Clancy Martin

Bad Sex

Part Two


I want you to try on engage­ment rings,” Eduard said. “Just for fun.”

We were in San Salvador. He’d found us a hotel with a beach we could walk on. We woke ear­ly and walked along the beach for more than an hour. We climbed a hill cov­ered with vines and on the oth­er side there was a sea cave. We took off our shoes and our clothes and put them on a high rock and swam naked. We were in the water for half an hour and Eduard said, “Look!” and caught his own wal­let float­ing in the water. He found my shoes in the surf. There was no beach left by our cave and we had to swim out beyond and around the rocks with our clothes in our hands to get back to land. I had want­ed to make love on the sand in that cave.

I was hun­gry but I was hun­gry in that nice beach way, when you don’t have to eat if you don’t want to.

He rent­ed a con­vert­ible. We’d nev­er dri­ven togeth­er in a con­vert­ible before and I turned the radio up loud. It was not hot in El Salvador that May. He told me that we should put the top up when we were on the high­way but I didn’t want to put it up. We nev­er put the top up on that car once the whole week we were in San Salvador. It nev­er rained.

Well, this is the place,” he said. It was a nar­row street but the sun came straight down into it. A dog walked up to our car and start­ed to sniff it. The car was expen­sive enough that no one would mess with it, for fear of who might own it.

Everywhere you went in Central America, at this time, if you were in a town or a city, you saw seri­ous young brown skin­ny men with large rifles and sub­ma­chine guns. I expect it is still the same way today. Two of them stood on each cor­ner of this street. One smoked a cig­a­rette and watched us shyly.

We went into the jew­el­ry store. It was hid­den in a bank build­ing, upstairs, and we walked through sev­er­al anony­mous offices and two locked doors before sit­ting down in a small wall­pa­pered room. They brought us glass­es of cham­pagne. I drank mine with­out hes­i­tat­ing and asked for anoth­er. Eduard frowned.

We all sat at a small, ele­gant table. I’d tak­en off my wed­ding ring. “She likes emer­ald cuts and cush­ion cuts,” Eduard explained to the jew­el­er. He was a chub­by man with slicked-back gray hair in a black suit. He lay a dia­mond cloth open on the table.

One carat? A carat and a half?” He had an Italian accent.

Nothing under two,” Eduard said. “She likes fan­cy col­ors, if you have a vivid yel­low. She also likes pinks.”

We don’t have any pink dia­monds over half a carat, Señor Carranza.”

My best friend from col­lege wore a two-carat pink dia­mond for her wed­ding ring. She was an attor­ney in Mexico City, and she han­dled some busi­ness for us. Eduard had met her and he knew I admired her ring.

I do have a love­ly three-stone ring with quar­ter-carat pinks on either side. The cen­ter stone in a carat-and-a-half round, D Flawless. But of course I can call in a larg­er stone for you. I have the papers on sev­er­al pinks from our part­ner store in Rio de Janeiro.”

I had a third glass of cham­pagne. Eduard had a sec­ond. He looked at a dozen loose dia­monds and chose a 2.45 carat cush­ion cut, F VVS1, $88,500. The jew­el­er placed it on my the back of my closed fin­gers and said, “Wear it out into the sun­light.” The secu­ri­ty guard start­ed to walk out with us but the sales­man brushed him back into the store.

We stood in the sun­light and looked at the dia­mond. I said, “It’s not what I had in mind.”

It’s beau­ti­ful,” Eduard said. He put his hand on my back.

I’m not sure.”

We were playing.

The sales­man said, “She wants a pink. She’s right.” He gave Eduard his card.

If I can call you, sir, I’ll arrange sev­er­al pinks to show you and the lady.” He bent toward me with a smile. “I can have them here by Wednesday.”

I’ll call you,” Eduard said. He took the stone off my fin­gers, looked at me for a moment, and returned it to the man, who took it from him with the dia­mond cloth and cleaned it before tuck­ing it in his breast pock­et. He went back inside after shak­ing hands. Eduard put his arm around my waist. “Thank you,” he said. “That was fun.”



We went to a local place he knew near the cathe­dral and got drunk on the owner’s pri­vate col­lec­tion of Peruvian brandy. I decid­ed to drink as much as I want­ed. I want­ed to celebrate.

I looked at Eduard. I said, “I’m free. You don’t know how good it feels.”

Are you hun­gry?” Eduard said.

No. Are you?”

I’ll order a few things. The food’s good here.”

When I went to the bath­room I looked in the mir­ror. My face looked strange. Careful, Brett, I thought. I splashed my face with water, and I went back to the table. I noticed the wait­er seemed ner­vous. I ordered anoth­er round, and I thought, That waiter’s afraid of me.

That jew­el­er liked your chain,” I said to Eduard. I had giv­en him a heavy 18kt gold Bulgari chain when we were in Miami. It was the only piece of jew­el­ry I’d ever giv­en a man.

He was too busy check­ing out your cleav­age,” he said.

I took a big swal­low of my drink. It was already emp­ty. I took a sip of Eduard’s and waved to the wait­er. “Do you take that neck­lace off?”

I nev­er take it off. You know that.”

I mean, when you’re fuck­ing Lurisia.”

He frowned.

Does it slap her tits?”


You heard me. Does your neck­lace slap Lurisia’s tits, when you fuck her? Or any­body. When you fuck your whores.”

I fin­ished his brandy. The wait­er came to the table and I ordered two more.

Can you make a pis­co sour?” I asked him. “Two pis­co sours.”

Just one, for the lady,” Eduard said. “Brett, what’s up? A minute ago we were hav­ing a per­fect­ly pleas­ant con­ver­sa­tion. I think you should eat.”

Do they grab it. Your whores. When you eat them out.”

For Chrissake, Brett.”

I just want to hear about your neck­lace, Eduard. The one I gave you. Do they wrap it around your cock?”

He stood up from the table. “Brett, I don’t know what’s come over you. But the way you’re talk­ing to me is not—”

Is not what? Now that I’m final­ly telling the truth. Is not what, Eduard? Tell me. Tell me the truth for once.”

Come with me, Brett. Let’s get some­thing to eat in the room.”

I’m stay­ing right where I am. You go, then. Get out of here.”

I’m going back to the hotel.”

I guess it just lays between their tits,” I said. “The chain I mean. Unless you’re about to come. Then it prob­a­bly slaps them.” The wait­er brought me a pis­co sour. I said, “You switch it around back­wards, between your shoul­der blades, the same way you do when you fuck me.”

Goodnight, Brett.”

I’ll let you know when I make up my mind. Go to sleep. If I want to I’ll wake you up.”

We can talk in the morning.”


Clancy Martin is the author of the nov­els Bad Sex and How to Sell, and the philo­soph­i­cal mem­oir Love and Lies. A Guggenheim fel­low, he teach­es phi­los­o­phy in Kansas City, Missouri, where he lives with his wife the writer Amie Barrodale, two daugh­ters, and an unruly labradoodle.