FUCKING MEN

CHAPTER ONE:

Lewis didn’t know how to get himself out of this one. He’d met this guy on Tinder, which was supposed to be more date orientated than Grindr. Robert was successful and seemed like a nice guy. They met for ‘drinks’. A diet coke for Lewis and a beer for Robert.  At first it was awkward, but isn’t it always. Lewis thought they were being shy. They chatted around their work. Robert was a corporate lawyer. Lewis didn’t want to admit he worked for South Eastern Manufacturers. Partly because he didn’t really understand what they did there. Lewis was the social media manager for the company, which sounded impressive but really consisted of updating their twitter and not much else. The company twitter handle was abbreviated to @SEMan, which, although not the correct way to spell semen, attracted mostly men posting photos of their penises.

Lewis was distracted by a message as Robert handed him another drink. ‘I don’t know why you bother with diet.’ Robert might’ve said that. But Lewis might not have been paying attention. As he couldn’t be sure, Lewis ignored it.  They chatted around music, TV they enjoyed and places they’d been.

“You’ve never been to Singapore? You have to go.”

“It’s on my ‘to do’ list,” Lewis smiled with no teeth.

“It’s a long flight but you’ve got to go first class. Maybe if you’re good I’ll take you,” Robert winked.

Several things happened for Lewis. Firstly, he wondered if he looked like he wouldn’t be able to afford first class. Secondly, he was repulsed by Robert’s showing off. Thirdly, he deeply aroused by confidence Robert had displayed in that wink. Lewis knew they’d never travel to Singapore. He finished his cola.

“What do you want to do now?” Lewis asked.

Outside Robert flagged a taxi. It wasn’t a huge flat but Lewis wasn’t surprised to find that Robert owned it. He certainly mentioned it several times over the night. What happened next was perfunctory. It seemed to Lewis, the quickest and most sensible way to bring the night to an end. Robert was slim with large biceps. He worked out but Lewis knew that as Robert has mentioned the gym in the building, also several times. Lewis was wider and flabbier but was quicker to take his clothes off. There was kissing, a bit of oral. Then Robert dry humped Lewis for what felt like 100 years. Up and down, up and down. His erection slide between Lewis’s thighs, making a wet patch that Lewis was certain would turn to eczema if not remedied soon. Lewis looked at the ceiling with a long crack in its plaster. Lewis smiled at the thought of how annoying Robert must find that.

“Do you like my cock?” Robert stage whispered. Lewis pulled Robert closer so he could roll his eyes. ‘Uh huh’ was all he replied. Lewis continued to wait, wondering about what time the tubes shut being that it was a Sunday. Robert’s hip bones were jutting into Lewis’s stomach and it was beginning to hurt. Lewis was annoyed that his penis wouldn’t fall flaccid, giving a clear signal that he wasn’t enjoying himself. The humping continued and Lewis was about to ask for it to stop. He’d had enough.

“I’m going to cum, where do you want it?” Robert asked as if it were a big treat. Lewis pretended to be overwhelmed and said ‘all over me’ because he knew from experience that Robert wanted him to say ‘my mouth’ and Lewis didn’t want that. Lewis also knew ‘in your hand like you’re not an animal’ wasn’t an allowed response. It hit Lewis, like a sneeze, in his stomach. Lewis was no stranger to semen but he’d simply never seen it in quantities like Robert could produce. A lot of time passed as shooting strings of semen continued to hit Lewis’s middle. Robert even dragged out the cumming. Robert removed his hand from his rapidly decreasing penis and wiped the semen around Lewis’s chest.

“Your turn,” he grinned at Lewis and then wrapped his hand around Lewis’s penis. After three painful tugs, Lewis took over.

“Can you grab my balls,” Lewis asked, feeling uncomfortable at having to say balls. He had a very gay voice and overly sexual phrases and words felt foreign in his mouth. Lewis stretched his legs and tensed his bum, pushing himself to the end point. His final challenge before skulking home. He screwed his eyes closed and curled his toes.

“It’s happening,” Lewis muttered.

Then he climaxed.

“Thanks,” Lewis said as he shimmied to the end of the bed and stood up. He ran to the bathroom and cleaned up. His hair had puffed out whilst he was laying there and his lips and cheeks had blossomed red. He wiped as best he could, ran the tap, washing his hands and wiped some soapy water over his mouth. When he came back out, Robert was practically dressed. Lewis searched for some pants.

“Do you know if you lost some weight, you’ve got a really cute face.”

Robert smiled at Lewis.

“Excuse me,” Lewis knew what Robert was saying, but he wanted to force Robert to be as rude as he could possibly be.

“You know, if you tried a diet and a bit of exercise, you’d be, you know.”

Lewis widened his eyes and then returned to searching for his clothes.

“I didn’t mean to offend you,” Robert raised his arms in surrender but Lewis would think about this later and wonder what Robert did mean, if not offence.

“I don’t want to diet. I don’t want to lose weight”

He knew he’d put his pants on the wrong way around but Lewis had to get out of there.

“I thought everyone wanted to lose weight?” Robert side stepped out of Lewis’s way as he grabbed his jeans from the floor. For the first time all evening, Robert had made a point, most people do think they ought to lose weight. Lewis zipped the jeans and wandered into the hall.

“It’s late,” Lewis began but stopped himself from making any more of an excuse.

“We should do this again maybe,” Robert smiled.

“Yeah maybe,” Lewis added as he opened the door and stepped into the beige carpeted hall. He left the building in a rage and found the nearest Tesco Metro, where he purchased a cream egg and a diet coke and then found his way to the tube.

 

Lewis arrived home and Amira wasn’t there. He stepped out of his clothes and crossed the hall nude. He turned on the shower, swearing as his arm was sprayed with cold water. Too slow. He did a quick wee before stepping into the too hot water. Amira liked boiling showers and Lewis was grateful on this occasion. He soaped up and gave himself the kind of clean he only does on a Sunday night. Spreading his toes, cleaning the folds of his ears, shampooing twice. Lewis crouched down to soap his under carriage. He stood and rinsed the soap from his body. He felt a tug around his bum cheek. He pulled and felt a long hair leaving his bum. Looking at the long dark strand, Lewis realised it belonged to Amira. They’d been accused of being too close but this seemed excessive. Lewis laughed to himself and promised to tell Amira later. He half thought about placing the strand on the window sill just outside the shower but decided that was too gross, even for him.

 

Having dried, moisturised and settled into his pyjamas, the door unlocked and Amira’s voice called out, ‘I’m home.’ Lewis opened his door in time to see Amira disappear into her own room with too many bags.

“Hey,” he called after her and then followed her into her room and perched on the end of her bed.

“How was home?” he asked Amira

“Fine except Raf really fucked me off on the way home.”

“What’s happened?” Lewis lifted his head slightly to get a better view of Amira’s full rage.

“We went for dinner with his parents and when he went to the toilet his mum was all over me about when we were going to married. We don’t even live together. It was bizarre but then I was nice about it and waited for him to come back. When he comes back she drops it and starts talking about their new bathroom. I was telling him about it on the way home and Raf flipped out. He was like ‘we’re too young to get married,’ and I was like ‘I know, it’s your mum.’ We got outside here and I took my stuff out and he’s just fucking driven off.”

Amira sat on the bed.  Her nose piercing bobbing as her nostrils flared. The almond shape of her eyes wet around the edges.

“Fucking men,” Lewis stroked Amira’s head.

 

The alarm blared, waking Amira and Lewis immediately. Amira snoozed the alarm and Lewis stretched his arms above his head into the padded headboard of Amira’s bed.

“Good morning princess,” Amira yawned.

“Good morning my love.”

Lewis went to get up and cried in pain.

“What’s wrong?”

“My leg… Christ,” Lewis sat back down. His calf was entirely too tight and hurt when he tried to sit up again.

“What have you done?” Amira asked as she tied up her hair, ready for the shower.

Lewis scanned through the night before. Lewis closed his eyes and his ears turned pink.

“I must’ve over stretched when I was trying to… climax.”

Amira laughed, all the way to the bathroom.

 

Lewis walked slowly to the SEMan offices, partly due to his injury and partly because he didn’t want to go in. He stopped at the small bakery on the way to his office. Sarah’s café was overpriced and quite bougie. But their hot chocolate was the best around and Lewis always bought one of their small bars that they made in the backroom. It was never busy, which Lewis found convenient but guilty about.

“You look like you need a large today,” Sarah, of Sarah’s, said.

“I’ve got a slight injury that’s making me feel really sorry for myself.”

“I can imagine,” Sarah smiled and handed over the cup. Lewis placed some coins in the tip jar and hobbled out into the street.  It was only four doors down and as Joe entered the reception he saw Eddy who shares his desk bank, although Eddy works in logistics or something equally boring. Lewis slowed down so they wouldn’t get the lift together but Eddy held out his hand.

“That’s a big coffee,” Eddy grinned.

“It’s going to be one of those days,” Lewis didn’t feel like explaining that he was holding a hot chocolate. He wasn’t embarrassed that he didn’t like grown up drinks.

“I can imagine, I saw that email. I’m sure it’s nothing though.”

“What email?”

Lewis could see the fear in his own eyes in the mirrored lift walls. He dug around his pocket for his phone. There was no signal but Lewis saw the subject heading ‘MY OFFICE AS SOON AS YOU’RE IN’…

 

CHAPTER TWO:

Lewis dumped his jacket and bag at his desk and slid his laptop from its case. He didn’t even take a breath, transitioning from ‘outside Lewis’ to ‘work Lewis’ seamlessly. In a position crouched next to his desk, Lewis typed his password into the laptop and the machine jumped to life. He scanned his emails and made his way to the glass office at the end of the open plan floor. He knocked on the door and the boss ushered him in with a wave of his hand.

“You wanted to see me Greg?” Lewis sounded bright and breezy, despite every mistake he’d ever made running through his mind.

“I wanted to check in on our social media whizz, see how you’re getting on.”

Greg wasn’t much older than Lewis, but he felt much older. Lewis thought Greg was attractive sure, in a way that Robert from last night was attractive but Lewis could still hate them both. A good hateful fucking, that’s what Greg needed.

“All good Greg, nothing much to report.” Lewis hovered in the door, hoping this would be it.

“Come in, get comfortable.”

Lewis stepped into the office and closed the door. No need for whatever was to be said to become office gossip. He took the seat opposite. Greg leant forward in his desk and gave intense eye contact.

“I love what you’re doing with our twitter and Instagram. Consistent. I think you’re right, no need for TikTok right now. You’ve got good instincts. Couple of things I have been worried about,”

Here we go, Lewis thought, the shit sandwich

“Our twitter account retweeted, without comment, a picture of a man’s penis. I saw it this morning. So maybe we could undo that?”

Ooops. Lewis turned his attention to his laptop. A couple of clicks and he found the offending picture. Lewis was impressed with both the picture and its performance online. Often these pictures are poorly lit and poorly liked. He deleted the retweet.

“I’m incredibly sorry Greg, fat thumbs. I meant to report the picture.”

“Just be careful in future. I know you wanted to change our name thingy but we’ve already printed it on the business cards.”

Lewis nodded, total agreement was the quickest way out of the room. Greg was clicking around on his own laptop and then turned the screen to reveal the @SEMan Instagram account.

“I also noticed that when you were following the warehouse for our behind the scenes Wednesday, you started this video with “alright twitter,” but posted to Instagram. This is a confusing message… there’s been a few mistakes like that lately. Is everything OK?”

Lewis looked away from Greg’s eye contact and scanned the room. He frowned and thought if anything in particular was up. Lewis hated his job, but who didn’t? He was single and seemed to have a bad date every date he went on. Sure, his life felt a bit unremarkable right now, but nothing was seriously wrong. Lewis put a pin in his existential crisis, realising he’d waited too long to reply to Greg.

“Nothing, thanks for checking in. I’ll take those notes on board.”

“I was thinking of having a meeting this afternoon with some people around the office. Maybe brainstorm ways to improve our online communications?”

“That was be fantastic,” Lewis grinned and thought ‘fantastic waste of time’ to himself.

 

Leaving Greg’s office and sitting down, Lewis slipped into a melancholy, not uncommon for a Monday morning. Greg asking ‘is everything ok?’ swirled around in Lewis’ mind.

“What you thinking about?” Eddy asked.

Lewis blinked and the street outside came into focus. He’d been staring out the window, again.

“Just coming up with social media ideas,” Lewis spewed out a phrase as vague as it was unhelpful.

“I was thinking about lunch, but what’s new?”

He smiled at Eddy’s sad-little-not-joke.

“What specifically about lunch are you pondering?”

Eddy’s face contorted into an overblown overthinking pose. He massaged his temples.

“What… am I going to have in my sandwich.”

“You can be relied upon for the big questions.”

Lewis’ phone came silently to life as a phone call came through.

“Have a think, I’ll be two minutes,” Lewis picked up the phone and began walking through the office, “Lewis as South East Manufacturers, how can I help?”

“Are you at work?” a miserable sounding Amira asked.

“One moment.”

“God, I hate your phone voice,” Amira replied, waiting for Lewis to find a spot in the stairwell where he wouldn’t be disturbed.

“What’s happening?” Lewis’ voice returned to normal.

“I’m pregnant.”

Lewis laughed.

“Good one.”

“I’m not joking you twat,” Amira’s voice sounded wet, like she’d been crying.

“How do you know?”

“I took a test you idiot.”

“But you’re at work? Why wouldn’t you wait until you were at home?” Lewis caught sight of himself in the window, had an unkind thought about his chins and then turned away to better focus on Amira.

“I didn’t think it would actually be positive, otherwise I would’ve waited,” Amira let out a cry.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to question you, I’m just a little taken back, I didn’t know you were even worried. But there’s options here. Nothing has to happen right now. Do you want me to come home? I can say I’m sick?”

Lewis hoped to have a good reason to leave work, although he wasn’t certain this counted.

“No, I’ve got to go. Let’s talk tonight,” said Amira.

“Ok, I’m here all afternoon if you need me.”

 

Lewis returned to his desk in a state of shock. He logged back into his laptop and pretended to type for a full ten seconds. Then he opened an email to Amira and started to type something more hopeful than how he left the phonecall.

“I’ve decided I’m going for ham and cheese,” Eddy’s voice broke Lewis’ concentration. Lewis face didn’t register what Eddy had said.

“For my sandwich, I’m going for ham and cheese. I feel like all over London people will be having avocado or crayfish, but ham and cheese is a classic and that’s what I want for my lunch.”

Lewis laughed.

“Great choice, you’re a renegade and a traditionalist.”

 

Lewis finished up his email and they headed out together for Eddy’s much discussed sandwich. Lewis picked up a slice of pizza, some satsumas and a pack of mini eggs for himself. Then he insisted on going back to Sarah’s to collect some chocolate for Amira.  The inside of the café was dead except for one man sat toward the back. Lewis thought he was fit. The man’s hair stuck up at the front, seeming to have a gravity of its own. His nose was completely straight and long. Lewis collected three bars from a display. The man looked up and Lewis looked away. Then, in a bid to look less conspicuous, Lewis turned to face this man. His inner-monologue congratulated him on being so casual.

“Hey,” Lewis said, in a voice so quiet, he wasn’t sure if it had even been aloud. He overstepped it, got cocky. The man’s eyes went wide and his lips disappeared as he made the universal facial expression of ‘hi, I’m not a threat.’ Lewis went to pay.

“It’s quiet Sarah.”

Behind the till she shrugged.

“Open a café I thought, it’ll be fun. I can’t stay open on your chocolate sales alone.”

Sarah operated the till and the card machine blinked that it was ready.

“Don’t say that, where else would I get these bars if you were to close?”

“Nowhere, that’s the point, I make them in the back.”

“Shut up,” Lewis’ jaw hung open.

“Yep, it’s bean to bar chocolate making.”

“I thought you just like melted it and repackaged it. How have we never discussed this before?” Lewis was flabbergasted, “we’re going to talk about this in depth later.”

Lewis scooped his bars into his bag and scooted to the door to meet Eddy. Lewis was a firm believer in taking the full hour for lunch but that did occasionally lead to slightly longer lunches. At the door, the man from the café slipped past and put his arm on Lewis’ back as they left the café together. The man stormed up the road a few steps before he looked back. Lewis was beaming at the man and saw, what could’ve been, the smallest little curve of the lips.

“Did you see that man?” Lewis asked Eddy.

Eddy glanced and then started striding toward the office.

“Look Eddy, I know you don’t care, but that was actually potentially a very attractive man, who may well have been the love of my life.”

They went into the lift and Eddy took out his phone. His response was a single hum that left Lewis feeling a little silly.

 

His hunger sated, Lewis found himself sat next to Greg, in a ‘huddle’ in the open plan office. Everyone was sat around, ready to pitch in their ideas. Lewis had plastered a smile on his face. His plan was to say as little as possible.

“Right everyone, what are our ideas for online?” Greg started the group chat.

Lewis counted in his head, up to eight seconds, before Gary leant forward.

“Why don’t we do one of them viral videos?”

“Which one?” Lewis’ smile never faltered.

“Does it matter? Just any video and make it go viral.” Gary sat back, happy with his contribution.

Lewis nodded, hiding the rage buried deep within him. This was not their first meeting like this. Asking these people, who only had Facebook because they forced they teenagers to show them how to set it up, how to improve social media, was not a smart business idea. It would be like asking Lewis to improve the logistics stuff that Eddy did. What surprised Lewis, is that in any of these meetings, no one ever seemed to catch on the Lewis didn’t know what the company did. Lewis took fake notes as people suggested things they’d already done or things that wouldn’t work. One person suggested they respond rudely to a customer query in a bid to make the news.

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Lewis replied.

“Right, thanks everyone, I think that’s plenty for Lewis to get on with. In truth Lewis, did you find that helpful?”

Lewis blinked a bunch of times. He set his teeth. Was he about to tell this room full of boomers and bumheads what he thought of their ideas?

“uh…” Lewis began… oh shit, he might be about to…