Midnight in Morley?


The courthouse clock chimed eleven.  Bella’s Bar and Grill, the only late night enterprise in Morley, New Mexico had closed and the town was dead.  A cold wind blew through the square; the mercury was dropping rapidly.  I wound my alpaca scarf around my neck, buttoned my coat against the chill and headed for the park bench where I often sit contemplating life and the petty problems that plague my existence.  This time it was not a petty problem, it was a life changing decision.  Silently I prayed that the solitude would yield an answer to the question that haunted every waking moment.  My heart said yes—my head said no – the constant harangue between the two was leaving me sleepless, distraught and cranky as hell.


   Mierda! Two people occupied my destination!  There are nine other benches on the town square but this courting couple had selected my own personal bench to canoodle.  I marched by in a huff; the pair ignored me.  My sainted mother instilled a strong aversion to rude behavior so I did not stare at the snoggers but out of the corner of my eye I looked closely.  Doubtless the trespassing duo had rolled out of Bella’s Bar after last call.  The drunken pair was pie-eyed.  They would suffer hangovers from hell if they were half as inebriated as they appeared.  The Morley Inn is only four blocks down on Main and The Last Chance Motel is at the edge of town on State Highway 666 ( no, it doesn’t lead to hell – it terminates in lovely Santa Fe which in no way resembles Dante’s Inferno.)   The clutched couple should take their lust elsewhere before things went much further; if they did not I was calling the cops.  My own sex life had been sparsely populated for some time and I certainly was not in the mood to witness someone else’s amorous escapades.  I wanted the couple gone.  I wanted my bench back!


   While I pondered the problem that had taken me from my cozy home to a cold park bench, the couple continued their embrace with faces fixed and smiles frozen.  It was bitterly cold, my hot breathe became cold damp vapor with each exhalation, oddly the mating pair emitted no miasma.   Well to be honest, they weren’t actually mating yet, but I had gone without feminine companionship for so long that I was jealous of any close physical contact.  Ted Silver was in dire need of cuddling and any other sensual pleasures that I could garner.  Rarely am I envious of anyone for any reason, but tonight was different.  I was reviewing my miserable romantic track record and in no mood to witness anyone’s triumph in the arena of love.   Successful intimate relationships have eluded me for the near half-century I have racked up on this planet.  Is a loving relationship – with great sex – too much to ask from life?


   I ignored the couple and determined that should they began to copulate, I was leaving – I am not a voyeur and I hate to be taunted.   It was awfully cold for sex al fresco but they were young and alcohol fueled and possibly warmed by other pharmaceuticals as well, doubtless, the young man could achieve what a man of my years could not.  Once I passed forty, lots of things changed in my life – and not for the better!  Thank God, I’m Episcopal or I would have to spend time in the heavily carved confessional in St. Anthony’s admitting the sin of envy that was foiling my attempt to solve the current problem plaguing my life.   I turned my eyes to the romancing duo, no change there, none at all.  Something was wrong.  I willed my chilled joints to move and heaved my half-frozen body from the bench.


    He was thirtyish and handsome in an oily lounge lizard fashion but his reddish brown hair was too long for the narrow face and a five o’clock shadowed emphasized his hollow cheeks.  She was quite lovely, jet black hair cascaded down her slender shoulders and perfectly sculptured features graced a model’s face.  They both could have stood a few extra pounds and their skin was unnaturally pale.


    The wind had ceased and it was eerily quiet.  The town square was dead as a doornail as was the couple canoodling on my special park bench.  They were also frozen, stiff as a board.  I had intended to shoot the lascivious duo a dirty look, a look fueled by envy but no one alive had any reason to envy the young couple lying on my special park bench.