The Big C
The Ecstasy & The Agony

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Jacob Clifton: A+ | 8 USERS: A+
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Getting Away from Already Pretty Much Being Away from It All

Paul's drunk by the time he gets to the dinner table. They're still having appetizers. He jokes about getting drunk and they laugh politely, thinking he's downplaying it, and when they ask him about Cathy he blames her absence on a "previous commitment." Words he'd already rehearsed to say.

Along with Paul Jamison, the company is promoting another VP of Creative Services, named Nick. They all toast to the two of them, two couples and Paul, alone, downing wine and scotch without taking a breath: "Where's the dude," he grunts, and waves his scotch glass in the air. The other two couples and Paul, all alone. They stare.

This is what it is like to be Cathy tonight, for now: "I'm so lucky to know you, and I'm so lucky to have met you," says Lenny, and she laughs. Her legs in constant movement, against his, as they lie on the cushions looking into each other's eyes, touching each other's faces. In a whole other world, a story you can't imagine; in a story Paul saw and thought was something only slightly worse.

"I feel really lucky. And I'm beginning to feel for the first time, finally, that everything's gonna be all right. It is gonna be all right. Maybe I don't have to... I don't have to work so hard. I don't have to worry so much." Her feet, as she cries with relief, finally taking flight: "I don't even have to raise Adam. He will be raised... By the world. He'll be okay with the rest of it. And it's not even... it's not even what I say, is it? I just... I should quit talking to Adam altogether. I should exist around him, so he knows that I'm there, but... No words." He thinks it's drug talk, he stays quiet. No words. She takes him to see the hole where her pool one day might be.

"Look, Marlene, I could tell you I moved here from Brooklyn, served in Korea, three brothers, but the only thing you really have to know about me is in my pants." Sean withers like an orchid; Marlene teases the old man: "That so?" Indeed. Seems Earl's got "the biggest pair of nuts you've ever seen." Sean begs him to shut up -- "This is not polite dinner conversation, it's not even bachelor party conversation!" -- but he doesn't shut up. He looks at Marlene and doesn't look away and they are in a whole other world that Sean can't quite imagine. "And my dick ain't bad either. Though it looks smaller against my balls than it really is. Optical illusion."

Earl drops his fork and when Sean leans down to get it, Earl's pants are around his ankles. Sean squeals again, and Marlene drags him finally into the bathroom. Presumably, if you haven't met Marlene, to yell at him for this awful date. The women in the restroom take flight, and Sean begins to apologize.

"Stop getting in the way," Marlene says, cutting him off. "I'm an old woman who doesn't get a lot of opportunities with men, especially one so clearly ready for relations. I didn't agree to come tonight because I'm looking for someone to grow old with. I'm already old. And old people get horny too. So quit cock-blocking me."

Shocked for the second time tonight, Sean takes his leave. Sometimes, the similarities between Sean and his sister are pretty obvious; tonight, though, he and Paul are the ones getting shocked. The grin doesn't leave his face until well after he's asleep.

Andrea and Adam laugh at a fertility statue's breasts, comparing them to nunchucks. Andrea's never had this much fun at a party; Adam is so easy. Brent comes running up: Apparently a girl upstairs, very drunk, is looking to devirginize somebody. Anybody who wants to get laid, she's taking them on. Megan -- because it's always a Megan, isn't it -- has sent for her next virgin.

Adam, being one of the youngest guests and clearly very nervous about this whole conversation -- although not, probably, super clear on how they are all rapists now -- immediately opts out of the running. Before he knows it, the whole party is chanting VIRGIN! VIRGIN! VIRGIN! It's a long time, terribly long, unbelievably long, before somebody comes to his rescue: Andrea, who plies her every wile on the gathered bystanders to imply heavily that she knows for a fact that Adam is not a virgin. And while he's grateful, she is fat. Possibly worse than being a virgin. She stares at him, unable to believe the Jamisons got her again, and then stomps away. Like it was so flattering for her, either: Like letting them into their story would make her happier.

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The Big C

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