Three Conversations by Alvarado O’Brien

Three Conversations

“First thing the wife says is, ‘We should talk about bad sex.’ Jeez, what a way to get going in the morning, I tell you. What a way to greet the day!”

“It’s that college, it’s got her all balled up. Give me another Rolling Rock, would you, Barney? I got a man in need of consolation. He can’t get it up.”

“Aw, shit. Who’s talking? When’s the last time you and Esther got intimate? Tell me the truth, tell me.”

“Are we getting personal here, confessional?”

“We’re getting drunk, I hope.”

“Esther and I do it religiously on Sunday mornings.”

“What position do you prefer?”


“What does that mean?”

“She ain’t never complained about bad sex.”


“Five weeks and the roots are already showing. Maybe I should just go gray, but I’d look ten years older.”

“I always say, ‘It’s the easiest way to take the years off.’ That’s a fact. Personally, I’m going to dye until I die.”

“You’re right. Vincent would have a heart attack if I went gray. Then he’d have to feel old.”

“We’ll stick with the same color then. So how’s Vincent?”

“Right now he’s all upset because I said we should talk about sex. I’m taking this course about Human Sexuality …”

“So you’re still working on that college degree?”

“Yeah, I’m doing great. 3.2 gpa. There are plenty of women my age at the U. This class is mostly women, about half of them my age, half of them twenty-something girls. Sometimes it’s a shock, what those girls say. Anyway I just said to him, ‘Vincent, we should talk about sex,’ and immediately he’s all pissed off. Really I just meant in general, you know. This course makes you think. But he’s all pissed off and barely speaking to me for two days. Then he goes, just as he’s going out the door, mind you, ‘What’s so bad about our sex?’ Well I never said anything about bad sex.”

“Ha. Maybe it’s his guilty conscience heard you.”

“Maybe. I wouldn’t say we have bad sex. Statistically speaking, we’re about average for couples over 50, at least according to what we’re reading in the course.”

“Once a week is what Dr. Oz says.”

“Yeah, that’s about right.”

“Whaddya think? Want to try bangs this time?”

“5.4 to 7.8 minutes.”


“Time it. Of course that’s not counting foreplay.”

“Whatever that is.”

“Ha! Yeah, let’s do bangs. I’m ready for something new.”


“Five minutes is average, according to the wife. She’s got a goddamn textbook in that class of hers.”

“You mean your two minutes is below average?”

“Very funny. When’s the last time you went all night?”

“Those are the nights I’m not at the bar. Barney, give us two more over here.”

“Do you know what I’m doing here while you’re not here?”

“No, I do not. I don’t think I care to know if it has to do with Lisa.”


“That young one you’re staring at all the time, Barney’s niece. She pulls on Tuesdays, isn’t it?”

“She’s Barney’s niece?”

“Well, at least I know you’re not talking to her, you old perv, making her blush. How did we get on this, anyway? You get it up, you get it in. You hear some moans from the wife you hope are real. On a real good night she goes ‘Ah, ah, ah!’ you know, higher and higher, and you have some Saltines with butter later, feeling kind of good about yourself. You get off. You get in…”

“All right, I heard that tune. Saltines and butter?”

“At the kitchen counter. With the moonlight coming in through the skylight I installed last summer, or the summer before. I don’t know when it was Esther got a hair in her ass about a skylight.”

“Ever take her in the ass with the butter?”

“Aw, for Christ’s sake, Vincent. You are lucky we are friends.”

“I saw this movie with Brando once where he asks for the butter.”

“That’s not the Godfather II, is it? Where Michael leaves him?”

“Michael never leaves him. Butter, he says, pass me the butter. Just like that. And they’re doing it on the floor in an apartment in Paris.”

“The Godfather? Don Corleone? I can’t see that. I cannot see that.”

“Well, the thing about sexuality, I have figured out, is that we don’t know nothing about the other guy, what he wants, what he does. Not a damn thing. He could be the biggest perv in the world and we think he’s a straight shooter. Maybe he gets wrapped in cellophane and a hired stud jizzes on him.”

“I used to tittie fuck her.”


“This woman I almost married.”

“That’s nothing.”

“It’s all nothing, Vincent. I know, by the way, that the Godfather did not take from behind anybody in the Godfather I or II. I seen that one with Brando, Last Tango in Paris. Believe it or not, Esther took me to it, years ago. She wanted to see it, see what all the fuss was about. So we saw it. I guess you did too.”

“Right there on the floor he takes her.”


“From behind.”

“I say it’s nothing. The sunlight streaming in through the Parisian curtains is more important.”

“What are you, a movie critic suddenly? You going to write a column for the Sunday paper?”

“Tittie fuck. Asshole suck.”


“Fucky fuck. What are we talking about, Vincent? Is there love there?”

“Love? That’s another subject, pal. I do not care to get into that tonight.”


tamara de lempika


Jacqueline Doyle and Stephen D. Gutierrez live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Together they are Alvarado O’Brien. She has recent fiction in Quarter After Eight, Monkeybicycle, PANK, and Phoebe (a finalist in their 2016 Fiction Contest), and Notable Essay listings in Best American Essays 2013 and Best American Essays 2015. His work can be found in Sudden Fiction Latino (W.W. Norton), Alaska Quarterly Review, and Fourth Genre. He has published three collections of stories and essays: Elements (FC2), Live from Fresno y Los (Bear Star Press), winner of an American Book Award, and The Mexican Man in His Backyard (Roan Press). Their collaborative work has appeared in Timber and Grist: An Online Companion.


(Next BAD SEX story: Marlene Dietrich is wearing your clitoris by Daniel Roy Connelly)

(Previous BAD SEX story: Liars in Love by Lucinda Kempe)

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(Photograph by cea of artwork by Tamara de Lempicka)