Bradley Schuster and the Holy Grail: Chapter 9

Judy Blue Eyes was determined to make this, our second joint birthday party, an event to rival the senior prom and Christmas-when-you’re-seven rolled into one. Her props were all in order. She’d brought a small bag with her, hinting that the plea­sures to come weren’t going to end with her going home in an hour. She’d gotten the waiter at Santo’s to ice down my cham­pagne so that it would be cold when we left (consider­ing that our booze in their pub was not only il­legal but also a distinct con­flict of interest, that feat must have taken much of her consid­erable charm). She had even cleaned all of the black tarry goo out of the goblet and polished at it, al­though it probably didn’t have a trace of pre­cious metal in it and was­ never going to shine.

As soon as we walked in the door, she set her things down on the table, wrapped her arms around my neck one at a time, and gave me a long wet kiss full of nibbles and licks and fingers through my hair. Then she popped the top on the champagne, poured me a goblet full and herself some in a clean jelly glass that she found by rum­maging around in my cupboard. Finally she took her bag and excused herself after another quick kiss on my forehead.

Left alone with the goblet for the first time since that Sat­urday morning in Erma’s, I sat in my favorite chair, closed my eyes, and took a long drink of the champagne. It was cold and de­licious, and on top of the scotch that I’d imbibed earlier went right to my head. I kept my eyes closed and savored all of the goodness of life, thinking what a lucky if undeserving fellow I was to have a woman like Judy Blue Eyes who knew my secret passions so well as to buy me this newest object of my deepest desires. Then I took a closer look at the strange little escapee from The Vulture’s knickknack collection I had come so far in the last two weeks to hold.

I’d not seen anything like the style before, and idly won­dered at its history. Probably came from the demented imagination of some self-taught art­ist in the Fifties who was try­ing to be avant-garde while laden down with a full load of art deco luggage (there is bag­gage worse than having to pay for dates). The runes looked neither Oriental nor hieroglyphic; per­haps the art­ist had found an Assyrian inscription in the Times-Life book on An­cient Man and copied four characters on the stem in an effort to make it look authentic. I paused in my in­spection and reflection to have another deep draught.

During this interlude Judy Blue Eyes slipped up behind me—a trick that didn’t require any of the stealth of the jungle-wise, black-pajama’ed Viet Cong, since my mind’s only track was com­pletely ab­sorb­ed in my reverie—and hugged my head over the back of the chair. Then she vamped her way in front of me and stood for my admiration, one hand hid­den behind her back.

And admire I did, forgetting the goblet for the moment. She was dressed in an emerald green outfit with loose panties that I’ve learned since are called tap pants and a slinky match­ing cami­sole. The sheer top hung straight down from her nip­ples, which stood hard and stiff like the guards at Buckingham Palace. Judy Blue Eyes had a sturdy, athletic body, not chunky or stocky and cer­tainly not fat but just as certainly not lithe or slender. She had lust in her eyes, and the slight smell of musk was as strong as the remnants of her perfume. She was swaying gently from side to side, sliding her thighs together, running the hand that wasn’t hidden over her breasts and belly and up through her hair. Her pubes were darkly visible, even through the deep green of her panties.

I took a quick sip of my wine, set the goblet down, and reached both hands out for her. She responded by taking a step forward, bending over at the waist and nib­bling on my fingers. I could see down the front of her cami­sole and check out those nipples, standing tall from the sur­rounding lighter brown of her are­olas, two little crinkly idols to fer­tility. Judy Blue Eyes was unmistakably horny. Living all evening with her fantasy of the perfect cele­bration had turned her on better than any exotic caress I was knowledgeable of.

She took her hidden hand from behind her back and held it out to me, fist closed, palm down. I slipped from the chair and knelt before her, holding my two hands cupped beneath hers, head bowed, a sup­plicant before the high priestess of whimsy and lust that my girl­friend had become. With her fingernail she traced the outline of a heart on my fore­head, kissed her finger and touched it in the center of the icon, then dropped her final present of the evening (well, not quite, if you insist on perfect accuracy) into the beggar’s bowl of my hands.

It was a joint, carefully wrapped in aluminum foil.

Marijuana was to Judy Blue Eyes just one bit of colored tile in her complex mosaic self-portrait of herself as a rebel. She re­garded her­self as one of the heirs of the hippie legacy, although she was no more of a hippie than Nix­on. Too intense, too focused. She pur­sued rebelling with exactly the same dedica­tion that she chased the other things deemed wor­thy in her life. Laid back and Judy Blue Eyes were as closely kin as the Mon­arch butterfly and the T-Rex.

So to give her self-portrait legitimacy she continued to date me when her father forbade it. She advocated free love, but to her free love meant that she could have sex with her boy­friend with­out feeling guilty. She wore her hair long and generally shunned bras, but only because those were symbols of rebellion. And she smoked dope because not to do so would be too much of a validation of the America the Beautifully Strait-laced her father believed in.

Not me. I loved pot. In the absence of any financial constraints and the other checks and balances imposed by the Constitution of the Real World, I would have been a total pot head. I carved that con­fusion when your thoughts had to swim their way through a sea of lukewarm cherry Jell-O just to find each oth­er, when your logic got lost in the sweet rubbery rosy red maze and for once you could feel as readily as you could think. I imagine that art­ists and poets must be that way all the time (and may­be wom­en, too), but I’ve never been able to go there unless I’m high. No amount of liquor accomplishes the same thing—booze just makes me stupider. Fortunately, considering that I couldn’t function in the real world with it, I couldn’t afford it and The Boomer didn’t smoke. So I settled for being a beer head except for the occasional joint that Judy Blue Eyes furnished.

In my gratitude I took her foot in my hand and kissed her toes, thanking her profusely between each kiss: “Praise be to thee (kiss, market pig­gy) oh mighty high priestess (kiss, stay-at-home-porker), who hath bestowed unto me your loyal servant (kiss, car­ni­vore swine) bless­ings far beyond my merit (kiss, fasting oink­er), I bow before thee (kiss, I’ll call this one cou­chon-de-bleu-eyes be­cause he was squeal­ing, ‘Oui, oui, oui’ just like Judy Blue Eyes) in ado­ration.” Lifting my head from her foot, I lightly nuzzled her pubic hair, continu­ing, “Grant unto this thy servant the gift of light, that he may more fully taste of thy bounty.”

Judy Blue Eyes’ response was to grab the back of my head and, pulling back with her hands while pushing forward with her hips, bury my face into her mound. Her quick, deep breaths were loud in the silence. We might have got it on right then and let the dope slide ex­cept that her dedi­cation to the perfection of the evening caught her sponta­neity with a hard right cross, slamming it to the floor for a knockdown and a manda­tory eight count. Turning away so quickly that I went down on my hands to keep from falling on my face, she strode to the drawer where I kept a lighter and ash tray for just such moments.

When she returned with the lighter I was kneeling again, unwrapping the joint and holding it reverently in front of my face like the cross on a penitent’s rosary. Judy Blue Eyes took up her former pose (the one prior to the my-face-in-her-crotch position). She flicked the lighter and held it down in front of her pubis saying, “I grant thee thy request, the gift of light. Use it well.”

I lit the joint and took a deep drag, then closed the lighter so she wouldn’t be tempted to burn her fingers for the poetry of the moment (although truthfully that was some­thing that Brad the Fluffhead would be more likely to do than Ms. J. B. E. Prag­matist) before passing her the joint.

While she did a little intense worshipping of her own I reached back for the goblet, took another swallow of champagne, then held it up to her, speaking thusly. “Your beauty is like unto the flame that springs forth from your fingers, fiery and pure as crystals of smoky quartz, sparkling with a thou­sand flecks of dia­mond embedded deep within your soul, oh high priest­ess more exquisite than the god­dess you serve.” Judy Blue Eyes’ jaw dropped about a foot and her eyes got so big she looked like she’d just stepped out of a darkroom, but that didn’t keep her from eat­ing it up and I’m thinking, “Shit, where is all this com­ing from. I’m not even stoned yet.”

She handed me the joint and I took another hit. Then I lifted up her foot again—the other one this time, not wanting it to feel left out and get a complex—trick­led a small libation down her ankle and across her instep, and licked it from her toes, speaking again. “Share with me this drink of the dryads, sparkling with the clear breath of the sunset. Like a genie, it has spent its entire existence locked in this bottle, awaiting this moment, and although in its excellence it is not worthy even to wash your feet, have mercy on it, give sub­stance and meaning to its meager life, if nothing more than to allow it to moist­en your lips that your words of great wisdom and your kisses of great passion shall pass without scuffing their delica­cy.”

By then Judy Blue Eyes was really freaking out. She knelt in front of me, took my face in her hands, and began to cover my eyelids and cheeks with kisses of perfect light­ness and sweetness, They quickly de­gener­ated into the real thing and we were down on the floor with her eating my face and me running my hands down inside her tap pants, feeling up her delicious ass as she rubbed her crotch along my thigh. Again, we were on the verge of barreling right through the fore­play stage and on to the screwing right there on the living room floor, only this time it was me that stopped us. I mean shit, how often do you get on one of these rolls? I wasn’t turning up my nose at getting laid or any­thing, but I was going to get laid sooner or later anyway, and in the meantime, if I had unknow­ingly swallowed the Blarney Stone and could spout words of love with elegance enough to charm the tap pants off my lady love, why quit so soon? I just might make her evening as memorable as she had been trying all night to make mine.

It was the pot, of course. Judy Blue Eyes only bought the best stuff she could find, individually wrapped joints, and this time she’d come up with some genuine freight-train mouthy dope. I knew I wasn’t really being suave. One time I thought I’d discovered the wisdom of the ages and, fearful it would be forgotten by the next day, wrote it all down to make sure that it would be there for the ages to enjoy. The next day I was hard pressed to decipher the words scrawled on the Jack-in-the-Box bag, but when I finally figured out what I had written with such expectations the night before it was, “Stand in the stream, your shoes get wet. Sit on the bank, your butt gets wet.” So much for stoned wisdom.

But at this point, who cared? I wasn’t going to write any­thing down tonight for Judy Blue Eyes to read tomorrow and spoil her memory of the evening. So I stood up, tucked the lighter in my pocket, reached for her hand, and raised her from the floor, saying, “Arise, my princess. The night hawk lifts you on his wings, soar­ing on the winds of the evening, determined to give his life be­fore allowing you to bruise the per­fectly ripe apricot of your skin.” Refilling the goblet I held it out to her, along with the ash tray with the joint in it. “Hold these treasures, though they be trash compared with a single bead of sweat that forms on your brow, that they gain wealth be­yond their simple com­prehension merely from your touch.”

At that point I was working hard to keep a straight face, and I peeked to see if Judy Blue Eyes was ready to break out laughing as well. But no, she was staring at me with the rapt ex­pres­sion of a hot fudge sun­dae about to be eaten by a movie star, so I went for it. I handed her everything I was holding and lifted her in my arms, straining to make it look ef­fort­less al­though, like I said, Judy Blue Eyes was built like cling peaches—round and firm and fully packed. Now her face was right up next to mine and she wrapped her arms around my neck, slow­ly and deliberate­ly so as not to spill either intoxi­cant, and would have kissed me again except then I wouldn’t be able to keep talking. So I turned my face just enough that all she could reach without really squirm­ing was my cheek, and continued to woo her.

“Fly away with me on the wings of a . . .” and there I drew a blank. I’d already said nighthawk, I think; eagle sounded awfully camp. What was the name of that mythical bird that could carry elephants? “. . . of a roc.” Too late I realized that I’d implied she was hefty, but fortunately she missed that nuance. Oh, well. These moments of dope eloquence are never predictable. I resorted to nibbling on her neck while carrying her into the bedroom and laying her down on the bed as gently and as smoothly as I could manage. Taking my props back from her, I set the ashtray down and indulged in another swig of the champagne. “I praise thy name and thy form, oh goddess of beauty and lust. This night thou art elevated from the station of high priestess, made divine by the adulation of those who serve you. Their paeans of adulation lift you up, as if on the breath of a thousand nightingales, who join their song on this your day of coronation.”

Hmm, apparently the eloquence was back. I was pretty sure this last decree was one too many and Judy Blue Eyes would break out laughing any second, but nothing of the sort happened. So I persevered.

I won’t stretch this tale nor your patience with any more of the elegant crap I spouted off that night. We smoked some more dope, with me getting pretty blasted in the process (I was always a little ahead of Judy Blue Eyes), and drank enough champagne so that each of us made a trip back to the fridge before I finally decid­ed, shit, which is more impor­tant, for the bubbly to be ice cold or for me not to have to keep getting up, and brought the bottle back to the bed­room. Judy Blue Eyes was trying hard to move this seduction for­ward to the aforemen­tioned sexual in­tercourse stage without being crude or stopping the adoration I was paying her. Meanwhile, I was deliberately if uncharacteristically stalling, worshipping at the temple of her body. Rubbing her back with oil. Nipping her neck and shoul­ders while covering her eyes so she couldn’t predict where I was going to bite next. Nibbling her nipples through the fabric without touching her any­where else. Aggressively teasing, all the while giving her more of the mouthy shit that was flow­ing like I’d memorized it for the occa­sion from the Song of Sol­omon or Casanova’s best-selling how-to book or the chapter on elegant seduction from Bart­lett’s Book of Quo­tations.

Had it been up to me, this might have gone on forever—we were both deliciously high by now, and the Blar­ney Stone showed no signs of moving through my digestive system. With me, sex is the breakfast buf­fet table at the Warwick: one day you want Danish and juice, the next you’re in the mood for run­ny eggs and greasy bacon; some­times it’s “No thanks, I’ll just have a quick cup of coffee,” other times you want to gorge yourself on every­thing. But Judy Blue Eyes pursued her pleasures a lot more seri­ously, the way she pursued everything else. When she went to the taco bar she put everything on every taco—chicken, beef, green salsa, red salsa, yellow cheese, sour cream, lettuce, beans if they are available, hold the onions no matter what—not car­ing a bit that every taco ends up tasting the same, not wanting to miss out on a single flavor opportunity. And when she reached that point the fore­play is over, it was off to the rodeo. Your job was to get in the saddle and hang on; her job was everything else.

Suddenly Judy Blue Eyes’ excess foreplay alarm went off and she took matters into her own hands, so to speak. She shut me up with a series of long deep kisses with just enough break in be­tween for an occasional breath but not enough for any more speech­es, in the meantime peeling off the jeans and jockey shorts that I had somehow managed to retain up to that point (fair is fair; I had left her emerald green playsuit on as well, albeit a little bit awry). Then she proceeded with a mini­mum of wasted motion to give me a blow job. The Marquis whispered in my ear, “Brad, it’s time to give a little, shut up and don’t fight this any longer,” and I wisely listened to his sagacious council.

Now getting head—at least back then—was the ultimate sexual experience, right? Something secret, something wicked, something that Amanda Swartz, your high school sweetie, would­n’t do because she thought it was disgust­ing. Does it real­ly make a lick of dif­fer­ence (no pun intended) if she swallows or spits? Or is it that a woman will­ing to ingest your sperm is committed to you in a way that a wom­an who won’t isn’t?

Don’t get me wrong, I was enjoying what Judy Blue Eyes’ was doing. The problem was, I had a little trouble keeping my head in the game (again, I apologize for the mostly unintentional pun). With little to do besides make an occasional comment of apprecia­tion—and how much imagination does it take to say, “Baby, that sure feels good”—and a groan or two, I didn’t have anything to do to keep my attention from wandering. Add to that the great talent of THC to distract, and my mind went flying off in a dozen different directions. Watch­ing exotic dancers in Bangkok and hold­ing a dis­cussion with Kilgore Trout about the price of tea on Venus while trying to re­member the losers for each of the previous Superbowls.

Shit, Brad, concentrate! So I took a draught of the cham­pagne, set the cup on the bedside table, and composed this elegy, which I proceeded to recite in my most dignified voice.

ODE TO HEAD

A poem is grand, but ‘pon my word,

Verse good as head has n’er been heard.

Girls come and go, but I’ll n’er forget

The woman who’ll swallow instead of spit.

A wench whose lips stay firmly press’d

About a cubit below my chest.

What need to thrust and strain and jerk?

I smile while you do all the work.

Forget that little man in his boat!

And take my manhood down your throat.

Poems are made by fools in bed,

But only thou dost give such head.

 

It didn’t come out quite as elegant as it had sounded in my imagination. In fact, it was pretty lame compared with some of the stuff I’d been composing earlier. As a matter of two facts, it was as bad as any Victorian doggerel, including the best loved by ei­ther of the Brownings. Judy was having a hard time keeping from laughing—which was interesting in its own right—but she abso­lutely hated for levity to intrude into her love­making.

The only thing that had worked so far to shut me up was deep kisses, and she resorted to those again. Which put the loose legs of those tap pants in the vicinity of the Marquis’ alter ego, who was just starting to complain about the sudden loss of all that attention he’d been getting. A slight adjustment here and there resolved that perilous situation satisfactorily to all, and yes, there did finally come a time to shut up.

holy grail 1

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