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The Odd Couple

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Book: The Odd Couple


“Hey…Marty,” Kelsie said when Marty returned for another box. “You want this room?”
“Nah.” Marty hoisted up the last box and left.
Kelsie climbed off the bed and followed him, seeing where he was going to sleep. Marty had selected a bedroom with a view from the back of the house, overlooking the pool and valley.
As Marty unpacked, carefully placing his clothing in drawers, Kelsie reclined on an upholstered lounge chair, one with dark, lion-claw feet and matching pillows. He looked down at his bathing suit and thought about changing, but wanted to hang out with Marty.
While Marty emptied a box, he folded the cardboard and set it by the door.
“He was something else, wasn’t he?”
Marty turned to look at him.
“Yes. He was.” Marty opened a second box and began hanging up the clothing in a closet.
“He told me he liked my poetry.” Kelsie smiled as he thought about it.
“Knowing Benjy, he probably did.”
Kelsie watched as Marty unpacked the second box, folding it with the first once it was empty.
“He told me he’d help me record a demo tape.” Kelsie stared into space. “We never did.”
Marty glanced over at him, then set a smaller box on a chair and opened it, taking toiletries into the bathroom.
“What’d he promise you?” Kelsie asked.
Marty appeared to be busy in the bathroom. He didn’t answer.
Marty set his toothbrush into a holder, and opened the medicine cabinet. A few odds and ends were there for guests.
After he filled it with his own items, he folded the smaller box and set it with the others. He glanced at Kelsie, who was on his back on the lounge chair, staring at the ceiling.
“He didn’t promise me anything.”
Kelsie perked up and looked at him.
Marty shrugged. “I never asked for anything.”
Kelsie sat up and patted the lounge beside him.
Since they were going to be living together, Marty sat down.
“He was a hoot.” Kelsie smiled, as if remembering something.
“I adored him.” Marty brushed lint off his slacks. “I remember him wearing these orange baggy lounge pants. They had Orange County prison patterns on them.”
“I gave him those.” Kelsie chuckled.
Marty laughed. “He used to drink orange martinis when he wore them. He said he liked to match.”
“Fucking Benjy.” Kelsie shook his head. “Did he ever tell you about his first boyfriend?” Kelsie stood up and struck a pose, one hand on his hip and the other holding an imaginary cocktail. “Dahhling! I was so in love!”
Marty covered his mouth to stop the laughter.
Kelsie continued to impersonate Benjy. “We loved and loved and loved!” He batted his eyelashes. “Then? Nothing. No sex. Well, I had no idea why he’d lost interest in my bottom.”
Marty chuckled at Kelsie’s over-the-top impression, then again, maybe not so exaggerated.
Pretending to sip the cocktail, Kelsie continued, “…I thought he was cheating on poor moi!” Kelsie held up the imaginary drink. “Then! I find The British Bottom magazine in his underwear drawer!” Kelsie’s expression of pure Benjy-reaction followed. He blew up his cheeks, rolled his eyes, and tossed back his hair, which was absurd, since Benjy was bald, unless he wore a wig.
Marty shook his head in amusement.
“Bye-bye-Brit-Bottom-Boy!” Kelsie waved and then sat beside him. “I peed myself when he told me that one.”
“He had a colorful past.” Marty stared at his shoes, which were polished to a high sheen.
“Fuck, I miss him already.” Kelsie shook his head. “I’m going to get dressed.”
“Okay.” Marty watched him leave and then thought about Benjy. “Damn. I miss you too.”