I already paid over the phone.
I walked over to the couch and she looked up at me. Her nostrils were red too and there were shadows around her brown eyes. I asked her if she had ever been to a driving range and she said no. It was the first time I realized she had an accent and smelled a little like garlic bread. I sat down, turned off the television and started explaining why I throw away golf balls sometimes.
Daniel W. Thompson’s fiction has appeared recently or is forthcoming at publications like Bartleby Snopes, Camroc Press Review, Literary Orphans, decomP, and Spartan. As a child, his grandfather paid him $5 an hour to clean up frozen cow patties and pull stones out of the vegetable garden. Now he lives in downtown Richmond, Virginia, with his wife and two daughters cleaning up diapers and dog fur—no compensation has been offered.