Double Fantasy Unrequited
©2017 Hal Padgett
—It's true I was in the Army, near Manhattan, but the wild sex stuff is fiction—
Sinking deeper and deeper into post-middle age, reaching out in desperation for the remembrance of lovers past—whether of the flesh, or only an unrequited fantasy.
I was a G.I. stationed at Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey in the early 1970s. Driving into Manhattan took all of forty-five minutes. During one of many trips there I spotted Yoko on the street and watched her duck inside a small art gallery. I followed her inside, edging closer to the point of no return as a budding celebrity stalker.
I strolled about, keeping my cool, feigning appreciation for the Johns, Rauschenberg and Warhol rip-offs hanging on the walls. But the pretense soon became more than I could stomach. I refocused and began to tail Yoko at what most people would probably consider an uncomfortably close distance. She suddenly wheeled around and faced me. I had expected a scathing demand to divulge just who I was, and what the hell I was up to. But instead she looked at me over the top of giant lollipop sunglasses frames. Her eyelashes batted coyly as she asked: “You wahn come see my apahment?”
What a shock—I’d been under the impression that Yoko spoke English fluently, and that the Dakota was more than just an apartment. A moment later a second more powerful shockwave hit me—she had just invited me inside the Dakota. My emotions raged with the unexpected opportunity to make one of the most famous men on earth a cuckold. I was powerless to resist, even if it was so clearly wrong, even if he was a personal hero. Let him sow wild oats in La-La Land while I reaped the harvest in the Big Apple. I began to swoon . . .
YOKO OPENED HER FRONT DOOR and within seconds we were going at it. I went at it like a normal young adult male human being—until Yoko stopped me and insisted that we go at it like animals. From then on I would—upon her ever-changing whimsies—scream “Mooo!” and trumpet like an elephant, then bleat, neigh and coo. Farm animal. Wild animal. It didn’t seem to matter. Yoko would “p’kaah . . . bock-bock-bock p’kaaaah” like a chicken. Several minutes of utter confusion later, I had already performed vocally as a burro, a Chihuahua and a chimp, as well as several grazers and predators of the African savanna. But Yoko remained a chicken.
Our affair heated up over the next two days. In order to meet Yoko’s impossible needs, I fabricated a whopper about sudden family tragedy back home in order to receive emergency leave from the Army. I had hoped she would switch animal personalities, or at least switch back to herself. But no. For my trouble and risk-taking all I got was more chicken, more “p’kaah.” She was not only still a chicken—she was always the same chicken.
I began to feel stifled by Yoko’s one-dimensionality and saw no point in swaying from my sudden habit of becoming and remaining stewed to the gills while in her presence. In fact, I began to drop blotter acid as well for an extra measure of coping. And that’s probably why I can’t recall any distinct architectural features other than blinding light from windows the size of an open grave. At night the candlelight was stingy and grim, illuminating nothing but Yoko’s sweaty, clucking chicken face—that sweaty, clucking chicken face, pressed against mine.
But where would I have gone? From the Dakota and Yoko in Manhattan, back to Asbury Park and a world of big-haired women in cheesey bars?
The beginning of the inevitable end came when I found myself cowered in a corner, naked, like a poor buggered wretch from Midnight Express, as Yoko warmed her vocal cords by screeching like a bagpipe. I thought there couldn’t possibly be a more hideous noise on earth, then learned
how wrong I was when she kicked into screaming Stuka mode with free associations like “Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-yee-yeeee-ee-ee-ee-ee-nyi-yi-i-i-i-o-ee-e-ee-ee!” (The condensed version.)
At least I think that’s what she said. She caterwauled, then caterwauled some more—shrill pandemonium playing hell with the last shreds of my sanity . . .
“HEY! I TALK AT YOU! I say you wahn come see my apahment?” It was Yoko. She and I were still in the art gallery. I had no idea how much time had elapsed between the first and the second time she asked me the same question twice.
She gently rubbed her Purple Passion Italian ice across my lips. But I didn’t lick. I pulled myself together and calmly refreshed her memory regarding the large sign on the front door that clearly stated “No Food Or Drink.” She cackled a hideous machine-gun string of “ha”s. My God! I thought, Is that what John has to put up with? No way—
Something wasn’t right: “Take off your glasses, please,” I said, “and look straight at me.”
“Why you wahn I take off ?”
“Okay, then hum a few bars of ‘Don’t Worry, Kyoko, It’s Only Mummy’s Hand In the Snow.’”
“Mummy hand in snow?”
“You . . . you aren’t Yoko, are you?”
I pivoted and stormed toward the door. She might’ve screamed something unkind. But at five seconds and counting she was officially history. Whoever she was. The rest of my day was spent combing the streets of Manhattan for Greta Garbo.
NEARLY THREE DECADES LATER, there was Ms. Stewart: One day I realized that if I was going to spend so much time watching her on TV, I might as well be humping her, too. Of course being introduced to her surely would be next to impossible, so I did something special: I sent her a letter, handwritten on attractive personalized station-ery, lightly massaged with garlic and a sprinkle of champagne.
As the days mounted, I grew confident she would be impressed with my unique approach. And then I sobered up and asked myself if I really wanted that. My mind flipped back through several episodes of her television show and remembered some of her offputting nuances.
But I knew for better or worse, we were destined to meet. The first thing out of her mouth could very well be: “I imagined you as... taller… and better looking”—with a look as though she’d just found rotten veal in her panties.
Of course even tactless ice queens have hearts, and so, despite her stony visage that would’ve been right at home atop Mt. Rushmore, I was willing to bet that Martha could, at times, be a playful cornball, as happy flapping floppy puppy ears as she was peeling a cucumber.
But I began to realize that in the end most of our romance would be squandered standing at the sink—spending more time washing potatoes, pitting olives, zesting limes, blanching broccoli, roasting peppers, searing meats, shaving ice, and arranging ornamental squashes than we’d spend between the sheets.
The end would come abruptly, perhaps from the sheer aggravation of making carrot rose garnishes while watching her pretend to like the neighborhood kids she had insisted attend her haute chic Yankee Easter egg hunt. Or it could be triggered by something as simple as me throwing her own hateful words back in her face. After that there would be nothing else for me to do but take off my avocado smeared apron and throw it at her head.
As had become my fashion when abruptly deleting women from my life, there was a dramatic, graceful pivot, then a storming toward the door. With the setting sun and our regular bedtime looming, it couldn’t have happened a Hal-you’re-snoring-again-goddammit moment to soon.
And so the slide into the abyss of post-middle-age continues. I also seem to be sinking down to the springs of my loveseat as I wallow and reflect in the fetal position. What comes to mind right now is that Martha would roll her eyes and croak if she knew how much I relished this French onion dip and Pringles.