Every Age We’ve Ever Been

by Renee Reynolds 

We’d plowed deep into another night of beer, whiskey and chatter. It was two or three or four when the others had gone. There we sat, B and me, the last peopled table, swaying like child-sailors in dread of our imminent docking.

Both of us lived with our girlfriends back then and on this night, shared a total lack of desire to go home to them. Last I’d seen mine her canines were exposed – in front of them a red object in mid-air quickly approaching.

Recounting this to B created a do-something-crazy-and-get-away-with-it CARD. They pop up, these cards, all over Shanghai at night like mushrooms in a shit patch.

We plucked ours and ate them right up.

I felt immediately set free. B appeared fully charged. His blonde hair standing up toward the moon, his pale eyes twinkling bright – the plan was brewing…

Years ago, a friend from the heartland of my home country devised a way to graph her theory on humans and alcohol consumption: as the blood-alcohol level increases, the behavior reflecting age decreases – size and tolerance of a given human depending. All considered, that put B and me (early thirties in sober years) at about twelve/thirteen tops at this point.

Into the dark morning we flew, up and down black roads on B’s mini-scooter. We might have been lost or just shopping; I can’t say since remaining upright was all I could manage. When we’d come to a complete stop, B lulled sweetly, “Come now, let’s go.”

Inside the whorehouse I let B do all of talking, naturally. As he slurred out the Chinese words for ‘girl on girl’ and ‘lesbian,’ the faces of lined-up ladies moved their eyes to the floor and the pimp stepped in. He quickly walked over to the greasy glass door and waved us over to join him under a nearby tree.

In the middle of a heated back and forth, B looks at me and says, “Just go pick one and they’ll figure it out. I’ll pay.” “No B,” I said, “I’m good. You go ahead though and I’ll wait here.” B would not have it – his hands waved away my words and nudged me back towards the door. That’s when the pimp chimed in with something brave that made B cackle and cover his maniac mouth.

Finally B translated, “He said to pick one and come back tomorrow. He needs to teach her.”