Woke up and wrote over 1800 words for a story inspired by a dream I had but also based on real-life experiences.

A woman I used to know was in love with intelligence. She claimed the most physically repulsive person alive could look good to her if he knew everything about anything. She used Stephen Hawking as an example, quickly adding that he was not “repulsive,” but safely adding that he was no supermodel.

She and I had very sporadic encounters, roughly every 6 months. It was never going the distance, though we both announced our intentions at the beginning that this was the real thing. It quickly became obvious this was not the real thing, whatever that even means. But we had good times.

It fizzled altogether with Covid. I had heard from her around February, 2020, but the conversation was lackluster and we did not hook up. I don’t even know if she is still in New York.

I later became friends, briefly, with a guy at a time when, as chance would have it, she was chasing after him. I could see why. This guy was brain-on-a-stick. He was not interested, it seemed, but was happy, seemingly determined in fact, to show me the photos of her she’d been sending.

I knew these photos well. Fully nude, all kinds of poses and locations, he seemed oblivious to the fact these were professionally done porn photos from 20 years ago.

In her 20s she had been a stripper, and moved on to full pornography and sex work. When I knew her she claimed all that was behind her, but I came to believe otherwise, later confirming that instinct with an innocently overheard phone call between her and a john. I never asked her about it. None of my business.

As for this brain-on-a-stick person I didn’t have it in me to tell him dude, she doesn’t look like that naked anymore. She takes good care of her face but that body is not as advertised.

I didn’t have to tell him any of this. He had already made it as clear as could be he wasn’t interested. I guess he was showing off those photos of her to demonstrate his manlihood, or his desirability to women? I don’t know. It’s something I would never do.

As for this woman I can never forget how finally seeing her naked (I’d had a thing for her for a long time) was one of the great disappointments of my adult life. But I soldiered on, making the best of it by focusing on the positive parts of our sex, mentally replacing her body with that of another women I’d known and loved.

Now to embellish all this with fictional flourishes. I feel 18,000 words coming.