I don’t forget names, especially of men who I’ve dated, slept with, loved, hated, or any combination thereof. But sometimes a first name alone—Joe, Dave, Ron—fails to conjure up a full image, a clear memory…a real person. Somewhere along the line, in conversations with my sisters and friends, I began to refer to these particular men by the more fitting nicknames they had earned:
I met Spanking Beanie Baby Boy years ago at the Japanese restaurant where I was a regular. I happened to get seated next to him at the sushi bar, and—because he was the best looking man I’d seen in a long time—I gave him my number when he asked. We went out a few times—to a hockey game, a movie—before he invited me over to his house. When he showed me his bedroom, I couldn’t help but notice the array of small stuffed animals on his dresser.
“What are those?” I asked. They were all quite small, brightly-colored and limp. They draped over one another in a large pile, like a tired zoo.
Spanking Beanie Baby Boy looked at me like I was insane. “Whaddya mean?” he said. “Don’t you know?”
“Stuffed animals?” I said. I could hardly believe that he had them, let alone had showed them to me voluntarily.
“Beanie Babies,” he said. “Beanie Babies. I collect them. They’re going to be worth a lot of money someday.”
“Oh,” I said, deciding right there on the spot that I would never have sex with this man. It became a non-option.
We went out one more time after that, back to the sushi bar for dinner, where we downed far too many beers and sake bombers. I had learned by then that it was more fun to drink with Spanking Beanie Baby Boy than it was to talk. Back at my place, we decided to play a rousing game of Yahtzee over a bottle of wine. Four games of Yahtzee and two bottles of wine later, I couldn’t count the dots on the dice anymore. Ever the gracious hostess, I invited Spanking Beanie Baby Boy to stay the night. He certainly shouldn’t be driving, after all. I decided that he could sleep in my bed, as long as we kept some clothes on and did not have sex. Those were the rules.
When we awoke in the fog of the morning, me in my t-shirt and shorts, Spanking Beanie Baby Boy in his boxers, I could tell that my guest was ready to change these rules. He rolled towards me; I rolled away. He pulled me close and wrapped his arms around me; I rested in his embrace but kept my hands open in thwarted high-fives, unwilling to fully relax. I did not want to have sex with a man who collected stuffed animals. Who would?
After about a half-hour of small talk and surreptitious groping on his part, I decided that enough was enough. I told Spanking Beanie Baby Boy that I was getting up. It was time. I disentangled myself from his arms, turned over, and raised myself up on one elbow as I began to exit the bed.
That’s when the spanking started.
Before I was able to swing my legs out of the bed and onto the floor, Spanking Beanie Baby Boy began to spank my butt, and not all that gently. Spank spank spank—he wouldn’t let up! I continued to lie there, propped up on my elbow—it took me a wild-eyed moment or two, a casting-about of my senses, to determine what was happening: as far as I could gather, Spanking Beanie Baby Boy had become frustrated with my sleeping rules, and was acting out.
I leapt out of bed and turned to stare at him with the same look he gave me when I failed to recognize a Beanie Baby.
“What?” he said, all innocent.
I was going to say something; I really was. But for whatever reason, I could not bring myself to say the word “spank.” In fact, I couldn’t bring myself to verbally acknowledge the encounter at all. It was so obviously wrong, and if Spanking Beanie Baby Boy didn’t get that, there was something wrong with him too.
Need I say more?
Kate Mohler currently lives in Arizona, where she teaches English at Mesa Community College. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and she has a short story forthcoming in the journal Quiddity. Her blog, Hotdishing regularly gets her in trouble. She likes to read, write, cook, work out, and travel.