The following is an excerpt from Wake Up, Sir!, Jonathan Ames’ satirical homage to the British humorist P.G. Wodehouse. The story of Alan, a young, drunk writer, and his manservant, Jeeves, begins in Montclair, New Jersey, where Alan gets into a fight with his trigger-happy uncle. Alan and Jeeves then flee the Garden State, taking refuge at a Hasidic enclave in Sharon Springs, NY. Trouble with a lady (she and her husband beat the shit out of Alan) sends them running again, this time to an artist colony in Saratoga Springs. Here, Alan encounters a woman with whom he can indulge his most unusual fetish, because she possesses one of the most spectacular noses in the history of the planet.
Poor Jeeves. Nobody likes to be yelled at. But if anybody could take it, it was Jeeves. He knew that I was a complete idiot and not to be taken seriously. If anything, he was probably glad that I had left him in peace to continue his reading.
Nevertheless, I was pretty ashamed of myself, and so I walked rapidly down the hallway, and up the small half-flight of stairs, running away, as it were, from what I had just done.
What I should have done, though, was to have gone back and apologized to Jeeves.
But if I had done that, I wouldn’t have run into Ava. She was in a white robe, held tight to her beautiful frame. She had just come from the bathroom on her hallway and was returning to her room.
“Want to come in a second?” she asked.
She was inviting me into her room. I was a bad person. I had just yelled at Jeeves. The universe was showing its design: good things happen to bad people.
“All right,” I said, and the words came out like cement. An incredible pounding was in my temples. There was so much fresh blood in me that I sobered up completely. I realized that I must have misread her earlier mood. Perhaps she had wanted to invite me in then.
She went first. I followed. She closed the door. She walked toward her bed — an antique four-poster, like Beaubien’s. Ava looked good in the shadows. I didn’t move. Then she turned. She walked back toward me. She was barefoot. Shorter than me. Normal male-female measuring systems were in effect. Her arms reached out to me. I lifted my arms to take hold of her, but I was weak and frightened, each wrist had a small boulder fastened to it, but I managed to get my arms up and around her. She was a big girl, but even a big girl feels small in one’s arms.
Her mouth pressed against mine. Then her lips opened and her teeth opened and her tongue was in my mouth. I didn’t feel weak anymore, but I was self-conscious. I started worrying about my breath, all that wine and whiskey and pot and sulfur water. But she kept on kissing me, and I dismissed my neurosis. Her breath was warm and tasted good, like she had just been eating an apple. Maybe she had been. I kissed her and put my hand into her thick, dark brown hair.
I had the girl I wanted. But no one ever gets the girl he wants. There was something wrong with the world.
Her nose was against my cheek. We danced like that, backward toward the bed. She sat on the bed. I stood.
The robe opened up. She was naked.
I put my hand on her full, fat breast. Then I put my hand under her breast. Nobody had enjoyed weighing something as much since Archimedes. Her nipples were brown and large.
I put my face between her breasts and inhaled. All wars had come to an end. I loved the smell of her. I pushed both breasts together and was able to get both nipples in my mouth.
We did some more kissing. Then my clothes started coming off. My boxer shorts stayed on.
I said, “I want to kiss your nose.”
She smiled. She let me kiss her nose. I ran my lips up and down the bone of it. Then I kissed it lightly, delicately. I followed this up with an experimental suck, but I couldn’t fit the whole thing in my mouth. But I liked sucking on it. It was different from sucking on her breast. It was like getting to the essence of her. I took my mouth off her nose. I felt sated.
“You’re perverted,” she said, and laughed. She didn’t know the half of it — that there was only one other nose fetishist in the history of human sexuality. I didn’t want her to think I was too crazy, so I went back to work on her mouth. Sucked her lips. She rolled on top of me. I had one hand on her rear and one hand on her breast.
She put her hand down my boxers. I followed her lead and put my hand between her legs. The hair there was soft. Didn’t do much else, just warmed my hand there, like over a stove. Wanted to be a gentleman. Sucked on her nose some more and I was in nineteenth-century Germany, living out a dream.
“What’s with all this nose kissing?” she asked.
“You have a beautiful nose,” I said.
“Thank you,” she said softly.
What I found beautiful, I was sure, may have been a source of ridicule in her life.
She encouraged, so I put a finger inside her, soft and respectful, like a Jew stepping inside a church. And her hand went up and down on me. We were enjoying each other. I took my slick finger out and rubbed it gently at the top of her sex. She liked that. Little cries escaped from her.
Then we took a break. The initial fury was over. We had to look at each other; get to know each other. So we just lay there. Side by side. She opened her fist and looked down. There was just enough light to see by. She said, “You’re the first white guy I’ve been with in years.”
This was unexpected. What does one say to that? I went the simple route. “How many years?”
“At least five . . . I’ve only been seeing Africans since I was thirty. But I haven’t been with anyone for six months. I needed to stop for a little while.”
“I don’t mean to be rude, but how is it that you were only seeing Africans? Were you living in Africa?”
“No,” she said, and laughed. “I live in Brooklyn. But I’ve been to Africa three times, mostly Nigeria .I take
African dance classes in New York. My whole life is dance classes. I don’t really do anything else.”
I had been going easy on her, but I threw her a fastball: “Why haven’t you seen anyone for six months?”
She was Mickey Mantle. She ate my fastball. She didn’t blink an eye. She said:
“It was getting to be too much. I fell in love with this one guy, Cholee . . . But he had a wife back in Nigeria. They’re Yoruba. They don’t divorce in their culture. So after him, I had a whole herd of them. Was seeing every African in town. But that wasn’t healthy. And I was still in love with Cholee . . . So I trimmed down the herd until there was nothing. It’s been good . . . I was talking to this therapist on the phone. He encouraged me to take a break. It’s crazy, but I got his number out of the back of the Utne Reader. He said that subconsciously I was a racist.”
“I don’t know if it’s helpful for a therapist to call you a racist.”
“His point was that I didn’t think I deserved a white guy, or I thought that a white guy wouldn’t love me, so this to him is racism. Sex is a big part of it. I do love their dicks. And black men do have bigger dicks.
They just do. But I also love their bodies, their skin. They smell so good.” She grew thoughtful.
“Sometimes there’s a black guy who doesn’t have a big one. But it’s rare.”
In light of the circumstances, this wasn’t the most encouraging conversation to be having. In fact, I rather wilted in her hand, a cross between a dying flower and an accordion being shut down for the night by a beggar minstrel. I had heard of the Utne Reader magazine, but I had never actually seen one, and who knew that you could get a therapist from its back pages. It was all rather baffling.
“But I don’t always need a big dick,” she continued. Was she talking about me? Before this African phase, I was in love with a Mexican boy. He was only nineteen. I was twenty-nine. He was beautiful. Had long black hair to his ass. Everyone stared at him. Made me jealous. But he had a small dick. And I loved him. And before that I was with this Japanese guy, and he had the smallest one ever, but I was crazy for him.”
I was thinking that maybe I should kill myself. Usually, I have suicidal thoughts when I’m alone. So it was rare to have one in the company of another person. But after this conversation about other men’s penises, there wasn’t much left to me, mentally and physically. The flower-accordion, which was still in her hand, was practically inverting. My belly button had greater length.
“Where do I fit into all this?” I whispered. My shattered ego was gasping for air.
“I like you. You’re weird; I like weird guys. And I needed to be touched. I’ve been lonely at this stupid colony.”
Then she kissed me passionately. I didn’t say no.
She drew me on top of her. Her eyelids closed halfway over her green eyes. I could see the pulse beating in her neck. Her breasts, like giant eggs-over-easy, lay on her chest. That might not sound appealing, but I happen to love eggs.
I had to ask: “Am I small?”
“No,” she said huskily. “You have a nice fat one. I just hadn’t seen a pink one in a while. I’m not used to the color, but you’re nice and hefty.”
That did it. Praise a man’s penis and there’s not much he can’t do.
So the beggar minstrel decided to unpack his accordion and wait for a few more tourists. He unfurled a long, happy song!
Her right arm was to the side of the pillow, inching up. I could see that she wanted to adopt the position of a woman being taken, and so I raised both of her arms over her head and pushed the wrists down with my left hand.
She fought against my hand on her wrists, but I was strong. And she wouldn’t have wanted me to let go anyway. She wanted the rough stuff.
I wasn’t really myself. But few people are when they make love. It’s a lesser self. Or at least, a less thinking self. So I kissed her hard. I took a breast in my right hand and squeezed it. I gave her nose a suck, like taking a hit of adrenaline, and then I sucked her neck.
“Please go in me,” she whispered.
I roughly pried her legs apart with my knee. Rubbed myself against her wetness, her hair. It felt beautiful. I threw her legs on my shoulders and rubbed against her that way. I liked tossing her around like that. “Do you have a condom?” I asked.
“No. Just don’t come. Pull out.”
We all weaken in these situations. I was no exception. I kissed her face, her nose, her neck, her breasts. “Go in me, please, I don’t care about the condom,” she said.
“Not yet,” I said.
I worked my way down her body. When I was in front of her sex, I lifted up her thighs. Then holding on to the thighs, I rolled her onto the small of her back, lifting her sex off the bed. Her legs were up and open. I held the thighs to keep her legs in place. To the right and left of her mound, I kissed the insides of her legs. Left leg. Right leg. I inched closer to where she wanted me to kiss her. But didn’t.
She was crying. Good crying. I was teasing her. But I couldn’t take it anymore, myself. So I put my whole face in there. A baptism. I let go of her thighs and put them on my shoulders, pinning my head in place. She then fastened her legs, imprisoning me completely. She had strong legs. My eyes were closed. I sucked on her. I licked her. The lower half of my body made love to the bed. I took as much of her sex in my mouth as I could, and when it was in there, I licked it with my tongue. Her legs squeezed my head tight. I could hear the ocean. I stayed in there a long time drinking from her. I loved it in there, and I knew I was making her happy, which was my insurance if I failed at making love, if I came right away.
For quite a while, I did only one thing: I licked very fast on the right spot — that little swelling that feels like your own fat lip after you get hit in the mouth. Then finally she cried out, her body spasming. When she was still, I pried open her legs, freed myself, and went and rested my wet face on her chest. I could hear her heart pounding.
Then she hugged me and kissed me. We were tender with each other.
“Go in me now,” she said. “Please.”
I got between her legs.
“I’m going to have to go slow. I might have to pull out right away.”
“I don’t care. Just put it in.”
I went in. Slow. Cautious. Being in her was a revelation. I had nearly forgotten what it was like to be in a woman. When it comes to sex, I think we all suffer from a kind of amnesia. We can never fully recollect what it’s like. Our memory doesn’t allow it. So we’re compelled to do it over and over, again and again. I think this memory loss must be a function of the brain. Good old Darwin! He knew what he was up to.
“Please don’t move,” I said.
I tried to remember to breathe, to stay calm. I was my own minefield. I had to not set myself off. I made it through the first minute. Maybe I can do this, I thought. I began to apply some strokes. She was sensitive, knew I was struggling, and so she didn’t do anything too dramatic. She just made small movements, lifting her hips just the slightest.
Then I got the hang of it. Wasn’t in immediate danger. We began to move together more rapidly. I kissed her. I grabbed her breasts. We kept moving. I got her arms above her and pinned her wrists again. She liked that. Her legs were wrapped around me. I was fucking her. It kills me to use that word, but that’s what I was doing. She was moaning and crying out quite a lot now. I pinched her nipples. Kept the wrists pinned. I gave her some slaps with the back of my hand and the palm of my hand. Never too hard, but enough to make a sound like a clap.
Then we found our spot together. I was kissing her and my pubic bone was rubbing against her pubic bone. That was the spot. Then I had to stop kissing her. It was too exciting. Too intimate. I had to be alone. So I nursed on her neck and kept rubbing that bone. I didn’t think I was going to make it.
“Keep doing that,” she said.
The more she got excited, the more I thought I couldn’t hang on. But I had to last. I had to make her come. I had to be good. I had to be better than all those Africans and Mexicans and Japanese. I hid in her neck and rubbed. I fell back on that old male trick of thinking about sports. In my mind, I began to recite the Mets lineup from 1973, which was the year I became truly conscious of sports and the Mets went to the World Series but lost.
I started with the catcher and then went around the infield. Jerry Grote. Ed Kranepool. Felix Millan. Bud Harrelson. Wayne Garrett. Cleon Jones. Don Hahn. Rusty Staub. Jerry Grote. Ed Kranepool. Felix Millan. Bud Harrelson. Wayne Garrett. Cleon Jones. Don Hahn. Rusty Staub.
I did a few of the pitchers.
Tom Seaver. Jerry Koosman. Jon Matlack. Tug McGraw.
Then she really started to moan. Come, goddammit, I shouted in my mind. I tried to think of the ugliest Met: Ed Kranepool. I remembered his swing. A lefty. He had dark stubble. Thinking about him was very good. He was completely unfeminine. I couldn’t think of anything feminine. So I kept thinking about Ed Kranepool, and all the while I was thrusting and rubbing.
I was able to be detached from my body as long as he was in my mind. I said his name backward in my head.
Loopenark. Loopenark. Loopenark. Loopenark. Loopenark. Loopenark.
Then I did the whole team. I’ve always been good at speaking people’s names backward. Etorg. Loopenark. Nallim. Noslerrah. Tterrag. Senoj. Nhah. Buats. Revaes. Namsook.
Then there was a cry like no other cry. Just had to give her a few more thrusts to finish it off. Loopenark. Loopenark. Loopenark. Another cry.
She had to be done. I gave one deep final thrust, like Brutus. Something inside me screamed; I was ready, beyond ready, but I had the presence of mind to yank the knife, out, rub it wet and alive against her belly and spill all over her.
I rolled to her side. We were silent. Then I asked, “Do you want me to get a towel, clean you up?” I was embarrassed that I had made a mess; suddenly, I felt like I hardly knew her.
“No, it’s okay,” she said.
We lay there quietly. I kissed her shoulder, but it was a phony move, just something a man does to keep the peace with a woman. You see, I was starting to commit what a friend of mine once called mentacide. This is when your brain tries to kill you. My thoughts went like this: What if I dripped a little? She could be pregnant. She seems very fertile. If she’s pregnant, I’m doomed.
“I’m going to go to the bathroom,” she said. “I’ll be right back.” She put on her robe and went out.
I lay there. It was all so improbable, but it had happened. I had just made love to a sexy, gorgeous woman. I was quite pleased with myself. And exhausted, too. I assumed she wanted me to spend the night. But I had to be discreet. Couldn’t let anyone see me leaving her room. I’d leave early before people were awake.
She came back, turned off the little lamp on the bureau, and got into bed. She offered me her rear again, for me to slide into place against it. We fit nicely. I kissed the back of her neck.
“Thank you for making love with me,” I said.
“Thank you,” she said.
Then we slept, just a few hours, and in the morning, she packed a small bag and I drove her to the train. We got there just in time, and I kissed her good-bye on the concrete platform, and for good measure I kissed her playfully on the tip of her gigantic sexy nose. She smiled. The train was a big silver Amtrak. I almost said I love you, but I knew better than that. So I said, “Thank you for last night.”
She smiled, then she said, “I’ll see you tomorrow. I’ll take a taxi back. I’m not sure what time I’ll get in.”
She got on the train. I took my tie out again and waved it like a handkerchief, being silly. I don’t know if she saw me. The windows were impossible to look into.
I drove back to the Rose Colony and went to my room. There was still a hush of sleep to the Mansion. I wondered for a moment why my slippers were outside my door and then I remembered and collected them. The trap had failed. I thought of Jeeves: I owed him an apology. Then I crawled into bed and slept for hours. There were no dreams. I didn’t need any.
This story first appeared on NERVE in 2004.