Warning: The story makes reference to condoms and sexual intercourse.
( A Shaggy Dog Story)
Writing as: Malcomb Q Riddle
Lester Morgan went home early feeling so low that he kicked a friendly cat off his apartment steps. Another date night he had ended up miserably. Why has his lack of success with women eluded him? The successes his buddies boasted about had made Lester envious and made him more insecure. Did those guys have a unique formula for making themselves attractive to the ladies?
Lester wasn't hard on the eyes. While not a hunk, still at five feet ten inches tall, Lester's dark black eyes and cleft chin should have fascinated a bevy of females. Instead, Lester faced the enigma of why he experienced rejection by many available young ladies.
Lester's lack of success with women started as a teenager. At fourteen, he accepted an invitation to a birthday party with some of his classmates. Things began to get frisky when someone suggested the group play the game "Spin the Bottle." For those unfamiliar with this pastime, it is played by placing a milk bottle on a table. A player spins the bottle, and whoever of the opposite sex the bottle points to, that player kisses in front of the group.
Lester did not look forward to his turn only because he had never kissed a girl before and didn't want to look foolish doing so. When his turn came, he gripped the bottle tightly and gave it a hard spin. The bottle started to rotate. It continued rotating and turning and rotating and turning. Lester wished the bottle would not stop so his kissing inefficiency would not be revealed. And for a moment, it seemed like his wish might come true as the bottle continued rotating and turning. But finally, it slowed down, and when the bottle stopped it was pointed at the house cat. Lester had to admit it wasn't so bad, except for the cat's tuna breath. And that cat had the nerve to slip Lester some tongue.
After graduating from high school, Lester's lack of success with women continued. At that time, his friend Hal enrolled at the CCNY. Hal joined a fraternity, and they would have some wild parties every Friday night. From time to time, Hal would invite Lester to these parties against the wishes of Hal's frat mates because Lester suffered from a severe flatulence problem. At one of these events, Lester met Janice, a pretty blue-eyed brunette with one slight imperfection. She had a large mole the size of a lemon on the tip of her nose. Lester, desperate, asked her out. For the first time, he met a gal who enjoyed his company. They started dating. They would go to the park and make out on the grass. They would go to the movies and make out in the balcony. And when her parents weren't home, they would make out on her living room couch. But there were no happy endings. Finally, after one heavy make-out session, Janice said she was ready to go "all the way." But she didn't want it to be a cheap affair. She didn't want to make love in the back seat of an automobile or in a chintzy motel. Lester told her he would get his friend Hal's frat house for themselves, and it would be a memorable evening. And Lester planned that event with the same meticulous care that the Allies planned the D-Day invasion. He bought her the prettiest flowers, purchased a fine wine, and with the few dollars he had left, he bought the best men's cologne he could find for under five dollars. It was a musk scent that had been extracted from a rhinoceros. On the way to pick her up for the evening's event, Lester remembered his father's advice about always wearing a condom when you are going to be with a gal because you wouldn’t want to get her pregnant. So, he stopped at a local drugstore in her neighborhood and picked up a pack.
For Lester, it was the most fantastic evening of his life. He was in love. After the canoodling on the way back to her home, he was ensconced in a web of love. At her door, they held hands and gazed into each other's eyes, not wanting the evening to end. Suddenly, her father opened the door with the angriest expression Lester ever witnessed. Janice's father was the druggist who sold him the condoms. Her father forbade her from ever seeing Lester again.
Lester lay on his bed, ruminating about his past failure with women. What could he do to improve his chance of success? He realized his personality needed modification. Not being an extrovert certainly inhibited his luck with the ladies. Diffidence never impressed the opposite sex. The more Lester thought about it, the more depressed he became. Concluding that he would go through life without meeting his soul mate, the thought of suicide invaded his psyche. This not being the first time he contemplated suicide for his pathetic dealings with women. His cowardly nature prevented him from following through. Sometime earlier, he attended a seminar on how cowards can overcome their fear of committing suicide. However, the class did not convince him suicide was the answer, and Lester remained a piteous hopeless individual.
So, being alive and being pitiful added to his misery. Lester's last thought before dropping off into an unsettling sleep: will I ever find a woman who will love me?
Suddenly, Lester heard a voice that awoke him with a startle. "Follow my advice, and you will need to beat women away with a stick."
Looking around, not seeing anyone in the room, Lester, bewildered called out, "Who said that?"
"I did. I am over here on the wall."
Lester looked toward the wall and spied a cockroach. He picked up his shoe, preparing to smite the pest.
The voice said, "If you do that, you will never find a lady to love you. You will end up being a lonely, forlorn old man."
In disbelief, Lester said, "Is that voice coming from you, cockroach?"
"Yes. And you should pay attention to what I tell you."
"I didn't know cockroaches could talk."
The roach responded, "All insects can talk. The problem is nobody listens. However, if you do listen, I will show you how to solve your problem with the ladies."
"Do you expect me to take advice on women from a cockroach?"
"What have you got to lose? You seem to be out of options," the roach said.
"Yeah, but you are a cockroach. What do you know about women?"
"We've been around since time began. My species has survived the dinosaurs, the Ice Age, the black plague, wars, and Covid 19. Along the way, we have observed humans and have a good idea of how you tick. And keep in mind we are everywhere. We didn't get to be ubiquitous if we didn't have the knack with the female of our species. So maybe I can teach you something about the females of your species."
"Am I dreaming? I can't comprehend that a cockroach will advise me on how to be successful with women. However, on second thought I might learn something from you. I should pay attention to a bug that can use the word ubiquitous correctly."
The roach, peeved, said, "Calling me a bug is demeaning. Please refrain in the future from referring to me in that manne. By the way, this advice is not free."
Lester responded, "How much are you going to charge?"
"I don't want money."
"What do you want?"
"All I ask for is room and board. Keep the apartment warm. I love heated rooms. And after eating, don't wipe down the counters of the bread and food crumbs. If you agree, I will give you the secret to success with the ladies."
Lester mulled over this weird arrangement. What did he have to lose? If the insect had esoteric knowledge of the female psyche, he would have an exciting love life. If not, then he would take that shoe and eliminate the talking roach. Lester said, "Okay, I agree. I can't believe I am saying this but give me your advice.”
The bug responded, "Listen carefully. What I am about to relate to you will bring you enormous, good fortune with the ladies."
Lester sat at the edge of the bed, anticipating the sage advice. "Well, what is it?"
The roach said, "This is for your ears only. Don't share it. Follow my heeding, and you will be the envy of other men." Slowly enunciating each word, the insect continued. "Here it is. Whenever you talk to a lady, tell her she has the most beautiful eyes you have ever seen."
The bug's remedy astonished Lester. He said, "That's it? That is all I have to do?"
"Yes. Take my word. It works every time."
Lester followed the advice and had women coming out of the woodwork. He had more women than a mid-eastern sultanate. The only problem was that he couldn't take them back to his apartment due to its bug infestation.