I will once again flag this as NSFW (Not Suitable For Work). Sam is a very creative writer – Simon
Man and woman can live on free samples alone
Charles found himself back at the hotel and was surprised that Gary was nowhere to be seen. He checked to see if Harry had reported for duty, and the desk clerk said that Harry had called off. Still riding the high of meeting and talking to Sir Steven, Charles had to share everything with Emma. While Charles was blabbing away to Emma… Gary, Monica, and Harry were living ‘low off the hog’ as Harry and Monica phrased it.
Monica and Harry loved each other. They loved each other so much, there wasn’t anything they wouldn’t do for each other, especially when it meant getting Harry a new penis.
And after more sex with Monica, Gary Harte wanted to play more, so he decided to play along, because he couldn’t stop.
“What a lay!” he told Charles on the flight back east.
“And for a good cause,” Charles added, happy that it was someone else other than himself bragging about sexcapades. And even better, it was his agent and an old friend whose wish had come true in, of all places, Hollywood, he mused. Maybe some of Sir Steven’s magic rubbed off on me despite what he told me about this place.
When Gary awoke in Monica’s apartment, he thought he had been dreaming. He quickly realized that he hadn’t and then smiled when he thought about the physical pleasures he had enjoyed for hours. He looked for his clothes and searched for his iPhone. He couldn’t find it. He climbed out of the bed and saw that he was naked and thought how odd I feel being naked in a stranger’s place.
He spotted his clothes on the floor and before he could put something on, the door opened up and Monica was right in front of him wearing a much frayed bathrobe. She had a mug in each hand.
Gary took one of the mugs and nodded.
“Do you feel strange being naked in a place that isn’t yours?” she asked him.
“Are you a mind reader?” he asked her.
They both laughed and sipped their coffee. Gary quickly gathered his clothes between sips and watched Monica tip toe into the bathroom.
“Washing up,” she called out after the bathroom door shut.
Gary put on his underwear, socks, shoes and pants. He wanted to wash up after Monica was done and quietly gazed around the room as he sipped his mug of coffee. He was happy the coffee tasted good and even more surprised when Monica was out of the bathroom as quickly as she entered it.
“That was fast,” Gary pointed out.
“It always is with me when I shower my way,” Monica said.
“I didn’t even hear the shower come on,” Gary said.
“It didn’t. But I’m clean. I have to save money for Harry’s operation. Do you have any idea what the water bills are here in southern California?” Monica asked.
Gary didn’t. “So you have silent shower that is timed? Is that why I didn’t hear anything?”
Monica took him by the hand and into her tiny bathroom. “I’m sure you want to clean up, too.”
He nodded. Then she pointed to her shower stall.
It was packed with all sorts of different items inside of plastic quart bags that zip shut.
“I’ll bite,” Gary said sarcastically. How do you shower in there?”
“We don’t shower. We freshen up,” Monica said as she pointed to the bathroom sink.
Gary looked at the sink and saw a sink full of water, which had some soapy suds floating on the edges with what looked like a few hairs sprinkled in.
“How clean is the water?” Gary asked her.
“See for yourself,” she said as she turned on the faucet for a millisecond so Gary could see the color of the water. “It’s water. Juts take a cloth dip it in and wash the essentials,” she said.
“How do you wash your hair?”
“You didn’t notice?”
“Notice what?” Gary said.
Monica put her hands underneath her hair and removed it.
“You wear a wig!” Gary exclaimed. “How come I never knew?”
“One, you didn’t ask. Two, I didn’t show you until now, and three, you never grabbed my head in all the times and positions we have been in,” Monica pointed out.
“You look pretty good without the wig,” Gary said.
“Bonus points for you. Now take a wash cloth, wet it in the basin and wash your privates and underarms. Toss some talcum powder on those spots and then use the moist towelettes that you will find under the bathroom sink on your face. Then it is out for breakfast — Monica and Harry style,” she said.
“So, that’s why it tasted so chalky,” Gary said. “Your pussy. When I was going down on you, I couldn’t place the taste of your juices until you showed me the talcum powder.”
“Get busy, silly,” Monica said as she playfully punched him on the arm and left him in the bathroom.
Boy is she cheap. I wonder what else they do to get blood from a stone. He wondered as he tried his best to ‘freshen up’.
I bet they skip using the dryer and hang their clothes outside. Probably squeeze their toothpaste with a pliers and never throw out the bar of soap; instead, just keep laying one almost finished bar on top of another, he thought as he confirmed his suspicions by finding a toothpaste tube with pliers attached at the end and a bar of soap that looked like it was made from a rainbow. He chuckled as he gingerly washed his privates, tossed on some talcum and thought about more ways they probably scrimped.
I bet they have a barrel of rain water out back and use that to wash their car and water their plants, he thought as he finished up. I bet I’m getting one lousy breakfast.
He wasn’t getting breakfast at Monica’s. She was dressed very plainly and was waiting for him in the kitchen. “Finished?” she asked.
Gary nodded. “Have you seen my phone?”
She shook her head and motioned for him to follow her out. He did, and when he got into the car he said hello to Harry, who of course offered his right hand with the big toe for a thumb. Gary thought he was going to gag, but shook it. “Harry, have you seen my phone?”
Harry shook his head and eased the car out of the apartment’s parking lot and onto the road.
I liked the limo better, he mused. “Where to? I’m starving.”
“Sam’s Club,” they both said in unison.
Sam’s Club? He thought. I am getting breakfast as a food counter… yuck!
“Don’t have one. I use the bar’s,” Harry told him.
“Me neither. I use the office phone,” Monica told him.
Strange, thought Gary. “Pull over if you see a phone booth will you, Harry.”
“You Superman?” Harry said sarcastically.
“Well, when he was fucking me, he was,” laughed Monica.
Gary Harte blushed as he fumbled in his pockets for quarters and looked out the backseat window for a phone booth. He found no quarters and saw no phone booths. He decided he would call Charles from Sam’s Club, and have the limo come pick him up. He knew Charles could handle the meeting, because it was Sir Steven Spielberg’s show, and Charles was humble and smart enough to kowtow accordingly. He breathed deep, chuckled to himself about a need for a brown paper bag, and hoped his stomach growling wasn’t going to get louder, because he found it so embarrassing.
“We will be there soon,” Harry said.
“Not much traffic today,” Monica pointed out. They drove for a few more minutes in silence and then Monica pointed to the large boxed store that stood alone in a huge parking lot.
“There she blows,” Harry called out.
“More like there he blows. After all, its name is Sam,” Monica said as Harry eased into the parking lot.
“Excuse me you two, this is a megastore. I don’t like to eat at restaurant counters,” Gary said. “That’s all they have in here, correct?”
“They do, but we’re not getting food at their counter,” Harry said as he parked the car.
“I got our membership card,” Monica said as she held it up for Gary to see and stepped out of the car.
“So are we going to shop here and then back to your place for a hearty breakfast?” Gary asked them. “I’m starving and I need to make a phone call. I hope they have a public phone in here.”
Harry and Monica giggled and each grabbed one of Gary’s hands and they hustled him to the front of the store.
The three walked to the massive building and were greeted by a little old lady who asked to see their membership card. Gary Harte who lived in New York City most of his adult life and travelled to book signings in either very big cities or small artsy villages had never been to a Sam’s Club or anything remotely resembling a megastore.
Monica flashed her membership card to the little old lady who welcomed them all and hoped they had a nice time shopping.
“Excuse me? Do you have a public phone in here?” Gary asked the sweet looking lady.
“You need a membership to get in here. What do you think?’ she growled.
Bitch, Gary thought as he followed Monica in. Harry left them and Gary watched him disappear into walls of stocked items.
“Follow me, hungry man,” Monica said as she waved Gary to catch up.
Gary caught up to her and shrugged his shoulders. Monica knew what she was doing and knew that Gary was clueless about what was going down. However, she and Harry had a routine and an operation to pay for. Furthermore, like Gary, she was hungry, too. Monica walked over to the frozen food section. Right in front of the signs that read waffles, pancakes, sausages and other frozen breakfast foods there was a man in the same age bracket as the woman who Monica flashed her membership card to. The man was dressed the same, except he had a red apron and a chef’s hat on. He was standing behind a waist high table that had boxes of sausages on it, little plastic forks and little plastic cups. Next to that table was a table that had three huge pitchers of orange juice with little cups next to them.
Monica sashayed right to that table and started a conversation with the server. The server started laughing and couldn’t keep his eyes from her cleavage as she bent over a few times to look at the food he was cooking.
Gary saw everything and slowly started to put one and one together. This is my breakfast! He thought as he got in line behind Monica and thought of two things – eating some of that sausage as soon as it was ready and asking the chef to use his cell phone. While he waited to do so, Monica stopped and leaned her ass into his crotch and grinded away. Gary enjoyed it and couldn’t believe that the few others who got I line to sample the food didn’t notice or care.
Monica turned to him and whispered “the sausage behind me isn’t bad either.”
Gary laughed and stifled a hunger pain.
“It’s ready!” the server exclaimed. After you sample some, be sure to pick some up in this isle about three doors down. Say miss, where is your cart?” the server asked Monica, just as Monica picked up four samples.
“Right here,” Harry said as he pulled up with all sorts of items in an oversized shopping cart.
The man nodded and Monica scooped up her samples and went to get a glass of orange juice.
“I’m with him,” Gary said as he jerked his thumb towards Harry and copied Monica’s
lead. Maybe I’m wrong about their finances? Sure looks like at least five hundred dollars’ worth of goods in that carriage, he thought.
The chef invited them to eat his just finished dish of sausage upon sausage. Monica, Harry and Gary obliged and washed the food down with the orange juice from the next table.
Gary ate two and asked the server if he had a cell phone he could borrow.
“If I owned a cell phone, I wouldn’t be working here,” the server said.
“Follow me,” Harry whispered to them as he headed in the direction of where the chef had said the sausages were on the shelves in the huge walled freezer system.
Harry opened up the big door and took out two boxes and yelled to the server to notice what he was doing. The server flashed thumbs up, which Harry really enjoyed mimicking with his big toe playing the role of the thumb. He escorted his companions to a quiet area and told them where the other servers were giving out their food and drink.
That’s when Gary Harte stopped both of them. It was time for him to regain his mojo and ask some questions — not to mention getting back to the hotel.
But all that came out of his mouth was “I need to make a phone call NOW!”
Monica pressed her index finger to his lips and Gary calmed down.
“More eat, less talk,” Harry said as he started to push his over loaded cart to another area of the mammoth store.
“What’s going on, Monica?” Gary asked.
“I’ll tell you after we eat some more. Didn’t you say you were hungry?”
Gary’s stomach let out a roar and he blushed.
“Well, that answers that,” she said as she patted his stomach. “What are you blushing for?”
“I’m European, you know.”
“Don’t people from Europe get hungry?” she asked as she pointed to their next conquest.
It was a stand near the fresh fruit section. There was a server cutting up various fruits and mixing them up in very small white-foam bowls. Harry was already sampling.
“The servings are awful small,” Gary whispered to Monica.
“I agree, but there are a lot of stations to make up for that,” she pointed out.
Monica and Gary walked up to the server who frowned at them, because they didn’t have a cart of goods in front of them. They both pointed to Harry, who nodded that they were with him. The server smiled and let them each grab a few of his samples.
“You got a phone I can use?” Gary asked the server.
“What, so you can call someone important,” the server answered sarcastically.
Gary Harte didn’t like being treated rude. He hated the thought of being treated rude by a Sam’s Club server and was about to let all his frustrations come out when Monica yanked him towards the next station.
“Lucky guy,” Gary muttered.
“Not as lucky as you were,” she said with a seductive smile.
“Okay Monica, I’ll bite. Why are you and Harry not buying all the stuff in your cart?”
“We don’t have any money to buy those items in the cart he is pushing around. That’s all for show, so we can eat for free at every Sam’s Club we can find.”
Gary Harte took her chin in his right hand and peered into her eyes to see if she was full of shit or telling the truth. He gently let her chin go.
“She was telling the truth,” Gary later told Charles on their flight back.
“She never was a liar,” Charles said.
“Do you come here for lunch and dinner, too?” Gary asked her as the spotted Harry over in the bread department setting up the cart near the server.
“No, breakfasts only,” she replied dejectedly.
“What about lunch and dinner?” Gary asked.
“What about them?” she answered as they followed the same ritual at the bread department’s free sample table.
“We skip lunch and Harry gets some serious good food from the portions that are getting thrown out from the hotel. I fucked all the people in the kitchen that have anything to do with disposing of the food. Dinners are pretty damn good for us,” Monica said with a smile.
“People?” said Gary.
“Not everyone in the food preparation business is a man, Gary,” Monica said as she playfully punched Gary on the upper part of his right arm. Gary agreed and they made their way to the next stop and ate some bread slices.
“Have a phone I can borrow?” Gary asked the server.
The server stuck her tongue out at him.
Harry was off to the area where the megastore sold breakfast bars. As Gary and Monica followed, Gary’s eyes caught the book department and rushed over to see if his favorite client’s books were being featured.
“Where are you going?” Monica asked him.
“You go on. I’ll catch up with you. I have to ask you something very important,” he said as he came across the tables of books. There were hundreds of titles and they were all over the place as Gary assumed that people browsed the many titles and didn’t give a damn about putting them back properly, unlike the food items that he had witnessed being looked at, sniffed at, squeezed, and even listened to as he made his way from station to station. Gary noticed that if the shopper didn’t buy it, they put it back exactly where they took it from.
“Not so here,” he said as he found Charles Craig Curtis’ most famous book and positioned it in the best location with no other books behind it or next to it.
“Thanks,” Charles later told him on the flight back east.
“Don’t mention it. But I think we should hire someone to go to these mega stores and do exactly what I did. I don’t trust the stockers,” Gary said.
“Will the people we hire get free food samples, too?” Charles said with a laugh.
After Gary finished protecting and promoting Domestically Wild, he found Monica and pulled her aside.
“Are you two broke?”
“Yes and no.”
“Maybe I should stick to sexual questions with you,” Gary said.
“That’s certainly more fun,” Monica said.
“Before we sashay over to the next appetizer, how about you give me the low down?”
“You writing a book?” she asked sarcastically.
“No. But this escapade might end up in one. I am a literary agent.”
Monica took a deep breath. She needed to get it off her chest—wanted to get it off her chest. Harry obviously knew their plight, and fucking Gary Harte’s brains out and the subsequent trip to Sam’s Club were two dominos that both she and Harry had stumbled upon the previous night in the bar to help fund their cause — getting Harry a new cock. She nodded her head that she was going to tell Gary. She took him by the arm and found an aisle that had no one in it, so they could talk above a whisper. It was the paper products area, and later Gary Harte thought that was a huge insulation of necessity.
“I thought audiologists were well paid. Furthermore, Harry has to make a good buck working at that bar,” Gary guessed.
“Used to be. Then again, didn’t everything? Things have changed, times have changed. I bought high and sold low. I borrowed more, lost customers and gained debtors. Everything went up, but the people coming in to see us. We cut everything to the bone and that didn’t help. Insurance companies sliced and diced us. Then the competition came in,” lamented Monica.
“Those bullshit-boasting miracle hearing devices,” she spat out.
“You sound like some of the publishing houses I deal with,” Gary said sarcastically. “What about Harry? Surely, bartending at the hotel brings in good money.”
“Only when someone else is picking up the tab, like the studio did for you and your now famous client,” Monica stated. “In the old days, the hotel and its bars had a lot of regulars who tipped generously. Now it is feast and famine. Blame it on fear of receiving an OVI, blame it on competition, blame it on people entertaining themselves differently. Just don’t blame Harry.”
“I could never blame Harry, Monica. I want to help Harry. How I hate to see people suffer from cash flow problems,” sighed Gary.
“It’s not just a cash flow problem, Gary. It’s a cost problem, too,” Monica pointed out.
“If I help, can you get me to a phone?” Gary asked.
“What’s the cost?”
“Six hundred thirty-three thousand dollars and sixty-seven cents,” Monica stated.
Gary whistled and mused he will be one expensive fuck after that. “How come the government won’t pay for any of it? After all, he was damaged fighting for this country. He is a hero. He deserves it. By the way, who came up with a price that ends with sixty-seven cents?”
“The government is picking up a piece of the tab. The total cost is a lot more than they tell us but who are we to ask? Big secret I guess. However, not all the money is for Harry’s operation,” Monica admitted.
“When can I get to a phone?”
“I’m full and so is Harry. See, he is raising his thumb,” Monica pointed out.
Gary Harte looked to Harry, who raised his big toe of a thumb. Monica nodded, yanked Gary by his elbow and the three exited Sam’s Club with full stomachs.
Gary still had an empty head of answers and hoped that a phone call to Charles after hearing more from Monica and Harry would fill the void.
Gary didn’t get any answers. He did get his cell phone, which Monica had taken from him after he had stripped naked in the audiologist booth the night before. He was also given a letter which Monica told Gary to give to Charles.
“What’s in it?” he asked her.
“A proposal. By the way Gary, my name is Demi Swift not Monica Peters. Harry’s real name is Harrison. I thought I would be with Charles instead of you.
Demi and Harrison dropped Gary off. They all shook hands, and Gary smiled after noticing that he wasn’t turned off at all by looking at Harrison’s big toe for a thumb. They wished each other good luck and Gary sprinted into the hotel and up to Charles’ room. He pounded on the door and was met by Charles talking on his phone. Charles held up his hand asking for Gary to stop. Gary did and sat on the edge of Charles’ bed.
“I love you and thank you. Can’t wait to see you and start all over again,” Charles cooed into the phone. He waited for the person on the other end to disengage from their conversation and stared out the window. He was in a trance and had completely forgotten that only seconds before he had let his missing agent into the room.
“Well?” Gary demanded.
The voice in the room startled Charles, and like a sharp pin pops a well filled balloon, he was quickly brought back to earth.
“What happened to you? You look terrible!” Charles announced.
“Never mind that right now. I hope that was Emma you were talking to.”
Charles Craig Curtis nodded and smiled. His smile was so genuine and sincere that it caused Gary to cry.
“Stop crying. Be happy. She said she would marry me!” Charles said.
This only made Gary sob more, and Charles walked over and gave him a hug then reached into his coat jacket and gave Gary a brown paper bag.
“I think I’m going to need the bag because you hugged me, not because I’m so happy for you,” Gary said to his client.
This was true. As had been stated before, Charles Craig Curtis wasn’t a touchy-feely type guy.
“That’s something Emma told me I had to start working on. You were my guinea pig. Now where the fuck were you while I was bowed in front of Sir Steven?”
“He made you bow?”
Gary told him his plight and then handed him the letter.
Charles read it and laughed even louder as he handed it to Gary to read.
While Gary read it, Charles went to his iPhone and texted Emma about the contents of Demi’s letter.
“I’m finished,” Gary announced. Charles stopped texting Emma and asked Gary if he wanted a drink.
“Early, isn’t it?”
“It’s five o’clock somewhere and I want to toast a few things. One, I’m getting married. Two, you’re alive, and got your brains fucked out. Three, we’re going to make more money than we thought after Sir Steven educated me. And, four I’m making an investment.”
“You going to give Demi and Harrison the money?”
“You bet. Emma said it’s the right thing to do, and we can write it all off. She has a better accountant than I do.”
“South, north, east, west—who cares?”
“You don’t, obviously.”
“But I do, I do,” Charles said. “I’m also going to do only one collage book. Your escapades with Demi have given me a great idea.”
“Moi?” a coy Gary responded.
“Let’s toast up and I’ll tell you.”
They made their way down to the bar. Harrison wasn’t there and they took the same seats that they originally sat in when they first entered the place. Charles ordered a bottle of the best wine and stayed silent until each one of them had a glass poured in front of them. “A toast!” he proclaimed.
“Shit,” Gary said.
“I forgot my phone was charging up in your room.”
“Ignore the phone. Back to the toast. To me. To Emma. To my children. To my step-children. To my dog. To her cat. To the success of my next books and, of course, the success of the movie version of Domestically Wild. To Gary Harte the once and never senator who is the best friend and agent an author could want.”
Gary started sobbing again. Charles handed him a napkin, and Gary blew his nose and wiped back his tears.
“Tears of joy are okay, are they not?” Charles asked Gary.
Gary shook his head and took a big sip of his wine. “Damn fine glass of wine.”
“I agree,” Charles said after sipping from his glass. “Here is what I am going to write after the collage book. It will be a novel about a poor couple that has to find food by going to places like Sam’s Club that have stations of samples, just like you, Harrison and Demi did. It’s one failure of a job after another when they do find odd jobs and it is never their fault. They are good people caught up in very bad situations. Then, they hit the lottery.”
“Too sappy. I will never sell the happily ever after ending,” Gary said.
“The ending is sad. Very sad,” Charles pointed out.
“I have read about all those stupid lottery winners who lose it all on stupid investments, stupid spending habits and even stupider family and friends who they give their stupid winnings, too.” Gary preached.
“With all those “stupid’s” you sound like Donald Trump,” Charles pointed out.
Donald Trump is a very rich megalomaniac, narcissistic, egotistical real estate developer who doesn’t know that celebrities cannot be President of the United States when the only word they campaign on is “stupid”. Unfortunately, his lick-spittle’s do not. Charles also despised Trump for being the epitome of all things that New York City stand for.
“That is not my ending. Here it is. They are contacted by the state lottery officials that they have won. The lottery officials tell them that a limousine will pick them up at such and such a time, and they will be whisked to lottery headquarters where all their options will be laid out to them. Then, a big check will be made up with their names on it and, a press conference will be called.”
“That is what happens—Charles,” interrupted Gary.
“Luckily Emma, with an assist from my brown paper bags, have turned me into a patient man or I would have clobbered you,” Charles joked. “This is how it ends. The couple is picked up and brought to the lottery headquarters where they are executed as soon as they walk in the door, at the same time all their family and friends are exterminated. All the bodies are cremated and their ashes flushed down the toilet with the shredded winning lottery ticket. The government parades out a bought and sold couple, who works for them of course, and keeps all the money. What do you think?”
“It’s damn good. I like it. But boy, from an awesome children’s book to a collage book to a thriller—what’s gotten into you?” Gary asked his favorite client.
“The collage was an ice breaker for my writer’s block. A little ditty that served its purpose. It’s time for something bold, and yours and Demi’s breakfast at Sam’s Club gave me the idea I was looking for. That, and the ultimate brown paper bag—Dr. Emma Everly Hancock soon to be Curtis,” Charles replied as he thought about somehow Alice earning an assist… the hard way.
“One favor, Charles,” Gary said.
“Don’t call it Breakfast at Sam’s Club.”
They both started laughing and finished their wine.
The last chapter
Both Charles and Gary slept like babies on the return flight. It was the complete opposite of the flight to Los Angeles. When they got to New York, Gary couldn’t wait to get home to shower, shave, and get into some crisp clothes. Thanks to Charles, he had a meet and greet set up with Anne Snowe. The trip to LA had restored Gary’s mojo, and Charles told him if things didn’t work out with Anne, he had someone else in mind for him (Lucy from the bookstore). Gary was also looking forward to finding a publisher for the thriller that Charles had briefly outlined.
Charles couldn’t wait to get to Boston and see his future wife. She had arranged for a sitter at her house for her girls and was cooking a meal for Charles at his place. She only had one surprise for him.
“My cat and your dog will be there.”
“That’s not a surprise … it’s a wonderful thing.”
Charles and Emma had a glorious night together. They talked—talked and talked some more. Charles was especially proud to tell her how his children had all reacted favorably without even meeting her. Emma said it was the same with her daughters.
“Talk about karma,” they both said in unison, and then Emma started laughing and soon Charles joined in when Emma told her about her parents suffering from such playfulness.
I didn’t bother to tell him about Mitchell and me sometimes doing that, she wrote in her diary.
They made plans to buy an engagement ring, and in order to be technically engaged until the ring was picked out and being worn by Emma, Charles Craig Curtis remembered that someone whose name he couldn’t remember had given him a Davidoff cigar and told him it was pricy and was the champagne of cigars. Not being a cigar smoker or a champagne drinker, Charles had stuck it in the freezer because he had read on some blog that’s what you do with a cigar until you are ready to smoke it. He went to the freezer, took out the cigar and carefully took off the wrapper. He went back to his bride to be and slipped the paper ring from the cigar on her ring finger and threw the cigar in the trash.
“I’m never taking this off,” she said as she admired his handiwork.
“That’s great. I’ll save a bundle on a real ring,” he joked.
They made love and fell asleep in each other’s arms. The next morning Charles awoke and opened up his bedroom door. His dog and her cat were sleeping next to each other. He tiptoed back to the nightstand and retrieved his iPhone. He snapped the picture. It was such a good picture he sent it to everyone via text messages. They all agreed.
Charles will be my brown paper bag for a long, long time and I intend to be his, Emma wrote in her diary.
That was something Charles Craig Curtis wished he would have written.
If you missed the earlier Chapters you can find them here.