"I'm on top and just beaded with sweat." Laura the debt bitch, who has been selfless in trying to cheer me up given all the downtime I have endured owing to a shattered wrist and who, moreover, can soften life's hard edges better than my morphine drip did, is relaying across the pond her latest carnal dalliance with some banker or another to me on one of her mornings and my afternoons. I've long since turned off the speaker phone.
"Were on the floor in front of this huge flat-screen TV he has on his wall like its a piece of art or something above a breakfront against his wall. You know, like that commercial?" I do, in fact, know the commercial but I keep silent, knowing better than to interrupt her to answer her rhetorical questions.
"I've already got rug burn on my left shoulder from his carpet on the floor and I guess I must have rubbed my knees raw too because I could barely walk yesterday. Anyhow, we arrive simultaneously..."- you have to love Laura's euphemisms- "...and make rather a lot of racket and I just collapse on top of him and we are there panting, hearts pounding, in the glow of the screen which used to have Saw III on it but now has that blank, faded blue background like it is trying to be a screen saver." I neglect to ask the obvious question: "How exactly did the two of you get riled up watching 'Saw III'"?
"We are probably laying there for twenty seconds or something before one can hear this very peculiar ticking. Less a 'tick... tick... tick...' than a 'fluck-ah... fluck-ah... fluck-ah...' Strangely muted.
We are quiet for a minute before he says, 'do you hear that?' I do, of course, and I say so. 'What is that?' he is asking me over and over again. I have no idea. And it is really hard to tell where it is coming from because we are on the floor. We listen again for a minute, then I realize, it is coming from his chest. It is his fucking heart!"
I am quiet on the phone call now. I really don't want to be told that Laura killed a man via coitus.
"So I tell him. I say, 'It is your fucking heart!' and he is totally silent for a minute, and we just listen to that sickening ticking, like a loose hinge flapping back and forth or something and then he just starts to freak out saying 'My god, my god,' over and over again. I must have blown his valve or something. My heart is pounding too and that noise is freaking me out. We really have no idea what to do. Call an ambulance? Should I perform CPR? Run? And if run, then where are my clothes and how long will it take me to put them on and how many fingerprints would I be leaving behind? I can just see the fucking cast from CSI Miami dusting for my vaginal secretions and David Caruso busting me with the line, 'why exactly did we find your bodily fluids all over the victim's penthouse?' The line is bad in itself but I really hate David Caruso, you know?"
I do know, as it happens.
"This goes on for several minutes while we both run frantically around the bedroom, nude, and I'm finally looking for my cellphone to call 911 when the noise stops. We both sit really still, I put my head to his chest and hear nothing but a thumping. 'It was probably nothing,' he says like six times. 'Probably,' I agree. What else am I going to say? Anyhow, he goes down to the kitchen to get a glass of water or something and I'm getting dressed because you better believe I am not staying the night at this point, what if he dies? And when he's gone and I'm crawling around looking for my panties under the bed I hear it again, 'fluck-ah... fluck-ah... fluck-ah....' Now I almost freak out. Maybe it is my heart. But it doesn't sound like it is coming from me. I stand up, walk around the room a couple of times until I track it to the breakfront. It is the fucking DVR thing in his cable box and the hard-drive or whatever is writing or reading or whatever the fuck it thinks it is doing. 'Fluck-ah... fluck-ah... fluck-ah....' I almost laughed, but instead I went home."
Then I make the big mistake, I ask her: "So he must have been relieved he wasn't dying."
"What? Oh, I didn't tell him. What the hell would I do that for?"