Private Magazine

Tag: beer

Great Expectations

dead

This weekend, my maniacally reclusive BFF/fellow writer/ex-boyfriend, Eddie, is setting me up on a blind date.

Eddie gets me. We’ve shared many treasured moments. We used to have this thing where we’d get drunk at Hutch’s. We consumed their entire Fall/Winter 2013 cocktail menu. One time Eddie wore overalls there. Not really sure why, but I’m going to let him set me up on a date.

The man Eddie’s setting me up with is Kevin. Kevin’s the brother of a married man I know – one that I would have a scandalous affair with, given the opportunity.  In lieu of that, I guess his brother could suffice. The married guy never sealed the deal.

Eddie told me that Kevin is in desperate need of a woman. He’s allegedly “handsome” and a “talented musician.” Kevin is ten years younger than his married brother, aka in his forties.

Eddie arranged it so I’m supposed to show up at Kevin’s house this Friday night. I just got out of a strenuous three month relationship – it’s time to let my wild side back out.

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Friday rears it’s head, like the Lockness Monster ready to party. I scroll through Kevin’s Facebook photos again. He seems fuckable. I apply scandalous perfume, Elizabeth & James Black, which has a similar effect on men as Calvin Klein Euphoria did in 2009. Men love that shit.

Then I realize something. I can’t show up at Kevin’s empty handed. I mean, I wasn’t planning to get tipsy at a stranger’s house. But bringing a bottle of wine is the polite thing to do. Luckily my favorite store, Liquors, is on the way.

It’s seven on the dot when I pull up to Kevin’s crib. He lives on Englewood. I think this is his house, anyway, or near it at least. It’s hard to see numbers this time of night. A tall, lean-bordering-on-skeletal figure is walking towards me. He’s coming from the driveway next door. Whoever it is, they’re concealed by shadows.

“Hey!” I say. “Kevin? I brought this, um, wine.”

The presence gets closer, until he’s standing next to me. Kevin has skinny legs clad in black denim. Thin, straight locks of hair brush against his sharp jaw. I zoom in on the outline of his lips parting through the night air.

“That’s great,” he says. “Well, let’s go inside”.

Kevin leads the way towards a house that’s kind of Frank-Lloyd-Wright at below-sea-level. He pushes the screen door wide. There are two lit stairways. One is ascending towards light, and the second is basement-bound.

We descend the basement steps. A thin veil of light slowly envelops us. I was told (warned?) by Eddie that Kevin lives in a basement.  It’s ok, though, because he owns the house and rents it out.

The basement is bare, not the cozy Man Cave I was expecting. There’s no couch. It doesn’t smell like weed. There’s not even a poster of Chris Cornell on the wall. My fantasy totally implodes. Kevin awkwardly pats at his midsection, like he’s broken out in a rash. Maybe female DNA hasn’t yet been introduced to this domicile.

There’s a mattress on the floor, computer desk, and tiny makeshift kitchen. Kevin heads towards an open bottle of Barefoot Refresh, sitting on the counter. I hear something…. the flaccid, jingling sounds of a song I haven’t heard since college. It can’t be. Is that the fucking Shins on the stereo?

I’m confused. Eddie told me that Kevin is “aggressive.” But Barefoot Refresh and The Shins are telling me otherwise. I pour myself a glass of the real shit I brought.

“So!” I say, “What did you want to do tonight?”

“Stay here I guess,” Kevin says. He sits at the computer desk. There is a guitar on the floor.

“Hey, play me a song! What kind of music do you like? Wait – is this Elliott Smith?” I pause. “A Fond Farewell” is on.

“Yes, yes it is,” he says.

“I’m a fan,” I say, “Do you think he was murdered?”

“I’m actually very into that idea,” Kevin says. “Yes, yes I do.”

I sit across from him in a shabby chic armchair with a hand-dyed tapestry flung across it. I have to say, Kevin could be sexy. He just needs self confidence. There could be a makeout session on tonight’s horizon. Especially since, let’s be honest, I’ll probably drink all of this wine.

My phone rings. It’s my friend Maurice. He’s a total social butterfly. I’m sure he knows what’s going on tonight.

“Hey, what are you doing?” Maurice says.

“I’m not sure. I’m on this date,” I say, sitting on Kevin’s lap. This surprises him.

“Ya, I’m not sure where I’m going, but I know I will be doing some dancing,” Maurice says, “There is a show at Dreamland, maybe Nietzsche’s.”

I put my hand over the receiver and ask Kevin, “Do you want to go out? To Dreamland?”

“Uh, I’ve never been there. Been wanting to, but haven’t,” he says.

I get back on the line with Maurice, stand up, pace around the basement in my black velour peep-toe pumps with metallic silver heel.

“I’m not sure what we are going to do, but if we venture out, I’ll call you,” I say to Maurice. “Ta-ta.”

Ciao,” says Maurice.

Spinning around, I see Kevin making himself cozy in the chair. I have a feeling we won’t be going out.

“I mean, we don’t have to go out,” I say. “We can watch a movie.”

“Yeah, uh, sure,” Kevin says.

Suddenly, he stands up and just kisses me out of nowhere. With his teeth. It lasts approximately seven seconds. His kissing style could be described as “Iguana-esque.”

“Oh, wow, ok,” I say.

He puts a movie on, “The Machinist” starring Christian Bale. We are watching on his laptop. The last time I watched a movie on a laptop with a guy was in my room at Hendrix Dorm. Who knew I could get nostalgic for my college days while hanging with a middle-aged dude?

Watching the movie is awkward because we are sitting in two different chairs. It’s not cozy. No couch, remember? The credits begin streaming down the laptop screen. I’ve had like four glasses of wine, and decide to teach this guy how to make out. Eddie’s words flash in my mind – “I think you could bring out his aggressive side.”

After forty minutes of intense, one-on-one makeout coaching, I consider him a lost cause, and pass out in his bed.

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The next day, I send Eddie a Facebook message depicting my date. I’ll have to wait another day for his reply, since he’s not back from Portland yet. He was there hanging with one of his Craigslist sugar mommas.

“I really don’t know, I’m confused,” Eddie says.

I tell Eddie about taking my shirt off and passing out in Kevin’s bed. I tell him how Saturday and Sunday have passed, but Kevin hasn’t called me. I tell Eddie that I feel like I’ve made a lackluster impression. But why?

“I was tipsy,” I say, “I couldn’t drive home. But I’m proud of myself for only being mildly-drunk-in-high school slutty. Not full-blown, hit-it-and quit it-on a-first date-slutty. I left him wanting more.”

“Well ok, dear,” Eddie says. “I’m sure you did. I’ll email Kevin and find out what he thought.”

I just have the gut feeling that I scared Kevin away. But how?

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“Kevin told me that he doesn’t want ANY type of relationship at all,” Eddie says. “Not sure what that means. He said you’re pretty and cool, but thought you were going to have sex with him. That’s why he thought you went over there, and why he can’t talk to you anymore.”

“He doesn’t want to talk to me…because I didn’t have sex with him the day I met him?” I say.

“Yeah, I guess so, dear,” Eddie says. “He is a lost cause.”

“Yeah, I’ll say.”

I learned a valuable lesson from my date with Kevin – the answer to the age-old question of “Is there such a thing as hittin’ it too soon”? The answer is yes, obviously, but the conundrum doesn’t end there.

Whatever energy I project to the male species, I yield the equal and opposite reaction.  I wanted a noncommittal makeout session. Kevin seemed like a good possibility for someone I could go out with casually from time to time. Who knew a socially-awkward, romantically-inept basement dweller would diss me? For not having sex with him two hours after meeting him? Maybe humanity really is fucked.

It was silly of me to try and make Kevin a stand-in for his married brother, anyway. Now the married brother probably found out an exaggerated version of the story, and is all jealous and annoyed. But maybe he has no clue. I think I’ll just stick to that pursuit for now.

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Tragic Mike

Men

I’ve taken a new number at the meat market of life. The edges of my soul have hardened, like cheese left in the sun. With that salty taste always deep in my throat, I’m forever thirsting for more.

That’s what I should have expected, after going out with someone I met at The Bend.

————————-

When I came back from Austin, I met some guy at the place formerly known as The Bend. It’s now called “The Exchange.” Honestly, we only went in there to see if it still carried the same seedy ambiance.  Sure enough, my friend Maurice and I found ourselves seated besides two guys in their early thirties. Something in the air between us whispered “I’ve got issues.”

It was early evening – cocktail hour. We’d gone to some old crusty hippie gathering at Nietzsche’s, featuring a crock pot of slop. I met DBGB’s handsome new bartender. Ladies, he has a man bun. Maurice and I were topping off my homecoming with the rest of The Exchange’s wine when I began a questionable flirtation with one of the weirdos there. He had narrow droopy eyes and muscles, which I never really care for. Honestly, I prefer hairy torsos and bellies that double as a comfy pillow when I drink too much. His stance seemed apropos for hanging at Bottom’s Up. His friend’s glasses were clear plastic frames with tinted lenses, which might insinuate he sells coke. But despite all these oddities and incongruities, we exchanged phone numbers, because well, I haven’t written a blog in a while.

Sure enough, my date with Justin proved to be very bloggable indeed.

————————–

Gin

Go figure, Justin’s house is near mine. We meet up at the neighborhood tavern. I’m not super aroused by the sight of Justin, and literally exhale a poignant sigh of despair while getting ready. I just need some writing material. A writer’s life is filled with sacrifice.

Justin’s puffing on a cigarette like it’s 2006 when I drag my lazy ass feet to the door. We sit at a lopsided table with a bucket of ale. Justin’s all about the baseball game on the TV – and is that a tribal tattoo peeking from under his tee shirt? I begin drinking. Justin’s got a serious look on his face. Sure enough, he begins an elaborate story.

“Century Grill never gives me many hours bartending,” he begins. “I used to work way more at Templeton Landing, but after the summer they always get rid of people. So I’m kind of strapped for cash.”

“You just need a side hustle,” I reply. “I’m going to make candles!”

“Well, I used to be a dancer,” Justin continues. “My friend Mike and I, we were strippers. His name’s Mike so we called it Magic Mike’s, showed the movie, and after did our dance performance. We sold tickets and had it at this hotel in Corfu, and later ended up doing a bunch of bachelorette parties.”

“Ok. How innovative.”

“My girlfriend at the time, she didn’t care for it. She was a lawyer and 10 years older than me. She bought me this Cadillac and I was making payments on it and everything, but when she broke up with me she took away the car and now I don’t have one. I had saved up $10,000 but I wasn’t working so that went pretty fast. So I have a rental car, which is expensive.”

“Why not just get a hoopdy for $700?”

“I have credit issues, financial issues. My dad, he’s paralyzed after an accident. I have to go up to the Adirondacks and see him. It’s stressful and hard, but I’m dealing with it.”

“I’m sorry.”

“And also, my other ex girlfriend, I asked her to move in with me, because after a month of seeing her I realized she was living in a grimy basement on the Lower West Side and I felt bad. So she moved in, and one day she got all dolled up for a ‘job interview’ at nighttime, and didn’t return for six hours. She was all glassy eyed when she came back, and turns out she sold her phone for heroin. I forgave her, and a few weeks later she disappeared again and I never saw her since.”

“Since when?”

“January.”

“Ok…”

I feel like Justin just dropped a whole JFK terminal of baggage on my shoulders. So me being a pretty empathetic person, I agree to accompany him to Hardware for his “friend’s birthday celebration.” It’s Monday after all –  it should be a chill, drama-free evening…

————————

Chandelier

I’m texting with my mom while Justin’s outside smoking. She’s asking me all about Justin’s last name, which I’m going to find out asap, since the last guy I met in Allentown turned out to have been in prison for holding his girlfriend hostage at gunpoint.

“Justin what? I’m sure he’s a nice man.”

“No he is BORING *yawn*.”

Justin suddenly shows up and starts reading over my shoulder.

“Justin…?” he says.

“Oh yeah, sorry, my mom, she just likes to find out who I go out with and stuff.”

“My name’s Jason.”

The shards of strength it’s taken to maintain my stoic expression disappear. My mouth slackens; my eyes become a blank stare.

“No, I know, I just told her the other day when I first met you, I must’ve said Justin.”

Jason rolls his eyes but buys me another drink so it seems he’s gotten over the error.

——————————-

Jason is driving me home in the  rental car. I rejoice in the night finally coming to its conclusion. He lives in the hood, not gonna lie, but I agree to check out Jason’s paintings. They’re landscapes and actually pretty good, if the photos of them on his iPhone are any indication. Besides, Jason’s friend, the one with the glasses, has given him some “epic pot” that he says I can try.

We enter Jason’s clean, well-lit dwelling off Genesee. Sure enough, his landscapes glow from the walls in blue and green hues.

“Wow, neato! Loving the colors. They make me happy!”

Jason’s dug out the marijuana, a couple hundred dollars worth in a large Ziploc – quite a bit for someone who by their own admission “rarely smokes.” We sit on the couch. I’m moderately buzzed, not in a bad way, and when Jason begins making out with me I go with it for five minutes or so. A make out session never killed anybody.

I turn away and start puffing away on the weed. When I look back at Jason, he has removed all of his clothes. He stands up and moves toward  me in true male stripper fashion.

“No, wait -” I say. Overwhelmed, I burst into tears. “I don’t want to do anything,” I choke out between sobs.

Jason looks confused and sad, then his expression shifts to annoyance.

“Are you on something?”

“No!”

“Do you have issues, were you raped as a child?”

“What? No!”

“Are you worried I’ll never speak to you again?”

“Definitely not.”

I continue bawling and dry my face on a couch pillow.

“I don’t want to sleep with you. You look like my cousin.”

The cousin thing – which hit me about halfway through the night, a cousin I don’t really like on my mom’s side – pisses Jason right off. He starts pacing around, still naked.

“Your cousin? That’s the most goddamn stupid thing I’ve ever heard.”

“Just take me home!” I shriek, cry some more.

Jason drops me off down the street from my house. I run across the muddy lawn, breathing a sigh of sweet surrender at being home.

 

 

Update: One week later, I was in Rafferty’s (the local tavern that Jason and I went to) with Maurice. A random biker approached us and told me, “The guy you were here with last week is a convicted sex offender.” He found his profile  for me on the U.S. Dept. of Justice Sex Offender Web site. Sure enough, it was really Jason. He date-raped a 19 year old ten years back, when he was 22.

Travis’s Face

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The time is ten years ago. My short-shorts clad self is pedaling frantically on a Huffy. I have gone in pursuit of a cigarette.

The city is looking mildly pleasant today, I think to myself. I’m home for the summer from college, back to my parent’s abode. A hostage situation is going on down the block, and a SWAT team has closed off the street. Mr. Jenkins from the East Side is pushing a pilfered shopping cart full of cans to Consumer’s Beverage. The rattling glass bottles create music in the air, like wind chimes.

And then – I get a whiff of those familiar fumes. Someone is smoking nearby! I ride up to the skinny, 5′ 4” dude in cargo shorts puffing away in front of Consumer’s.

“Hey – can I bum a cigarette?”

“Yeah, sure,” he replies, removing a Marb Light. “I’m Travis.”

We begin to chat. Travis has  half-closed stoner eyes and a receding hairline. His Molson Canadian t-shirt hangs off his scrawny physique. I learn that he is 24 (old enough to buy booze!) and lives nearby (in his own apartment!)

“Do you need a job?” Travis asks, exhaling a final plume. “We’re hiring here.”

Well, yeah, I guess I do…. Just something for the summer until I return to school. But this Travis fellow could just be the cherry on top.

———————————

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I am given a navy blue Consumer’s tee, and a name tag. My boss, Seth, is a 30-something lamebrain who hates black people and girls.  He mostly sits in his office, which overlooks his dominion. When people come in with a rattling cart full of empties, he shouts “fuckin’ scumbags!” and pops in a juicy wad of Skoal.

I’ve come to know the regulars, including Janelle, who lives next door. One time she begged me to blow in the breath allyzer installed in her car, so she could leave for work. She also has Seth and/or Travis deliver Mike’s Hard Lemonade and cigarettes to her house. Travis was gone for an hour one time, and returned saying she “took off all her clothes and started reenacting soap operas.”

That story gives me a mild pang of jealousy. Why doesn’t Travis ever do anything romantic, like take me anywhere to eat? Our after-work  “romance” has consisted of me going to his house to smoke pot and watch Roseanne. Despite my flirtatious efforts and the shortest of shorts, which even made Seth shake his head in dismay, Travis falls flat. He is usually slumped over the counter, chewing on chips.

“So, Travis, what are we doing tonight?” I flutter by, tossing my hair. He looks up – a chip crumb is stuck to his lip.

“Let’s go to Bill’s and play beer pong,” he says.

That has become the plan for tonight.  I’m upstairs in my bedroom getting ready when I hear the familiar sound of Travis’s car. It has a broken muffler or something, and it’s so loud you can hear it coming a mile away.

“Oh, he’s here, your man,” my mom says, rolling her eyes. Travis beeps his horn. My mother always said to never go out with a guy who beeps his horn.”

“Oh, whatever!” I say. “I’ll be back later! Late. So don’t bother waiting up.”

We go to our co-worker Bill’s house. Bill is a decent looking 25-year-old with manners, and I think he has a crush on me. But I’m more interested in Travis, for whatever reason. I’m wearing a shredded-up denim mini skirt and white tank top. Forgot to put a bra on. After a few rounds of beer pong, I’m three sheets to the wind and have tossed all regard for getting home safely to the wayside.

The three of us go sit on Bill’s porch and stare off into the dark night. Travis pops some pills from a prescription bottle. The two of us decide to leave, and go back to Travis’s house, muffler vroooom-ing all the way.

Travis has a pitbull named Max, who starts barking as we creep up to Travis’s second floor apartment. We have to creep, because Travis lives above his mom and her boyfriend. His mom’s boyfriend usually stands in the front yard with no shirt on. He makes me mildly uncomfortable.

“Yay!!!!” I squeal, taking my shirt off and whipping it around my head. “Woo!”

“Calm down…calm down…Daddy’s tired,” Travis mumbles, schlepping across the kitchen floor to his cupboard full of E-Z-Mac.

We both pass out on the couch in the middle of a Cops marathon, and wake up to Seth’s gruff voice on Travis’s answering machine.

“Hey, fucks,” he says. “Ann’s parents are looking for her. So if she’s there, you might want to call them.” Click.

Just then, I hear someone rapping on the front door. Travis jumps up, and peers through the blinds suspiciously. I hear my mom and dad shouting “Annie!” from below.

“Oh God, my fricken parents showed up?” I say.

Travis has decided to hide in the corner, behind a stack of Maxims as tall as him. I slip into my flip-flops, knowing full well that I reek of multiple Labatts.

“They called the cops – they called the cops! They called the cops?” Travis is walking in circles like a maniac. I peer out the window. A police car is parked down the street.

“No, they didn’t, a cop car is just coincidentally parked on your street – there is always a cop parked on your street, hello!”

But I am not getting through to Travis. Does he feel I am deserting him? I don’t want him to dump me… The whole time I’m collecting my belongings, Travis is silent.

Once I get home, I plop my weary body down at the kitchen table with dry toast and a Vitamin Water.

“You don’t even have a bra on!” my mom says. For the first time, I see the time. The clock tells me it’s only 8 a.m.

I finish the toast and go back to bed.

—————————————

The next day at work, Travis gives me shocking news.

“Your dad was here, and he called me a drifter,” Travis says.What the hell is a drifter?”

“Someone who wanders around, aimlessly,” I say.

“Fuck that. Fuck this. I’m moving to Colorado with Max,” he says.

And he did. The next week, he is gone, with cash that he stole from Consumer’s through bottle return fraud. I am completely torn apart inside, tearing up all my issues of Cosmo with the sex tips I’ll no longer need.

“Why???????” I yell. “I cannot go on!”

I’m in my bedroom blaring Britney Spears “Toxic,” drinking a bottle of Steel Reserve. Bill had to get it for me at work. He seemed concerned.

“Life is meaningless!” I say. “Meaningless as fuck.”

I’ve finished all 24 Steely ounces of beer and have moved on to my parent’s boxed merlot. In my frenzy, I consume a giant cup, wishing there was a bottomless fountain of everlasting liquor. Lying face down on my bed, vomit rises up in my throat and I throw up all over my white comforter. It’s nothing but an ocean of red wine all over my white comforter – and I’ll be damned if it didn’t look like Travis’s face.

bret