In a hotel room in Pamplona I hit the buttons that make the Skype work and shove another cookie in my mouth while the electricity does it's thing and rolls out to Pennsylvania somehow. I get lucky and after a couple rings Monica appears on the screen, Henry in her arms. He's smiling at the kitchen cabinets. That's just who he is.
We talk for a while. I tell her more stuff about Spain, about the show tonight. She tells me it's harder than hell being alone with the kids. As she speaks: I finger the cookies on the bed by my side, like an outlaw petting his itchy Colt. I tell her I saw a bullring. Her eyes tell me she could care less. She tells me she took the dogs to the lake and Violet fell in the mud. I rub a chocolate cookie with drunky-drunk fingers, trying to be gentle/not being gentle; the same as I'd rub a Spanish thigh if I were a different man, a different rocker in a different life. And hotter.
Henry gazes at the screen back in my kitchen and spots me in it and raspy grunts one of his laughs out.
"Hi Henry!", I say.
He darts his fist at the screen, trying to grab a handful of me.
Monica tells me she is taking the kids to some kinda craft show on Saturday.
I tell her I saw a bullring. She says I know/you said that already.
There can be romance in separation if you play your cards right. People can miss one another, cry down the Skype. Absence can make you realize what you have when you don't have it for a spell. Hearts can grow wiser given time to beat it out all alone.
Or, in our case, in my case: you can cut straight to the chase, man.
I look at Henry. He's smiling as a bead of drool rolls down his chin and grows into a Drool-manchu. My boy. My lad.
He doesn't understand English at all.
"Hey, can you make me a dirty video, maybe?" I ask my wife this with little fanfair. I say it matter-of-fact. Seven years of marriage has taught me nothing, I guess. I'm less smooth than ever. I'm smoothless. I'm lame.
"What?" she says.
"A video. With the camera. Make me a short video, a sexy one. Could ya?"
Henry reaches out to grab at the sound on the screen. His slobber leak is amazing. And he's smiling at my suggestion. Or through it.
Christ, now I need to spell it out? Why would I want a smutty home clip of my wife when I'm rolling across Spain drunk-eating fucking cookies by myself in hotel rooms?
I let the explanations/reasonings settle into her skull without a word.
"Can you make me one?", I say, buttering up my tone a little with the subtle mellow of a Peep Show door guy.
"Um, maybe, I dunno. We're going to the craft show on Saturday," she pauses. "We're busy. I'm busy. I hardly have time to do my work."
I switch gears. I try an approach with more pop. More zing.
"Yeah, I know, and you're doing awesome, but have a couple cold beers tonight and you know...just get loose. And you know, just like, relax. Put on that wifebeater I like," I say, all helpful and all. Then I add: "With no bra."
She blushes a little and I am startled that she isn't exactly blowing me off, though the idea of a nice private home video of Nasty Monica still seems like a pipe dream to me to be honest. But she's still on the screen, still Skyping, so I'm a little hopeful.
I stumble through a few more Director's tips but she cuts me off.
"I know how to make a video, Goddammit. OK?"
This brings me a little pause. I never got any videos before. So I guess someone must've. But not me. Fucking bastards. Fucking bitch-ass little bitch boys.
Whatever, I'm not nearly drunk enough to get sidetracked up a jealous tree. I want a video too. Now more than ever.
Henry buzzes his lips at the screen and from a hotel room in Norther Spain I watch his spittle land on the computer screen back in Centre County.
"You could maybe get wine, you know?", I offer. "Some nice candles. Make it a thing. It could be fun."
"Oh yeah, that's just the kind of thing I wanna look forward to when I finally get the kids down. Make a smut movie by myself."
To be frank: I am running out of ideas here. Our marriage isn't all that magical or sensual. Sometimes I count her laughing at my commentary jokes during MIKE & MOLLY as her having a Big O. So, I start doing what I do. I start giving up/letting out slack/ moving on to thinking about my Euro-cookies and the sandwich made with the lunchmeat I hoarded back at the dressing room of tonight's club.
Then she does it. Says it.
She opens 55 gallon drums of tie-dyed doves that whirl out into the room and start banging into the ceiling and the walls. She takes her hand and waves it and White Castle sliders shoot out of directly into my face, like a runaway firehose spewing greatness all over the sheets I'm on.
She takes a seven pound rainbow trout and rams my hook right through it's snout and I am liding down the creek like Brad Pitt in that fishing movie. I'm hooked into a whale here, people. A motherfucking whale.
Henry punches me in the eye throiugh the screen and cackles wildly.
"Alright, maybe," she says. Out of pity, I guess. Or curiosity perhaps. Whatever. It doesn't matter to me now. Because she's saying things. Big things. "I'll see if I can do something. And I gotta go. Violet's waking up from her nap and I have to feed Henry something. Say bye Henry!"
And before I can say my own bye: they're gone. Sucked back into the Skype pipe. There's just the jpeg I picked out for her number staring back at me.
Did she send me one?
You filthy little fucker! Ha! You wanna know dontcha?
Let me just say this.
It was the greatest email attachment in the history of this beautiful/nasty world.