"Men that big aren't usually fast--"!
That's what Storm Boy is counting on! (I once told Storm Boy about a gas station/convenience store I saw back in the 21st century, called -- I shit you not -- "Kum & Go." His reply: "Sounds like every date I've ever had! Nobody wants to cuddle anymore!")
I mean, I presume this "Ox" character he claims to be dating is a "big man." Unless he's some spindly, pot-bellied Ivy League intellectual whose full name is "Oxnard M. Nancypants (Jr.)" and he spends every evening just doing Storm Boy's hair, instead of, y'know, doing Storm Boy. Huh. But I digress.
It was just last week when this all (allegedly) started.
I was at the detective agency, comparing tentacle-print records, and Tusker was regaling Dentata Damsel with that story about the time he crashed his hoverboard into a pair of mating camelephants and was trapped underneath them for two days while they finished their business. Dentata Damsel was smiling vacantly at him and nodding, while nibbling delicately on a piece of rebar she'd found somewhere. Then she giggled and put her hand on his, and said something to him in that whispery, mumbling voice I've grown to despise. The next thing I know, Tusker has plopped his chunky ass on my desk.
Tusker: It's going really well!And just as Tusker trudged away from my desk, Storm Boy breezed into the office. Gadfly Lad looked up from his desk, glanced at the clock, and hollered to him that he was "14 minutes and 3.297 seconds late." By way of a reply, Storm Boy thwacked Gadfly Lad's forehead with his thumb and index finger as he passed by. The feather-light l'il Imskian toppled backwards, chair and all. Storm Boy was positively glowing. No kidding, he looked like he'd been polished. Everything was shiny. And he reeked of cologne. It was stifling. Making a note of Tusker, who by then had emerged from the supply pod with tears streaming into his mustache, Storm Boy bustled over to my desk.
Me (annoyed): What is, buddy?
Tusker: You know. Me and Dentata Damsel. I think it's time to make my move!
Me: You're kidding, right?
Tusker: What? She really likes me! I make her laugh, I'm always fetching stuff for her when she's too tired to leave her desk, she tells me all her personal problems, and I rack my brain coming up with solutions for them...! Just now, she said to me, "Tusker, sweetheart, could you grab me a box of staples?" She called me "sweetheart"! The next step is, we go out! Um... isn't it?
Me (smoothing out the plasto-film sheet Tusker creased by sitting on it): Nope.
Tusker: WHY NOT?!
Me (hoisting my enormous metal tankard of space-java): Because, genius -- setting aside the fact that an office romance is a horrible idea -- all that shit you just described isn't sexy at all, and it sure as hell hasn't made you into a potential lover in her eyes. It's made you into a pal. (takes a swig of the powerful coffee-like subtance -- which is black, natch)
Tusker (hopefully): Like a... "fuck buddy"?
Me (spits out space-java): Bwah! Sorry. Tusker, amigo... if Dentata Damsel is like most people, she wants her boyfriend to be somebody who makes her forget about her problems, not somebody who solves them, and who suprises her with things she never realized she wanted, not someone who retrieves crap for her like a dog.
Tusker: Dang it. I'm an idiot.
Me: Rookie mistake. Don't worry about it. There's plenty more ladies out there.
Dentata Damsel (breathily shouting): I'm still waiting on those staples, Tusker!
Storm Boy: Mornin', Blockade Boy! So, what's the matter with our own private Henrik Egerman this time?With only nominal protesting on Storm Boy's part, I grabbed his head, pried open his mouth, and took a good long whiff.
Me: I had to shoot down his hopes and dreams again. For his own good, of course.
Storm Boy (with a hint of mockery that makes me want to punch him): Oh, of course!
Me: You stink, by the way. What, are you moonlighting as a perfume spritzer?
Storm Boy: No! This is just how my new boyfriend likes for me to smell!
Me: Feh. You're drunk again, aren't you?
Storm Boy: I am not--!
Me: Yup. You're off the wagon. Let me check your breath.
Me: Jeebus! What've you been eating? Garbage? You might want to look into some mouthwash before your next big date there, killer.And with that, he flounced into Eyeful Ethel's office. There was a lot of high-pitched squealing and giggling for about twenty minutes, while I stewed at my desk.
Storm Boy (flushed): Oh! But I thought--! Balls.
Me: So, who's the lucky guy? Assuming you aren't just making this all up.
Storm Boy: His name is "Ox" and he's everything I've always dreamed of in a man.
Storm Boy (grinning): Hmm... no. I don't think so.
Me: What? I'd like to meet the guy! I can't have you wasting your life with somebody who's unsuitable, y'know.
Storm Boy: That's the problem. No, Blockade Boy, I'd like to keep Ox to myself for just a little while.
Me: I don't understand...
Storm Boy: Oh, how can I put this...? Blockade Boy, you're great. Honestly. You're the absolute best. You're like a big brother to me, or like a really overbearing uncle, or maybe just a psychotic gorilla that kidnaps you and won't let you leave its cave, but...
Me (impatient): But what?
Storm Boy (squeezes my shoulder, warmly): ... and I mean this in the nicest possible manner, but... you ruin everything.
So, even though my life is already complicated enough, I've decided I'm going to find out what I can about this "Ox" guy.
For Storm Boy's own good, of course.