Joe tried to be a man’s man. He never cried or showed emotion or pain when hurt. He’d fight if it came to that and forget about it the next day. He worked out at the gym, boxed, played handball, rode a bike and did other things men like to do.
He’d go to the Beehive bar and drink beer until he got drunk, eat pickled eggs and play pool until closing time every night. Then he’d wake up at 5 a.m. and go to work no matter how much his head hurt.
He swore that he’d never fall in love, and always said, “Because love sticks to your face, I stay away.” Then she came through the door, like music filling the room. He took in her long, lithe, shapely legs attached to the round, almost perfect hips that supported the rest of her glorious-looking self.
She picked up a pool cue. Joe was up next. He didn’t care that she ran the table. All he could think of was her legs. She’d lift one into the air as she shot the cue, and Joe got to peek up her skirt. What he saw burned an unforgettable image in his brain.
She won every game and took all his dough.
“You beat me at pool, but I’ll bet my week’s pay you can’t win at Scrabble,” Joe challenged her.
They went to his house. He lost that week’s pay.
“You’re a sap, Joe,” she said. “In case you want to know, my name is Rosemary, and I’ll give you a pity fuck because you gave me so much of your bread.”
She did. After that, whenever Joe came to the Beehive, he hung his head in shame and remorse, but he’d do it all over if he could lay with her one more time. Pussy-whipped is what he was, and no one has a cure for that.
Joe went home and wrote her a letter.
Rosemary, love is a malady, an affliction infecting the entire human race. Love spreads like an out-of-control virus among us. Love is temporary insanity. When contaminated, pray for a cure before you find yourself unable to infect the one you’ve become insane for. Your mental state slips into confusion, despair and longing; you won’t sleep, eat, or be able to think. Love debilitates, destroys, and humiliates, but despite it all, I want you to know that I love you.
Rosemary appeared at the Beehive one night when she needed some cash. She knew from his letter that Joe was an easy mark, but she didn’t know he had been
researching the cure for love. He had educated himself about women and their needs.
Rosemary strode to the pool table. Her long, beautiful legs were barely covered by a skirt shorter than the one she’d worn last time. She grabbed a cue and bent over to take a practice shot. Joe almost fell off his stool.
“Come on Joe; let’s play for your week’s pay.”
“Sure, but only if you come home with me when we finish.”
“You want some more pity from me, I guess, but that’s okay, as long as I win enough.”
They played, Joe lost and they went to his house. She noticed the books Joe had been reading.
“Are you going to school?”
“Yes, I’m learning by reading, “How to Satisfy a Woman,” so let’s go to bed and see what I’ve learned.”
They did. Two hours later, they sat at the kitchen table drinking beer. Rosemary opened her purse and gave Joe what she had won that night. “I’ll pay you back what I took before if you let me come and see you every night. Whatever you do, always practice what you’ve read in that book.”
When Rosemary comes through the Beehive’s door, they no longer play pool. Joe sits and drinks his beer while she pleads to go home with him and play another game. The admiring patrons and bartender gaze at him in wonder and awe. Their eyes ask how . . .
“It’s amazing what reading a book can do for you,” Joe always says.