New York City, August
From My Tiny Life, ©1998
Times Square Subway Station
You are underground. Concrete beneath your
feet, above your head; an orchard of I-beam
columns all around you. Smell of ozone in
the air and naked bulbs throwing hard
electric light all over everything. You can
catch the N and R trains here. Go upstairs
to transfer to the 1, 2, 3, 9, or crosstown
You see The Madding Crowd here.
Jessica and The_Author are here.
It's like a frickin' sauna here.
The Madding Crowd mutters and mills.
The Madding Crowd
What the fuck are _you_ looking at?
The_Author sweats a lot.
The_Author looks impatiently up the tracks.
Jessica says, "Can't wait to get home to the
The_Author chuckles mirthlessly, still
looking up the tracks.
The Madding Crowd rumbles and roils.
Jessica says, "And how's your love life
coming along anyway?"
The_Author turns and raises an eyebrow.
The_Author says, "My _what?_"
Jessica says, "Your love life. Any action
there? Anything I should know about?"
The_Author feels his teeth clench and his
The_Author says, "Look. I _told_ you. I will
_not_ be having any love affairs on the MOO.
If I have netsex at all, it's only going to
be so I can see what it's like. It's
_research_, all right? _God_."
Jessica says, "Fine. You don't have to get so
hostile about it."
The_Author says, "Well _you_ don't have to
get so sarcastic about it."
The_Author says, "My `love life.' Jesus."
The_Author looks away, fuming.
Jessica looks the other way, fuming.
The Madding Crowd swelters and swirls.
Jessica allows herself a sidelong look at
Jessica says, "Well I just think you should
know I don't think of it as research."
Jessica says, "I think of it as sex."
Jessica says, "And go ahead and do it.
Because I told you I don't consider this a
monogamous relationship at the moment.
The_Author remembers. Five weeks ago -- not
long after he began inhabiting the MOO in
earnest, as a matter of fact -- Jessica
declared over breakfast that the time had
come for them to open up the possibility of
seeing other people. It was the only way,
she said, that she could stand to go on
living with someone so unwilling to commit
to her. He didn't think she meant it. He
thought she was just being dramatic. He
The_Author says, "All right, first of all:
Whatever. You want to live in a
nonmonogamous relationship, feel free to do
so. But don't expect me to join you in it. I
have no plans or intentions to get involved
with anybody else and I never have."
The_Author says, "And secondly, as for
netsex: Forget it. I thought the idea didn't
bother you, but I was clearly wrong. So
never mind. If you're gonna get this freaked
out about it, I'll pass, thanks."
Jessica looks at The_Author with something
Jessica says, "No way. No fucking way. You're
not going to put this responsibility on
_me_. _I'm_ not the reason you're not going
to have netsex. You want to know what the
Jessica says, "You're afraid to."
Jessica says, "You're afraid it would be too
The_Author glares, and fumes, and sweats, and
The Madding Crowd chatters and churns.