Marco looked over my head right before I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around to a young man smiling down at me. A blue light was shining behind him giving him a glowing cerulean aura, but it hid his face in a dark shadow so all I could make out were his white teeth and the whites of his eyes.
“Hello.” He said. “Do you speak Czech?”
“No.” I answered.
“What is your first language?” He asked.
“Oh you are English?” He asked.
“No. I’m American.” It felt like I was being grilled by a cop. Suddenly it occurred to me: my god, he had just seen us take the beads.
“Oh, American.” He appeared excited at my answer.
I looked toward Marco who was just staring at the guy then to Endres who had his head down and was staring into his beer. Neither of them appeared concerned at the interrogation that was underway. This could be the last moment I’d see them before I got dragged away to some prison for eating one-third of an unknown pill, and these guys were just spacing out. Some friends.
“Yes.” I said looking back up at him holding my own. I knew I would have to take care of myself in this situation.
He crouched down to my eye level and held out his hand. “I am from Prague. My name is Josef. I am a photographer.” We shook hands.
“Oh. Hi.” I said letting go of his heavy handshake. He was wearing an 80’s throwback sweater that was black and grey with geometric designs like hexagons and lightning bolts. There was no way he was a cop or a drug dealer. Not in that sweater.
“Yes. And I like to make movies. Like American movies.” He said.
“Oh really?” I said. Like porn? I thought. I looked at him trying to figure out what he wanted.
“I wanted would you like to come and drink with my friends and I?”
I looked over my shoulder in the direction of his eyes and saw three guys sitting at a table watching me. They all lifted their beers in a toast when they saw me look over.
“Um. No thanks. I’m with my friends right now. Thank you anyway?”
“Oh hmm.” He stood and stared at me for a moment like he was trying to figure out why I’d choose to stay with my friends rather than sit with four strange men. He looked over to Marco and Endres who were now engaged in a conversation.
“Well, she was actually bad in the sex area.” Endres was saying to Marco.
“In the what?” Marco asked.
“In the sex area, in the bed.” Said Endres.
“Oh, right. I thought you were talking about something else.” Marco huffed and shook his head.
They were not paying attention and it wasn’t exactly the conversation I had hoped to break into, especially if Josef was into making American movies like porn. I gave a strained smile back to Josef. He crouched back down again to be at my eye level.
“So what are you doing in Prague?”
“I’ve moved here.” I said uncertain of where this was going.
“Oh. You moved to Prague? Prague is a wonderful place.” He said. He grabbed the edge of the table accidentally shaking it. It sent miniature shock waves to Endres’ beer that sloshed in tiny puddles onto the graffitied wood.
This motion seemed to have awakened Endres and he looked up from his beer. He noticed Josef crouching at my feet as if for the first time. “Hello.” He said grinning in familiarity.
“Uh, Josef, these are my friends Endres and Marco.”
“Hello.” Josef said. He turned his face back to me and opened his mouth to speak.
“You are from Prague?” Endres interrupted.
Josef looked at me with a sad panic.
Endres stood up and stepped to Josef pushing him out of my space with clumsy excitement and swallowing him up with his wide sweeping gestures. I was grateful for the interruption.
I turned my head to Marco. “I’m not feeling anything from those little pills or beads of a pill.” I said to him.
He snorted an inaudible response.
Josef walked back to his table as Endres sat heavily into his chair with a pout and crossed his arms over his chest. “Hmm, I guess he wasn’t that interested in speaking with me.”
“I’ve had that happen to me before.” Marco said to Endres.
“Hmmm?” Endres pendulum head swung to look at Marco.
“Been with a woman that was bad in bed.” He said.
I said, as if I had been in the conversation the entire time. “Can a woman really be bad in bed? I mean really? I mean can a guy even tell the difference?”
Endres looked at if me as if I had just slapped him. “Annnnnnna. If he’s a good lover he does of course.”
“The gloves are on.” Said Marco before taking a drink.
“There’s no gloves. I was just joking.”
“Of course you can tell Annnna.” Endres still seemed to be reeling from my comment.
“Look,” said Marco leaning in, “she’s bad in bed if she just lies there, like all cold and shit.” He laughed. “Like you’re peein’ on her or somethin’. Unless of course she likes that.”
“Or she seems bored. Or she’s faking it.” Said Endres, “maybe she doesn’t really like sex. She just does it because it’s what you do. Like a next step. Or maybe she’s using you.”
“Part of the package.” Said Marco holding his beer up.
“I was just kidding guys. I know you have feelings, and all that stuff.” I held up my hands in surrender.
Endres had been digging through his pocket like he was looking for something then with a nod he lifted his head and a vacant yet quizzical expression washed over his face. “Well, Annnnna, you know I never understand why the woman would want to sleep with me if she thinks the sex is boring. She pursues me, she asks me to bed, we do the sex, and then she just goes to sleep. Why doesn’t she say something to me about how to do her? I feel maybe she is using me for something, but I don’t understand.”
“There you fucking go, right? Marco snorted. “Just usin’ us for our bodies. Makes you feel cheap don’ it? Used.”
“Whatever, Marco.” I nudged his shoulder with the palm of my hand.
“She may even want to sleep with me again. But she asks she pulls me to her then says I’m done good night.” Endres nods to himself.
“She wants yo’ baby.” Marco said.
“Marco.” I glared at him. “Why would you sleep with her again if you think she’s just using you for something?”
“Because you want to get laid.” Marco leaned back in his chair lifting the front legs off the floor. “You’re telling me you’ve never had sex with a guy that you knew was bad in bed just because you wanted to get laid and you knew he was easy?”
“Bad sex no. Easy. Yes.” I said.
“What-eva’.” Marco hit Endres on the shoulder.
Endres shook as if he was just woken.
“I’m much more selective than that.” I said crossing my arms. “I have some serious standards.” I looked down my nose at them as if I had the upper hand.
“I think we should talk about Annabelle’s sex life.” Said Marco.
“I don’t think so.” I said.
“What do you think Endres? Don’t you think we should talk about sex with Annabelle?”
“Oh, yes.” Said Endres sitting up and nodding his head.
“Very funny, nice sentence structure Marco.” I said. I felt another tap on my shoulder. I turned around to see Josef standing behind me again. “Hi.” I said surprised to see him back.
“Would you like to share a splif?” He asked me.
“Oh, no thank you, I don’t smoke, but my friends do.” I said gesturing to Marco and Endres who were leaning in together giggling like fourteen year olds.
Josef’s face dropped slightly as he walked back to his table. The boys were still snickering. I wasn’t sure if they were snickering because of their immature seventh-grade gang up or because Josef had come back. “You two are stupid. I’m getting a round. Do you both want some?”
They nodded and I headed to the bar. When I returned, Marco and Endres were smoking a splif. Josef was standing beside them. He gave me a weak quick smile and then went back to his table. I was pretty certain he was trying to hit on me, but it was such a bizarre and awkward attempt. There is no way a woman is going to sit at a dark table with four strange men in a foreign country. At least I didn’t think so. Marco and Endres were smiling like they just got a birthday present.