Oct/Nov 2015 Humor/Satire

My Two Bodies

by Patrick Goggins

Image courtesy of NASA and the University of Arizona

Image courtesy of NASA and the University of Arizona

At Houston's for lunch, the supervising partner was bleating on and on about his trip to Gstaad, which I found tiresome in the extreme, but still managed to maintain at least a superficial level of interest, asking him politely about the accommodations at the Palace. I was actually much more interested in what the clerk at the CVS was telling me about her daughter's struggle with autism. The clerk was mildly attractive, and the daughter's struggle was real.

Stan, the supervising partner, was my boss at Haig & Haig, an investment firm in Philly, where I was a junior analyst. It was a steady job, but tedious and boring. That's actually how I prefer things, and it pays tons more than my job in Cleveland, where I was an associate at Rosenberg & Katz, a personal injury law firm. Associates there rarely last more than three years. I was going on five.

The clerk's name was Shirley and she had deep blue eyes. She rewarded my interest with her phone number, and an admonition that her divorce was not yet final but she'd been separated for over a year and considered it over in her heart. Stan, on the other hand, seemed to expect my attention, and took further joy in the attention that Shannon and David (fellow analysts) were also heaping on him. I find this aggressive fawning distasteful, but participate enough to not stand out.

I left the CVS, got in my car, and headed back to the office. I had already met my billable hour goal for the month at Rosenberg & Katz, but decided to pile on for a few more days so I could take some time off next month. There's no billable requirement at Haig & Haig, so I lingered with Shannon after lunch, talking office gossip. I always thought she had it in for me, but in our conversation she let it be known that she was soon to be engaged. This didn't disappoint me too much, I rarely dated women in the office. In the elevator though, she surprised me with a kiss on the mouth. "I'm still single for a few months," she said, with a glimmer in her eye. Damn bitches.

I was born at 10:52 p.m. on September 7, 1982, once at Lutheran Hospital in Cleveland, and again at Mercy in Philadelphia. I had two sets of parents, best I know, but have always had one mind. I would eat at the same time, poop at the same time, sleep at the same time, and was always completely aware of what was going on in both of my locations. I multi-tasked almost by instinct. In fact, it was difficult, if not impossible, to focus on just one thing. I could easily have two conversations at one time, read two different books at the same time, drive while walking, eat and work out, all the time acutely aware of both environments. The strangest thing is being able to see two things at once. It is as if my brain had two monitors, and I could observe and interpret both, while reacting to both.

It just seemed natural to me.

It wasn't long before I found out that no one else I knew had two bodies. I remember in pre-school in Philadelphia, asking my teacher where else she was. A look of concern, then horror, crossed her face. The school called in a psychologist to evaluate me. I was too young to lie, so I told him everything. This led to a very tense session with Mom and Dad, who had to insist that they didn't do drugs, and certainly didn't have any around the house.

Mom in Philadelphia cried for hours. That was all the lesson I needed. I never even brought it up in Cleveland.

School was boring, but normal. I went to Ohio State and Penn State, studying English lit and finance. That's when I first got the notion to see myself. The game was on October 27, 2001 in State College. It was the game where Joe Pa beat Bear Bryant's all-time Division I-A victory record. I was sitting in the OSU student section, and my frat's Nittany Lion Rage Cage in Section 231. I decided to meet at the concession stand on the B concourse near the west end zone. I wasn't particularly concerned with meeting myself, it seemed the perfectly natural thing to do.

As I approached the concession stand, though, I started feeling a burning behind my eyes. My ears started ringing. Then, when I saw (what I think was) myself rounding the curve, a blinding flash of light burned into my eyes. I fell to my knees in agony, fifty feet apart. Ushers ran to both of me, barking into walkie talkies calling EMTs. I lay there, hyperventilating, but soon the pain left my eyes, which I kept closed just in case. Soon the pain was completely gone. I insisted that I was alright and that it was just an adverse reaction to my allergy medication. I got up and walked away, in different directions.

I'd never make that mistake again.

After that incident, I decided to stay put where I was. When I graduated, I went to law school and got my M.B.A. I got the job at Rosenberg & Katz through Mr. Allen, a family friend, who was a retired judge. He took a liking to me and wrote a letter to Steve Katz, who hired me the day I passed the bar. It wasn't until a few years later that I heard that mine was the only letter of recommendation that Judge Allen ever wrote. It was quite an honor.

Getting in at Haig & Haig was a little more tricky, as most of the people they hired were from St. Joseph's Prep, a big Catholic school. We were Episcopalian, which was as good as Catholic if you asked me, but Stan was impressed with my interview, and mentioned that it was surprising that an M.B.A. knew so much about law.

I made more money in Philadelphia, so sometimes I'd send myself some funds to Cleveland, to help make ends meet.

Then came date night. Sex was always a little strange for me. If I was getting it on in Philadelphia, I'd get wood in Cleveland. I always orgasmed at the same time in both places, so I'd have to be careful about where I was and what I was doing. This would be a double, which didn't happen as often as I liked.

Shannon texted me that her boyfriend (who she called "asshole") was going away for the weekend, asking if I had plans. I had already been texting Shirley about grabbing some Chinese and watching Netflix Friday night, and she was down like a clown. So I texted Shannon and suggested that we grab some dinner and go back to my place for some Netflix. Shannon came back and suggested that we order in. I guess she didn't want anyone who knew asshole to see us. That was perfectly fine with me.

Shannon showed just a little after eight wearing a short tweed skirt and a cashmere sweater that showed her curves just fine. I picked Shirley up and took her to Canton Place. Shannon was good to go and wanted to go straight to bed. She was grabbing my shit and talking dirty, so I said something about not eating all day and insisted on calling in a pizza. This calmed her down a little, but she seemed a little pissed off. I broke out some wine and put on some tunes though, and she relaxed.

Service at the Canton Place was miserably slow, especially considering that Shirley and I were one of two tables there that night. When the check came I stuffed some cash into the server's hand, said thanks, grabbed Shirley and got the fuck out.

By that point, Shirley was still a little tentative. She was talking about her ex and how badly he treated their daughter. I tried to change the conversation to what was on Netflix, but she seemed distracted throughout the meal. I opened the car door for her and she kissed me, full on the mouth, and said "thank you for being there for me." I was worried that this was a feint to the friendzone, so I squeezed her ass. She was wearing tight blue jeans. She giggled. Friendzone avoided.

We got back to my place in Cleveland just as Shannon and I were finishing up the pizza in Philly. She had already downed three glasses of wine, so she was feeling fine. Shirley seemed nervous, so I turned on the TV and asked if she wanted some wine. "You don't need to get me drunk to get lucky tonight," she said. It was on.

In order to concentrate on Shirley and Shannon, I put the same movie on—The Big Lebowski. By the time he was flirting with Bunny by the pool, I had my hand up Shannon's sweater, and Shirley was grinding on my leg. Okay, it was go time.

I took them to bed and both insisted I wear a condom. I never really liked them, but the mood was really on, so I strapped it on. I assumed the position and was in. Shirley went absolutely nuts. The girl started swearing like a trucker. Shannon was much more Catholic about it. Don't get me wrong, it was sensual and all, but much less participatory.

After about ten minutes, I was really getting into it and was about to pop. That's when Shannon threw a wrench into everything. "I can't do this," she said with determination. She kicked me off her and rolled onto her side. I knew what was wrong but was going at it so hard with Shirley that, at that point, all hope was lost. I tried to say something to Shannon but I think it came out sounding like pre-Neanderthal grunts. That's when I popped. Shirley was screaming at the top of her lungs. Her profanity was so extreme I thought for a moment that she must be possessed by a demon.

"Did you just..." Shannon said with revulsion. "Oh my god, that's disgusting."

Shirley was sweating like a whore in church. "Oh my god, that was amazing," she said.

Shannon was gathering her clothing, muttering about poor life choices and how could she hook up with such a filthy loser. She left without saying goodbye, calling her boyfriend to just see how he was doing and to tell him that she missed him. Shirley got clingy, maybe a little too clingy. I told her I needed to get up early, but said she was free to spend the night. No, she had to get back to relieve the babysitter. In a way, it was a relief for me too.

I dropped her off and spent the rest of the night watching Netflix. Saturday was the OSU/PSU game. The spread was OSU minus five. I bet myself a hundred bucks.


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