Jack is thirty-five and single once again. He is not, as he as quick to point out, going through a midlife crisis. Still, it would be nice to have a partner.
So he sets out on an adventure to find the one-time love of his life, Bing, a man he hasn't set eyes on in more than fifteen years, a man who has seemingly vanished off the face of the planet. With the help of his family and friends -- plus the family dog and, of all people, his high school bully -- he goes searching for Bing, only to unearth an ages-old mystery that puts them all in grave danger.
In this hysterically funny tale of romance and self-discovery, the question remains right up to the surprise ending: can we return to our past in order to create better our future?
“You dated a guy named Bing?” asked Monroe. “Did his parents have a fondness for cherries?”
Bing O’Malley. I hadn’t thought of him in years. He was my first. My first kiss, first fuck, first boyfriend. We’d met toward the end of our junior year in high school. We were so on the down-low that ants could squat over us. Still, at seventeen, at eighteen, Bing was my be-all and end-all. With him I blossomed, came out of my shell, came out in general. Even my parents liked Bing. Me, I probably loved him, thought at that age, who knew for sure?
“Family name,” I eventually replied, willing myself out of my daydream. “Bing the Third.”
“Hipster name these days, I’d imagine. He have a man-bun and skinny jeans?”
I shrugged. “Who can remember what he had?” I pointed at the picture. “Besides red hair and freckles. As for skinny jeans, he was skinny all over, seventeen looking like fifteen.” The pictures didn’t do him justice. Maybe the memories didn’t either. Both were faded now, frayed around the edges.
“And why did you break up with him?” he asked.
I shrugged as I squinted at the ceiling, trying to remember the details of the demise of our relationship. “I don’t think we ever did break up,” I eventually replied. “He went to college. I went to college. Never saw him again. Never spoke with him again. Guess that’s just how it goes.”
Monroe snapped his fingers. “So technically, maybe you two are still dating.”
I grinned. It was a novel idea. “And maybe that’s why I’ve had bad luck with men: no closure from my first one.” Which sounded a lot better in my head than admitting that I was a fuck-up.
“So let’s go and find him then.”
I stared over at my friend, whose blue eyes were sparkling under the kitchen lights. “Why bother? That was nearly half a lifetime ago.” Though it felt far, far longer. And like I said, I’d not given Bing a thought since. Too much water under the bridge. Or too much come spilt, more aptly.
“Couldn’t hurt,” Monroe replied.
Though in fact it could hurt. That much I remembered, however hazily. Leaving him, losing him, that hurt like a motherfucker. Nowadays, it’s like a mosquito bite: there’s a welt, some brief itching, then not even a scar to let you know that it had ever been there to begin with. But back then, then it was like someone had yanked my heart straight out from my chest. I didn’t even date in college. I couldn’t bear to. Then, of course, I eventually did. Life moves on. Bye-bye Bing, hello Jesus’s minions.
I frowned at Monroe. “I wouldn’t even know where to look for him.”
“Facebook,” he said. “How many Bing O’Malley’s could there possibly be?”
“Apart from number one and two,” I said.
“You didn’t date them, too, did you?”
My frown turned upside down. “I wasn’t their type.” Though that was mere speculation on my part. I was, after all, a rather nice-looking teenager. Thankfully, I’ve maintained most of what I’d started off with. In any case, I never met any of the O’Malleys, not even Bing’s parents, far as I could recall.
He already had his cell phone out before I could object. Though I don’t think I would have, given the choice. I mean, I hadn’t thought about Bing in ages, but I was thinking about him now, especially as I sat there looking at the pictures of him, of us, both of us smiling so brightly it was a wonder our faces didn’t crack.
“Shit,” he soon said, thereby bursting my bubble. “Not a one.”
He checked Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, Yahoo, even MySpace. But no, nada, zip, nil. No trace of him. And that was weird, because everyone had a trace these days. Everyone. Heck, you could probably find Jimmy Hoffa online, if you looked hard enough.
My stomach sank, my heart dropping right along with it. My hopes had been up, my dick as well. Having sex with Bing had been earth-shattering back when we were seventeen; what would it be like today? Now my musings were trampled into the ground like so much rubble.
“Good try, though,” I said, feigning indifference. “Guess it wasn’t meant to be.”