Ray Carver, having decided to take Benjamin Burham as his protégé, was deep in explanation. The myriad ways of pleasuring a woman. Benji would listen intently, like a scholarship student at an ivy league school. Each night the playboy and his apprentice would meet after their shifts at the departmental store and devote a focused hour to the theory of feminine gratification. The understudy would quiz and question. The master, expound. Uncharted territory that Benji could almost taste. He was hungry. Ray sensed this. And thus, Benji was the chosen one.
Ray, a lonesome kind of middle-aged man, single, a supervisor at the block supermarket Glenn’s, could be accused of having spent his life ‘under the radar’. Benji, the new kid on the payrolls, young, ambitious, if a touch unsure. Easily influenced, had come under a spell from the otherwise unremarkable Ray. In turn, Ray had found purpose. Meaning. Someone FINALLY noticed him. It all began when, on a smoke break, Ray overheard Benji making a mess of a chat with a girl and offered some advice. Three months since, their after-hours meetings had become, ceremonious, sanctimonious.
Ray had promised libido-led Benji that his training was near complete. That very soon, he’d be able to put his education to the test. Benji was beside himself. Eager, raring, raging. On Saturday night, after their ritualistic lesson, Benji reminded Ray
“ So we’re checking out that new bar or what”
“No.. You don’t employ a new education at a bar, what’s wrong with you!”
“Ok, so then where? Name the place and I’ll drive us there”
“Not tonight my little cub. Patience.”
“Fuck you man. When is this going to even happen? I mean, do you even know what you’re doing? How-come I’ve never seen YOU with a chick?”
“Not that it is any of your fucking business but I don’t make a public display of my exploits like you millennials”
“Screw that… Just tell me WHEN?”
“Next Friday. There’s a party at a friend’s house. Come with me. I promise it’ll be the night of your life”
It was anything but easy for Benji. The week that followed, starting with his jilted and hollow weekend, each hour, every minute, a torturous test. Each night the duo continued to meet and his mentor would reassure him. He’d assuage Benji with promises of a sweet sweet reward. It somewhat calmed Benji.
The fateful day arrived. At different points during the preceding week, the two had put in applications for half day on Friday. Why? Because as it turns out, the ‘friend’s house’ the party was a little-ways outside of town. A bit of a drive. Ray picked Benji up from his place at six in the evening. They set off. The air was thick with anticipation. Beads of testosterone-filled sweat dripped down Benji’s brow as they made their way out of town in Ray’s dilapidated car, AC, radio, malfunctioning.
“Now once we get there we try and blend in. No need to draw any unnecessary attention to yourself. Got it?”
“But that makes no sense! Isn’t the entire point to mingle and impress. Game time man!”
“I have a very special treat for you. For all your patience and hard work. I’ve had this girl in mind for you, for a long time. And we don’t want to come one too strong right?”
Benji’s growing impatience and distrust in Ray vanished. His eyes lit up with a hunter’s anticipation.
“as you say.. you’re the boss”
They drove up a driveway and arrived at this old but majestic looking castle. Ray parked the car in the last spot of the parking area. They got off. Ray pulled out a back-pack from the trunk. When Benji asked him what it was, he was told, supplies, to make the night memorable! Benji was tearing up with excitement. Ray led him. They reached the castle but rather than go in through the front, they went round to where the back door led to the sprawling grounds of the building.
“Shhh… Now we wait”
“But where is she?”
Ray had a huge gulp from a hip-flask that emerged from his back-pack and handed it to Benji.
A slightly inebriated woman, in her mid-forties, not especially attractive, stumbled out of the back door and into the gardens. She walked towards a little fountain and lit a smoke.
The two men tip toed, reached within a few feet of the woman. In one swift motion, Ray took out a large rod from his bag and struck the woman at the back of her head. She feel to the ground.
“here you go my hungry cub”