Marvin began screwing the girl who worked at the convenience store, not long after he and Sharon moved in with her parents. Sharon found a job in the city within the first month. Marvin was on month number four without work. He spent most of his days waking around ten, eating a bagel, looking for jobs in a half-assed manner, and then masturbating to Internet porn on his in-law’s computer. It was an okay lifestyle, but ultimately unsatisfying. Marvin felt he was getting fat too. So in an effort to boost his spirits, he began going for walks promptly at noon every day. Marvin would clean up his mess, turn off the PC, and then he would put on a comfortable pair of shorts, sneakers, his old Ramones t-shirt, and go for a walk around his new neighborhood.
As a gift to himself for being so industrious, and for holding on okay with the stress of looking for work, Marvin treated himself to one twenty-four-ounce bottle of light beer a day. He had previously been a heavier drinker, but moving in with the in-laws had helped to change that. It was no fun hiding the scotch and wine bottles in their home. And it was no fun driving all over town, dumping the empties in various garbage cans, after driving Sharon to the train station each morning. So Marvin figured he’d go sober for a little bit. But after a few weeks he got restless. He got tired of the constant thought of drink, and the aching desire. He wanted a drink the way he wanted a good screw. But he needed an excuse to touch the hooch again. Exercise seemed good enough.
Sissy had a slight build. She wasn’t thin but she wasn’t fat. She had blonde hair and wide eyes, and looked the way most women did. Maybe she looked a bit more haggard because she spent her days behind the counter of a local convenience store. Sissy ran the register and poured coffee and made sandwiches for people coming in on their lunch break. She serviced any and all random town folk, and just about every construction outfit in a three-mile radius. Sometimes she was kind to people. Sometimes she grew short with them. And on her own lunch breaks, Sissy made a Muenster cheese sandwich and walked across the street to stare at the lake for the remaining twenty-eight minutes she had.
Marvin met her after his second walk. It was ninety-five degrees outside and he came into the convenience store sweating and panting. Sissy was making some asshole a ham and Swiss sandwich. While Marvin studied the coolers full of beer, he could hear the asshole berate her for how thick she was cutting the cheese and meat. He made her cut the portions three times, causing a line to form. People began to grow impatient. They looked at their watches and began whispering their discontent to each other. Sissy had to have her mom come out of the back to handle the influx of people. Marvin could tell she was embarrassed to do so.
“What do you want?” Sissy said to Marvin.
“Just the beer? Do you have I.D.?”
“Sure,” he said. He handed his license to her.
“I’m sorry,” she said, giving the license back. “I have to card everyone.”
“I don’t mind.”
“Anyway, you look like you need a water more than a beer.”
“Yeah, you’re all covered in sweat.”
“I think I’ll just take the beer.”
Then Sissy’s mom came over and rang up the beer. She gave Sissy a harsh look then made her fix a sandwich for the next customer in line. It was a roast beef sandwich with two slices of Cheddar cheese.
“Take it easy,” Marvin said, as he left.
“You too,” Sissy answered, looking up from her work.
The next day he was trudging up a hill. He was sweating and panting, and holding a damp brown paper bag. It was ninety-five degrees again, and he was beginning to rethink the whole exercise bit. What would be wrong with just having one large beer during the day, just for the sake of having one? They payoff was good, but it wasn’t worth the sweat and stress. Then he heard a horn blast. Marvin made to get out of the car’s way, but it stopped. It was Sissy. She rolled down her window.
“Hey, beer guy.”
“What are you doing?”
“Finishing up my exercise.”
“It’s too hot to exercise in this.”
“Do you live close by?”
“Up the street.”
“Hop in and I’ll take you home.”
Marvin let Sissy inside his in-law’s house. He turned on the air conditioner and the television, and then went to the refrigerator to get them both some cold bottled water. Then he sat next to Sissy on the couch. She drank her water in three gulps, and he drank his in four. Then they watched a little bit of the television. It was a bad movie on HBO that Sharon had made Marvin see the previous summer.
“So what do you, like, do?” Sissy asked.
“I’m a college teacher. Community college. I teach English Literature and writing, mostly.
“Are you off for the summer?”
“No, I just can’t find a job.”
“What’s your wife do?”
Marvin looked at his wedding ring and then at Sissy. “She works in advertising.”
“Cool. But it must get lonely here all day by yourself.”
“A little. But I manage.”
Then Sissy impetuously leaned in and kissed Marvin. They both looked surprised. Her eyes bulged. His lips tightened before they slacked. He could taste the Muenster cheese sandwich she’d had earlier in the day, and he could taste her sweat. He grabbed the girl’s breast and she moaned a little bit. Marvin laid Sissy on her back. He took off her t-shirt and shorts. She was wearing a turquoise bra and panty set. He took those off quickly. Sissy was pale and soft, and her cunt was shaved. He kissed her again, and then moved down to put his tongue between her legs. She grabbed the top of his head. When he was done, Sissy kneeled in front of him. She put Marvin’s cock in her mouth. It felt nice. It was something old, rudimentary and banal, made new again. After that, they fucked bareback and doggie style on Marvin’s in-law’s couch. They faced the large paneled windows, moaning and sweating, watching neighbors come and go in between pulls and thrusts.
Marvin and Sissy did this a couple times a week. She switched some of her schedule at the convenience store with a guy named Joe, so that she could drive to his in-law’s house and fuck. When they didn’t fuck they watched movies, or drove around the town, laughing and talking. Sissy took Marvin to the lake she loved, and they ate Muenster cheese sandwiches while they rowed a boat that her mother owned. Marvin quit walking on a daily basis. He quit drinking just his twenty-four-ounce bottle of beer. He went back to drinking scotch and wine, and six-packs taken from the store by Sissy. Marvin liked Sissy a lot. And he preferred this situation much more to the previous one.
It was about three months into the relationship, when autumn really started blooming, that Sissy told Marvin she was pregnant. He was shocked at first, then scared, then worried about what the two of them were going to do. Marvin had assumed she was on the pill, and Sissy didn’t care either way. She was happy for the pregnancy and excited about the baby. She really didn’t care if he was a part of it or not. She figured she’d tell her mother she got knocked up, and her mother would eventually get over it. After all, Sissy’s family had money. They owned four convenience stores in town, and two others in the surrounding area.
“I’m worried about my wife,” Marvin said to her one day.
“Why. I told you, I don’t want anything from you. No one knows about us, and I don’t plan on saying anything to anyone. You have the ideal situation, Marvin.”
“Yeah, but these things can come back to bite you in the ass.”
“I promise it won’t.” Sissy kissed Marvin. “You can trust me.”
Then Sissy and Marvin got in her car. They drove down to the convenience store. Marvin walked over to the lake while she went inside the store and made them two Muenster cheese sandwiches, and grabbed them two twenty-four-ounce bottles of beer. When Sissy came out of the store, he waved. He watched her walk over to the lake. Sissy gave Marvin the sandwich and beer bag when she got there, and then she grabbed the rowboat. She put the oars against its side, and pushed the boat into the water. Sissy got in the boat. Marvin followed.
They rowed to the center of the lake. It was a cool September day, so not many people were out. Mountains surrounded the lake. And on the other side, Marvin could see a few deer eating the leaves off the trees and bushes. He looked at Sissy. She smiled at him. He smiled back then handed her a sandwich out of the bag. When she looked down at her Muenster cheese sandwich, Marvin hit Sissy on the side of the face with his twenty-four-ounce light beer bottle. The impact made a loud thud. He didn’t have leverage on the boat, so the bottle didn’t break. But she still screamed anyway. Then she fell into the water.
“Marvin. Oh, Christ! Oh, Shit! Sissy screamed.
Panicked, Marvin hoisted the bottle again. He swung it down on the top of Sissy’s head. This time it broke. The boat swayed violently, and glass shards fell in the water. Blood poured from Sissy’s forehead, into the lake. She screamed then sunk beneath the surface of the water. Marvin grabbed one of the oars. When she rose, he hit her on the top of the head. He beat her three times. Nothing worked. Marvin threw the oar into the water and looked around. No one was there. So he jumped in the water and grabbed Sissy. Her arms flailed. He grabbed her by the shoulders to pin them. He looked at her. She looked at him through the tears and blood. Her mouth was agape but nothing came out. Sissy didn’t want anything from Marvin. It was a kind gesture. So he made sure to grip her tightly when he pulled her underwater, so the drowning would go fast.
After, Marvin got back in the boat. He pulled the other Muenster cheese sandwich out of the bag, and ate it quickly. It was a little wet, but it tasted okay. It tasted like Sissy. Then he grabbed the other twenty-four-ounce beer out of the bag, and jumped back in the water. Marvin swam back to shore in a laborious manner. It was hard to swim with the beer. When he got to the other side, he got out of the water and crossed the street. He was careful to walk on the other side of the road, away from the convenience store. He didn’t want to see Sissy’s mom working behind that counter. Then Marvin trudged back up the hill toward his in-law’s house. He was wet, but he had his walk back and his bottle of beer. And if all went well, Marvin thought he might go out for a walk again the next afternoon, unless someone finally called him about a job.