Private Magazine

Month: May, 2014

The Sex Drive

friskywhiskey

“Never speak to me again,” I hiss through gritted teeth in the Crabapple’s parking lot. “Because you are immature and insincere.” I hang up my cell, hang up on Dan and his stupid voicemail message –  “I don’t know why you called this number, but you did.” I send a hectic text – “I never wanna see u again! :(”

I stand in the middle of the parking lot, alone and abandoned. Dan and I were supposed to go to my downstairs neighbor Michael’s show at Nietszche’s. But when I arrived at Crabapple’s (of all places) to pick him up on my way home, he was drunk and stoned and went to “close his tab.” He rushed off and left me with his friends. Twenty minutes passed. I checked my phone; I had a text from Dan which said “I had to go.” He ran off down the street.  But why?

——————————

redsolocup

A month has passed. It has been a month without a peep from Dan, a month devoid of an apology or explanation. I lay alone in my bungalow, attempting an early night’s slumber.

My phone ring-a-dings, announcing the arrival of a late night text. Maybe it’s a sext. It’s from Dan.

“I am not a monster.”

Ignoring the text, I turn over and close my eyes. My phone dings again.

“I’m not a harmful person.”

I turn over on my other side, put a pillow over my face. My phone dings once more.

“Can I bring you food?”

I toss and turn and pull the sheets around my body. Another text arrives.

“I’m outside your apartment.”

Bolting upright in my loft bed, I nearly knock myself out on the slanted roof ceiling. Climbing down the ladder, I rush into my bathroom and peer out the window. Sure enough, I see some fool clamoring out of a Liberty Cab. It’s Dan, hair in a wild explosion around his head, shoes dragging across the pavement in drunken irreverence.

“I missed the way you smell.”

“Well, it’s been a month…What was that whole disappearance about, anyway?”

“I double booked,” Dan says, clomping down my basement steps. I situate myself upon a bar stool. Dan removes a marijuana stash from his pants. “Friends came from out of town, but we had plans too. I got overwhelmed.”

“Why didn’t you call me and apologize?”

“You said to never speak to you again.”

“When a girl says that, it means you should apologize.”

It all becomes water under the bridge. We make out upon the moldy washer-dryer unit while a silverfish watches.

————————–

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Another year or so has passed. Dan and I have grown into true friends. This sometimes veers into FWB territory. I now see Dan with a sense of maturity. There’s a gentlemanly aura in his eyes.

He has taken on the role of proprietor at a new Cheektowaga speakeasy, and has seen it grow into success.  Recently, Dan bought a school bus. It’s one of those half-sized white buses. He painted it with the logo of his bar and is the DD/chauffer to his friends.

I yearn to take a joyride on Dan’s bus. Dreaming of the bus, I fantasize about the bus at night. I’m staring out my window and remembering that night that Dan showed up in a Liberty Cab. I wish he would show up in his bus.

—————————–

I’m walking down Elmwood when I learn that Dan is headed my way. It is a warm Sunday morning, with the sun sending down the perfect brunch-friendly rays. We decide to fetch bloody marys.

I wait for Dan outside. He rolls up in a giant black truck. Not his own white Toyota, or the beloved bus.

“My car battery died last night,” Dan calls down from the towering truck. “I borrowed John’s truck.”

I climb up the passenger side and give Dan a smile.

“So where should we go to brunch? Bloody marys…”

“Well, it would be cool to go someplace around here, but John needs his truck by 6, so I was thinking we could go someplace in Cheektowaga, get my car jump-started first, or else we’ll have to leave here at a certain time.”

“Oh, yeah, let’s get out of here for a while. I’m so sick of the same-old same-old.”

We go a reasonable 55 miles per hour down the 33. I blast Metallica.

“Why the heck are you going so slow?”

“I’m never in a rush to get anywhere.”

We pull up the gravel driveway of the speakeasy and spot Dan’s petite white Toyota, depressingly dead by the dumpster. Dan whips out the jumper cables.

“Will you show me how to jump start a car?” I ask.  Dan adheres the clamps to some parts under the hood.

“Now, when these are attached,” he says. “It means they’re live. They will spark.”

“Oooohh, sparks.”

The cars create a medley of vroooooms and sputterings and smolderings. Dan’s car comes alive, and we climb inside. We travel a meandering route of side streets I’ve managed to never go down, even though I’m from this town and lived in it for 20 years.

“What the fuck is this street, Floral Ave.? Isn’t it a dead end?”

“No, far from it,” Dan says. Sure enough, it turns out to be a shortcut to the gas station. While driving down Floral Ave., Dan extends a fancy pipe full of weed my way. I take a hit.

“Well, you could at least wait for that  guy to cross the street.”

“Oops, my bad!”

Dan takes a hit himself.

“Well, you could at least wait to be out of eyesight from that woman gardening,” I say.

After getting some gas, we head to Otto’s.

ottos

Otto’s has been located on  the same Cheektowaga corner my entire life, a stone’s throw from the house I grew up in. Up until today, I’ve only crossed the threshold of Otto’s once, five years ago. It turned out to be an Italian restaurant, with a bar in the back. Dan tells me that they have the best bloody marys in town. Their flickering marquee declares the Patio to be Open.

We head through the bar, get two bloodys, and go out to the patio. We wait for Dan’s friend Ben to arrive.

Ben shows up in a red muscle shirt with an older guy in tow. The older guy is scrawny and weathered-looking. He says his name is Bob. He sits at the end of our table. I’m baked, and keep my sunglasses on even though we managed to find the least-sunny patio in this hemisphere.

“Who’s working at the speakeasy tonight?” Ben asks.

“I think Kimberly Wieners is bartending,” Dan answers.

Wieners?” I exclaim.

“You’d like Kimberly Wieners,” Dan says.

“She doesn’t look like a wiener,” Bob speaks for the first time.

“Well, I’ve never seen one, so whatever.” I roll my eyes.

“I could put mine on the table if you want – ”

“No, thanks. It was a joke, obviously.”

I move my plastic lawn chair close to Dan.

“Oh, I need to drive John to his truck at the speakeasy,” Dan says suddenly.

“I’ll come with you -” I say, getting up.

“No, stay here,” Dan says. “John is operating on two hours sleep. We don’t need to shock him awake with more people than necessary.”

I’m left alone with Ben and Bob. It’s cooled down and I’m chilly. We head inside; there might be some rap music emanating from the bar. I just finished the bloody mary. It was good.

“Car bombs!” Ben yells. A round of car bombs manifests.

“I haven’t had a car bomb since college, wow, I feel old.” I take a sip, but put it back down.

“Shots!” Bob yells. The young bartender pours shots of Jaeger. I decline. It’s all going on Bob’s tab.

“Do you think I can just have some wine? It’s really all I drink.”

“Ooooh, fancy-prancy!” Bob turns to me, points a finger in my face. “I’ll buy you shots, but I ain’t buyin’ you no wine.”

He ends up buying me a pinot grigio anyway.

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“Hey, wear your hair down,” Bob says to the bartender.

“Um, wow, just because you gave her a dollar tip, you think you can dictate how she wears her hair? You’re a prick.”

“You’re crazy, you’re fucked up,” Bob responds, pack of Senecas rising out his breast pocket. I take a large swallow of wine.

“So you’re a wine drinker?” Ben asks calmly.

“Yeah, it agrees with me, and it’s good for you in small doses I guess.”

“Nah, dude, a glass of wine a day is like one cigarette a day,” Bob ignorantly declares.

“What? No, wine contains antioxidants and resveratrol.”

An argument ensues and only rises in intensity between Bob and I, despite the fact he continues buying me drinks and bumming me cigs. He refuses to acknowledge the medical journal article that I pull up on my phone. I’m about to pull my hair out. Dan returns and sits down next to me.

“Thank God,” I throw my arms around him.

“She’s crazy, dude.'”

“He’s a dick.” I say.

“You better be careful,” Dan says, “She might write about you on her blog.”

Bob looks truly scared for a second, then brushes it off.

“Go ahead – write it! Just make sure you spell my name right. Bob Zielinski. Z-I-E-L…”

After a while of getting nowhere, we leave Buzzkill Bob getting Skittles from the quarter machine.

candy

Ben, Dan, and I embark on a short, tipsy stroll to the speakeasy. We are on busy Union Road in broad daylight.

“Please, guys, can we walk down a side street?” I’m power walking ahead. “I do not need my parents to drive by and text me asking why I’m walking down Union Road in the middle of the day with two guys. My mother will question what I’m doing with my life. I do not need it right now!”

We get to the speakeasy. The bartender, Wieners, keeps the wine coming. I load the jukebox with Britney Spears and Trina. I’m smearing on  a lipstick overdose and dancing around the bar. Dan appears to be having an awkward convo with the other bartender; it seems like they used to date or something.

Stumbling up to Dan, I’m ready to get my bus ride on.

“Let’s role play Forrest Gump and Jenny on the bus,” I say in an intoxicated whisper. “I’m fatigued, let’s go!”

Dan is still mid-conversation. He hands me the keys to the bus. I wander out of the bar, locate the bus, stumble aboard, and lay down sideways on a seat.

After a little bit, Dan gets on the bus. I left the keys in the door. We sit down side by side.

“You don’t hate me?” Dan asks.

“Hate you? Why would I hate you?”

“I always mess up.”

“Nonsense. You are great. The bus is great. Everything’s fine.”

condoms

Dan starts the ignition and we pull out of the parking lot. We cruise back to the city.

 

(Dan and Michael were introduced in my first story “Names Have Been Changed to Protect the Innocent,” so read that first if you haven’t!)

 

THE GAY BAR: Unadulterated Back Door Access

pinkbar

It’s Saturday night. Jaclyn, an acquaintance who I work with occasionally,  has invited me to a party. The party is being held at a well-known gay bar. Jaclyn has been dating the gay bar owner’s brother for quite a while. It’s the owner’s birthday. There is a celebration being held at his club.

I take this as an opportunity to encounter some new people, to immerse myself in a completely foreign scene. I’ve started to see the same faces, been ending up in the same places. I need  something new, something… unorthodox. An investigation into the gay nightclub underground seems apropos.

Around eleven, Jaclyn and her boyfriend Sal, the owner’s brother, pick me up from my apartment. We head downtown. The club’s neon sign glows radioactive pink. The bouncer welcomes us inside with a nod. We meet up with Jaclyn’s friend Kate and her boyfriend, Keith.

The four of us sit down in a booth area while Sal goes to get us a bottle of Absolut. There is a large open area around the bar – not many patrons have arrived yet. Another dance floor/stage area is in a curtained-off, adjacent room. The place is mostly black spray paint and concrete with hot pink accents. We are enclosed in a dark sitting area behind the bar.

A middle-aged transvestite woman descends upon our booth in kitten heels. She sits down across from us without speaking, looking at us. Five minutes pass, then she asks –

“So, what brings you guys here, a bachelorette?”

“No, just her boyfriend’s brother’s birthday,” I reply. We’re getting antsy for Absolut.

Ooh, is it a party?” She asks, fiddling with her reflective clutch purse. She wanders away before we answer.

“Was she about to offer us drugs or something?” Jaclyn asks me.

“Probably.”

Sal returns with the vodka, some mixers. We drink for a little bit until Sal suggests we take a walk down to the basement of the club. We head through a back door, down concrete steps covered in flecks of glitter. Once in the basement, there are racks of sequined costumes and props left over from the drag queen shows. Guy stand around smoking cigarettes. I stick a fake rose in my hair, from a drag queen of yore. Abandoned stage scenery is scattered about; speaking of which, one such performance is about to commence. I pop a Tic Tac and feel a revitalizing rush.

makeup

We head back upstairs to watch the show. It was advertised as an Underwear Competition. A drag queen is standing on stage, with a pretty decent crowd gathering around. The crowd is mostly young, very young, gay boys – this club allows 18 and up.  The Queen is speaking into a microphone, shimmying around in a fringed figure skating outfit. A young blond boy is staring up at her in awe.

“What do we have here, hmmm?” The Queen Bee is purring down at the blond boy, stroking his hair. “Is that because of me?” She is acknowledging the boy’s raging hard-on. I’m surprised at this, because I never thought drag queens were sexy, or even really trying to arouse people with their theatrics. I always thought it was just about an artistic performance.

The Queen calls up the two finalists of the Underwear Competition. We missed the early rounds, I guess.

“Our first finalist is the luscious, lascivious, Damian!”

An early-twenties black guy in a purple Diesel thong struts onstage. He’s pretty buff.

“An the sumptuous, sexual, Stephen!” Stephen looks about 18 with a septum piercing and tattoos. He’s nervous and dripping in sweat. I wonder where his parents think he is.

A booty-poppin’ jam blasts out of a speaker. Damian and Stephen make their ass cheeks clap like strippers, directly in the faces of front-row spectators. They bend over, drop it low, twerk. We’re in the way back, and the crowd is getting riled up in a crushing horde.  I’m reminded of that French short story from 100 years ago about some strangers having sex at a public execution.

What’s the prize for this competition anyway? Young and doe-eyed boys wander around in various states of undress. Are they gigolos for hire?

bottles

We walk back to our couch and bottle of vodka, amid applause for our young exhibitionists. A half hour or so passes. Then, we hear the DJ start his set. We make our way through the curtain, onto the dance floor. Jaclyn and Sal are dancing together. Katie and Keith are dancing together. This leaves me getting groovy by myself. Obviously, none of the men in this joint want anything to do with me. Should I have brought a date to this shit? I continue to dance alone in the middle of the room. Whatever. I’m not a total loser.

An overzealous black kid in short shorts bends over in front of me. I think he feels sorry for me. The feeling I’m experiencing is the loser at the school dance, and this guy must pity me. It’s kind of embarrassing. I swivel around – a gloomy looking brunette kid starts swinging me around. At first, all’s well and good. Then, he starts inching his way closer to my face. This boys smells like ass. Ass. It’s unbearable and nauseating.

“Excuse me, please, I have to go throw up.”

I run away into the other room, hunch over the couch, gasping for fresh air. Inhale, man, inhale. What the fuck was up with that?   

Sexbelt

The drinking continues. Now, the night is not so young and my body is not so sober. I am swept up in my own thoughts.  A dark tunnel opens up in my mind and I follow it through, down down down into the foggy abyss.

A bespeckled guy sitting to my right starts talking to me. He comes off as kind of straight. Straight and alone at the gay bar. I tell him a little about what has brought me here, and I’m sure that he knows that I’ve never been here before, because I’m sure everyone else here is a regular. It just gives off that type of vibe.

He takes my phone from my hand, and puts in his name and phone number as “Master Jeremy Dollar$.”

“What’s up with your name?”

“It’s because I have coke,” Master Jeremy says. “About four grams.”  That makes sense – who else but a drug dealer would be straight and alone at a gay bar?

The two of us embark on a teeter tottering walking tour of the club. Master Jeremy bursts into the bathroom after I head inside what I thought was the girl’s bathroom. “The bathrooms are unisex,” Master Jeremy informs me. I suppose it wouldn’t make sense to separate guys and girls in a place like this, where the girls become guys and the guys become girls and the girls who are guys like the guys that are girls.

“Would you…watch me while I pee?” Master Jeremy asks. “That really turns me on.” He’s unveiled his arsenal of coke with the bathroom stall wide open. He is sputtering and coughing and sniffing like a broken snow blower. I stare at my own face in the mirror, but can’t really see anything. I’m chain smoking Marb Red 100’s and foaming at the mouth. It’s after four in the morning.

“I need to find my friends,” I declare. “What if I can’t find them? What if they left? In ninth grade I got left behind at the Lincoln Memorial. Will you drive me home, if I got left behind? I need to go find my friends. I don’t want to get left behind.”

“Yeah, babes, I’ll drive you home,” Master Jeremy says. “You are beautiful, you have a perfectly-symmetrical face, and great eyebrows.”

“Hmmm…thanks.” I wander back out into the bar, and quickly spot Sal and Jaclyn on the same couch we were on earlier. Katie and Keith left long ago. We head out into the crisp air of dawn, and I am ushered into the backseat to be taken home at long last. What a night.

Then, Jaclyn exclaims – “Ahhh!!!”

I look out the window, directly next to me to my right. Master Jeremy Dollar$ has his face down at eye level, looking into the car, at me.

“Ahhh!” I shriek. “This is some Twlight Zone, creature-on-the-wing of the plane shit! Peel away!”

Sal accelerates; the tires screech. We are off, speeding away from the notorious club, from Master Jeremy Dollar$, from the smell of ass.

coke

Any resemblance to an actual gay bar that really exists is purely coincidental.

Roofies At Sunset

roofies When you are away at college, you are encapsulated in a bubble. It is a bubble in which the morally reprehensible is in fact, permissible. Being a “college student” can actually be a powerful excuse against the status quo, the law, and any semblance of normalcy.

I went to a small liberal-arts college surrounded by woods, and wineries. There was lots to do, and it all relied on music and alcohol. First, there was The Creek Scene. This involved me swooning over guys from philosophy class while they strummed guitars around a bonfire. It was also a good spot to consume hallucinogenic drugs on your birthday. There was the Main Street Bar Scene and The Basement Show scene. Both involved forgetting to wear pants, becoming rowdy on MD 20/20, and vomiting in a bush.

I was just a party girl, in a party world. Scoring free cake hungover at the bank. It was four years of reckoning, of learning, of encountering a vast multitude of experiences.

My best friend – absolute best fucking friend – was a Syracuse native named Tara. When I first met her, outside of the Williams Center on campus, she did an amazing impression of a mall walker. It almost made me pee my pants. I was really close; the closest I had ever been (that’s what she said).

We realized, the first day of freshman year,  that we lived in the same dorm, on the same floor. We decided to trade roommates. Tara had a German exchange roommate who cooked soup at 8 a.m., and my roommate listened to Evanescence. They both thought we were weird, and welcomed the switch. Tara and I were still roommates when we graduated, four years later. Milwaulke Freshman Year, Second Semester :

Tara has invited me to go to Syracuse with her for the weekend. It’s the weekend of the Taste of Syracuse Festival. Our friend’s band, Thunderhips,  is slated to perform.

Her dad picks us up in his minivan, outside of Alumni Hall, to bring us back to Tara’s hometown. Tara hails from a farm-friendly town just outside Syracuse. I’ve never seen a cow up close, but Tara talks about cows regularly. This is so exciting.  I’m going to hang with actual cows.

Tara and I smoke pot in the back seat and eat a thawed-out frozen pizza that my mom gave me.

“Are you guys smoking dope back there?” Tara’s dad, Rick, asks.

No – oooooooooohhh.” Tara rolls her eyes and takes a bite of cold pizza, pigtails bobbing to and fro.

The highway has opened up to verdant springtime cow pastures and fields. Horses prance around near grain silos. I stare off in the distance, feeling peaceful and rested.

“We used to skip class and pet cows over the fence of my high school,” Tara declares with watery eyes. “There is it!”

“Wow – high school!” I shout, looking at a brick building far away.

Hours turn into minutes, minutes into seconds, as we drive. We tell Rick to drop us off at the Carousel Mall. For a few hours, we waste time at H&M. girbaud It’s early yet – not even noon. We make plans to meet up with Tara’s sister, Taryn, in downtown Syracuse.  The festival has begun.

It’s pouring rain by the time we arrive downtown.  The Metro bus drops us off at a foggy intersection. The rain is  ceaseless, and chilly. Cigarette smoke mixes with the aroma of fast food.  Grim, gray mist hangs in the festival crowd. We head to the tent where Thunderhips is due to perform.

We spot Taryn, 16, in the distance. She’s accompanied by Tara’s old  friend from the neighborhood,  Amanda. Amanda is eighteen, like us. The four of us stand around and chit-chat with classmates.

Twin sisters from school, who comprise their own band, are currently performing. They have a Michelle Branch-derived sound, and get all the attention from guys we know in bands. Not because of their music. Tara and I look at each other and roll our eyes. A skinny, blond guy is standing behind us, staring at us.

“Let’s get lunch,” we say simultaneously.

All the restaurants in the City of Syracuse have set up stands. We arrive at a seafood stand. I  select an unadorned Fresh Scallop Kabob. Suddenly, the same grimy, blond man creeps into our space.

“Hi, Shawn,” Tara says with a roll of her eyes. “Annie, you remember Shawn?”

Actually, I do remember Tara laughing about her ex-coworker, Shawn. Last summer, Tara worked at the neighborhood Subway. She told me that she had a creepy 30-something coworker, Shawn, who was basically a dud of a human.

Shawn opens his mouth but no words come out. There is an intense look in his beady eyes. Tara and I link arms and strut away, kabobs in hand. Taryn and Amanda trail alongside. Shawn follows far, far behind us, trailing us block after block.  The clock strikes 4 p.m – cocktail hour. Tara has read my mind, and finally acknowledges the uncomfortable presence known as Shawn.

“Shawn -” she shouts.  “Shawn, will you make yourself useful and get us  long island iced teas?” guitar Our stroll has brought us to the entrance of place called McMooney’s Tavern. A patio with umbrella-bedecked tables awaits us. McMooney’s is in the central town square. Across from McMooney’s front patio, there is a giant fountain and concrete pavilion. During our walk, the clouds have parted and the sun has emerged. It’s a pleasant 65 degrees.

Tara, Taryn, Amanda and myself plop ourselves down on concrete steps across from McMooney’s. Shawn disappears into the bar, to buy two Long Islands – one for Tara, one for me. I’m in some denim mini dress, precarious wedges, and a giant sweater. We make ourselves comfortable on the concrete steps near the fountain. A long time passes by. The fountain bubbles and foams. Where the fuck is Shawn and our drinks?

Tara and I look up from our conversation, and finally rest our eyes upon Shawn. He is brandishing two frosty Long Islands. He must have been gone a solid 25 minutes.

“Thank you, Shawn, at long await,” I say.

“Thanks, Shawn.” Tara says.

Shawn hands one glass to Tara, and the other to me. I take a refreshing sip of iced tea. A half hour ticks by as we all leisurely chat. We have ostracized Shawn. He is leaning against a wall across the street, far away and alone.  My long island is just about halfway gone when I realize, wow, I’m pretty drunk. I do something that I rarely do, which is set my drink aside. boobs Once I discard my drink, my level of drunkenness continues to increase. I feel  foggy, growing  increasingly hammered by the second.

“Tara, I’m hammered.”

“What?!”

“I’m drunk.”

I realize my speech sounds more like this –

“Kkkpz mofquiasdtpppff blghh.”

My mouth feels like there was novacaine in my cocktail. Tara takes hold of my shoulders, looks me straight in the eye.

“Are you ok?!”

I slump to my right, stick my head in the bushes, and violently puke. So much vomit comes out – it’s an uncontrollable explosion. Was it the scallop kabob?

“I think I was poisoned.”

“What?!”

Yeaymisporfasd mm.”

My speech has apparently become unrecognizable. All attempts at communication are  futile. This must be how the guy in Diving Bell & the Butterfly  felt.

Tara stands up and shouts at the top of her lungs from the concrete steps.

“ANNIE HAS BEEN ROOFIED!”

Sounds of clinking silverware and laughter drift to me from McMooney’s patio. Across the street, no one looks up from their meal. If they did, they would witness a tragi-comedy playing out. I put my hands firmly on either side of my body, as I lay on my side. My body is numb. I am anaesthetized. I lay on Tara’s lap like a helpless child. The world is spinning around me, becoming a haze of green and black. I puke into the bushes again and again.

Slave

As soon as I throw up, I pass out. Totally unconscious. I open my eyes; dusk has fallen on downtown Syracuse.  Tara is petting my head as I rest on her lap.

“It’s going to be ok babygirl, hang in there. Hang in there boo boo!”

She jumps up, and runs to Amanda, telling her to get the car. I swear that I see Shawn creep up next to me and sit down. He starts murmuring in my ear about going to a hotel. My eyes have rolled back in my head. I lean over and throw up on his lap.

“She does not need to go to a hotel!” Tara is running towards Shawn. She punches him in the ear. “You roofied my friends,” Amanda shouts.  “You’re going to go to jail! We know where you live.

“I only put stuff in one of the drinks!” Shawn says, running away.

Amanda and Tara each grab one of my arms, and hoist me up, completely dead weight. They half-carry, half-drag my limp body across the street. We pass a flower shop with a big glowing sunflower in the window. My vision is blurry; I’m seeing triple. They put me into the passenger seat of Amanda’s SUV. We go back to Tara’s house. I fall asleep in her little brother’s bed, and dream about choo-choo trains. In true melodramatic fashion, I’m certain I won’t live through the night.

————————–

Jars

The next morning, I’m choking down dry toast at the kitchen table. Tara and I are getting ready to go down to the Syracuse police station to report Shawn and the Roofie Incident.

We enter the massive, glass-enclosed police building with Rick.  A seven-foot tall, straight-faced cop stares from behind his front desk.

“Can I help you?” His mustache twitches.

“Yes, my friend here was roofied yesterday!” Tara proclaims.

“Yeah, it’s true,” I  say, embarrassed, looking at the ground. “It was this guy Shawn McMann. He lives in the subsidizing housing on Broadway and works at the Subway on McKinley.”

We go into excruciating detail about McMooney’s and the long island iced teas, the Taste of Syracuse and how my limp, lifeless body was carried away.

McMooneys?” The cop says. “McMooney’s makes a strong long island. They’ll knock you out.”

“But you see, sir, I only had half of one, and was definitely throwing up for hours…I bet the drugs are still in my system!”

“If we are to charge this Shawn with anything, we will also have to charge you with underage drinking,” the cop says.

Tara and I look at each other.

What?” Tara shrieks, clutching her hair.

“You know what, I’m not from Syracuse,” I declare. “I’m from Buffalo. So I’m just never coming back to Syracuse again. I don’t feel safe. Thank you and goodbye!” We stomp out of the police station.

Of course, this would not be the last time Johnny Law would deal me a rude hand. It also wouldn’t be the last time we would create mischief in Syracuse.

Fancy