I was suffocating in the summer heat of desperation and loneliness radiating from the bodies packed in the Harlem apartment party.
She had a lusty look about her, a crown of unruly tresses, a confident smile, and a boisterous brown body.
I introduced myself. "I'm Hope. I just arrived from Cali. I'm looking for a guide, a friend, a muse, and a co-conspirator to undermine the one percent."
She turned to face me with a rakish grin, and I saw that her left arm was handless and ended in a nub.
She said, "Hope, I think you are looking for a booty call, a fuck in the hall against the wall or in the bathroom stall."
And, before I could respond, she continued. "Hope, isn't that usually a girl's name?"
"A fuck with you would be fine anyplace, anytime. My parents were dead set on naming their second and last child, Hope. But, for you, I could be a boy or a girl or your steed or your knight in deed."
She laughed like good times, happy hips, and foot tapping.
"I'm Calliope and I'm going to put your clever, limber tongue to work in other spaces and places and see if satisfaction is part of your action."
"Calliope, I love the galloping sound of your name, your undying fame, and there is no shame in my game. I got to warn you though, I could drive you insane and your life will never be the same."
She laughed louder, like children on the playground and adults deep in their cups. She took my hand in a vise grip and towed me out of the party and up two stories to her spartan apartment.
Calliope blessed me with the sweet retreat of her vivacious mouth and impish tongue, her succulent breasts, the bounty of her thighs, and the tight temptations of her beguiling ass.
Lying in bed beside her, holding her hand, she turned to me and said, "Don't say it."
"What don't you want me to say?"
"What you're thinking."
"What am I thinking?"
"Oh, something like, 'I got to hand it to you, girl, you alright with me.'"
"No. You got me wrong. I was thinking you would be awful handy to have around."
"So, you could ask me for a hand job?"
"The thought never crossed my mind. I only wanted to offer you my hand."
"A hand up or a handout?"
"Calliope, with your looks and skills you would never live hand-to-mouth."
"Ha, I grew up wearing hand-me-downs."
"Could be, but hands down, you got the best pussy I've ever found."
She said, "The proof of the pudding is in the eating."
She spread her legs.
And that was a pudding I could handle any time.
"How did you lose your hand?"
"A boast, sibling rivalry, a curse, congenital deformity, guilt, and condescending, corrosive projections."
"Sounds like a tragic drama for the ages."
"No, it's a footnote to a joke made in passing gas and forgotten in an instant. And it's not your story to tell."
"Your story is our story. We share orifices, body juices, sweat, and tears, hopes and fears, life and death."
"And you center my part of our story on my missing handle?"
"Oh, no. You are unmistakable, unknowable, fascinating, devastating, my inspiration, and my likely road to self-destruction."
"I bet you say that to all the one-handed, one-eyed, one-footed, blind, deaf, and dumb girls, you fuck."
"No, no, just to the crippled and crazy ones that make it to the second date."
"But this is our first date."
"Not at all. Since my birth, you have shown me bits and pieces, reflections and lies, sacred truths, fool's gold, and forbidden flashes, and I have tried to express what I have seen and felt in my feeble words. This is just a first fuck in a forever date."
"Aw, you are my long-lost bittersweet scribbler who aspires to what, exactly?"
"To write as clear as the fucking bell that rings from Heaven to Hell.
To pen lines as obscure as the rat shit in a prisoner's cell.
To be a household name buried in The Tomb of the Unknown Scribe."
She laughed like thunder, rumbling earthquakes, crackling forest fires, and volcanic eruptions.
I huddled in fear, covered my ears, closed my eyes, prayed.
I stayed in her apartment for seven days and seven nights and wrote for seven hours, 14 hours, 21 hours a day.
She feeds me milk from her breast, honey from between her thighs, seasoned with salty sweat and tears.
Somehow, I'm hospitalized, diagnosed, mistreated, maltreated, misused, mangled, and manipulated.
I was discharged, cured of every illness I never had. I had developed profound fear of hospitals, healthcare workers, saviors of every kind.
Calliope saved the products of my seven days of creation. It is gibberish, every line. Nothing to see here, folks. Just a madman's incoherent ravings.
My muse said I was presumptuous to assume that she would be with me always.
I said that my punishment was far too severe for my alleged infraction.
She denied I received punishment and claimed I was rewarded, reoriented, and reborn.
I complained that my seven days of creation were meaningless, trash, garbage, worthless.
She snapped back in anger that I needed to learn to see, to read again, to understand, to accept.
We parted ways with bitter accusations of betrayal.
I did better after I shed my less than amusing, mostly confusing muse.
I scribbled daily, was published hundreds of times, published books, and gave talks.
Each night, I perused the product of my seven-day rant and still failed to comprehend
the method of my madness.
In my twilight years, she returned to me, sat on my lap in my wheelchair in the summer heat of my old folks' warehouse. Wordlessly, she roused and rode my penis to climax.
At 3 a.m., it was 69 time in my bed. She stayed with me till dawn. Her taste lingered with me all day.
In my last week, we read the (perfectly legible) products of my seven days of divine inspiration.
Our story was breathtaking, well worth the journey.
She gave me a final hand job.
I smiled and scrawled, "Goodbye."