‘The Plight of Timothy Weston’
For all his faults, Timothy Weston was not a bad man. No one ever said he could hold his own with the best of them, but he was not a bad man. Clean-shaven and punctual, Timothy never missed a deadline at the PR Firm in the East Village, where he worked as a sometimes-consultant, sometimes-analyst. His clothes were well-tailored and always firmly pressed; not expensive suits, mind you, but clean and free of wrinkles. He took lunch every day precisely at noon, factoring in the five minute walk to the bagel shop four blocks down and back, while also paying great attention to the fact that, when arriving at 12:05pm, the professional bageltiers could create his lunch in just under seven minutes.
Timothy owned one cat, an orange tabby named Harold, whom he always fed promptly at six in the morning and six in the evening. During the day, Harold enjoyed the luxury of an open window that led to the expansive platform of nine square feet, meant for potted plants or a bicycle but surely suitable for a cat of Harold’s stature and luxurious proclivities. Namely lounging.
When Timothy Weston returned to his one-bedroom apartment every evening, Monday through Friday, at anywhere between 5:07 and 5:13pm—depending on how quickly the fragile Mrs. Lorris could shuffle her four white bichons frise through the set of double doors into the apartment building—Harold met him with a sharp mew, a bit of unaffectionate but completely necessary rubbing against his ironed pant leg, and a sordid stare after hopping onto the bistro table by the window and slumping beside the food bowl. There the tabby would sit, for anywhere between forty-seven and fifty-three minutes, until Timothy opened the can of moist and pungent cat food to be served at six o’clock.
But for not being a bad man at all, Timothy Weston had his faults. These faults did not exactly show themselves as openly as those of most bachelors in the state of New York, or anywhere in the world, for that matter. They did not lay in exposed, empty pizza boxes left about the kitchen counter, found primarily but not exclusively in the homes of young men right out of high school or halfway through their college careers. Nor did they exist in the slightly ripped, slightly stained but still functional pairs of white boxer briefs strewn across the only marginally and distastefully more soiled white linoleum bathroom floor, as any attractive yet quite possibly unlucky young girl might find in Ed Callahan’s apartment, who lived next door.
No, the faults of Timothy Weston manifested predominantly in the bedroom, which of course is oftentimes, and rightfully so, the choice locale for opportunities and activities of a hopefully and at least somewhat sexual nature. However, this particular bachelor was never one to practice the art of making love in his own bedroom. In fact, he was still a virgin in his third decade of life, though not for lack of spending every Saturday afternoon in front of the coffee house down the street with a macchiato in hand, attentively cataloguing the apparent dress sizes of only the attractive women that passed by on the sidewalk. Instead, Timothy chose to use his bedroom, which was only big enough for his full-sized bed and one dresser, to perform the only hobby in life that made him happy.
On Friday evenings he allowed himself this small pleasure, starting with the thirteen-gallon trash bags he meticulously taped together with blue masking tape to then lay across his acceptably plush duvet cover. He then procured the trashcans from both beside the kitchen pantry and beneath the bathroom sink, as either on its own never accumulated the desired amount of waste, and scattered their contents in brusque fashion about the floor of his bedroom. Over the years he had amassed an extensive collection of ladies’ fingernail polish, which consisted of all brands and colors, though his favorite remained the tumultuous hues of dark and sensuous green. And on Friday evenings he would lie on his full-sized mattress covered in patched-together trash bags, wearing only his fastidiously starched and never-stained white boxer briefs and, having withdrawn four or five bottles of ladies’ fingernail polish, proceed to upend the contents in their entirety onto his only-slightly-darker-than-sickly-pale chest and shoulders. There he would lay for only two hours at most, because Timothy was a punctual and responsible man who knew the importance of self-discipline, and draw incomprehensible symbols upon his belly with the ladies’ fingernail polish while speaking in what very little he knew of the German language to what he assumed to be the ghost of his dead great-uncle Jarvis.
And the travesty, ladies and gentlemen, the utter and wholly inexcusable wrongdoing which I cannot in good conscience condone in these entirely unremarkable and still strangely inappropriate Friday evening rituals, is that the only time Timothy shared his joy of ladies’ fingernail polish and broken, butchered German with another living soul was when Harold the cat found the bedroom door all but completely closed and snuck inside to join in his fair share of the fun.
No, Timothy Weston was not a bad man. But he would never rise to be much better than that.