THE MAN WHO WENT UP
WHEN HE MEANT TO GO DOWN
by Jamie Rosen
art by Michele Richter
Jeffrey Cowper noticed it the first time he got on his knees between Karen Worcestershire's legs and bent his face to her warmth. His head popped off of his neck like a cork and floated, balloon-like, to the ceiling, where it bounced against the bumpy grey plaster for ten minutes while Karen's body writhed six feet below him. When she came his head snapped back to his body like a tether-ball, and he wrote it off to the dope they'd had in his car.
With Kelly Lindemuer it was a different feeling, more like he was an overstuffed bottle rocket and his nosecone had come loose during lift-off. Kelly didn't come, she never did, and Jeffrey floated across her bedroom for what felt like days. They'd been sober for three weeks -- at her insistence -- so when he reassembled himself in the bed beside her and fell asleep, he dismissed it as a dream.
After his head drifted up and through the air duct in Belinda Lyttle's parents' house like steam from a pot of boiling pasta, he swore off muffdiving for two years. Needless to say, the succession of girlfriends, lovers, and casual encounters that paraded through his life over that time was not pleased. But Divinity changed all that.
Divinity was a dominatrix by trade, five-foot ten in her stocking feet and built like the cover of a bad fantasy novel. Her real name was Rosamund Morris, but all the men in her life called her Divinity. So did half the women.
He met her at a club when he was too drunk to know any better, two shots later he was telling her all about his problems with women. They didn't understand, he explained. He wanted to please them, really he did. He was just afraid that one day he wouldn't come back to his body.
Divinity smiled at him and assured him she knew a way around his problem. Dumbfounded, he asked her what it was, but when she put her mouth to his ear and tonguily whispered to him she simply said "Let me show you." So he stumbled to her car and then he was lying in her bed, his skin against the sheets. He started to speak but she put a finger across his lips and pressed him onto his back, her knees on either side of his head.
"Like this," she said, lowering herself to him.
There was no popping of corks, no explosions, no evaporations. With nowhere to go, Jeffrey Cowper's head stayed exactly where it was meant to be. And so did Jeffrey.
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