It's not about the house.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Furniture I Own And Where It Came From, Episode # – Well, We’ll Call It 2

The guest bed:

What? You didn’t think I was going to clean and stage things just to take these pictures, did you? This is my guest bed. This is what it looks like right now. Here we go.

Johnny told me a funny story the other day about the Waltham – the now-defunct South End tavern where we met. In this space, I can’t possibly tell you everything there is to know about the Waltham. Y’all are just going to have to read the book. But for the sake of this story let’s just say it was a full-on joint, with all the appropriate stains and smells and secrets, and all the kinds of people you’d be alternately proud and scared to get to know. I was one of them for a while, and so was Johnny, but we figured out while he regaled me with this tale last night that it took place a few years before my time.

It seems there was a pre-op regular that Johnny used to drink with – I’ll call her Mary. “Feckin’ gorgeous,” Johnny says, “but with too much goin’ on downstairs to interest me.” She acted like a gay man around Johnny, but like a lady around folks who didn’t know. And she passed. Oh man (or woman), did she pass.

So this one night, Johnny was in there with a colleague I’ll call Jack Doe (because John Doe, combined with Johnny, would be way more confusion than I feel the need to self-impose), and Jack and Mary took a liking to one another. They were flirting up a storm, as Johnny tells it, and he let them, until it became obvious that Jack was planning to take Mary home. Mary was game – Mary was gung-ho, for that matter – but Johnny knew Jack well enough to know that such a rendezvous could never possibly end well. So Johnny told Jack about Mary's vestigial addenda. And Jack ran into the bathroom and threw up.

Mary was annoyed that Johnny tattled, but he's not sorry. He says it's better Jack should toss his cookies at the Waltham than beat the hell out of Mary when he unwrapped her surprise. While we're on the subject, though, here’s a little tip for guys like Jack: If you look and act like the troglodyte you are, and a feckin’ gorgeous amazon is hitting on you – she’s got a dick, man. Face it.

Anyway, life happens, and you play the cards you’re dealt. So when some years later, times were tough as usual, and Jack called Johnny with a bit of work, he took it.

I still remember him coming to fetch Johnny in the mornings. We were living in South Boston then, our door opened directly on the sidewalk, and for some reason Jack refused to come in. So he’d get there early and stand out on the sidewalk waiting, hollering “Fer fuck’s sake, Johnny!” every minute and a half.

Anyway, they got a job painting the South End condo of a middle-aged gay couple – men, well-off, both decorator types. They (the men, not Jack and Johnny) had ordered a fancy bed from somewhere that took forever to arrive, so for the month or so meantime they bought themselves a standard Sealy king. Johnny and Jack were there when the chi-chi bed arrived, and the boys were planning to throw this one out. After a month.

We’re talking about Johnny, now, remember – Johnny, who saves the seeds out of every vegetable he cuts, makes stock out of the leavings, then makes compost out of the boiled mush. Johnny was not about to let those boys throw away a perfectly good bed. But it was technically Jack’s job, and the etiquette of the trade is the man who got the job gets first dibs on any giveaways.

Jack wanted no part of it. “Think what they’ve been doing on it all this time!” he gagged. Johnny shrugged. All he saw was a free king-sized mattress and box spring, and an (admittedly queen-sized) bedroom in our apartment that was begging to be filled. “I’d rather think about them than you and your wife. At least they’re clean,” he said, and took it home.

Jack did help him deliver it, more or less dry heaving the whole time, and we’ve had that bed in three different apartments for more than eleven years. I thought it was on its way out when we first moved to the AssVac, but it turned out I’d put it together wrong and it wasn’t really sagging but just coming apart the long way down the middle. It was in my room for a long time, but it’s in the guest room now. Lately, I remembered just how comfortable it is and started napping in there, in the afternoon after a sleepless night. I get the best forty winks there, that Sealy King is still as snug and firm and welcoming as new. Or as snug and firm and welcoming as one month old, at any rate.

We haven’t seen Jack in a while. He wound up screwing Johnny -- so to speak -- on that and a couple other jobs, and so they parted ways. Last we heard his wife spent everything he had and then some (which wasn’t much, I’ll grant you) and then went on vacation alone and got herself knocked up by someone else.

I wonder if he managed to keep his lunch down after that.


Charlie said...

THAT's why that bed is so, um, hard.

Anonymous said...

Ahahahaha, Charlie.

Anonymous said...

I love your sense of humor and amusement. Hey, how did Johnny come to know "she" was pre-operative, anyway? It's OK to ask since it was two years before your time. Make the mitey one blush.

ege said...

Anon -- Just for you, I asked him. This is what he said. "Because I lived in Amsterdam, so I knew what I was lookin' at."