Private Magazine

Tag: blue monk

Great Expectations

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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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Asshole in Sheep’s Clothing

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Fresh pieces of a mutilated cat lay along Delaware Avenue.  Its body has been crushed beneath bicycle tires. What was once a cat is now a torn-apart, unrecognizable mess. Stray cats slink up and lick the delicious cat-aver.  Dripping ooze falls from their whiskered lips, as they devour their feline friend. Cat-ibalism.

There’s one glittering blue eyeball here, a pile of white goop there.  Blood red body parts decorate the asphalt. There are other rainbow hues – bright yellow, green, purple – melting in the humidity. There’s a blue jellybean face and white frosting flesh.

The cat cake had been my idea. It seemed like a stroke of genius for Neil’s birthday. He has cats – and it’s no secret that men love cake and pussy.

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WHEN IT ALL BEGAN

Neil and I have been going out and talking on the regs for a few weeks now.

We went to the movies and shared popcorn (Neil ate most of it). He held my hand at the Bisons game, while he took an Instagram of the fireworks. When we went to the Taste of Buffalo and it started to pour, Neil gave me his hat.  Neil’s a nice guy, an interesting guy, and I really like him a lot.

Sure, at times he can be condescending and egotistical. Like that time he said – “What you should know about our friendship, our relationship, is that you can’t get defensive, you just have to listen.” I had poked fun of a drunk college girl who fell in her heels. Her friends stood up in Founding Fathers and shouted, “Melinda!” I’m usually that girl, so it was nice not to be Melinda. I stood up and said “Whoa!” and staggered at Neil. He found it a cold-hearted move…I  was wrong, I should just admit it, I was an asshole for making fun of her. Neil always has to be right. But I really like his beard.

Neil’s birthday is today. For the past few days, Neil’s texts have been spotty/ borderline nonexistent. But, according to my friend Julie – who has known Neil many years – that’s not unusual. “He just gets really into his work,” she texted. “Definitely make the cake. No girl has done anything for him like that before. He’ll love it.”

I have all the cake supplies set up on my kitchen table. It’s noon. I call Neil to wish him a Happy Birthday, and tell him I’m making a gift.  He doesn’t answer. I get a quick text back. “Sorry, can’t talk, I’m picking up produce for a photoshoot.” Neil’s a photographer. “Shit’s hectic.”

“Ok,” I say, “I have something to deliver to you at some point. It’s not done yet.”

“I”ll text you when I’m back in Buffalo,” Neil writes.

So I go about concocting my creation. I separate the cake batter into six bowls. Then I make each one a different color, with those food coloring drops. I pour the colors one on top of the other, in layers, and make two round cakes.  The insides will come out tie-dye. One cake is the cat’s body. The other I cut into the head, ears, and tail. I frost the thing white, and put Funfetti sprinkles on the tail.  I put in sour Jelly Bellys for the eyes, red ones for the nose, and paint on whiskers. Then, in the final step, I write in icing “Happy B Day Neil.”

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I run out on some errands, then go for a walk. Before I know it, it’s 8 p.m. and still no word from Neil. Hmm. My friend Jerome and I are supposed to go to Blue Monk later.  I’m anxious for Neil to be impressed by my culinary artistry. I’m one step away from pastry school in France!

So I text Neil. “Are you done with your tomatoes or nah?”

“Yup,” comes Neil’s reply. “I’m at dinner with friends from out of town.” My eyes narrow – did he not say he would text me? Then Neil says, “I’ l be free in a few.”

An hour passes by. Annoyed, irritated, and dumbfounded, I text Jerome. The cat stares at me mercilessly.

“Come over to my place before Blue Monk,” I say, looking the cat in the eyes. “Looks like we’ll be having cake.”

By eleven, Neil still hasn’t texted me. Jerome just showed up.

“This cake was supposed to be for Neil,” I say pitifully, exhaling marijuana smoke. I wipe the word “Neil” off the cake with a sigh.

“This is one badass cake!” Jerome says. “I’m going to take a photo of it with my camera.” And he does.

“Yeah, thanks Jerome.” I plan on getting drunk on wine ASAP.

I send Neil a photo of the cake with the message “I ate the cake with friends. Happy B Day.”

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We go to Blue Monk and sit in the DJ area. Jerome is taking photos. I plant myself on a stool. My phone dings; it’s Neil.

“I don’t know what you want me to say?” Neil is responding to the cake photo. “We didn’t have plans to hangout today. Thanks for making a cake.”

The ungrateful, selfish, rude things that I’ve heard from people are nothing compared to this moment. As soon as I look at my phone, I want to run away from this scene. Don’t know what you want me to say?

I have some transient promoter from the West Coast jabbering away and repeating everything I say back to me in the form of a question…Dudes staring at their own reflections in their pint glasses of ale….Everyone guy here seems completely enveloped in raging narcissism. It’s like that scene at the end of “American Psycho.” The only emotion I feel is disgust. When “Sue Sue Suidio” comes on, it’s too much to bear. I run out of Blue Monk, and go to the left so no one can see me disappear through the front window.

I trot across the garden path in front of the Unitarian Universalist church, down West Ferry and around the corner, past Canisius High School. This is where it all started with the men in my life, at the Canisius dances. The Canisius men, drunk on Daddy’s scotch, would walk around with raging hormonal boners and come up behind you, as Usher came on. How little they change.

I’m intoxicated and decide to pee in the Canisius flower bed. The sprinklers mist around me, concealing me. Educating men for and with others since 1870.

I pass Brylyn medical facility, and consider going in for the night. We are crazier out here, I think to myself. It could be a fun overnight stay. Maybe I’ll wind up with some meds.  But I venture on and arrive at my apartment. I run upstairs in my platform shoes. There’s one more thing I have to do.

I dig my hand into the cake in one fell swoop and take a giant bite.  It’s delicious. Then, I run down three flights of stairs, carrying the cake pan in front of me. I run to the end of my driveway, grab the cake with my bare hands, and fling it down on the Delaware Avenue pavement. I throw the pan on top of it all and run inside.

My final reply to Neil’s remarks – “Fuck the cake. It’s gone. Was trying to do something nice, and you completely did not care. Just leave me alone.”

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The next morning I wake up, and see that Neil defriended me on Facebook and Instagram. Well that’s mature, I’m thinking, You make someone a cake, and they delete you on Instagram. Only in America.