Today’s challenge will be easy to identify, but it was far from easy to complete!
My first night in Phoenix, I attended a mixer at Dexter Miller’s condo. I was one of only six women surrounded by homosexual men wearing neon spandex, rain boots, and faux furs.
I sat by a petite Mexican woman who was fixated on Dexter’s exotic works of art. On one wall, Dexter had painted a mural of bananas wearing tuxedos. In his living room was a shelf full of taxidermy experiments gone awry, and in the kitchen the light fixtures were made from crooked ox horns.
Dexter had invited me for a relaxing evening of cocktails and the chance to meet new friends. After ten sheltered years in a grungy duplex in Sioux Falls, he said I needed a taste of luxury. I hadn’t expected such unorthodox luxury: a man playing the saxophone in the nude, toxic plants used as aphrodisiacs, and a Korean woman giving $5 wax jobs in the bathroom.
I spent the first half of the evening planning my exit, anxious to hop in a taxi and find the nearest Holiday Inn. As the innocent “girl next door,” I was perplexed by the unconcealed sexuality that filled the room. I took a wine cooler from the icebox, fixed myself a plate of hors d’oeuvres, and roamed the room, trying not to seem too transfixed by the lust exploding in the condo.
With each wine cooler, my surroundings became less obnoxious and more exciting. By midnight, I was the only woman left and Dexter’s friends were teaching me how to foxtrot. The excessive sweat in the room coaxed me into stripping down to just my panties, and for the first time I felt sexy in a purely nonsexual way.
The night came to a close when Dexter’s friend known only as “Ducky” gave an extemporaneous speech about his obsession with latex, which turned into a physical brawl over who got to have cybersex with Dexter’s ambidextrous Norwegian cousin. I was the only one to find the argument a bit too extreme until Dexter assured me it was no worse than a group of heterosexual women fighting over a pair of shoes.
By my last night in Phoenix, I had well exhausted my taste of luxury. Feeling a mixture of wistfulness for both my old life and a life renewed, I boarded my flight back home and left my what-ifs on the runway behind me.
And the challenge was: In a story less than 400 words in length, I used 50 unique words containing the letter “X.” Yowza!