–  Hello.

–  Hello.

–  Today we will make love. 

–  Yes, we will make superior love.

–  We will make the most sublime love that has ever been made, here on your marriage bed. 

–  Afterwards we will smoke cigarettes.  We will smoke cigarettes and drink brandy because there is nothing finer than smoking a cigarette and drinking a fermented wine after vigorous love-making. 

–  I couldn’t agree more.  And now I am quite eager to squeeze your young, supple flesh and exult in the magnificence of your breasts.

–  My breasts are magnificent.

–  Truly!

–  Well, then.  Let’s begin. 

–  Should you start or I?

–  You start.  You’re so much better at starting. 

–  Thank you. 

–  Don’t mention it.  Just the other day I was telling my husband-

–  You told your husband!

–  Not about us.  Just the other day, as we were walking up the hill back home from the market, our arms full with groceries, I told my husband what a terrible starter I was.  He set his bag of bread and apples on the ground and wrapped me in his arms.  ‘Honey,’ he said.  ‘You’re a horrible starter.  You’re the worst starter I’ve ever been with.  Sometimes, when you start, it’s all I can do to hide my revulsion.’

–  You’re not that bad. 

–  Don’t lie. 

–  You’re not.  What does he object to? 

–  My seductive move. 

–  Your what?

–  My seductive move.  You know… when I lay you down prostrate upon the bed and straddle you with my thighs and I begin to-

–  Oh, that.  Yes, yes that.  I don’t know if I’d call it so much a move as a-

–  A what?

–  Well, it’s a bit elaborate for a move.

–  Then what is it?

–  More of a production.

–  I thought you liked it. 

–  Yes, once or twice I liked it fine.  I found it quite novel.  There are still parts that I like very much.  For example, some of the choreography, I think, is very original.  And don’t think I missed the allusion to Proust.  Proust, I’ve always believed, is one of the most sensuous writers.  That bit about the macaroon I always find to be particularly evocative. 

–  It’s a madeleine.  I studied Proust at Exeter.  ‘Your soul is a dark forest…blah blah blah.’  We had to study all the classics.  Proust, Flaubert, Shaw…  Anyway.  I’m happy that all the work I put into my seductive move was not for nothing.

–  Not at all.  But, you know, at the end of the day one wants to get down to business. 

–  That’s what my husband said.  ‘Let’s get down to business.’  All men care about is business. 

–  ‘We work to better ourselves, and the rest of humanity.’

–  Who said that?

–  Captain Picard. 

–  Captain Picard?

–  Yes.  Of the Starship Enterprise. 

–  Yes, well.  When we got home, my husband and I, and after the groceries went in the cupboards, I asked him if he wanted to have a go.  You know, a poke.  But he said that all the talk of starting had turned him off to the idea.  He said that it would take him a week to warm up to it again.

–  A week?

–  So as you can see, I’m quite desperate. 

–  Then let us start.   

–  Yes, yes.  Let’s start already. 

– 

– 

– 

– 

–  How’s that? 

–  Pleasant.  But perhaps if you moved your shoulder a little higher.  Like that.  Now reach your arm over here and press your lips flat against mine.

–  Flat?

–  Press them.

–  Flat?

–  Yes, flat.  I was just reading a romance novel and the hot young protagonist pressed his lips flat against those of the heroine.  His hair was long and yellow and it fell from its ponytail and lay upon her bare shoulders.  It lay like pools of gold.   

–  Time out.

–  Time out?

–  Yes, time out.  I’ve developed a cramp.  Ouch.  Right there in the inside of my right leg.  I’m cramping and I don’t think I’ll be able to go on.

–  You must go on.

–  I can’t go on. 

–  Oh!  Stay here.  I’ll get you some ice. 

–  And some Gatorade. 

–  Gatorade? 

–  I’m thirsty. 

–  I’ll get ice and Gatorade.  Is there anything else?

–  No no.  I will sit here, close my eyes and massage my cramp while I wait.  There is nothing like a little solitude to rouse the libido.  Some days, in anticipation of sex, I confine myself to my bedroom for ten to fourteen hours.  I lie on my bed, in the dark, and think about nothing but my libido, which I imagine to be a badger.  A Burmese ferret badger with dark, dark eyes.  Mentally, I stroke and prod my badger until it’s agitated.  When it is finally agitated, that caged libidinous badger, I know it is time to emerge from my bedroom and hunt for a new maîtresse.  If I’ve agitated my badger sufficiently, if it’s rabid, I’ll club a woman over the head with the top of my silver-plated cane and drag her back to my apartment.  I’m a sophisticated gentleman-I wear cufflinks on my sleeves and am descended from aristocracy-but I’ve a closet full of women, all of  whom I’ve clubbed.  I think, in fact, you’ll look quite nice between my Canali and Bottega Veneta.

–  Hello?

–  Who are you talking to? 

–  You left?

–  I’m back. 

–  I didn’t notice. 

–  Here’s the ice. 

–  No Gatorade? 

–  We’re out.  But I found Powerade.

–  I can’t drink that.

–  Why not?

–  It’s blue. 

–  Blue? 

–  Blue.