GAMMON Here's how my week goes. On Thursdays Linda comes over to my apartment after work and we order out Chinese. She has, in this respect, no adventure in her soul. She orders the same each time — a number 3 combination - egg roll, pork fried rice and sweet and sour chicken. That's her choice, but she has never tried any other Chinese food no matter how many times I ask her to take a bite of mine, or to, for Christsakes, try something different, for just once.

I on the other hand, will eat anything as long as it's spicy and has no msg. Clams in spicy black bean sauce is my very favorite but I am careful not to order it every time so I can look forward to it as a treat.

Anyhow, while I clear off the coffee table and set up for the Chinese food Linda goes to my stash box, which is a Topsiders Shoe box that I keep in my closet. She sits and carefully separates the stems and seeds from the grass as we talk about our week. When she has a nice clean pile she passes it over to me and I roll three or four joints. She always wants to roll them but I can get two nice and tight J's for every loose one that she does and since I pay for the stuff most of the time, we do it my way. Besides, it's easier to keep a tight joint lit. Linda can't roll nice and tight no matter how many times I tried to teach her. Anyway, while I roll she tells me about her week selling greeting cards and then we smoke and go out and pick up our dinner.

I only buy good shit so after three hits we're both usually gonzo but it doesn't affect my driving — even so it's a good thing the restaurant is only five minutes away. A long five minutes when you're stoned.

Once home we have to decide on the drinks and we each take a fortune cookie and whoever has the dumbest one has to go fix the drinks while the other sets the Chinese food out. This week I have to get the drinks cause my fortune says YOU ARE AN INCREDIBLY FORTUNATE INDIVIDUAL. After reading mine I didn't even let Linda open hers—she won by default. I went and mixed a batch of margaritas in the blender and brought them out to the table with a dish of kosher salt, some limes and two blue margarita glasses we swiped from Poncho's Wreck in Vermont.

While we eat I tell her about my week working in the bar but I leave out the part where I go home with my ex one night. She tells me about her fantastic week of sales but never mentions what she had to do to get those extra orders. It's the rare occasion when I end up with my shoes under someone else's bed, or get a little head after work. It's not personal. I'm a guy.

With her—it's different. She can't be trusted for a minute. Remember—I was popping her when she was married to someone else. Enough said. People don't change. Sooner or later I'll catch her and toss her out on her buns— but she covers her tracks pretty good. The more she tells me she loves me the more I want to dust her naked body for fingerprints.

We eat while we set up the backgammon board and we always play the first game to see who cleans up. I'm the better gammon player but she has her streaks and in this game anybody can win. The second game we play for a fantasy—actually we play the best two out of three for a fantasy because the fantasies have gotten more encompassing and I can envision a best four of seven world series type fantasy coming up soon. One game was OK when we started. A fantasy was simple then . . . a back rub, a hand job, an obscene call to someone — and we had to name the fantasy first — before the game started. There were times that I found myself liking Linda's fantasy better than mine so I would throw the game. A couple of times we both liked each other's better and we both tried to throw the game and realized it as the game took forever because of dumb moves and so we decided that we would no longer tell the fantasies, but would write them down instead.

That's when they started getting bizarre and we went to the best two out of three games and did away with the first game cleanup. Linda would do the cleaning while I laid out a few lines and then we'd sit opposite each other and write out our fantasy bets and fold them up and slip them under the board.

Fridays Linda spends on the phone making appointments for the following week and I do the bar payroll when I manage to wake up. I'm a sleeper, especially after a night of partying. Linda is up at six even if she goes to bed at five. Go figure.

Tonight I have to give Linda her fantasy since she won last night's game. I don't really want to do it but she won and what's fair is fair so at eight-thirty tonight I'll walk into the Tip Top Lounge and find Linda making out with someone she's picked up. I'll create a scene and drag her out and take her home and push her around and rip her clothes off and rape her. This is her fantasy. This rape scene. It's not mine. If I won we'd be outside with a bottle of bubbly trying to do it on the hammock.

At eight-forty I wander into the Tip Top, take a stool, and order a double Old Overholt, neat, and toss it down. I spot Linda sitting on some sucker's lap making out with him. Fantasy or not I get jealous. I walk over to the table-feeling mean.

"Get up, you bitch!" I snarl hovering over the table.

Linda says, "Fuck off." She's slurring her words so I know she's had a few. She has to be a little nervous about this fantasy too.

I reach over and grab her arm. "Get in the car Linda, I'm taking you home."

Linda says, "That's the guy I was telling you about. He won't leave me alone."

"Enough of that bullshit." I tell her. The bartender shows up with a Louisville Slugger and tells me to shove off. I tell him that I'm not leaving without my wife. Linda says she wants to stay with the guy whose lap she's sitting on. He hasn't made a move yet. He's either embarrassed about standing up with a hardon or is too chickenshit.

The bartender pushes me with the knob end of the Slugger and I grab a glass off the table and bust a gin and tonic across his cheek. He drops the bat and runs off bleeding. I pick the bat up, poke Linda and tell her to haul ass out to the car.

Outside, over Linda's protests that she really wants to stay with the guy, I push her into the car and drive her home. My adrenalin is pumping from the fight and I'm excited that we are really into this fantasy, but I'm not too happy about her getting sloshed. Once inside my apartment I chase her around the room until I corner her and push her around a little. She's banging on walls and screaming at me the whole time that she doesn't want to play any more and I'm thinking that she's getting her fantasy's money's worth. I rip her blouse down the middle — buttons flying everywhere. Linda kicks and screams and I throw her down on the floor and all the time she's yelling at me to stop. She's yelling that she doesn't want to be raped. I know that if I do stop she'll say that I punked out on her fantasy and that I still owe her and all that so I just ignore her screams intent on finishing what I started.

While I'm inside her, my pants around one ankle, she's still screaming "Rape!" I have her arms pinned over her head when the door is kicked in and suddenly a sea of blue surrounds me. The cops yank me off of Linda who sits sobbing in tattered clothes. I look past the cops and see all of my neighbors peering in the doorway.

"This isn't what you think," I tell one of the cops. "Tell them, Linda. Tell them it's a game . . .it's your fantasy." Linda continues to sob as I pull up my pants. They snap the cuffs on me and lead me away.

I stayed in the slammer for two days before my lawyer could get me out. Linda refused to press charges even though she wouldn't tell the police or the court the truth about her fantasy.

It was a true nightmare and even though it didn't make the papers I felt that everyone was watching me. By Tuesday the door was fixed and I was back at work, shaken, but determined to never call Linda again.

Thursday after work Linda showed up at my apartment as she had always done on Thursdays. I studied her as she stood in my doorway and then I moved aside and let her in. She went straight for the stash box. I leaned against the doorjamb thinking and then walked into my living room and cleared off the coffee table.


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