I had a friend who claimed he could make women orgasm just by thinking about them. It's a pretty unusual ability, sure, but I'd...

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   I had a friend who claimed he could make women orgasm just by thinking about them. It's a pretty unusual ability, sure, but I'd never seen any proof of it.

   The man was a compulsive liar. I remember clearly the time he told me that his father was an Inuit, a skilled fisherman built for freezing environments with a hide as thick as hippo's skin and fingers that could be as articulate as an Eton graduate's mouth. He told me this Inuit-turned-Brit father of his made his own clothes, mostly out of fabric from sofas on skips and the skins of animals that he'd found dead in the road. He said that you can move an Inuit into the big city, but you can't teach him to swim with the big fishes. He'll always be stuck in his ways, he said, because he misses the land of the snowy ground (apparently, that’s what they call Alaska) like an amputated limb. He told me that his mother had met her Inuit husband when she was the site manager at the oldest oil derrick in Alaska, drilling for the last drip of oil it could find. Staying at an Inuit village for the night, she'd huddled up to one of the locals and woken up with a bun in the oven. It was love at first sight. My friend claimed she went straight on working, and the day she finally gave birth, she was still wearing her hard hat and hi-vis jacket. 

   When I finally met his parents, when I lifted him to pick up some furniture to take to the dump for them, I was met with a small, round, bald Mancunian called Steve and his frail old wife called Ethyl. Ethyl was in a wheelchair; said she had been since she was twenty-three.

   Another time, he told me he’d met Bill Clinton at a work event. They were having their Christmas party, back when companies were allowed to have Christmas parties, and it was being held at a fancy function hall up in town. He said he was standing at a window looking out over the Thames, ‘watching the world go by’ as he put it, when he felt a tap on his elbow. Turning so suddenly that he nearly spilt his martini on his elbow-nudger, he found that his attention had been grabbed by none other than the infamous player-president. Bill was a charmer, he claims, opening the conversation with, ‘I saw your suit from across the room, and I couldn’t help but come over and compliment you on your sense of style.’ They spoke about everything from taste in women to debt consolidation, my friend tells me, before Bill had them both at the bar necking premium vodka.

   This might be believable, if you hadn’t seen my friend’s sense of style. He looks like he pulls his clothes on with his teeth, in the dark, after a heavy sniff of glue.

   If you point out the holes in the plots he weaves, your words fall on deaf ears. Selective comprehension blocks out all your protestations – he only understands what he wants to.

   And because he lies so often, I didn’t believe him when he told me told me he was disappearing. That night, in a dingy bar on the overlap between London and Shitter London, he said he was leaving the continent for good, and I just laughed at him. ‘Fuck off, Keith,’ I guffawed, ‘you’ve never been further than Portsmouth.’


   I suppose I should start from the beginning. He invited me to his flat, a one bedroom number in New Cross, to pick him up so that he could drink all he wanted. When I got there, the door to his apartment was ajar and the hallway outside stank of gin. I tried not to let my clothes touch the stained brown walls and I breathed through my mouth, as I pushed his door open and wandered inside his filthy flat. I didn’t have to look much further than his living room to find him, sprawled half on the floor and half on his sofa, covered in gin and dribble and pizza tomato sauce, straddling the line between consciousness and retardation. To be honest, after years of knowing him, I should have expected it.

   I prodded him awake. ‘Keith,’ I said, ‘you still up for the pub, or not?’

   ‘Fuck you, Smokey Robinson,’ he blurted, snapping out of his stupor and straightening up. I would have laughed if my gag reflex didn’t have such a violent hold on my throat. ‘Oh, it’s you. …Have you seen Cherry about?’

   ‘Who – or what – is Cherry?’ I asked, collecting the clothing and empty alcohol containers from his floor to assist in the clean-up operation, as he just sat there dazed.

   ‘A prostitute,’ he replied almost under his breath, murmuring as he lifted up pizza boxes and papers on his coffee table, as if looking for this whore under all his trash. ‘She was here half an hour ago, definitely.’

   ‘Of course she was.’ 

   ‘She was. Asleep on the floor in front of the telly, all foetal like. I woke up and had another go on her.’

   ‘Of course you did.’ 

   ‘She’d better not have taken my fucking wallet.’ His rooting around became more frantic.

   ‘Keith,’ I sighed, ‘stop lying and get in the shower. We need to get to the pub. I’m not wasting all night watching you sweat gin.’


   And an hour or later, there we were, finally in the pub. After two more gins, that’s when he said it.

   ‘Trust me, Aaron, this is the truth. Even if I didn’t have to go, even if they weren’t literally on my tail, I couldn’t stand being in this country any longer. The taxes, the job market, the media, the residents, everything about this country just grates on me these days. I’m disappearing. After tonight, you might never see me again.’

   I kept my eyes on the girl at the bar, the one with the thick-rimmed glasses and turtle-neck jumper. Her in the pencil skirt and the high heels, looking like she’d had a shit day at work. Given half a chance, I’d make it better for her. 

   ‘Where are you going? France? Germany?’

   ‘Fuck that. I’m going to the US. People like me blend into the scenery in the US. Somewhere like LA, I was made for places like that. They’d never find me there.’

   ‘Sorry… who? I have no idea what you’re talking about. Who’s after you?’

   ‘Who isn’t,’ he replied, sniffing and eyeing the room suspiciously. More of a statement than a question, despite his choice of words. ‘It’s the drugs, mostly. Bad deals, bad debt, bad lies I should never have told. Either way, if I’m not out of the country by tomorrow I’ll be dead by Thursday.’

   To be honest, the way he was living his life at the time, it wouldn’t surprise me if that one was the truth.

   ‘Have you ever read The Boy Who Cried Wolf? That’s you.’

   He laughed, clicking his fingers at the barmaid for another gin, despite knowing that that place didn’t do table service. ‘Aaron, you’re a prick. But I love you. And I’m leaving. Tonight. As soon as possible. Just say goodbye, please. Whether you believe me or not, just humour me by having this goodbye drink with me and pretending. …What are you staring at?’

   ‘What?’ My attention snapped back to Keith, like he’d caught my cock in a mouse trap.

   ‘That girl at the bar. You’ve been eyeing her up since she walked in. You’re like a dog that’s spotted a rabbit. My drinks nearly spilled, the way your erection propped the table up.’

   I laughed, shrugging off my reddened cheeks. ‘Shut up, Keith. No idea what you’re talking about. Carry on, what were you saying? Some bullshit or other.’

   He paused, just staring at me. My blush intensified, and a grin crept across his face like a caterpillar crawling across a leaf. All tooth and smugness, he downed the rest of his drink, ice and all, and said, ‘Watch this.’

   The slicing noise of drifting paper and the hard thump of dropped books distracted me, as the paperwork that my lady friend at the bar had been reading fell from her hands onto the beer-stained carpet below her stool. I wanted not to look because I didn’t want to focus on her again under his watch, but I couldn’t keep my eyes from her as her hand slapped onto the bar, drawing the attention of all seven punters in the room. Her breathing quickened gradually, that chest of hers heaving under the figure-hugging jumper as she gripped the bar for support. As her head threw itself back, flinging that shiny brunette hair all over the place, her legs uncrossed and the first groan fell from her lips, hanging in the air like Viagra for my ears. ‘Oh,’ she sighed, as her ankles curled to point her toes at the floor, ‘oh God.’

   Someone should help her, I thought. She’s having a heart attack!

   But then she groaned, ‘Oh, yes.’

   I sat there with my mouth agape, as her back arched and her sighs grew louder and louder with every passing second. Pushing her chest toward the sky, she cried out for God again as she ran her hand from her slender neck, down her gasping chest and across her stomach. The fingernails of her other hand scratched deep trenches into the wooden surface of the bar. ‘Fuck, yes,’ she cried out, at the top of her lungs, throwing her head around so the hairband that was holding her ponytail in place came loose and allowed some of her hair to escape. ‘YES!’ 

   She was having an orgasm. An intense, blissful, all-consuming orgasm that drowned her in pleasure and erased the world around her, as her insides exploded with delight and her muscles quivered uncontrollably. She was coming hard, and the world around her paused to watch.

   My breathing grew agitated to match hers as I kept my eyes glued on her, and she pushed a hand into her crotch to quell the feeling of ecstasy that was erupting down there. ‘FUCK ME!’ She cried. ‘FUCK FUCK FUCK OH FUCK YES DON’T STOP THIS IS THE BEST I’VE EVER – ’

   She screamed.

   And that’s when it stopped. Her legs stopped shaking, her back straightened up, and her breathing began to return to its normal pattern. Her intense orgasm abated, and the bar fell silent in its wake. 

   I’m not even sure she was embarrassed. To me, she just looked dazed. She bent to pick up her papers, and staggered out of the pub with them clasped under her thin arm. The rest of us replayed every filthy second of what had just happened in our heads, reliving the moment for just a while longer, holding onto the beautiful view.

   Still speechless, I turned back to Keith, and found that he had disappeared. 

   I haven’t seen him since.

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