Saturday June 2, 2012 - 11:26 PM

I remember sitting there looking at Robbie and feeling jealous. Not just jealous because Robbie had been sleeping with Monica -- actually that didn’t bother me all that much, to be honest. It surprised me, sure, shocked me, stunned me, was like an ice cold splash of water in my face. But I wasn’t jealous. While I knew that I had liked Monica, had thought that she was pretty cool, a lot of fun, was a like-minded lover of reading and damn sexy, I didn’t actually love her.

It took me a while to realize, of course, that it had just been lust I’d been feeling for her, misplaced lust derived from a strange erotic dream and perhaps the fact that I was lonely and just wanted someone. That someone, of course, was still Sarah, but I had to move on, and so likely transferred the intense feelings in Monica’s direction.

So yes, I was a bit jealous that Robbie had been sleeping with Monica while I’d been lusting after her, but also jealous of the fact that Monica had gotten so close to Robbie, and of course, jealous of the fact that they had each other while I was still on my own. Since Sarah dumped me, I’ve been mostly alone, on the sidelines, looking in. This revelation by Robbie about his relationship with Monica was just more salt in that wound.

“Peter, do you remember that night when you bumped into Monica in the movie theatre?”

“Yeah,” Rejection night. How could I forget?

“Monica was there at the theatre with me. I stayed out of sight when we spotted you. Of course, it was risky for me to be there with her in the first place, but after all we were just a student and teacher out at the movies, nothing wrong with that. But having read your blog I knew you’d been interested in Monica and would perhaps be jealous of the fact that we were there together.”

“Yeah, I would have been.” I said quietly.

“It was that night, after the movie, when Monica and I went for a ride. We went up to that spot on Big Nickel Mine Road where you can watch them dump the slag from the side of the road.

“We were sitting there, just chatting, and shooting coke. Yes, the addict that I was, I ended up getting Monica started on my drugs of choice. No, I’m not proud of it, but it happened.

“Speaking of drugs, that’s where my dealer comes into this. I’d owed him a large sum of money and he’d been carrying me for weeks. I hadn’t been able to pay but still kept going back to him for more -- I don’t know if you’ll ever understand an addict’s mindset, but there’s this belief that with just one more fix you’ll be fine and can move on. Only that “one more” is always in your future, never in your past. You simply can’t.

“Anyways, I could talk for hours about the demons I’ve been facing with respect to my dependencies on drugs and alcohol. But the key thing here is that I’d pissed on someone who held a lot of power over me.

“And that’s who showed up that night when Monica and I were sitting in the car. The moment he pulled in behind us, his headlights bright in my rearview mirror, I knew who it was, and told Monica to get out of the car immediately, just leave. I quickly explained about the money situation and that he was there to hurt me.”

Robbie stopped, drank down yet another full glass of rye and filled his cup again. “She wouldn’t leave. She joked that she’d give him a blow job and maybe that’d tide him over. I got angry with her, told her this wasn’t funny, that I wanted her out of harm’s way. But she refused. And when the dealer approached the car, he did it from her side. I’m sure he not only could tell there was someone in the passenger seat, but that he’d been following us all night anyways. He leaned in the window, grinning that sick twisted grin of his, and asked me if I knew why he was there.”

Putting down the rye and kneading his hands over his forehead, Robbie whispered. “Dammit, why couldn’t I just get Monica to get out of the car and leave? Why?”

I put a hand on Robbie’s shoulder. “It’s okay, Robbie. Keep talking. It’s helping.” I for one, should know the recuperative powers of just getting the grief out.

“So Monica starts flirting with the guy, starts saying suggestive things, like maybe we could all talk about this, and maybe there was something she could do to please him, make him forget about money. She was trying to protect me, to help me, and I just sat there like a fucking idiot as she unbuttoned her shirt and started parting it, sat there watching as this bastard reached in and cupped one of her breasts. I sat there just watching as Monica whispered something in his ear, and he opened the door, pulling down his zipper. Sat there watching her suck his dick. And all the while knowing that this was happening, the woman I loved was doing this to protect me, to keep me from harm. And I was too much of a fucking chicken to do anything but sit there and watch it. And the whole time, the sick fucker was staring at me a huge grin on his face.

“When the scumbag finally blew his load, he laughed, called out that it was time, pulled Monica out of the car, produced a switch-blade and held it to her throat. That’s when two of his cronies appeared on my side of the car and hauled me out.

“ ‘Now listen up and listen good,’ the dealer said. ‘I was planning on hurting you to show that I mean business and I want my fucking cash soon. But I have a much better idea now.’

“And that’s when he started using the knife to peel off Monica’s clothes while he dragged her to his car. I tried to break free of the two thugs holding me, tried to step forward, but there was nothing I could do.

“ ‘This lady friend of yours is going to hurt in new ways,’ he said, shoving her into the back seat of the car then turning toward me again and pointing the knife at me. ‘Let’s just say she’ll be sorry she ever made your acquaintance. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll think twice about trying to stiff me out of a payment.’”

“Then he nodded, and I felt something connect with the side of my head. That’s the last thing I remembered before blacking out.

“I woke up after what must have been several minutes. Their vehicle, with Monica in it, was long gone.”