What he does is, he takes the seat next to the condom wrapper.

Maybe—I don’t know—this is so I won’t sit next to him?

So I take the seat on the other side of the aisle—the, the throughway—whatever you call it. And he sits there like he doesn’t even see the thing, the blue wrapper, lying there next to him. He’s goin’ on and on about—I don’t know—that new Battlestar Galactica series—no, the new one—with the insatiable horny/sexy Cylon chicks. He’s goin’, “Man, just the attention to detail alone—Man, this is an evolution in televised episodic science fiction…”

And the former contents of the wrapper? Nowhere in sight. Unless he was sitting on the thing. I know I wasn’t. Yeah, I actually stood up a little and brushed my hand over my jeans — and this, let me tell you, was a true moment of concern. Because the notion of finding a gooey used Lifestyles stuck to your ass is not a pleasant one. It’s never happened to me—knock wood—but the notion alone signals my stomach to reject this morning’s Cap'n Crunch.

And he’s goin’, blah, blah, blah, “…the incorporation of monotheism versus polytheism is light years beyond everything ever tried on DS9…” And I go, “Dude, just hush for a moment. Just hush, okay?” So now he’s having all this trouble stopping himself, his otherwise perfect diction going all cerebral palsy—he’s so immersed in this hokey fantasy—a fantasy manufactured to distract from one’s reality…

Anyway, anyway, I’m about to slap my hand over his mouth—and I actually move to do this—but, instead, as I’m reaching out, I stop—‘cause I really don’t want to touch him, even though he’s a friend, a good friend—I stop and I point out the fuckin’ wrapper lying in the middle of the seat between us.

All he does—he blinks down at it and I swear to you he stifles astonishment. Then he’s at me like, “Yeah, so?” He’s all blasé; all insouciance, just so very, “Yeah, lucky him, lucky her.” But I’m telling you it’s this rehearsed thing—like he practices to the bathroom mirror every morning he shaves his face. Something’s stealing his focus, ‘cause his sideburns? One’s always shorter than the other. And, and, there’re always these missed clumpy patches of beard around his neck and on his cheeks.

Anyway, anyway…
He goes, “Yeah, used to carry one just like it in my wallet.”
Now I’m all astonishment.
I go—I’m all nods and smiles—I go, “Shit me once, my friend. But shit me twice…”
And his eyes bug-out—like they're shouting: I’m-Fuckin’-Serious-Man. “After all,” he goes when he calms, “Fortune Favors the Prepared.”
(Is that how that saying goes? I thought that saying went another way.)

Anyway, anyway, he yanks out his wallet, this cracked, brown, leather thing; he points at the circular dent. He goes, “For years and years, that’s where it lived.”
I’m suppressing chuckles; I go, “They expire, you know.”
And he’s this expression at me of a face just having chugged down a full gallon of curdled milk.

He goes, “After years, it felt like a curse; a jinx.” He goes, “The anticipation gets to be too much of a bitch.” His words, I swear to you. He’s going, “You’re walking around in public nearly always erect because what’s waiting in your wallet is burning through your pocket worse than a entire tube of Ben Gay globbed over your—” That’s where I stop him to tell him, “Dude, yeah, I get the point.”

And it’s now, here, at this point—my having stopped his metaphor in its tracks—when he LOOKS at the jagged-on-one-side blue square beside him—this face of his painted E-N-V-Y in flashing neon-green.

He leans over, lets his nose hover a half-inch above the thing. And does this: he confesses to it. Not to me. I can barely hear him now. “My sex life doesn’t happen.” He goes on, confessing, “My sex life died prematurely a few months into five years ago.”

He shrugs. “But who knew?”
He uprights himself, looks at the city-night rolling by the window; says, “But these new Cylons, man—these guys, they fuck with your head…”

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