Donny sleeps in the soap-o-rama laundramat. It is risky, because the management is still cracking down on loiterers and bums, but Donny tells himself it is just for that night. Tomorrow, he will stay at Amanda's.
The Oxy really has become curative, instead of a recreational drug. If Donny doesn't take it now, he will get sick. Still, he takes the chance and doesn't have any dosage that night, in an effort to conserve. By the next morning, Donny feels the discomfort building up. Before the withdrawal takes hold, he snorts another quarter pill. It doesn't make him blissful, just normal. Out of the negative, back to zero. Rather than being a temperature, absolute zero was instead a location, where Donny was stationed. His permanent address.
He waited until 10am, then called Amanda from the payphone. It rings a long time, past the usual 4, which would normally take it to voicemail. Donny grips the edge of the small phone booth, hoping she will answer. Donny hypothesizes that she might've given him a false number. Finally, her end picks up.
"H-hello?" Amanda asks sleepily.
"Morning sleepy-head," Donny says in an excited tone that contrasts his haggard appearance, "It's me, Donny. you just getting up?"
"yeah," she says, yawning, "I was up late playing my MMORPG."
Donny recognizes the acronym for Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game. This works in his favor. Those games were so elaborate, a person could devote all their time to it. If she played overnight, she must be a hermit.
"Cool, what game did you play?" Donny asks.
"Demon Sword," she says, then begins talking about her character, which is a night elf, or some shit. Donny can feel his phone time being eaten up by her babbling. He only has the one quarter to make this call, that is all.
"Listen," he interjects, "I was wondering if you wanted to meet up today, maybe hang out together. Whattya say?"
"Okay!!" she says energetically, "where are you now?"
It goes without saying that she must pick Donny up. He gives her directions over to the laundraumat, and she actually has to write them down. Besides being fat, she is also apparently pretty stupid. Donny doesn't care, if it means he can eat, and have a bed to rest his head.
He is grateful to see her red van pull up. The heater feels great on his hands. The high from his Oxy is coming on strong, and Donny feels good. He actually hugs Amanda before entering the van. She smells horribly of BO. Apparently in between her game playing last night, she neglected to shower. Never one to complain about smell, Donny jumps into the front seat.
His feet crinkle the wrappers of countless discarded burgers. To Donny's disgust, gnats fly loose from the pile, and hover by his nose. He actually snorts one up by accident, and sneezes. Amanda pays no mind to the foul state of her van's interior. Donny suddenly wonders how many calories this woman has consumed in this vehicle alone.
Donny mentally tallies her belongings, in order to determine her money situation. Her dark blue winter coat is ripped along one sleeve, the white stuffing hanging loose like tissue from broken skin. Ripped sleeve or no, it is a Columbia Jacket, which is expensive and comfy. Donny listens to the engine of the van, but hears no misfiring pistons, or chugging engine. The van is newer, maybe 2006 or so. Whatever she does for employment, it seems to give her a generous salary.
"I was gonna get breakfast," Amanda mentions, "you hungry?"
"I could use a bite to eat," Donny responds.
"Do you have any money?" Amanda asks pointedly.
"No. I'm broke."
"When do you get paid next?" Amanda asks. Donny can hear the glee in her voice. She is getting a weird satisfaction from grilling Donny. It isn't often that this hefty lady can retaliate against someone else.
"I don't have a job." Donny says simply. Silence follows their short trip over to the drive-through. Donny asks for a single bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit. It will be enough to sustain him for hours. She, on the otherhand, orders a mass of food. Donny is reminded of the time Greg bought him breakfast. Unlike then, Amanda has no intention of sharing. They park, and eat.
Amanda gobbles down one sandwich after another. Donny's meager appetite is reduced even further when watching this spectacle. It seems as though she hardly even chews the food, but merely swallows it half-softened. Bits of bacon and grease smear her top lip. Donny sees tiny blonde follicles of hair around her mouth. A lady mustache. Donny eats his food slowly, trying to enjoy the food as much as possible. It is an easier task to accomplish when he looks out the window at the passing traffic, away from her.
Amanda rents a house. The blue wood siding belies what is inside. Amanda's house is filthy. It is mostly food containers that line the counters, and sink. Donny has never seen so much discarded trash in one house. It is repulsive.
"Nice place you've got here," Donny fibs again. If she cleaned this pit, it would be nice. Wow.
"I've gotten a little behind in my house work." Amanda comments.
Donny decides that is an understatement. Amanda tosses the trash from their breakfast in an already-overflowing garbage can. From the look of things, normally she just upended the food bags in her car. Maybe Amanda is now getting self-conscious about the indigence of her household. That's good. She needs some kinda motivation to clean this wreck.
"Take a seat," Amanda says, clearing a space of junk with a sweeping wave of her arm. Donny sits. Amanda shits. He can hear the struggle in the bathroom, as she pinches a loaf. The watery plop sound signals each of her logs has been sent out to sea. Donny grimaces at the thought of her expelling feces. Donny also wondered if she was able to properly wipe her own ass. Yuck. Fucking yuck.
Amanda emerges, along with a cloud of malodorous dung smell. Donny wished she would have given a courtesy flush, while the toilet is empty, to remove some more of the stench.
She sat on the couch beside Donny, not bothering to move the dirty clothes there. Donny's smell was inhibited by the cold upon first entering her abode. Now, as Donny's schnoz thaws, he detects the fetidness around. Various spoiled smells intermingle. Donny wonders if she even notices it anymore.
"Where you from, Donny?" Amanda asks.
"I was born in CR," Donny says.
"Are you homeless?" Amanda asks directly. Donny shrugs.
"Yes." he replies. It wasn't the best method of breaking the ice, but Donny imparts how he got dropped onto the streets. He speaks softly, and speedily. He discusses a lot: the death of his father, the eviction from the apartment, and the matter of Evan worming his way into Donny's childhood home. The only subject he doesn't breach is the drug addiction and robbery of the Iowa City pharmacy. Ironically, these are the main factors in Donny's divergence from normalcy. He omits the very details that give a full view of his decline.
She sits and rubs her hands together distractedly. Donny finishes his woeful epic and looks at her for a reaction. She stares at an owl painting on the wall. Donny recognizes the picture as a portent of poverty. Many times, Donny has spied that very same painting on the walls of the Good Will stores he frequented. She may be in the money, but her taste is poor.
"What do you do for a living?" Donny asks.
"I've got permanent disability." Amanda says simply, and Donny does not probe any more. Donny assumes it is because of her weight. Amanda may not appear smart, but she evidently has learned how to connive the system. Donny envies her money situation. The house she rents looks nice and spacious. The rent must be at least $600 a month, if not more. On top of that, she had various next-generation game consoles, as well as a 50 inch HDTV. Disability seemed very profitable, if done right.
"So what are your plans?" she asks shyly, turning towards him for the first time since sitting.
"My plan?" Donny asks, with a chuckle, "it's to stay alive, I guess."
Her eyes stay glued to his. Her body reeks of solitude as well as greasy food streaming from her pores. Donny doesn't want to take advantage of her alienation, but feels forced to, in order to ensure his existence.
Donny leans forward and kisses her. Her lips are still slimy from their unhealthy breakfast. He tastes the stale egg mcmuffin on her breathe, as she exhales into his nose. His mouth does not part open. No Frenching. He simply wanted to give a smooch to sway her into keeping him around.
Her cheeks flush, but not from her raised temperature. She smiles lazily.
"That was nice," she says breathlessly. It has been forever and a day since Donny has taken a girls breath away. Despite her grossness, it makes Donny feel good. Useful, even.
"I've gotta use the bathroom," Donny says, hopping up from his seat. He wanted to break the moment up, lest Amanda makes one thing lead to another. A kiss was enough, Donny didn't want anything more at that time. The bathroom is again small, and again messy. The walls are covered in neat, concise patterns of alternating green and white lines. The lower portion of the wall, near the baseboard, is yellowed and peeling, from the dirtiness of the unkempt bathroom. Behind the toilet is a mess. Curly pubic hair lies on the damp floor in tuffs like tumbleweed. The brown stains around the rim of the toilet reveal the constant bowel battles Amanda has fought over time. The first thing Donny does is flush, to suck down some of the acrid odor down.
Donny breaks up a quarter pill and snorts it on the flormica countertop of the sink. He feels better almost instantly. With a fervor, he searches beneath the sink and pulls out a small plastic basin. Filling it with hot water, Donny takes some soap and a towel and returns to the living room. Amanda looks quizzically at him. Donny sits on the floor and washes her feet.
It is a romantic gesture, but it also serves to cut some of the smell out of the cramped living room. Her feet reek something awful. She was wearing crock sandals, even in the winter, and there was grittiness between her toes. The water turns a grey cloudy color from the nastiness of her soles.
She feels like Cinderella, taken away from her wretched rags, and bestowed a prince (even if the prince was just as wretched). Her emotions are surfacing, coming loose from their protective shell. She had hidden inside so long, it was easier to convince herself she preferred her own company, rather than admit she needed to get out in the world. Donny's touch is very welcome sensation to her. Perhaps this guy, as destitute as he was, could save her from the void of isolation.
"Thank you." she says with a wild smile. Her dimples perk up comically with chubbiness. Donny kisses her again, then leaves to the bathroom to dump the plastic tray of water. He does another line, just to taper off the last of his male ego. The drug had worn through his inhibitions, making a rut which Donny fit into easily. He could live with this girl, if he maneuvered his actions right.
Donny pissed. After flushing, he put the toilet seat back down. Women had a strange territorial thing about that, so Donny abides. Amanda is on the phone.
"What kind of pizza do you like?" she asks.
They got supreme style. Donny wanted to load up on the vegetables. He read somewhere that one could get scurvy if they didn't eat enough fruits and vegetables. Donny ate too much fast food. The pizza was a nice departure. Donny ate a lot. So did Amanda. They both went for the last piece. Donny smiled and told her to go ahead. Amanda pauses.
"You can have it, Donny." she says with a shrug. Donny does not argue. It is good for Amanda to exercise her control over food. Its' also fortunate that Donny can get as much grub as he can. There's still no guarantee Donny can stay here.
They sit in silence. Donny struggles to make conversation. His social skills needed to be honed, in order to butter Amanda up. He studies the games on her shelf.
"You wanna play Shogun Warrior?" Donny asks. She perks up.
"Most Definitely," she says.
The console is fired up.The fighting game plays out, as both fighters size each other up. She is good. But Donny is better. It progresses to the point where Donny waits, while blocking, and explains to Amanda how to do certain moves.
"Okay, press Triangle, Triangle, square," Donny instructs, while his digital character crouches. Amanda does so, and a fireball flares across the screen. She giggles.
"I already know how to do that one," Amanda says.
"yeah, but if you hit X when the fireball is near them, it'll explode" Donny says.
Amanda does just that, and Donny's character, a black ninja, tumbles across the screen. They play long into the night. Amanda has a package of Mt. Dew that they slurp down, can by can. Donny is at peace. This girl wasn't so bad to be around. A lot of girls didn't like to play video games for lengthy intervals. She was a marathon player.
Eventually, Amanda powers down the game system from her controller, and stretches.
"It's getting pretty late," Amanda says, stifling a yawn. Donny panics. It has been snowing steadily, as they played their game. Now, Donny must continue another game, this one to win over Amanda's heart, as well as her home.
"Can I crash here?" Donny asks. His voice cracks halfway through, because he is so scared. To sleep outside continually would mean death. Amanda gives him a doubtful look.
"I don't know about that," she says, revealing her hesitance through words. Goddamit. This fat fucking bitch needed company. What does she want, to spend another 48 hours without any human contact??? C'mon lady. Lower your expectations a little. Donny wouldn't be there if he didn't have to.
"Listen," Donny says slowly, "I think you're a cool person. I don't mean to saddle you with my problems, but look. I have no place else to go. If you let me stay, I can be good to you. i'll help you out, whatever you need."
Amanda sighs heavily and shakes her head.
"I can't do that," Amanda whispers. Donny sits up and then back down, right beside her this time. He kisses her precipitous neck. She sweats incessantly.
"C'mon," Donny pleads, "I'll make you feel good."
His hand squeezes the swell of her massive breast. She had huge titties, at least. If Donny gave her a motorboat, he very well might be crushed from the undulating boobies. Finding her nipple is like searching for a pacifier in a vat of dough. But he does find it, and flicks it with his finger, through her shirt. She must not be wearing a brazier. That would explain the exceptional droopiness of her ta-tas. Donny's thumb continues rubbing across her erect nip. Amanda shudders.
"That makes me wet," she coos. Donny is abhorrent to this display. His dick will not harden at this pronouncement. WIth any other girl, it would be a sure-fire sign for a touchdown. But Donny's pants refused to pitch a tent for this one.
Survival is not pretty, case in point. Donny resolved long ago to get through, no matter what. His hand slips beneath the waistband of her green sweatpants. He gropes around, looking for her slit, and having trouble differentiating it between the many other folds of her torso.
Eventually, he finds her love button and tweaks it. Her body jumps spastically. Bingo. Donny worms his fingers deeper, caressing as best he could. Casanova he was not, but still, he had dextrous digits. It does not take long. The many sensory nerves in the clitoris made almost any woman succumb, and Amanda is no different. her body convulses up and down in little waves of pleasure as she climaxes.
"Oh, Donny," she mutters, and kisses him. The seal of that kiss also seals his stay. He sleeps on the couch. But first, before bedtime, he thoroughly rinses off his fingers. He dares not smell it, knowing her femininity to be just as atrocious as her general grooming habits.
Donny resigns to the fact that he is now officially a loser, and a user. Oh well. This was much better than sleeping on a bench, or under a bridge.