With a mouthful of quesadilla I get an eyeful of a tall, handsome man. He has the tattoos, the haircut, and the glasses I adore. I’m eating a late dinner with my girl Gina, inside an otherwise-empty DBGBs. It’s a freezing Sunday evening. The wind whispers sweet nothings outside, telling us the lie that everything is going to be okay.
“Where are you going now?”
This tattooed homeboy has injected himself into our conversation. His voice is deep, and his hands are large.
“It doesn’t matter,” I down my wine. “You can’t come.”
His blue eyes look hurt, or maybe that’s just the beer. Either way, he follows us down the street, rambling about how much he loves his grandma, his daughter, and his job at UPS. Somewhere along the line, I decide to give this one a chance. He seems really honest.
Rufus – the tattooed homeboy – and I are going to a hip-hop show at The Waiting Room. He’s 27 and 6’ 5’’ and rides around bumping 93.7 WBLK. Where’s he been all my life? We get to the spot and everyone is there – Eugene, Bagel Jesus, everybody. Rufus and I go into a dark corner, where we drink hard cider and Rufus shows me something I’ve never seen before – Mobile Patrol.
“It’s an app for your phone,” Rufus says, passing his iPhone down to me. “You see everyone who’s been arrested, up to the second.”
I scroll through mugshots of locals who got arrested today and read what they got arrested for. It’s pretty fun. You can even look back weeks, months. I’m wondering if Rufus saw me on Mobile Patrol. I reassure myself with a probably not.
I introduce Rufus to some girls I know, who all comment on his large hands and tall stature.
“I also have size 13 feet,” Rufus says. I’m growing increasingly interested in Rufus.
After he replaces my empty cider can with a full one several times, I (once again) toss any first date repression to the dogs. Rufus is a hottie, what can I say.
Rufus just canceled our date to the North Park Theatre. He has to bring his grandma food at the nursing home.
“Don’t worry,” I text. “Some other time! :)”
Two days go by and Rufus doesn’t reschedule our date. He’s either an altruistic grandma’s boy or a douche, I can’t tell. I consult his Facebook status.
“To all the girls out there,” it says, “If you’ve got no job, no car, no goals for the future – keep it moving that way! I’m on some new shit.”
What kind of hoes is Rufus fucking with? I will not be lumped into a blanket statement – which doesn’t even apply. He had his chance to date a girl with “goals for the future” – and tossed it away! I delete him as a friend. A week passes with no word from Rufus.
It’s Saturday, again. I’m at DBGBs with Gina, again. My life is like that infinity symbol. It’s that time of night when no good decisions are made. The correct decision would be to remove your eye makeup and go to bed.
“It’s that guy you’re talking to,” Gina says.
“Whom?!” I narrow my eyes. “I’m not talking to any man.”
“Over there,” she says. “Isn’t it?”
I can’t see who she sees, but I stomp to the opposite side of the room. Sure enough, I’m right in front of Rufus. He gives off a surprised shout, kind of smiles.
“You deleted me as a friend,” Rufus waves his arms in the air. “Why?”
“I didn’t feel like being your friend anymore,” I say. “Your status,” I poke him in the chest. “was dumb.”
“But it wasn’t about you,” Rufus says.
Rufus is hot, what can I say. I give him a big old hug. Not long from now, I’ll be in the passenger seat of Rufus’s black Impala, with one of his sketchy Riverside friends passed out in the back.
“You, um, are definitely the most together out of your friends,” I say. Rufus seems to roll with a tattered, thug-esque clique.
Rufus shouts in his friend’s face until he wakes up and drags himself into his house. The two of us drive to Rufus’s apartment on Tonawanda St. My over-accessorized, leopard pants outfit is going to make for one hell of a morning-after look.
A vintage chain necklace given to me a decade ago, headband from Saks 5th Avenue and ring were left at Rufus’s crib.
“We will do something this weekend, and I’ll give everything to you,” texts Rufus.
Of course, that never happens. Rufus, despite his many charms, just wants to fuck bitches. Nothing wrong with that, but if he is going to disappear, it won’t be with my stuff.
For two weeks, I text Rufus incessantly about meeting up to grab my things, and he always replies. The time never comes, though. Am I overreacting, or is Rufus brushing me off? And why?
“Look, if you lost my jewelry you can tell me,” I say.
“I didn’t, I have it. It’s safe.”
“Can you just mail it to me then?”
A week passes and I’m feeling unadorned. A text asking him to bring my accessories to Spot is ignored.
“Look, if you gave my stuff away…”
“You are acting crazy!” Rufus says.
Am I a demanding, materialistic bitch? Is Rufus a lazy dumbass? This relationship was doomed from the start. I don’t see how he can even still have my stuff at this point. Why does he want me to keep blowing up his phone?
I’m confused. I feel played and robbed. Something just doesn’t seem right. I get stern with Rufus.
“Look, I don’t know who you think you are, but you are definitely an asshole. I’m not a pushover and have no intention of giving up on my shit. Either you mail them, or I’m coming to your place and collecting my things. I can always send someone to get them from you.”
“Oh nooo,” Rufus texts. “Is that a threat? Google my name and see if I’m the one to threaten.”
I Google Rufus. “US Department of Justice – Rufus Press Release” is the first result. It’s from May 2012. “Rufus Dicklebaum, 25, of Amherst, NY, who was convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm, was sentenced to 51 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara,” it reads.
“Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa M. Marangola, who handled the case, stated that in February 2011, the defendant physically assaulted his girlfriend at his Amherst residence and held her captive for several hours before letting her leave. During that time, [Dicklebaum] threatened to kill his girlfriend with a gun. The girlfriend reported the incident to police and the defendant was arrested a few days later….
‘One can only imagine how terrifying it is to be held at gunpoint,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “Where federal statutes provide an effective means by which to punish this sort of despicable behavior, our Office will not hesitate to act.’”
Right, so, why is Rufus out and about? If his prison mug shot didn’t come up too, I’d find it all hard to believe.
The following afternoon, I realize that Rufus is using my jewelry as a pawn to manipulate and control me. Like I am supposed to beg for my own belongings. Right.
And then some jailbird – out early on parole – is going to threaten me?
“This is the last time I’ll be polite,” I text. “If you plan on keeping my stuff, I’m sure stealing girls’ things is a violation of your parole and I’ll ask my lawyer what I should do. I don’t want to talk to you ever again.”
Immediate reply from Rufus. “I’m mailing your stuff right now. Text me your address again. Like now, so I never have to hopefully see you again. It’ll be in the mail today. You are the most difficult woman I’ve ever dealt with.”
Coming from Rufus Dicklebaum, I will take that as a compliment.