Mindlessly dragging a finger around the rim of his beverage, an enormous hollow pineapple containing a pleasantly disproportionate mixture of fruit juice and tequila, Maxwell Conlin attempted forget his romantic misfortunes by studying the glistening body of a local Adonis sprawled beachside not fifty feet away. Sexual fantasy had often proved a reliable distraction from more disagreeable circumstances. One time, following an entire night spent elaborating on the manufacture of soap for a paper on the development of hygienic practices in Europe, he rewarded himself with a extended viewing of Twink Story 3: Playdate with Woody. Another time, during a particularly tedious lecture on the influence of Sartre on existentialist thought, he scrutinized the lithe and enviable form of the dimwitted yet well-sculpted swimmer seated two rows away. Still another time, following an disheartening period of unchosen celibacy, he engaged the services of a male escort named Jaxon through the use of a popular singles hotline. But now, seated under a bustling, florid cabana, even the tropical atmosphere and unending procession of muscular beach-goers could not dispel his dreary, colorless mood.
Weeks earlier, Maxwell Conlin had received a text message from his boyfriend Lawrence informing him of the termination of their relationship. He was not entirely surprised, as Lawrence’s distant attitude and the discovery of receipts from the Disco Stick night lounge had alerted him to a rift in their relationship. Nevertheless, upon reading the message, Maxwell became immediately distraught, and for days after attempted to revive the relationship through a series of desperate pleas and romantic gestures. In the space of twenty-four hours, he sent Lawrence a total of one hundred and seventy-five text messages. The next day, he baked and elaborately decorated Lawrence’s preferred flavor of cake, which he delivered to him through a mutual friend. The following day, a love letter, hand-written and six pages in length, appeared on Lawrence’s doorstep, accompanied by a box of chocolates and a large, adorable stuffed bear. Each gesture met only rejection. Finally, after his last spurned advance and several threats of legal restraint, Maxwell accepted that the relationship was over. Despite his lover’s vanished interest and obvious infidelity, Maxwell was despondent. For him, the only thought more painful than not being worthy of affection or loyalty was not even being worthy of deception.
Thus, ruminating on these depressing events, Maxwell Conlin took a sip of his drink and sighed, and resigned himself to the practiced task of moving on.