During my eleven months of mandatory civil service, I received regular and, in relation to my needs at the time, abundant payment, as did nearly all of my friends. We all had one or another kind of job in the social service sector, working in hospitals, retirement homes or, in my case, a kindergarten. Since we all either still lived at home with or parents or in staff housing rooms, we had a lot of money on our hands we could spend on whatever we wanted. Dope, mostly; there was a lot of weed circulating among us back then. Weekends were often spent together at someone's place, getting high.
For example, one evening at a friend's house, in his upstairs bedroom while his parents were having dinner with his elder brother and his girlfriend downstairs - who suddenly walked into the room, to say hi.
It was not uncommon for his parents or his elder brother, or even said girlfriend, to come in and have a little chat before they left us alone for the evening to watch our movie or just the TV. Most times they would knock beforehand, so we could discretely palm the spliff, fan the air a little and light a round of cigarettes for cover smoke.
This one time, she didn't knock, and things went a little different from there. We were already high and just watching TV.
"So, you guys smoking?" she said.
Apparently she had not come in to just watch together with us. As this thought registered with us, the intricate machinery of conversation under the influence of weed was set in motion. Each one of us shifted in his seat, dug his hands in his pockets, or cleared his throat and generally tried to appear not too high. After all, we might have to say something, because the next step was to figure out whom she had addressed, or more specifically, who was to reply. Of course, like true gentlemen, we left the honor of this task to our host.
"Yep, a little," he replied. A good answer, admitting what was going on without giving away too much detail. Some points for laid-back delivery, too, sprawled on the couch as he was, and we slightly bobbed and nodded our heads in unison of agreement. Awaiting what was next.
"What are you watching?" she wanted to know, staring intently at the late night show on TV.
"Oh, nothing in particular," our host said, "we're basically just channel-surfing."
She looked around and saw the remote lying way off somewhere.
Then she spotted a rented video on the table and reached to pick up the box. It was empty.
"What did you rent?"
"Just some video," our host said, already growing comfortable in his position as speaker of the group.
"Why aren't you watching it?" she asked.
We had rented something stupid and easy to watch when you're high, but what had happened was so common when too many people try to watch one film while at the same time trying to communicate about beer supply and wanting to ensure that the protocol of proper spliff politics is observed closely, as well as wanting to discuss the movie: we simply had talked the film to death to the point where some of us had grown bored with the plot and started commenting on a particular character or plot element, while others had not been able to follow it whereas the rest didn't care either way and demanded more drink, weed, or both.
There was no way we could have told her that in just a bunch of sentences, given our current altered state as well as our lack of trust in her ability as a female to comprehend male behavior patterns, so she just assumed what to her mast have been the palpable obvious.
"You guys are watching porn, right?" she said.
"You stopped the tape when I came up the stairs."
We had not, but her question posed a dilemma: we could either admit that we had merely watched a lame movie we had not even finished, or play along and see where she was headed, earning us some points for coolness. This was a narrow path to walk with a long fall from grace on either side; we could have a normal conversation with a woman five years our senior, or we could behave like the smoked-out stoners we were.
However, it was not clear which was which, so best treat it as a mere coincidence that the conversational topic she had chosen happened to be porn.
At this point, someone boldly introduced himself into the conversation with the inquiry about the demand for another spliff. Much to the general appreciation, he then proceeded to roll another, while on the other end of the couch, someone fumbled for the remote and tried to discuss what else there was to watch.
Nonchalantly, our host continued with the main thread and hinted that he had some porn in store, if anyone had the desire to watch any.
A silence followed, only broken by the blare of the TV and the crackle of the now lighted joint producing wisps of smoke.
"Do you have 'Blasted Pussies'?" she suddenly asked our host.
He shook his head no, with a slight indication of regret and a clear sign that he knew exactly what she was talking about, when we knew he had not.
Letting out a sigh of apparent sweet remembrance, she said, "Ah, that was a good film."
We held our breaths and secretly eyed each other; agreeing with her would have been a blatant lie, and we wanted to see whether anyone was daring to go so far, or not.
"Yet somewhat squirmy," she added.
"You know," she said, leaning forward in her chair, "those girls, most of them could get their legs behind their heads, like this," and she tried to demonstrate by trying to force her legs behind her head. Our host let out a laugh.
"Anyway, I can't do that," she said, "but they could."
We all nodded our understanding, the cosmopolitan nod of men who have seen everything and are baffled by nothing.
She took the spliff and continued, "And when they were done, they would show off how far they could stretch their pussies, man, it was amazing. They could stretch them, like, forever, until you could sink a football in there, or anything. Gross, but fascinating - purely fascinating!"
She exhaled and passed the joint. A moment of reflection was shared among us all, though I'm sure there were different things going through our heads. I for one was thinking about the absurdity of the situation: regardless of the fact that it was not our habit to watch porn together, here we were, discussing - no, just listening to her going on about - a porn movie none of us had seen, yet we did not let that on.
During all this, while she was getting high with us, her boyfriend was sitting downstairs with his parents, most likely immersed in after-dinner talk. Was she up here because she had been bored with the conversation downstairs? Was she getting off on this? Were we? Did her boyfriend know what she was up to? Well, he knew at least about the movie, because apparently they had watched it together.
What was the point? I think the collective assumption, or should I say hope, of our group was that if we stretched the conversation just a little (forgive me the pun), something might happen. But just what? Was she comparing her (or their) kinkiness with ours, or just teasing us for spending a Saturday night in front of the TV, with or without porn, numbed by dope and alcohol? Her boyfriend or his parents or all three of them could walk in any minute, so there was no way she would go into a demonstration of her own anatomy or anything else our hazy minds might conjure up, and on another level, we knew that.
So when she left to re-join the rest of the family in the living room after the spliff had been smoked, we silently were going over the scene that had just occurred, each of us re-playing the dialogue in his head and ultimately yielding to the temptation of letting our fantasies run wild; in the following silence the collective force of imagination was so strong it almost struck sparks, each mind coming up with a different outcome of the situation, I'm sure.
Then we looked at each other with sighs and deep breaths, re-settling into the sofa cushions and stretching our legs, letting go of the previous attentiveness. The surge of the sudden and unexpected interruption was smoothed again by the purple sea of calmness, all charity of the smoke. We did not raise any questions, the absurdity already beginning to be blotted out by the forgetfulness the mind often uses as a way to deal with the unacceptable.
Communication, females and the human mind - who can understand any of these things, let alone all three? We actually finished the movie after that.