Robert Jadah
 
Robert Jadah is a greying voice actor who works in Silver Surfer jammies from a home studio well within drunk driving distance of Montreal. He has stumbled back to the world of fiction after raising two batches of kids. He completed his 80,000-word novel two months ago, and is now busy not reading, editing, or peddling it. He can be heard but not read at http://www.robertjadah.com/.
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Hard to be Soft (March 26, 2009. New Moon. Issue 2)

It was rare lately that the mood grabbed us both at the same time, but our brush-kiss in the hall became an embrace, a hot fumble, and then a dash for the bedroom. Enza was already bare-assed and bent over the mattress by the time I kicked off my pants and pressed up against her with my knees slightly bent. I snaked one hand around to play her slick while the other cupped her left breast. She sucked a whistling breath much, much sooner than usual, and drew her legs up and into a crouch, forcing me to clamber onto the bed and kneel behind her raised rump. In the little gesture I like so much without knowing why, she turned her head and smiled to me over her right shoulder.

Fuckit, though; I was softer than angora.

Worried, I looked down at her smooth back and the little hollow above the swell of her buttocks, where I once watched beads of my sweat fall and pool as I thrust. I stared at the pale cinnamon circle of her arse looking up at me, and tried thinking about fondly-remembered blow jobs and the fluid tightness of fucking. I even conjured up an image of busty, naked twins.

But nothing worked. My dick disappointed, like a long-time friend who skipped the party.

"Fuck me; fuck me now, Ray," she mumbled to the pillow. I tried a quick hand-to-man palaver with my droopy member.

"Want me to...?" she asked, but I grunted a no. It didn't seem fair to call her back to help with the starting blocks when she was already loping around the far turn.

I did what I could and she broke the tape in a personal best time, sighing noisily.

"It happens, love," she cooed.

But it doesn't; not to me. Maybe on a couple of bleary, forgotten, piss-drunk nights, but never in the middle of the god-damn afternoon when she's running hotter than lava.

Later that afternoon she had teacher chores - legions of working parents wanting to argue that their little cretins required more creative motivation and why wasn't there an after-school day care service - so I set out on a long and bracing retired-guy walk, which became a short stroll when I saw Jim's pick-up parked outside Farley's. What the hell, I thought, and popped in for a couple instead.

We needed only a half-dozen cold ones to run through the Blackhawks' need for a big defenceman with a left-hand shot, and the arithmetic to calculate that the new Yankee pitcher was making ten thousand dollars per pitch. Then, as only old friends can, we slid into Rembers.

"It's like Woodstock, this Obama thing," said Jim, signalling for another round. "Rember?"

Of course I did. We'd gotten my wheezing, piss-yellow VW bug as far as Montpelier, where it died a hissing, steaming death. We spent two days smoking weed and listening to Zappa and Airplane on eight-track tapes with a couple of hairy Green Mountain boys and their husky, bra-less girlfriends.

"The guy with the leather hat, rember?" I laughed. "Wanted to enlist and go shoot gooks, but didn't think he should have to cut his hair for it." Jim nodded.

"And they never got tired of waving their damn hunting rifles at passing cars, rember?" he chuckled.

We rembered some more: the Michigan motel where the girl's hockey team was staying, Daytona Beach, and Jim's game-winning triple against Huntingdon.

"Right fielder could have had it," I insisted as usual.

"Only if I was the right fielder," he answered on cue.

We drank, we talked, we laughed; then slowly slid into that clear and easy fog where the stories hit you and the beers don't.

"Things going?" he asked, signalling the session's closing phase. "You keeping that young wifey happy?"

"All good," I said, but maybe he saw a cloud, as only old friends can.

"Old bastard like you. Viagra-time, maybe."

He griped a bit about his place: the noise and the grand-kids' toys all over the place. "Step on a teddy bear and Sandy - that's the little one - screams like I strafed Sesame Street or something," he said. I ordered last pints and groused that my pension check was smaller than expected.

"Good thing Enza's used to that feeling," he grinned.

A few complaints later, we both stood up at the same time, shook hands while trading glancing Guy Looks, muttered greetings to each other's family, and walked our ways into the night.

I was heading home a little sloppily and humming White Rabbit at the part about one pill making you larger when I passed the ratty little canopy with the hand-written sign offering certified hypnosis for ten bucks. It could help Stop Smoking, it said. Lose Weight. Work Better.

I remembered Enza's arching, naked ass beneath me and my manhood hanging there like a dead fish.

With the beer in me taking the place of second thoughts, I sat down on an orange mat across from a small, smiling man the colour of walnut.

I pointed to my crotch, raised forearm and fist, and asked if hypnosis would make it Work Better.

"Like the sign says," I said, pointing.

He nodded once slowly, very deliberately picked the ten off my palm, and then turned his chocolate stare on me while speaking broken English in a lullaby tone.

I may have nodded off for a second or two but certainly wasn't hynotized. I hadn't noticed any time passing, and he was still saying the same stuff when he stopped suddenly. Then he cocked his head slightly and motioned with one arm that it was over. I coughed a little laugh and said something stupid about the land of opportunity.

The rest of the walk home was heavier somehow. My eyesight suddenly had watery frames, and everything seemed a little wobbly and far away. I talked very sternly to the lock on our front door.

Enza was in bed studying her laptop through little glasses perched at the end of her nose.

She flashed me a smile as I trampled out of my clothes, and then looked again as I just stood there in the flicker of her computer screen.

"Looks like one soldier's reporting back for duty," she smiled, her chin pointing at my stiff dick standing to glorious attention.

"It was seeing Jim did it," I said, but I didn't mean it that way.

"At ease, soldier," she said. "I've gotta finish this."

"I'm bleary and piss-drunk, Enz," I admitted. "Maybe that's the new way it's going to have to be."

 

Boots and Other Days (The Old Site, a Future Issue)


So many things are difficult now.
I wheeze when I stretch to put on the second pair of socks. I pause in my seventeen-step staircase. I'm always wondering who took the damned car keys. Even when I'm not moving it, my mouth makes funny noises.

Worst of all, though, are the fogs of time that seem to be whiting out facts. While I remember with crystal-clear clarity, for example, that I was shivering in the snowy left-field bleachers on a magical April day in 1969 when the Montreal Expos first joined the Grand Old Game, my grandson google-boogles something on the computer and tells me it was seventy and sunny.

"Never mind," I say sort of wisely. "I loved the players back then. I remember we were throwing snowballs at Expos' left-fielder Boots Day, and he threw them right back at us."
He does that computer thing again, and tells me Boots Day only joined the team the year after, and played centre field. It's impossible,of course. I mean, I remember it.
"I've got to feed the cat now, Jake," I tell my grandson, wondering a bit why what's on the screen is more reliable than what's on my mind. There, Boots Day was the opening day left-fielder, a dark-haired short fellow with a bow-legged gait and a fine snowball-throwing arm.

When I return to my chair, my grandson has more. "Boots Day," he reads, "Born in 1949; lifetime batting average .256."

It's impossible, of course.
I remember clearly that he hit .300 every year. And he was much, much older than I.