We were talking about George Benson the other day, Henry and I. Well, mostly just I was. I think I was making a painfully stretched comparison between a Dance Gavin Dance song and George Benson, and I’m sure it only made sense to my ear drums, as evidenced by the aghast look on Henry’s scruffy face.
“Seriously, this song could have been in Short Circuit 2,” I cried, pleading my case. And then, “George Benson always make me think of Joe (our ex-boss from the early 00’s).”
Henry snorted. Joe is a sore subject ’round these parts.
“I remember when he found out about us,” I said. “He came into my office, shut the door and said, ‘Let’s have a little talk.’ I was sure I was getting fired.”
Henry and I did pretty good for awhile in the beginning, keeping our relationship as clandestine at work as a bi-racial love affair in the ’50s. Of course, I’d toe the line by making out with him in the break room. He’d always get so nervous and try unsuccessfully to push me away, but I’m too much of a harlot to get shooed away like some dung-caked horsefly.
I will never forget this one fateful night in October of 2001, Henry and I were on our way to a haunted house. At a red light, I sat in the passenger seat, holding Henry’s hand across the console, when I casually looked out the window. I made eye contact with the driver of the car next to us, and of course it would happen to be a co-worker, Jim.
Motherfucking Jim Landis.
He raised his eyebrows in surprise and I flung Henry’s hand far away from me like it was the heroin-packed rectum of a corpse and a wagonful of DEA had sidled up next to me. The light turned green and we sped away.
That Monday, I had to pull Jim aside and beg him not to tell. And especially since he was one of Joe’s Golden Boys, I was panicked and paranoid.
Joe eventually found out, albeit months later, which was where the absurd, but kind of cute I guess, Concerned Father chat stemmed from. It was the whole, “This man is much older than you and I don’t want to see you get hurt” spiel, which I guess I should have considered more seriously, on second thought. BECAUSE LOOK AT ME NOW.
“You know, our old landlord gave me the same talk, sat me right down in his office when I went up there and told him you were moving in with me,” I told Henry, remembering it with a certain fondness because that guy is dead now and he was such a great land lord. “I guess he wanted to make sure I had thought it through.”
“I wish someone would have had that talk with me,” Henry mumbled.