It didn’t start out like that. Within a few messages she said my panties have dropped for you bb. Which I remember because of the lack of vowels in the word baby. It came after I told her I read books. The thought of a girl who’s interested in a man for his erudition turned me on.

I saved her name in my phone as R.

R told me about the 5km laps she runs around the park in the evenings. It’s routine she said. I’ll come along next time, I told her, I’m very fit. No thank you she said, I don’t want to be all red and puffing the first time we meet. I understood, taking care of one’s appearance, another increasingly rare trait. Respect.

How about you substitute one of those runs with a walk with me then? I asked. Sure.

We met at the ice-cream shop but didn’t go to it. Later I learned the plan was to meet somewhere public in case I was some kind of maniac. Smart.

I’d already told her I had a mullet. She walked down the hill and said oh you weren’t joking. No. Why would I joke about such a thing?

She told me she didn’t want ice-cream and we kicked off around the block. I should’ve known it wouldn’t work out when the first thing she showed me was the bald spot on the side of her head. An interesting innovation, I thought. I liked the approach. Show off the weakness first. It’s what you do to hide it that makes it worse. She put her hair back and resumed looking very attractive. Out of sight out of mind.

The questions started. So what do you do? Oh really, you’re a programmer and a writer too? And you’re unemployed? Be careful with that last one, it’s a fine line. I explained. I’m not unemployed, I claim to be because it’s fun. Sitting here tapping out lines doesn’t feel like employment but somehow cheques hit my bank account. I told her, all I do is fight and write. Write words and write code. Fight distraction and fight off people trying to choke me out. Her interest spiked when I told her I spend my nights wrestling other sweaty men. That’s hot, she said.

As usual, I realised how much talking I’d done and how little talking she’d done. She made it easy though. Probing questions, interjecting when necessary. You should talk, I said. No, no, I’m enjoying listening, she said. Truth or charade? You never know.

Only a handful of places were open due to the virus. And despite having next to no customers, the shopping centre felt no less empty than it usually did.

We went to the burger place after doing a lap and finding out the sushi shop was closed. She said she felt bad after I took the stairs and she took the escalator. She stuck her butt out at the top and said look though, I’ve been doing squats. I looked and told her she was forgiven. We’d known each other for all of 27 messages and 2-hours but the banter burned nicely.

I can’t have goats cheese she said. Or goats milk. Or something from a goat. I don’t why but I remember that. Details.

More questions. When was your last relationship? How often do you go on dates? I answered. Four years ago and not often but like heroin when I was 19, I’ve decided to get right back into them.

Heroin?

A joke.

She laughed.

R told me she was into web development and about to be in between jobs, which I playfully jabbed at her saying she was going to be unemployed. She didn’t seem to like that. For some reason, she seemed to think I would be concerned about what she did for a living. A mistake. When a man's interested in a woman, as long as she keeps herself pretty and is kind to those around her, he probably doesn't care about how she earns money.

I paid. She offered to contribute but I told her it was nonsense, I asked you out, I’m paying. We walked back to the car and sat in it.

More direct questions.

How often do you masturbate?

It wasn’t that direct, there was some fluff around it. A question about porn, a question about what are you after. I answered them all.

I don’t watch porn. I don’t masturbate often. And I’m not after anything serious.

She was perplexed by the first two but agreed with the third one. Jackpot, I thought.

The story of her mother asking what she would show Jesus if he came back to Earth came up. What’d you say? I asked. MY PUSSY! That good is it? Her mother didn’t respond as well as I did.

How often do you get erections then if you don’t masturbate? She asked.

I’ve been hard basically this whole night, I said.

Really?

Yes.

I’d had enough of the sexual talk and no action so I grabbed her head and we started making out. How long were you thinking about doing that? She asked. Shut up, I said and kept kissing her.

I grabbed her chest, squeezed, moved my leg over the gear stick, pushed my other leg against the door, pulled her neck in and massaged her lips with mine. Every few lip entanglements one of us had to readjust, it seemed the designers of this 2008 Subaru Impreza hadn’t the slightest notion of accomodating make out sessions when they were drawing up plans for the front seats.

Despite the parking lot being next to empty when we arrived, I’d chosen a spot right underneath a lamppost. I feel like I’m 16 again, R said. I agreed verbally but not mentally. When I was 16, my hands traversed Xbox controllers not the chests of girls. Whenever the slightest flicker of a shadow walked past, she’d pull away and act as normal. What if someone sees us? That might be a problem for you, but not me, I said, let’s get out of here anyway.

Out the front of her place we kicked off again. I wrapped my hand around the back of her head, tugged on her hair, pulled her face closer to mine, planted my lips on hers, slid my other hand onto her lower back whilst propping myself up against the door and somewhere in between the gear stick and handbrake. We took a break to speak. You like that do you? What? I asked. Hair pulling. I do, do you? Yeah. Good.

R plugged her phone in and started playing music. The song title came up on the dash, “Trojan Horse”. Fitting, I thought, exactly what I’m packing into these jeans.

The 2nd date began with another walk. This time closer to my area, along the water. A much nicer view than through the suburbs. We sat on the pier in a seat designed by someone who’d never thought to test their own creation before putting it out into the world. What’s worse is there’s like six of them. I know them well because I usually avoid sitting on them at all costs. The only way was to have your back at a 20 degree angle and feet up on the wooden guardrails for extra support. Propped and watching the sun sink down she listened to me orate at length about a recent realisation I’d had about being the universe experiencing a man rather than a man experiencing the universe.

At dinner the waitress asked if we’d like to sit upstairs. I said yes and we walked up the two stairs, yes two, to the upstairs seating area. Looking at the menus she reminded me of her food allergies. Yes, yes, that’s right, well I don’t think any of these dishes have goats cheese in them. The waitress took our orders. Chicken and rice please. Large or small? Large.

Dinner finished. Thai food never fails by the way. And we strolled into a local dive bar. Table for two please. A girl with the same name as my ex-girlfriend guided us in. We ordered, Pina coladas or something fancy like that. A jug has more in it for the same price, do you want me to just get you a jug? The girl said. Yes, of course, let’s do that.

The place was dead so the door girl was the door girl as well as the waitress as well as the bartender. She brought over the pineapple juice-filled jug and decided to stay with it and regale us a narrative about her father’s alpaca farm. R and I didn’t have a choice.

My dad has 16 alpaca’s she said. All of their names begin with “Al”. Alana, Alan, Allister, Alfred, Alby, Alice. I forget the rest except Alfonzo. Because Alfonzo died. Alpaca’s have these long necks she tells us by putting her arm above her head. And when they sleep they rest their necks on their backs. Well, Alfonzo screwed up. He mistook his neck for a leg. And when he tried to use it to get up, it snapped. R and I covered our mouths in concern, a thoughtful reaction but I was losing it inside. A tragedy yes, but equally hilarious. How else does one react when they’ve just been recited 16 different alpaca names beginning with “Al”? My grandma makes sweaters out of the fur too, she said, they’re really warm. I told Dave the next day and he thought about getting one for his girlfriend, her birthday’s next week.

We slurped up the rest of the pineapple juice alcohol combo and got back in the car. Don’t worry, the drink lasted over the space of two hours, plus, I’m on my full licence.

Should we find somewhere dark to make out? I asked.

Did you just ask that?

Yes.

Really?

Yes.

R burst out laughing.

Is that a yes?

Sure.

I knew a spot but it was busy so we went to the other spot at the top of the hill, empty. More room this time, my brother had my car so I took the family car, it’s a manual which meant the gear stick took even more evading.

Same routine. Making out fast making out slow hands on the inside of her thigh on the outside back to the inside higher with every thrust.

I could feel her getting wet through her pants. I could rip these off right now, I thought. I’m ready to go, you’re ready to go, you and me baby ain’t nothing but mammals so let’s do it like they do it on the Discovery channel. Remember that song? Great track.

Let’s go to the back seat, I said, come on.

She followed me through the gap in the front seats and sat on my lap. I rubbed her crotch whilst she bounced up and down. Without pants we’d be having sex. I laid her down went to undo her pants, she grabbed my hand, stopped me, grabbed my crotch instead, inched her hand between my pants and stomach.

We’re getting close I thought. A bit more of this and it’ll be on. I’ve done enough yoga, my hamstrings can handle it.

She grabbed me, started pulling up down. That feels good, I said. Does it? She asked. Yes. Male genitalia is binary, apply friction, keeping applying friction, win.

I’m a pleaser, she said.

What does mean? I asked (always play dumb in these situations).

I prefer giving pleasure to others instead of getting it.

Good, I said, I’ll hold you to that.

I laid back, put my back against the door, arm around the headrest and started to undo my pants, whilst she teased me with the idea of putting her mouth around me.

You don’t have too, I said.

You sure?

Of course I wanted a blowjob. But teasing her saying I didn’t was part of the game. Push and pull.

Yeah, I can go home and take care of myself, I said.

Right then I noticed the view I had. Nighttime at the top of the hill, the pier all lit up.

My pants around my ankles, she came in closer, we kept making out, almost too much making out. Too much because she spent the next few minutes fisting her bag four or five times in search of a water bottle. When the searches failed she started channelling her saliva glands. Making out for the past hour left our mouths dryer than an Arab’s sandal.

She grabbed me again. Dabbed her finger across the top.

Nice precum, she said, turned on by the fact my tubes had officially switched from urination mode to reproduction mode.

One of her hands went behind her head to hold her hair, the other guided me to towards her mouth. Up and down, up and right down, the whole thing in one go, stopping at the top, nothing but tongue, nothing but teeth. You’ve done this before, I thought. I didn’t care. I’m not sure what the obsession is with virgins, I got head from a virgin once. I had to coach her through the whole thing. Somehow it wasn’t the same. Give me a pro over an amateur every time.

Tell me when you’re going to cum, she said.

She kept going.

I held her hair behind her head. Looked over the ocean. Blowjob with a view.

I’m going to cum, I said.

She kept going. Faster. Deeper.

I hadn’t masturbated in two weeks and she got all of it. I heard her swallow, twice.

The third date happened six to seven days later. Maybe more, I forget. During the day, walk, food, walk again. She told me the story of how one of her sisters found her other sister on an App for swingers. A family of pleasers, I said. R laughed.

Driving back to her car along the bridge she began to massage my crotch. I looked out the window and thought I could get used to this fondling with a view business.

We pull in to the stop and start making out again. Broad daylight this time, family car again, same reason as last time.

Should we continue this at yours? I ask.

She says she can’t and we keep making out until I can feel the waterworks coming through her jeans. We get out, say goodbye, I drive home and release the last few hours worth of pressure.

She flakes on the fourth date and doesn’t reply to one or three of my messages. I began to wonder whether it was the family car or the mullet?

I try a week later and get a message saying hey Charlie before things go further, I hope we can continue on being friends, I think you’re great and love hearing about your mullet.

Must’ve been the family car.

I read the message eleven times trying to think of something witty to say back, tell her the mullet is gone, tell her I’ve got my car back now, question what she meant by “further”, say I thought you weren’t after anything serious? But decide against it and delete the thread.

Let’s be friends I can handle. But bursting into laughter and getting an erection every time I see a heard of alpacas? That’s more of a challenge.

Rest In Peace Alfonzo.