|Primary Characters:||Dharma, Greg, Will, Jack|
|Description:||Crossover with Will & Grace. Dharma leaves Greg to entertain the guests from hell (eg New York). The night turns into his worst nightmare.|
“Honey, I’m home.”
“Dharma, where have you been all this time? I thought you hated the country club?”
“Look who’s talking. I know someone who said he had so much work to do he didn’t have time to come along and give his wife a little moral support. Funny. I didn’t realize that your work had something to do with watching sports on tv.”
Greg blushed and looked down at his feet. He had been working for hours. But when Dharma didn’t show up, he thought he might as well watch the game. But he knew that Dharma would see through his excuses, so he gave up and faced her again. Better get it over with right away. Now he realized with a start that Dharma wasn’t alone.
A redhead he’d never seen before was standing in the doorway, trying to pretend she wasn’t hearing the marital squabble. She was dressed like a New York yuppie and her hair was frizzy. Greg was absolutely sure he’d never met her before, and what’s more, she more or less looked the opposite of the type of woman Dharma normally befriended. Again a deep blush spread across his face.
“Hello. I’m Greg. Dharma’s husband. But I guess you already got that.”
“Yes. Nice to meet you.”
“Darling, this is Grace, from New York. Her mom is a friend of Kitty’s. And she and I were getting so bored, listening to those old – Sorry.”
“Well, mom and mrs Montgomery aren’t exactly friends. She thinks your mother is a bit of a snob, Greg. No offense.”
“She’s probably right. Is this your first visit out here?”
“No. Mom likes to drag me out here to look for eligible bachelors, as if there aren’t enough of them back home.”
A sound from behind the women made Grace and Dharma turn around and face the door.
“Oh. That must be the guys.”
More visitors. And Greg had been looking forward to a quiet evening with his wife. A quiet evening in bed with his wife. But now that option seemed totally out of the question. He made another sad face and resigned himself to his fate. Life with Dharma was a bit like a rollercoaster. But he had long ago decided to just enjoy the ride.
Now two men stepped into their house. Stinky and Nunzio looked up but decided it would be too strenuous to leave their comfortable chairs, so they went back to sleep. Daddy could deal with the visitors.
One of the men looked normal enough. Just like any guy Greg would meet at work. Though he was a bit overdressed, it seemed to Greg’s eyes. But the other one – Could he be serious about that theatrical behavior? Or was it just someone’s idea of a joke?
With a sinking feeling, Greg realized that not only would sex with his wife be utterly out of the question, but he also had a sneaky suspicion these guests would be difficult to entertain. Maybe not as bad as some of Jane’s wackier friends, but close enough.
“Come on, Greg. Say hello to our guests.”
Years of his upbringing reasserted itself and Greg got up, trying to ignore the fact that he was wearing a pair of washed out jeans and a t-shirt that had shrunk in the laundry while Dharma was protesting against the pollution by not using any domestic appliances. He’d had to wash his clothes himself all that month and some of the garments never looked the same after that.
“Hello, I’m Greg. Nice to meet you.”
“I’m Will and this is my friend Jack. Nice to meet you too. Dharma tells me you’re an attorney, Greg. So am I.”
So his suspicions were correct. At least that would mean they’d have something in common. Greg had met thousands like this guy, and he ought to be fairly predictable.
“Oh. Won’t you sit down. Dharma, is there some of that rhubarb wine your mother made left in the fridge?”
“Unless you’ve finished it.”
Great. They only had some old home made rhubarb wine to offer their guests. But if he’d been told in advance that they were having guests in the first place, he might have restocked the fridge before the newcomers arrived. He might have bought a couple of beers for the – Greg broke off his thought in mid-sentence. No. Somehow he doubted these two drank beer. Especially the weird one. Wine would be more to their taste.
At least the one who had told him he was an attorney kept a straight face and politely said he’d love some rhubarb wine. But the other one made a face and declined, not quite as politely. Instead he began walking around the room, picking up and putting down objects, as if he was assessing the interior decoration. It struck Greg that this Jack might be an interior designer. That might account for some of the mannerisms.
“Jack. Oh, no. Now he was looking behind the curtains.”
“So, what do you do for a living, Jack?”
And the man began giggling helplessly. He appeared to find Greg’s question hilarious and didn’t even bother replying. For a horrible second Greg was beginning to fear the guy was on drugs. Helplessly, Greg looked to Dharma for some assistance, but his wife was happily chatting away with the redhead, Grace.
Apparently, the other guy, Will, seemed to feel a reply on his friend’s behalf might be necessary.
“Jack doesn’t work. Not really. He’s a – An entertainer. But he isn’t working right now.”
As if the mention of his name had had a sobering effect, the weird guy stopped giggling and faced Greg, making a strange gesture with both hands framing his face, giving him a funny look.
What was this? The Twilight Zone.
And he went back to examining the carpets and the underside of the chairs, absently patting Stinky’s head as he passed the dog. Stinky gave his daddy a disgusted look, giving Greg the reassurance that at least one member of his family shared his views about the tiresome guests.
Again, Will volunteered some information.
“That’s the name of his one-man show.”
Jack gave up his exploration of the room and began to stare rather rudely at Greg. In fact, his gaze travelled rather intimately over Greg’s body. This was getting more and more intolerable. Greg looked beseechingly at Will, who at least was a colleague, only to discover that the other man had been staring too, but in a rather more discreet way. To his relief he now heard his wife calling his name.
Just in case, Greg moved over to Dharma’s side of the room.
“Grace and I are going shopping. You stay here and entertain our guests.”
She couldn’t be serious. Was she really expecting him to stay here alone with two men, who were obviously considering making a move on him, one of which was clearly certifiable?
“Would you excuse us a moment?”
And before Dharma could make any objections, he dragged her with him out into the kitchen.
“Dharma, you’re not leaving me alone with those two.”
“Don’t be silly. Will’s an attorney just like you. Talk shop. I know you’re very good at that.”
“But they’re staring at my ass.”
“Of course they are. That’s one of your finer assets. Ha ha.”
“Dharma. Please. I can’t. They’re obviously -“
“Don’t be such a baby. I have lots of lesbian friends.”
“Do any of them stare at you the way those two are staring at me?”
-Don’t be silly. You’ll be fine. Now be nice. Grace and I won’t be long. Abby’s going to take us to a really cool garage sale over at -“
And she was gone, before Greg could make any more desperate pleas. No, no, no, no. He leaned his head against the cool metal of the fridge door. It was no use putting it off any longer. He might as well face his guests. So he rummaged around for the bottle of rhubarb wine, not finding it, instead coming up with an old bottle of Californian Red. No. That was out of the question.
Struck by a sudden idea, he thought he saw the solution to his problem. If he took his guests to a restaurant, the embarrassment might be minimized. After taking a deep breath, Greg returned into the living room. He found Jack holding Nunzio in his arms, cuddling the disgusted dog, a ridiculous flow of baby talk issuing from his lips.
“I’m sorry. We don’t seem to have anything at home. How would you like to go out to a restaurant?”
Will seemed slightly amused, but smiled politely.
“That sounds nice. What do you say, Jack?”
“Oh. Excuse me, sweetie. I have to talk to my friend. Ok. Why not? Somewhere with a bit more class than this dump.”
“Jack. You’re embarrassing me. Be polite to our host.”
“Of course. You must forgive me, Greg.”
And letting go of Nunzio, Jack sidled over to Greg, apparently intent on giving him a hug as a way of saying he was sorry for his bad manners. Greg couldn’t stop himself from cringing and moving out of Jack’s reach. He completely missed the look of understanding that passed between his two guests.
“Well, shall we? I know this place that I -“
Greg’s face seemed to have taken on a permanently red color. He suddenly realized that he was still wearing his leisure clothes. And he became aware of the fact that both his guests were aware of that, and humiliatingly, they found it highly amusing. They hadn’t intended to warn him, he was sure of it. And though he didn’t think it was possible, his face attained an even deeper shade of red.
“Excuse me. I won’t be a minute.”
And he fled into his and Dharma’s room. Frantically looking through his closet, he tried to find some suit that would be right for this kind of occasion. Where were his shirts? And his socks? Where did Dharma usually put them? He fell to his knees inside the closet ransacking one of the boxes on the floor.
To his horror, he suddenly heard a noise coming from behind him. Hopelessly entangled in one of Dharma’s dresses, he struggled to get to his feet and turn and face his inconsiderate guest. Before he was successful, he heard the now familiar voice of Jack.
“Come out of the closet, Greg. No pun intended. We were wondering where you’d gone off to. Let me help you.”
“NO. I mean, no thanks. I can dress myself, thank you very much.”
“I know. You’re a big boy. A very – Sorry. I just noticed your choice of wardrobe and realized you could use some help. Greg, Greg, Greg, that color isn’t you.”
Jack grabbed at his washed out, shrunk t-shirt that had taken on a shade of amethyst from one of Dharma’s petticoats. Greg couldn’t stop himself from sharply grabbing Jack’s hand and pushing it away.
“Ok. I’ll find something more conservative. If you’ll excuse me, I’ll get right to it.”
But Jack didn’t show any signs of wanting to leave. Instead he pushed past Greg, very close to him, and began to explore their closet. A cry of delight greeted the discovery of one of Dharma’s odder creations.
“Where did you get the fabric for this divine tunic?”
“That’s not mine. It’s Dharma’s.”
Laughing delightedly at his host’s discomfort, Jack continued his rifling of their clothes. Though Greg wasn’t aware of it, Jack had known all along that the tunic didn’t belong to Greg all along.
“Here. I have it. This suit is so you.”
Greg stared suspiciously at the guest from hell but couldn’t detect any hidden joke at his expense. That suit was one of his best for work. Dark blue, good design. He quite liked it. But if Jack liked it too – At this point, though, Greg would have worn just about anything, if only to get rid of Jack.
“Ok. That’s what I’ll wear. Let me just get a shirt -“
“No need. I found one that looks just right with it.”
“Absolutely not. That one’s pink.”
“Exactly. You weren’t going with baby blue, were you?”
“Why not? Better than baby pink.”
“No. No. Pink is in. Wear this.”
“Fine. I will. Now will you get out of my room and let me get dressed?”
“Oh. Sure. Be my guest. Will and I will be waiting in the kitchen. By the way, I love the home made yoghurt. Did you make it or Dharma?”
Without thinking, Greg replied, instead of asking Jack why the hell they were helping themselves to the contents of his refrigerator.
“No. Abby made it. That’s Dharma’s mother.”
“Oh. What would we do without our mothers?”
Bitterly, Greg thought that without his mother, his wife might not have run into Grace, who apparently had a weird taste in friends, just like Jane. But to his intense relief, Jack really did leave. Greg hurriedly dressed and reluctantly left the relative safety of his room. By now, his guests had returned to the living room, where Will was trying to brush off some dog hair, and Jack had gone back to bothering poor Nunzio with his constant baby talk.
“Who’s a pretty doggy? Jack’s got a really handsome doggy back home. You and he would be such good friends. Except he hates flying.”
“Jack. Our host is here. Let’s go. Leave that dog alone. I doubt if he wants to befriend your dog.”
“How can you -“
“Oh, alright. Look at Greg. Is he a knockout of what?”
“Uh. Shall we?”
“Yes. By all means. It’s getting late and I am a little hungry. That country club only seems to serve hors d’oevres.”
“Mm. Yes. I know. But my mother adores it.”
“Lovely woman, your mother. She has that charming nouveau-riche naivite, so totally unaware of how obvious she is.”
“Uh. Yes. This way. My car’s just around the back.”
With a feeble hope of running into some of his acquaintances from work, Greg chose a restaurant he had often brought clients to. If someone he knew was there, he’d insist on his joining them. That way, he fervently hoped, the embarrassment might be diminished a little. And his hopes were realized to some extent. He thought he’d never been that happy to see his friend Pete as he was on this particular occasion.
“Excuse me. That’s a colleague of mine. I have to discuss something with him. Work related. You understand. I won’t be long. Why don’t you go ahead and look at the menu while I’m gone?”
“Certainly. This place looks – nice.”
Over by the bar, Greg slumped down on the stool next to Pete.
“Oh, hello, buddy. I thought you and Dharma would be safely tucked away in your room by now.”
“No such luck. See those guys over there?”
Pete cast an indifferent look in the direction his friend indicated. When he saw Jack, his eyebrows shot up. -Where did you meet those two? Don’t tell me they’re clients?
“No. Dharma met a friend of theirs, Grace. And the two of them went off to do some shopping. At this time of night. Apparently Abby’s taking them to some weird garage sale. So Dharma left me to entertain those two.”
“I see your problem, buddy. Watch your back.”
Pete’s booming laugh did nothing to reassure Greg. Some friend.
“Let me guess. You’re quite popular with them, aren’t you?”
“This isn’t funny. Pete, I’m begging you. Invent some kind of emergency at the office. Whatever you want, I’ll do it. Just save me from those maniacs.”
“I wish I could help you out, buddy, but there’s my lovely wife. We’re going to make out.”
“Here? Right here?”
“Are you crazy? In plain view of all the guests? Of course not. We’re going to do it on the roof. Or if we don’t get up there, we’ll do it in the elevator. You and Dharma had better get back in shape or we’ll clean you out.”
“We’re not having sex in public.”
“Funny. I’d say at least one of your guests would love to do it with you anytime anyplace. If you’ll excuse me, Jane and I are going to get busy.”
Greg’s voice betrayed his level of enthusiasm at seeing his wife’s friend, who was also Pete’s wife. About 10 below zero.
“Hey, Pete, the rules don’t allow threesomes. Besides, Dharma’s my friend, no matter how cute Greg is.”
“Yes, he is, isn’t he? And his friends over there seem to think so as well.”
Pete’s smirk made Greg want to punch him out, but with an effort he restrained himself, even though being dragged off to a cell downtown might not be such a bad solution. Maybe the criminals wouldn’t be quite as much all over him as these two newyorkers.
“Smart move, Greg. I guess we can change the rules. And while we’re at it, maybe we should all do it. That way Dharma doesn’t stand a chance.”
“Don’t call me that, Petester.”
“My love goddess.”
“Who am I? Your whore?”
“What did you say?”
And with mixed relief and embarrassment, Greg realized that wherever Jane and Pete intended to have the actual sex, they had started with the foreplay right here in the bar. No help to be had from them, unless he wanted to join in. And under the circumstances, he’d rather take his chances with his guests. They could hardly start groping him in public. At least he didn’t think Will would. As for Jack, he wasn’t quite sure.
While he was gone, Will and Jack had been discussing their host quite unashamedly.
“I thought this uptight lawyer type would be sooo boring. But he’s actually quite cute. Though what’s with the nerves? Does he think we’re contagious or something?”
“Apparently. You’re right. He’s really cute. And he can’t stand us. Maybe we should teach him a lesson.”
Jack stared at Will. It wasn’t often he could persuade his friend to play his games. This was a rare occasion and he wouldn’t waste it.
“Ok. I’m all ears.”
“Don’t do that.”
“That thing you do. Waving your hands behind your head.”
“Sorry. Go on. Tell me all about your plan.”
“I say we get him drunk. Shouldn’t be too difficult. That old bottle of California Red should tell us something about his drinking habits. And what did you think about the rhubarb wine?”
“My sentiments exactly. Now, here’s what we’ll do after he’s totally plastered -“
By the time Will had finished outlining his plan, their host was back.
“Oh, you’ve already ordered. Could I see that, please?”
The remaining menu was lying over by Jack’s plate. Innocently, Jack handed the item over, accidently on purpose letting his fingers brush Greg’s.
“Oops. Sorry about that, Greg. I’d try the linguini. It’s divine. The fabulous waiter who was here a minute ago told me that as an inside tip.”
“No, thanks. I’ll have the lasagna. What?”
To his intense humiliation, Will now took the liberty of patting his stomach. In public. Greg had to bite his lip to stop himself from jumping a foot into the air, pushing back his chair and running away from this place. Never again would he dare to show his face here again.
“I wouldn’t do that, if I were you. You have a great body, but if you start putting on weight, you’ll never lose it again. I know. You might tell yourself you’ll work out and shed those few extra pounds. But it really never happens. When we get back, I could give you few tips about workout.”
“Fine. What do you recommend?”
“The Ceasar salad. And with that Perrier. I see they only have that and Evian. Not a great deal of choice out here. I’m so disappointed.”
“Waiter. My – uh – friend here would like to order now.”
Jack’s face lit up when he caught sight of the handsome waiter.
“Here’s my phone number where you can reach me while I’m here. On the back I scribbled down my New York number as well. Feel free to get in touch any time you need a massage.”
“I could use one right now. But unfortunately, my shift doesn’t end until midnight. Maybe another time?”
“Looking forward to it, Silvio. Now take Greg’s order, will you? He looks so impatient. Don’t give yourself a heart attack. In a stressful job situation like yours, there’s a significantly higher risk of -“
“Yes. Thanks. I know. I’ll have that salad and a Perrier.”
Greg wanted to make up any kind of excuse and run away from this nightmare, but his upbringing kept him prisoner at this table. He didn’t even notice that his mouth was hanging open until he felt Will’s hand under his chin.
“There. Much better. Had a stressful day at work?”
“Hm. Yes. I did. Or rather -“
“I can relate to that. That’s why I thought it was a good opportunity to get a little vacation, now that Grace was going anyway. Her mother is such a dear. Absoutely delightful. Don’t you agree?”
Apparently, Greg was supposed to know who Grace’s mother was, and how he would have managed that was beyond him, since no one had thought to inform him about the woman’s last name. Letting on his ignorance would have placed him at even more of an advantage so he decided to play along.
Will’s smug smile told him he hadn’t been entirely successful in his deception. Obviously his ability to lie effortlessly didn’t work on another lawyer. Will would know every trick in the book, professionally and privately – Greg didn’t want to even think about what other abilities Will might possess.
Dinner was a nightmare, and when Will suggested they find a bar and get a few drinks, Greg was unable to think of any excuse. So he went along. His guess about his guests not liking beer had been correct, and Jack guzzled down enormous amounts of expensive wine, at Greg’s expense, while Will showed an unexpected preference for stronger alcohol. Whisky predominantly.
Greg hated whisky, but at this point he was grateful for anything that dulled his senses a bit. He hadn’t quite expected Will to be such a prolific drinker however. In the past, Greg had discovered that he didn’t hold his liquor well, but he didn’t want to lose more face than he already had, so he continued drinking at the same rate as Will did.
Two hours later, Greg had forgotten why he found his guests to embarrassing. He was at the point where confidences gush out. And Will seemed to be so extremely understanding. Patiently, he listened to every garbled confession, ostensibly with complete understanding. By the time Greg’s head had begun to rest more or less permanently on the counter, Will decided his host had had enough. He wanted to teach him a lesson, not kill him with alcohol poisoning.
“Jack. Let’s get him out of here. He’s had enough. Jack. That’s not Patrick Swayze though I’ll admit they’re a lot alike. Come on. Give him your phone number. Now we’ll have to get Greg back home. If his wife gets worried, she might call the police.”
“Fine. Ruin my chances. Here, Patrick, sorry, Dwayne, this is my phone number. And that’s my number back home. Call me, please.”
“Are you done, Jack?”
“Oh, alright. Do you expect me to carry him?”
“That won’t be necessary. Just take his other arm, and we’ll get him into the car. Greg. Wake up. It’s time to go.”
“Already? But we jusht got here.”
“Yes. We need to get you back to your place and Jack and I need some sleep. Come on.”
“Oh, ok. Thanksh. That’sh very deshent of you. You’re the besht friend a guy could have, Will. Have I told you that?”
“Yes. About a hundred times or so. I appreciate the sentiment. There. Finally. Lie in the back, I’ll drive.”
Will used the excuse of getting Greg’s car keys, to do a little discreet groping, but as soon as he found the keys, he gave that up. It didn’t take too long to reach Dharma’s and Greg’s residence. The lights were still on, so he assumed Dharma was back already. That meant Grace would be back at her hotel room, but fortunately, since they were not married, she wouldn’t nag him about his late arrival. He had reluctantly agreed to share a room with Jack.
Now they had to get their practically unconscious host up the stairs, something Will wasn’t looking forward to. He hoped he wouldn’t end up spending the rest of his visit in bed, just because he strained his back like this. A joke was a joke, but if it meant being temporarily crippled it just wouldn’t be worth it.
“Ok, Jack. Here goes. Take his other arm and we’ll get him up the stairs.”
“You take both his arms if you like. I’m not going to carry a grown man up the stairs. No, sir. Not me. My back won’t allow me to do anything like that.”
“Jack. You’ll do your part. He’s not that heavy.”
“Yes he is. Think about all those exquisite muscles rippling under the smooth hairless skin.”
“Shut up and do your part. I can’t carry him on my own.”
In the end, Will managed to get Jack to do as he asked. Jack was right. Greg was heavier than he looked and he was completely beyond offering any assistance. For a moment, Will was afraid they’d gone too far. At last they were able to put him down on the sofa. No sign of anyone else.
Apparently, Dharma was already asleep, and she must have taken the dogs with her. The room was empty except for the three of them. So they could continue with their plan. Why not? They’d come this far, why not go all the way?
“Ok. Now let’s get him undressed.”
“I’ll do it. Have some rest, Will. You look like you could use it.”
“I don’t mind if I do. Knock yourself out. Make sure you get all of it. His underwear too. Just throw it anywhere on the floor or the table.”
Will settled down to watch the rather enjoyable spectacle of Jack undressing a handsome young man. Greg seemed to be far gone, and didn’t move an inch on his own. Jack had to work hard to get all of the clothes off his unconscious victim, but at times Jack could be tireless. Like in situations like this. Soon all of Greg’s glorious body was revealed to Will’s admiring eyes.
“Good. Now take off your own shirt, Jack. The jacket and the shirt. I think that will be enough.”
Jack displayed considerable energy, undressing himself.
“Stop. I said the shirt and the jacket.”
“Oh, alright. Now it’s your turn.”
“Hold on. There”
Will too shed his outer garments, only leaving his pants, socks and shoes on. He strew his clothes all over Greg and the surrounding chairs. There. Mission accomplished. He would love to see the look on this uptight guy’s face when he awoke to find himself in the middle of this scene.
“No. Jack. That’s enough. Get off him. Now. The point of this exercise was to humiliate him, not rape him.”
“Don’t be disgusting. I’m just -“
“Whatever. Just stop.”
“Don’t use that word. It’s so declasse.”
In the end, Will had to get over to the sofa and physically drag Jack off Greg’s unconscious form. It took some effort to tear himself away. That chest really was wonderfully smooth and firm. Regretfully, Will decided to follow his own advice.
“Let’s get back to the hotel. I want to go back here tomorrow to watch their reactions. It should be worth a few laughs.”
“Mm. Yes. Ok.”
Next morning, everyone got a late start. A very late start. When Dharma opened her eyes and noticed that Greg wasn’t in his place beside her, she came wide awake and got out of bed. Not bothering to put on her robe, she opened the door and looked around the living room. It looked a lot more untidy than it had when she went to bed the night before. Clothes carelessly dropped everywhere. What could Greg have been up to?
No reply. So she raised her voice a little. Stinky and Nunzio started wagging their tails, but when they reached their daddy, they stopped in their tracks and stared in astonishment at him lying on the sofa. Nunzio gave a small whimper and hurried towards the door.
“Ok, you guys. Let’s go pee on some trees. I’ll just take a look at daddy.”
“Greg, what’s the matter with you -“
When she caught sight of her husband her words stuck in her mouth. She had never seen Greg like this. Actually, she quite often saw him naked, but there were never any other people’s clothes involved. Other people – No. But since he’d obviously taken the chance of getting drunk with a couple of guys, he really deserved being given a hard time.
“Well, well, well. Look what happens the minute my back is turned.”
A number of unintelligible noises told Dharma that her husband seemed to be waking up. At first it was obvious that he didn’t have any idea where he was. He also appeared to have difficulty focusing, and even moving his head. With a grunt of pain, his head fell back onto the cushion.
“Greg. Can you explain this to me?”
“Dharma? My head hurts and -“
“I should think so. This room smells like a still. And look at you -“
“That’s what I was hoping you could tell me.”
“I don’t remember.”
“You left me with those – Dharma.”
His voice held a pleading, that almost got to her. But she had been really miserable, lying awake worrying for hours, until finally she must have dozed off to sleep. Greg needed being taught a lesson, and since he appeared to be so scared of their visitors, she thought he might need a little lesson about that too.
“Don’t you Dharma me. What do you have to say for yourself, young man?”
She couldn’t quite smother a giggle, but that was totally lost on her husband. Despite his headache, he was now staring down at his naked body, his eyes filled with terror.
“Dharma, what did they do to me?”
“What did they do to you? And you’re asking me that? How could you, Greg?”
If Greg had been a little more observant, he might have picked up on Dharma’s tone, which was far from serious. But he was too busy imagining himself in all kinds of terrifying and humiliating situations. His voice rose to a wail, and he ran from her into the bathroom, slamming the door shut behind him.
By now, Dharma was beginning to feel sorry for him. He was such a sweet guy, and she loved him so much. This was the first time he’d ever done anything like this. So she decided to take pity on him.
“Greg, it’s ok. I’m only teasing. I think that headache is punishment enough.”
When Larry had been drinking too much of Abby’s home made wine, he always got a bad headache. And Abby would make him her own remedy. Greg? Come on, Greg. I’m sorry I gave you such a hard time.
She tried the doorhandle, but the door stayed shut. So he had locked himself in. Was he feeling sick? Dharma seemed to recall a couple of times, she and Jane had been drinking too much and they had felt absolutely miserable until Abby had made them her special remedy, tested out on Larry on numerous occasions during the 70’s. What was it Abby put into it anyway?
Dharma was about to get on the phone to call her mother, when a noise from inside the bathroom alarmed her sufficiently to make her return to the bathroom door. From the way it sounded, he was crying. Crying? She really had been too hard on him.
“Greg, come out. I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean to treat you this bad. Greg. Please. It’s ok, honestly. Larry got drunk so many times when I was growing up, I’m used to it. I’m not mad at you anymore. Greg.”
But her husband wouldn’t answer her, and he didn’t come and unlock the door either. This was getting really serious. Dharma debated with herself whether she ought to call her mother, Jane, or – Who would it be best to consult?
Of course, she could simply take the lock out. It frequently got stuck so she had become quite used to having to wrench it out, and when it got really bad she would have Larry come over and fix it properly. Or Jane. Jane had a strange talent for locks.
But that wouldn’t really help the underlying problem. What was wrong with Greg? He couldn’t seriously think that – Uh oh. What if he really did think –
Now she knew who she needed to call. What was the number again? Grace had given it to her some time yesterday, and she had – Where had she written it down? Or had she? No. Now she remembered. It was the year she had lost her virginity, and the number of times she and her first boyfriend had – Oh, yes. Or was it the number of boyfriends she had had before Greg? There was no time for these calculations. This was probably it. She began to dial the number, and the person at the other end of the line picked up on the second signal.
“Hello, Grace, this is Dharma – No. Sorry, wrong number. Um. I’m wearing a pink nightie and – Why do you ask? Ugh. I don’t have time for this, I need to call my friend Grace and – No. We don’t. Same to you, pal. Weirdo.”
This time she had to get it right.
“Grace? Hi. It’s Dharma. Look, I need Will’s number. Yes. It was great, wasn’t it? But I need to ask Will what he and Jack did to Greg last night. Ok. Bring them both over. Greg’s in the bathroom and he won’t come out.”
When she put down the receiver, she felt that she was at least beginning to sort out this sticky situation. Maybe she ought to call Abby and have her bring her aroma therapy gear to soothe Greg’s nerves. And she could – But first she would make one last effort to get Greg to open the door.
“Darling. It’s ok. Please come out. Greg? What are you doing in there? He still sounded as if he was crying. This was beginning to unnerve Dharma badly. She had to get to the bottom of this. Why had she been so callous last night? Greg really had been terrified by their guests.”
No use. She wasn’t getting through to him. Now she really wanted to call Abby.
Grace seemed to have managed to get the men to come along right away. They were already at the door. Good. Now maybe she could get some answers.
“Hello again, Dharma. I’ve been talking to the guys, and they seem to have been up to a sort of prank. A really cruel joke at Greg’s expense. Will. Tell Dharma what you did.”
Will seemed to be sulking, and Jack wouldn’t even step inside the room. But Dharma couldn’t let herself be stopped by their evasiveness.
“Ok. Will, now I need a straight answer from you. What did you and Jack do to Greg? Come on, the whole truth.”
“Ok. I had no idea he’d get this way. Honestly. It was just that he was behaving like a real homophobic hypocrite. Actually, not homophobic as much as completely terrified. So we thought we’d play a little trick on him.”
“Yeah? What kind of trick? He’s in a terrible state today.”
“We got him drunk and brought him back here.”
“And we undressed him and left some of our clothes here. Ok. Not a very funny joke, in retrospect, but last night it seemed hilarious. But that’s all we did. I swear. We wouldn’t -“
“Ok. I get it. Now all you have to do is tell Greg.”
“Are you kidding? The last person in the world he’d want to see right now is me.”
“I know. But you have to apologize and make him understand what really happened. I don’t know exactly, but I think he might be afraid that you and Jack -“
“Oh, god. That’s not what we intended with this. I’m sorry, Dharma. Alright. I guess I have to try. What a stupid mess.”
“Ok. I’m sorry too. But if I’d thought for a moment your babe of a husband couldn’t take a joke -“
“Oh, alright. I guess we went a little too far. Now, could I have my jacket and shirt back?”
“What? You haven’t washed and ironed them for me?”
“Hello! You come here, screwing with my husband’s mind and you want me to wash your clothes for you? Get real.”
Grace and Dharma dealt with Jack’s behavior jointly, while Will tried to get through to Greg.
“Greg. It’s me, Will. Look, I’m sorry about last night. Jack and I were a bit offended by your reaction and we decided to play a practical joke on you. Greg, nothing happened. We just planted you here with some of our clothes to spite you. That was immature and petty, I know. I’m really sorry. Could you come out, please? Your wife’s really concerned about you.”
It was a long time until there was some kind of reaction from inside the bathroom. Will was beginning to think he wasn’t going to get through to Greg at all. Finally, he heard the lock click. The door opened just a crack and a very wary Greg looked out.
“Is that true?”
“Yes, what did you think? Don’t you think you might have noticed if -“
Ok, maybe he shouldn’t go there. The less Greg got to thinking about that particular possibility the better.
“Look, can we talk? I’m really sorry we did this, but you have to understand that you made me feel a bit – I don’t know, like I had the plague or something.”
“Ok. I guess you can come in.”
“Thanks. Are you ok?”
“I suppose I am. Except my head is pounding like a -“
“Sorry about that. My fault too. Part of the plan. But that’s all. Honestly. And I’m sorry we undressed you.”
“So you should be. I could press charges, you know.”
“But I’m guessing you won’t. Why did you act as if you thought we were contagious or something? Haven’t you ever met any gay men before?”
“Sure I have. But you were all over me. Staring, touching me. With all kinds of innuendo.”
“I guess you’re right. Sorry about that too. Ok. This isn’t much of an excuse, but you really are a very attractive guy. I’m only human. When you see a good looking woman, you look, don’t you? Even if you’re not really interested in her.”
“No. I’m not interested in any other women. All I care about is Dharma.”
“Really? Then you’re a better man than I am. The point is, even if we did look, you had nothing to fear.”
“Ok. I guess I overreacted, but this -“
“I know. And what can I do more than apologize again and again? It was a stupid thing to do. I’m really sorry you jumped to conclusions.”
“I guess I was a bit nervous. You’re sure nothing happened?”
“You don’t remember a thing, do you?”
“Well, to be perfectly honest we did touch you a bit. Wait. Not in any of those places. But that’s all, I swear. I don’t know what you think, but I’m not the kind of guy who would take advantage of someone unconscious. But I guess I can’t expect any better after what we did.”
“Ok, I believe you.”
“And even if I do think you’re a great looking guy, you’re not really my type. Though I don’t know about Jack. His type tends to change over time.”
“Right. Well, if you don’t have anything else to tell me, I need to get dressed.”
“No hard feelings?”
Greg didn’t answer, so Will had a suspicion there probably were. But he had done what he set out to do, and Greg obviously realized nothing had happened. It was time to go. Will knew that the person Greg needed the most right now was Dharma.
Outside, the others had seemingly just finished their conversations and were apparently waiting for him.
“Ok. I think Greg will be alright now, Dharma. Let’s go, Jack. Grace – Not now. We’ll talk about this later.”
“Oh, yeah. I’m really surprised at you, Will.”
“Hold on. You’re not surprised at me?”
“No, Jack, I can’t say that I am.”
“You’re so wrong about me. To prove it, I’ll go in and talk to Greg too. Offer my apologies.”
“No, Jack. That’s not necessary.”
“Oh, but I think it is. Who would have thought poor Greg would lose it like that?”
“I have to agree. I’ll tell Greg you said you were sorry. But for now, I just want to be alone with my husband. I hope you understand.”
“Of course we do. Come on, guys. Let’s go before my mom finds me and drags me to another country club. I’ll call you, Dharma. See you later.”
At last they had their house to themselves again. Dharma just paused briefly to pat her dogs’ heads on the way into the bathroom.
“Sorry, guys, you’ll have to hold it until I’ve had a chance to talk to daddy.”
“Greg? It’s me. Dharma. They’re all gone now. It’s just you and me, and the boys.”
“Ok. I’ll be out in a minute. Sorry for acting like a baby. Will was right. If I hadn’t overreacted – Well, they were all over me, but even after what they did, I should have been able to tell that nothing happened. It’s just that I still don’t remember a thing. I’ve never been this drunk in my life, Dharma.”
“I know. It’s ok, darling. Let’s forget all this. And it wasn’t your fault. Grace was really upset with them too. They had no right to do this to you. Please come out now.”
“Ok. I was just taking a shower. You were right, I did smell like a still. And I don’t even like whisky. Dharma, I swear I’ll never get drunk again.”
“Ok. Then you’ve learned an important lesson. Now, would you like me to call Abby?”
Greg’s face peaked out of the door, staring at Dharma rather nervously. He was never quite sure what her mother might do to him. Tell his fortune, give him aroma therapy or something equally bewildering.
“She has this special remedy for hangovers. It’s been tested on Larry, so it’s guaranteed to work.”
“No, thanks. I’ll just go and lie down for a bit. Will you keep me company?”
“Oh, ok. Just a sec. Nunzio and Stinky need to go see a tree or two first. Don’t fall asleep without me.”
“I won’t. I don’t think I could.”
“You poor thing. I’m going to make you feel all better in a little while. Just take care of that head.”
At last, things were back to normal. He slept most of the rest of the weekend, and on Monday morning, he felt well enough to go to work.
He was sitting at his desk, when Pete looked in.
“Hi, buddy. Are you alone?”
“Yes, of course I am. Why do you ask?”
Pete’s obnoxious grin told Greg what to expect even before his friend had managed to finish his sentence.
“I was thinking maybe your two new, uh, friends might be here. Did you guys -“
“How did you know about those guys?”
“Hello. We just met at the bar on Friday night. Greg?”
“Yeah, just before Jane and I had ourselves some sensational sex -“
“Please, I don’t want to know about you and Jane.”
“Suit yourself, but you and Dharma are losing big time. You’ve never done it in an elevator, have you?”
“Uh. No. Don’t you have any work to do, Pete?”
Again that smug grin. What was he up to now?
“Oh, in a way. Jane’s waiting for me in my office. On my desk. See you later, pal.”
“Pete? Please tell me you’re not going to – Pete?”
“Sorry, I’d love to stay and chat about your new friends, but duty calls. You know how it is.”
Greg slumped down over his desk, pressing his forehead against the cool desktop. That was an image of his friend he definitely would have preferred to do without. What had he ever done to deserve such bad luck?
A knock on the door recalled him to reality. Filled with misgivings, Greg asked who it was.
“It’s me, Dharma. Can I come in?”
“Yes, of course.”
“How are you feeling today? I was in the city, so I thought I’d look in and say hello.”
“Yes. I’m ok. Don’t worry about me.”
“Oh, good. Jane called me just after you left for work. And she told me she and Pete had been busy Friday night. So I thought you and I would make an effort to get that trophy back. How about it?”
“What did you have in mind?”
Greg’s guarded tone of voice told Dharma he wasn’t thrilled about her idea, but she really couldn’t let Jane go on winning like this.
“How about in here?”
“No. Absolutely not. Never. My boss is just down the hall and -“
“Ok, ok. The beach? No. Been there, done that.”
“But we haven’t -“
“No. Not you. My last boyfriend.”
He really didn’t want to know this. One last time, he decided to try and reason with his wife.
“Dharma, please. I’m ok, but I’m not really in the mood for -“
“Oh, but you will be. Come on, don’t be such a bore. Even your parents know how to party.”
“Never mind. You don’t want to know. It’s no use doing it on a street car, because Jane did that three years ago.”
“Please, don’t tell me about Jane’s personal life.”
“Suit yourself. Ok, how about this? Alcatraz?”
“What? Jane never did it there?”
“You’re very cute when you’re acting that cynical. Ok. It’s a date.”
“Wait, I never said I’d go out there.”
“But you will, won’t you?”
Greg thought it over for a while. Why not do what Dharma asked him? It wasn’t as if he didn’t want to make love to his wife. Even outdoors in a place like that.
“Yes. Ok. But we’ll have to wait until lunch. I’ll try to reschedule a meeting so I can take the afternoon off.”
“That’s my Greg. I knew I could count on you.”
Now that he’d given in, Greg even smiled a little. Pete and Jane thought doing it in the office would be enough. They obviously didn’t know who they were dealing with. He and Dharma would show them. Only last night, he had felt more or less as if he’d fallen off the rollercoaster, but now he was going up again. It was a wild ride, but it was worth it.