Foreign House: One

THURSDAY

> BE ME
> 42 yo black, male annon

Cindy is strutting through my apartment like a pigeon. She is wearing a pair of my boxers – made from soulless elasto-something material. Filling them with planetary arse and equatorial hips. She’s topless, covering bon-bon tits with fingertips and pushing her elbows out into “wings”. Buttocks stuck out, knees bent, she is clucking silently. I glance at the TV which is on mute, there’s a nature documentary on. She’s trying to be a flamingo, not a pigeon.

I mute the videocall, “You look more like a Nandos than a Flamingo.”

She sticks her tongue out at me and flashes a liquorice bullet nipple. I lower my eyes back to my screen, conscious I’m on camera, but most of the other attendees are more distracted than me.

My desk is positioned so I’m facing my open plan living room and kitchen. This ensures the light from the windows illuminates my face rather than blowing out my background. Most importantly, it ensures the wall that supports my bookshelf is in view of my camera.

In the past, we compared the trims on our BMWs. Who had the latest Nokia N series, then Blackberry, then iPhone. The nicest watch, then iWatch. Now I’m 42 and thinking about which books to “face-out” so that they’re more visible. Which gives the best impression to the zoomers.

> Be me
> 41 yo Chief Customer Officer
> Corporate sigma male
> Trying to impress zoomers

The dick measuring never ends.

A snap of elasto-something pulls my eyes up again. My boxer-shorts are halfway down Cindy’s cinnamon buttocks. Little dimples appear in her back when she puts her hands into her hair.

“Two minutes”, I mouth. My jeans are tight with flesh. Nobody wants to be in the conference call but nobody wants to end it, because then they would have to decide what to do next. Instead the meeting’s usefulness just frays like torn fabric.

“Done,” I say. But before I can shut down the pile of open windows, another call comes through. “It’s Ozzy, I’ve got to take this.” Cindy rolls her eyes and walks out of the room into my bedroom.

“Ozzy?”

“Hey, I’m just checking your all set for the weekend.” Ozzy is the 37 year old founder-CEO of whatever-IT solutions. A director of customer support, I report straight into him. He is the only other employee that is closer to 40 than 30. He is the only colleague I can speak to off topic without the conversating evaporating over the volcanic canyon of intergenerational values. “It’s a long way,” he says. “You should set off as soon as possible.”

“It’s a long way from everywhere.”

“I know, but we have to get the kids out of the city. You know two of them have never left London?”

“Well they’re in for a shock”

“You know they said it might snow?”

“Yeah. Only ten percent chance unfortunately. I would be great if that happened. It would give them a shock.”

“Do you even like the people we hire?”

“Yeah, I like them, but Jesus Christ, how much baggage do they bring with them. We all have baggage I guess, but they they bring it to work.”

The post-modern corporation is half kindergarten, or should it be erwachsene-garten? Teaching adults with partially-aborted upbringings that there are places outside of London. That is there is something called the countryside. But it’s Ozzy’s money.

“There are remote lactations and then there is this hotel. Are you sure he zoomers won’t implode.”

Ozzy smiles, “Seriously, set off as soon as you can. No need to hang around, all the complaints seem to be in hand.”

“It’s all been handed over to the India support team for the weekend. I just need to pack.” Cindy comes into the front room wheeling my empty suitcase and wearing my hiking jacket over her naked torso.

“OK, see you later.”

The call ends. Cindy jumps into my lap. Thick lips on my neck like an overfed vampire. I bash Alt+F4 until the computer shuts down – hoping I logged off the call properly before she mounted me. She holds my face and kisses me with little tongue stabs. The blue hues of a Windows updates throw cool light over us.

She stops the make-out session abruptly. “Did you forget something?” One half of her mouth rises into a smile.

“No.”

She raises an eyebrow, “I better put on some clothes.”

My phone hums on the coffee table. It’s Lara. “Hello?”

“What’s the code for the gate, I’ve forgotten.”

“Why?”

“Why? So I can get in.”

“Why do you need to get in?”

She pauses, “You’ve forgotten haven’t you?” Another pause punctuated with a sigh. “You’re looking after Kanu over the weekend. Are you there?”

“Yeah.”

“The code?”

“Oh yeah,” I give her the code. Several layers of panic twist into a knot in my mind. Which to unthread first?

Cindy comes out of the bedroom, now wearing a pair of indigo jeans and a plain white t-shirt. He hair is tied back into a unassuming ponytail. She would be perfectly unthreatening if difference between her white bra and brown skin were not so visible under her shirt. But she seems calmer than me. Almost enjoying it.

“Guess I’m meeting your family today,” she says.

“Yes.”

“So what’s the situation. You’re supposed to have your son for the whole weekend?”

“Pretty much.” Letting out a long breath.

“What you going to do about that?”

“I’m going to have to call them and pull out. I’m going to look like such a dick.” I pick up my phone.

“One thing at a time,” says Cindy. “Let’s just get through the next fifteen minutes.” I nod. A vague, amused warm fog fills my mind, making even even harder to stay calm. “Is that your daughter?” asks Cindy.

“Yeah. It’s probably best if you keep your mind closed for now. It’s going to be enough of a shock her finding out I have a girlfriend.”

“No problem. I can’t sense your son.”

“He doesn’t have it.” She raises and eyebrow. “Well his Mum doesn’t so I guess it’s fifty-fifty.” Cindy raises the other eyebrow.

“Does the mum know?”

“No.”

“She doesn’t even suspect?”

“Has anyone every suspected you? Even your closest friends?”

“I guess not. I just thought being married…”

“Nope. She just thought I was good with people.”

Cindy sees me glancing around the apartment. “Don’t worry, I’ve put all my underwear away. Your daughter has a huge presence, I’m surprised she hasn’t met others already.”

“Maybe she has, she’s 19 now. I don’t know everything she gets up to.”

“You should follow her TikTok.”

*

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