Private Magazine

Tag: buffalo

Doomed Chemistry

Ever have a crush on someone from afar? Someone you only know a little bit, but they seem like your “type”? Well, I did.

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It’s 10 pm and I’m driving to Murray’s house. Porch lights flick on as I drive down his street. I pull to the curb. It’s still open-window weather, and I overhear men talking in the driveway next to me.

“Donde estan las setas?”

“En mi patio…”

I’ve been here before, once, a while back.  But where the heck is Murray’s house?

“Hey,” I say into my phone. “I’m, like, here I think.” I take a new coconut-scented tree out of my glove compartment and hang it on the mirror.

“Be right out,” Murray says. I hang up the phone.

Fuck! How did I end up on an actual date with Murray? I think, and smile. Soundgarden is on the radio. And this is, like, the perfect song!

Murray is suddenly at my passenger door. I press the unlock button. He climbs in, leans over towards me, and with booze-soaked breath, says, “Hi.”

“Hey, Murray,” I say. “What’s up?”

“Sorry it took me forever,” he says. “Had to shave, you know how that goes.”

“For sure,” I say, eyeing Murray’s pomaded coif. “I mean, kind of.”

“I hope this club is fiery,” he says.

“I’m sure it will be,” I say, cruising down Fillmore towards Kaisertown/Lovejoy. “Of course it will be! Trust me on this one.”

We get to The Body Shop just in time to catch the action: a scrawny mid-age parking attendant in a yellow vest, idly smoking with a girl wearing fishnet thigh-highs and a North Face. I pull into a spot alongside them.

“This isn’t a spot,” the parking attendant says, coming closer. “This is NOT a spot.”

“Um, ok,” I say, putting my key back into the ignition. “I just figured it was, you know, in the middle of the parking lot…”

“You have to move your car.”

“Fine, fine.” I do a U-turn into an empty space in front of an abandoned freight train.

We walk into the club through a carpeted hallway. Murray is G-ed up for the evening: pomaded coif; sawed-off black tee;  jean jacket I would probably rip if I put it on and did a “Size Six in a Little Coat” routine based on Chris Farley;  pins and buttons adorn his lapel;  black jeans that bring to mind the Ginuwine song “In Those Jeans”; and some slick, gentlemanly monk straps. As for me,  I just wore my Playboy tee shirt.

“Next coming to the stage is Cinnamon,” emanates through the illuminated hallway as we enter the club. The interior has a disco vibe. There’s white shag on the floor. Strobe lights flicker around the room. Murray orders some drinks, and we sit on a saggy leather couch. We’re against the back wall, away from everybody else.

“Murray!” I slurp pinot grigio. “Last time I was here, they only played 60’s rock, I swear.” That was Murray’s main reason for coming. As you probably already know, coming here was my idea.

“Yeah, the music selection doesn’t match their brand image,” he says. Murray may have been on the club’s website all afternoon.

“This is Cinnamon’s last song, everybody, so put a dollar in her thong,” says the DJ, who’s standing behind a laptop on the other side of the room. Kid Rock starts blaring through the club, “Bong with the bong and bang ba bang ditty and the shooby and the doody and the nudie and the roodie-

“This is the worst song EVER,” I say, clutching my head. “The DJ last time was better.”  I bust out laughing, scream with delirium, actually, and watch a girl in a Rancid hoodie and G-string walk in and out of the VIP room.

“Are you going to get a lap dance, Murray?” I say. “Wait – where’d all the dancers go?”

Kid Rock’s song ends. I flop backwards on the couch. A waitress arrives; we get another round. A girl with short blonde hair walks onstage. As soon as the Red Hot Chili Peppers start, she removes her mermaid-inspired outfit and starts shimmying around.

“Let’s go smoke,” Murray says. We down what’s left in our glasses and head outside. Murray lights up in front of the handicap-accessible entrance to the right. A bunch of other smokers, including customers, the parking attendant and several dancers, surround us.

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“You can’t smoke over there,” the parking attendant says from the other side of the railing.

“Why not?” Murray says.

“That is the employee-only smoking section.”

“Oh, all right, let’s just go smoke by my car,” I say.

Murray and I walk off towards the abandoned freight train.

“I’m having a really good time,” Murray says. “Are you hungry? Maybe we should go.”

“Yeah, I’m starved,” I say. We zoom off into the night, as it is still young, and decide to go back to Murray’s house.

“I’ll make you a sandwich,” Murray says. I turn down the radio. He’s murmuring out the window. “Sausages…Italian sausage…Peppers…I do this thing with mayonnaise…Sausages from the deli…” Next time I look over, Murray is slumped over, bent-in half pretty much, passed out.

“Murray?” I say. “Um…where do you live?”

I’m driving down Murray’s narrow one-way street again but never figured out where he lives.

“Oh. My. God,” I say. “What am I going to do with Murray, literally?”

I drive around the block a couple times. Murray is still slumped over.

“Um…Murray?”

I turn up the radio a little bit – it’s “Come to My Window” by Melissa Etheridge – and suddenly Murray snaps awake.

“Hot sauce,” he says. “Do you like hot sauce?”

“Oh, wow,” I say. “Do you live at 199?”

“No, 109,” he says. “This is my house right here.”

“I thought you were dead.”

“Sorry, I’m just a little tired,” Murray says. “I’m good now. Come in.”

“Ok.”

Murray exits my car without any difficulty. Once inside his place, Murray puts the aforementioned sausages in a pan, pours two stiff drinks, and lights a cig. We sit at the bar in the middle of his living room, surrounded by ashtrays and vinyl records. Murray swirls his tumbler, takes a hearty sip, swallows, coughs.

“I’m not boyfriend material,” he says.

“Why d’you say that?”

“I’m not over my ex,” he says. “I will never be over her.”

Murray and his ex broke up two years ago.

“Well there’s more than one person for everybody. You’re really gonna throw in the proverbial towel?”

“I won’t ever be through. It fucked me up inside.”

Murray walks across the room and plucks a record from a crate, removes it from the sleeve, and sets it on the record player. Totally obscure sixties rock drifts around the room like a ghost.

“We bought the record together, and I said I hated her for finding this and not me.” Murray sits on the floor and stares at the wall. His dog comes out of nowhere and licks his face. He gulps his drink, inhales his cigarette.

“Gee, um…” I say. The bear trap around my heart tightens; I look left, and then right.

“That girl was my only chance for love,” Murray says. “Now I’m doomed.” He repositions the needle on the record and the song starts over. I sit in silence for a few seconds, then take one last bite of my sandwich.

“That was a really great sandwich,” I say. “But I really should be going.”

The sixties song, the ghost of the girlfriend from the past, still drifts around the room as I pick up my purse and walk towards the door. Murray walks with me outside to my car. At this point, his pomaded coif is totally fucked up.  Another cig dangles from his mouth.

“I had a nice time tonight,” he says.

“Me too, Murray.”

During the drive home, I realize Murray’s behavior, which many might consider unbecoming, proved one thing. He’s definitely my type.

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Memories of Last Weekend

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I’m a nymphomaniac courtesan at Motel 6 on Niagara Falls Boulevard making predictions about love. There’s no better place to write about romance than a seedy motel. It’s where you can spark up some pcp, listen to the night’s heavy breathing, dip into the ink and sink into your thoughts. My adventures in the name of love are hot, but extinguish rapidly. It’s a tough gig, being a romance columnist, but I’m opening my diary to you.

My weekend began with a call from Mick, my jealous friend/sugar daddy. We went to Mickey Rats, the watering hole for the overtan and over-50.  I picked him up, since his car’s AC is broken, but I didn’t mind. I spread my NY Times and Lacoste towels on the sand. Mick returned with a pinot grigio in one hand and what turned out to be his fourth scotch in the other.

“I can’t listen to you go on about Jerome,” Mick said. “You have been talking about him all day.”

“We went out for drinks,” I said. “What’s the ordeal?”

Mick’s face turned red. He said he was moving on with another woman. Ok fine, I said. What did I care? I’ve told him numerous times that this wasn’t going anywhere.

“I need someone who is serious,” he said.

I started crying, then whacked Mick over the head with an empty Styrofoam container from Hot Mama’s Canteen. He charged at me like the tragic lead in a Shakespearean play.  I splashed my entire pinot grigio across his face and power-walked away.

“Leave me alone,” I said. “Leave me alone!”

“I can get home on my own,” Mick’s voice echoed behind me. “I don’t need you. Go blow Jerome!”

I left Mick on the beach. He had to pay $200 for a cab back to Lancaster. When I got home, I sought refuge in the form of an older man’s sympathetic ear. Call it what you will, daddy issues maybe, but I called “Esquire” – a married, way-too-old for me man. I was baked from the beach, in more ways than one.

“Meet me at Bennigan’s in 30 minutes,” he said. “I’m not in driving form.”

Even though Esquire is by most accounts a professional man, whenever I hang with him he’s drunk and kind of smelly. I can’t really explain my desire. Is there ever an explanation for matters of the heart? I found Esquire lurking outside Bennigan’s in a deteriorating flannel.

“Bennigan’’s is closed. It’s closed, man,” he said.

“Hmm. I know a place.”

We drove a half mile to a dive on my side of the tracks, which means patrons knock each other over the head with pool cues and play “Stan”-era Eminem. We had one drink then got cozy in my car.

“My dick doesn’t work,” Esquire said dismally.

“Can’t you score Viagra at Chophouse?”

“That’s not the point. I’m married. And old. How old are you, anyway?”

“28.”

“And I’m married,” Esquire continued. “But I…love you. I do.”

What happens in my Pontiac stays in my Pontiac, where Esquire and I are concerned.  I dropped him off at the corner of his street.

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The next day I found NY Times and Lacoste towels folded neatly on my porch. I had all these emails from Mick, since I blocked his number.  But I had zero time to deal with him. That day, I was to have a “normal” date with a hopefully “normal” man. Actually, JJ was probably just my thirtysomething flavor of the week. Even though all he talked about was baby mama drama and the diamonds he’s got on layaway, I thought maybe – just maybe – he was worth a shot.

I met him last summer, when I was office assistant at an auto garage. My job was to literally buy Busch Light at the gas station on Military. JJ does body work. I liked his glasses.

The plan was to hit the beach – a different beach. I drove, since JJ’s license was revoked. Fist pumping techno boomed from the beach club.

“If we go in there, I’d come out in handcuffs,” JJ said as we walked by. “I hate guido fucking douchebags.”

“We can, um, avoid that,” I said.

We settled beneath an umbrella at Cabana Jims. I slurped a marg on the rocks. JJ threw back ten shots of “Jamo”.  After this booze smorgasbord, our food arrived. The waitress placed my cobb salad and JJ’s dinner of choice – a $15 girlie drink served in a giant coconut – on the table.

“Damn,” I said, eyeing the coconut, which bore some kind of tiki smile face expression.

After the beach, as the sun went down, we walked around the Japanese Garden. I decided I’d make out with JJ, then call it quits. We weren’t a match. He seemed like a hot mess.

“Why don’t we make out on this log?” I said, taking JJ’s hand.

“Make out?” JJ drawled in a drunken stupor. “That reminds me of fourth grade.”

I stared at JJ through the leaves. He was wearing patriotic shorts. Ugh.

“Look, look, I’ll just walk home,” JJ said, wandering away. “There’s like, moms and kids over there.”

“What?” I said. “So?” I guess JJ wasn’t an exhibitionist like me.

“I’m going to go blow some lines,” he said. “Peace out.”

I went back to the Pontiac, cackling like a witch, relieved to be rid of JJ. The truth is that a writer sleeps alone.

Working the Corner in Niagara Falls

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It’s 11:40 a.m. and four old men are collected, like a clump of fungus, in the parking lot of the corner 7-11. They hold 40 oz. Ballentine’s Ales in dirty, gloved grips and discuss an impending “disability check.” When I walk by, coughs and groans bubble from their raspy throats. It’s been a long time since these men have uttered sounds of passion – for life or for anything which life has to offer. Theirs is the blissed-out fog of the forgotten.

It’s 12:01 p.m. and Jennifer and I are opening the Niagara Falls watering hole to the morning crowd. Come to find out, there is a “morning crowd” and by all appearances, they are ready to get their groove on. A flanneled gentleman known as “Skip” drags his body through the entrance in clunky, steel-toe boots. Clomp. Clomp. Clomp. His lips open slightly into a preposterous grin. I notice one of his front teeth is missing. Gone. This is my third day working here, at this landfill of a bar known only as “The Third Hole.” Skip’s been here every single time. I’m sure all the times that I haven’t been here, Skip has been here, and he will be here in the days after I’m gone.

It’s 12:30 p.m  and every bar stool is occupied by a member of the male gender. Coolers are stocked with domestic bottles plus cans of Schmidt’s and Stroh’s. First in line down the L-shaped bar is Ricky, a walking type-2 diabetes, high-blood pressure situation. Despite being a ticking time bomb, Ricky requires three ever-present beverages in front of him – double well vodka and water; tumbler of Mohawk blackberry brandy; and a plastic cup of ice. If any of these get low, you will endure wails of exasperation. Next to him sits Canadian Stu in a half-unbuttoned dress shirt. The level of his Molson doesn’t currently require attention. Then there’s Chester, the most elderly of the bunch, slurpin’ a Schmidt’s along with what’s apparently known as a “Polish Bloody Mary” – a shot of vodka with tomato juice on the side.

“Does anyone want a shot of Patron?” I ask. “Does anyone want to try something new?”

Nothing new is ever on the menu inside “The Third Hole.” Everyone here sticks to a daily routine. Ricky grunts, scratches his stomach. This city, and many of its inhabitants, appear to be lost in the sauce.  An angry-looking fortysomething in a baseball hat glares at me from the end of the bar.

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“Can I get you another?” I say, removing his empty bottle. “Bud Light?”

I bring a fresh beer to this bozo but he’s still glaring and not saying a word.

“$2.25,” I say. His eyes pierce through mine. “I said, $2.25!” An utterly-futile staring contest continues for a few seconds, until I’ve had enough.

“The dude at the end of the bar is giving me a hard time,” I say to Jennifer. “He won’t give me the damn $2.25!”

“Oh, he has a tab,” she says. “He didn’t tell you?”

I run to the side of the bar featuring Canadian Stu, who is pretty chill. He’s been knocking back shots of Old Grandad. A biker with glasses declares he wants to buy everyone a round. I place plastic shot cups in front of every man – currency for their next libation. All the drunks are stacked up with shot cups, guaranteeing many rounds to come.

Sometime around 1 p.m., two younger guys walk in. They are probably around 30 and look tired. Sliding onto bar stools, they casually look around and wave to Jennifer. She already knows what they want – a couple Heinekens.

“I haven’t seen you before,” I say to the one with brown, spiky hair who looks like a cross between Shia LeBoeuf and John Belushi. “What do you guys do?”

“We work at the casino,” he says.

“What’s your name?” I ask.

“Scotty.”

“What do you guys do at the casino?”

“We’re pit bosses,” Scotty says. “We sit at the card games and make sure nobody cheats.”

“That’s hot,” I say. “Really hot. Like Rounders starring Matt Damon. You are Edward Norton.”

He doesn’t seem amused. Scotty and his homeboy take their beers to a corner table and start dealing out cards.

“I thought we’d have a shot of Patron?” I say as they’re walking away. Ricky, et. al. start hollering for beer while I’m staring into space.

“Hey, we’re waiting here,” he bellows. A rough-looking Falls chick in a Luke Bryan tee is also vowing for my attention.

“God, thank you,” she says sarcastically. I hand her a basic bottle of Budweiser.

A handsome professional is in the seat where Scotty was. His hair is black with a few grays. He’s mellowing out and doesn’t seem in a rush.

“How about that shot of Patron?” he says.

“I thought you’d never ask,” I say.

The mysterious professional and I stare into one another’s eyes. We sip Patron until he gives me $5 and continues on his way. Ricky, et. al. start hollering for beer again.

“Hey!” Scotty shouts. “Over here!”

“I’m almost done with my shift,” I say. “I’ll come hang with you in a bit, Scotty.”

“No, we need beer,” he says.

The afternoon drags on….

“Barmaid, barmaid,” shouts Chester while rattling his empty Schmidt’s.

Around 6 p.m, Scotty’s girlfriend shows up. Great, I’m thinking. Just what I need. She starts giving me the stink eye. I didn’t realize this place would bring more enemies than friends. It can be hostile when you’re not a Falls chick. If I’m ever found in a barrel at the foot of the Falls, now you know why.

I pop open bottles with a flick of the wrist. I’m not talking as much, lest the drunks get annoyed I take too long delivering their fix. Led Zeppelin drifts around the smelly bar like a missing cat. A sliver of sun manages to cut through the grimy windows. It’s a depressing scene.

These are the men who have washed ashore. The ones society forgot.  Sweat-soaked alcoholics and veterans and lonely widowers, the incapacitated and disabled, the racists and homophobes and misogynists, all paying for beer with plastic cups and loose change. An empty beer with a shot cup over it signifies that person wants another. It’s a secret language spoken by the braindead and the downtrodden. I decide to ride the wave back home, back to Erie County, forever.

Valentine’s Day: What’s Love Got to Do With It?

February is said to be the most romantic month of the year.  It’s a time to bask in a sea of sexuality without shame. We spend weeks, sometimes months out of the year, shooting Cupid’s arrows at the objects of our affection. Valentine’s Day should be for reaping the benefits of these efforts. But this isn’t a perfect world. The laws of physics tell us each action brings with it an equal and opposite reaction. Sometimes you wind up shooting yourself in the face.  Your intentions (or theirs) fall flat. You can wind up Facebook blocked before you know each other’s middle names. Maybe it’s a Millennial thing.

All I know is men are full of surprises. If the past month is any indication, romance occurs at unexpected times.

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Sleep-Humped in Seattle

Jo Jo, Eleanor, and I met up at Gramma Mora’s expecting a girl’s night. It was getting off to a great start. The bartender was one of our co-worker’s nephews, and he presented us with a round of complimentary margaritas. We sipped them gratefully, and started to let our hair down. We began to divulge our innermost thoughts.  That’s right about when Jo-Jo’s boyfriend Manny and his friend Jerome showed up.

I met Jerome last summer, when we all went to the beach. His pot brownies caused a grown man to call an ambulance on himself (he was fine). But other than that, Jerome didn’t stand out much to me. Throughout dinner at Gramma Mora’s, Jerome and Manny kept going to the bathroom together. Whether it was a bromance thing, or a “blow-mance” thing, we couldn’t tell.

After dinner, we went to Gecko’s. The bar had 90s techno music blaring and strobe lights flashing.  DJ X-Treme was behind a table in the center of the room. We waited for the dart board to vacate, but it never did. So Jo Jo, Eleanor and I went to Sidebar. Our male escorts disappeared around the corner to “let Jerome’s dogs out” and were gone 25 minutes.  Us three girls drank cosmos at the bar.

“Do you need a drink?” Jerome asked upon his return. Behind him, Eleanor was giving me a knowing look.

“Sure, thanks,” I said.

We had been discussing whether or not Jerome has a girlfriend. Jo Jo wasn’t sure. Apparently he’s enmeshed in an “on again/off again” situation. But Jerome ordered me a glass of wine and we all went to play shuffleboard. Jerome was my partner. We lost.

I went off to the ladies room. Jerome’s bald head suddenly poked into the bathroom while I was at the sink. “Do you party?” he said.

“Um, come in,” I said.

I won’t go into excruciating detail, but Jerome and I kissed in the bathroom. I don’t tend to go for baldies, but when you are presented with an opportunity you just have to take it.

Jerome pranced out of the bathroom with an energetic strut. I put on lipstick. After finishing up at Sidebar, we all went back to Jerome’s crib.

“Listen, Jerome,” I said. “I’m just going to sleep on your couch. Can I?” I was cuddling up to Jerome’s bassett hound.

“Sure,” Jerome said, with a twinkle in his eye.

Jo Jo, Manny, and Eleanor left right around that time. I noticed a deck of cards on the coffee table, and proposed a game of strip rummy (a retirement home favorite). Jerome totally lost by quite a few articles of clothing, but didn’t seem to mind sitting there naked. It’s not like I was going to touch his ding-a-ling. I have a blasé attitude about that kind of thing. (See: Dicks, Diners, and Drives).

My phone told me it was after 3 a.m. so I seized an afghan, laid down on the couch, and closed my eyes.

“I guess it’s time to turn in for the night,” I said.

“I’ve got a couple people coming over,” Jerome stated.

“But, who?” I said, opening one eye.

“Pauly and Stan, from Tonawanda,” Jerome said. “They should be here in a few minutes.”

“Oh, all right,” I said. “I’ll just snooze in your room.”

Jerome was pacing around, smoking cigarettes into the early morning hours. I know this because around 7 a.m. I was awoken by someone humping me from behind.

“Um, Jerome?” I opened one eye. “I’m, like, asleep.” For some reason, I had no sexual desire for Jerome and was completely unapologetic about it. I mean,  what did I really know about him, anyway?

“I can drive you home now if you want,” he said.

“Jerome,” I sat up in bed. “My car is on Hertel and it’s the crack of dawn.”

Jerome continued to pace the room, smoking cigarettes and grinding his teeth as the sun rose over Hertel Avenue. I literally left him high and dry and didn’t feel bad about it.  Of course, that was the last time I heard from Jerome.

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Poetic Justice

A couple weeks after the Jerome situation, I met Pete in a way described in countless paperbacks, “Out of nowhere, we locked eyes while waiting for our drinks at a local café, and fell in love.”

Actually, I didn’t know if the scheduled hangout session which followed was even a date. It was a coffee date. On a Monday.  I hadn’t been on a coffee date in a really long time. Aren’t coffee dates strictly reserved for side chicks and people you meet online? A coffee date on a Monday struck me as lame. But since this was a first date with a new man (someone I met in a hipster café, after all), I gave it the benefit of the doubt.

I got to Public Espresso in the Hotel Lafayette and spotted Pete from behind. He was waiting in line wearing a salmon hoodie. I chalked this up to, undeniably, Pete must have a big dick. Who else would wear a salmon hoodie on a first date? I guess Pete doesn’t have to compensate.

What followed was par for the coffee-date-on-a-Monday course: Pete interviewing me about my life, and me asking the requisite follow-up questions. After I told him about writing for Hustler and frequenting Video Liquidators, Pete suggested we take our ‘date’ to Acropolis for a half-off bottle of wine.

We drank wine, and Pete bought me dinner. So this was a date, then? I still couldn’t tell, until Pete walked with me down the street and kissed me goodbye.

The next day, I called Pete and invited him to take a walk with me. He met me at the park. We strolled for an hour. Suddenly, Pete said he had to go to work. He absconded back to his car on the other side of the park. There was no kiss that day. I wasn’t sure what to make of the Pete situation. We made tentative plans for Saturday. I decided to see what happened naturally.

Pete didn’t talk to me the entire rest of the week. He cancelled our tentative plan at 8:30 am on Saturday, via some way-rehearsed text. All I said was “K”. He didn’t reply. I blocked him on Facebook, because I found his behavior rude. That was the last time I heard from Pete.

What’s Love Got to Do With It??

Today, for Valentine’s Day, I’m going out with a man who constantly confesses his love for me. I tell him all the time he’s just a friend, and that I won’t put up with him getting over-emotional and attached. Still, he takes me to dinner and the movies. We even might go to Puerto Rico. Why the hell not? I guess it’s a pretty good situation.

There is a new man on the horizon. There is romantic potential there. I have a new bartending job in Niagara Falls, NY and that place is crawling with men. I’m able to get my flirt on. A tatted up muscular guy wants to take me for a ride on his motorcycle. And why the hell not? I’m back in the game. I’m not really much of a gambler, but this year I am taking a chance on true love and betting against the odds that I find a loveable man. It is time for me to move to Round Two.

Pleading Guilty To Love

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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.

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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.

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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?”

“Ya.”

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.

The Silver Fox

ricks
I have a silver-haired suitor named Mick. He’s a fortysomething banker who proudly goes commando.

As Sunday morning turns into afternoon, light fog permeates the air. A misty gray sky hangs above downtown. It’s calm after last night’s drinking crowd. Mick is driving me around in his ‘01 Beamer, six-foot-two frame squished behind the wheel. He stickshifts around the Harbor Center, taking a meandering route to nowhere in particular.

We check out construction on the new ice rink, killing time before an afternoon Christmas party. This mysterious soiree – hosted by a priest – will contain local politicians. Or so I’m told by Mick. My hunger for adventure made me accept his invitation, which came along at just the right time. I’m going through a Jon Stewart phase.

“Thanks for the wine,” I say. Beringer Estates white zinfandel sits in a little wicker basket.

“I need that basket back though,” Mick says. He lets out a chuckle, peering at me sideways with crystal blue eyes.

This is the first time I’ve gone anywhere with Mick. I definitely didn’t expect a gift. We relax at the Main and Chippewa intersection. All is still. The street, vacant. As the light changes from red to green, Mick shifts the car into gear.

Instead of moving, the turn-of-the-century BMW just absently rolls forward and stalls out.

“There’s something wrong with my car,” Mick says, turning off the ignition and turning it back on again. The car does the exact same thing – nothing.

“This has never happened before,” he says. “Oh my God why is this happening?”

“Maybe you should take the keys out and let it rest,” I say, putting my hand on his thigh.

Mick swiftly exits the car and starts pushing.

“Do you want me to help? I really don’t mind.”

“No, absolutely not. It’s fine!”

Mick steers the car towards a parking lot 30 feet away. A random pedestrian in prison orange appears out of nowhere, and helps him push. I feel like Cleopatra being carried by two male attendants. We make it to the parking lot and I get out of the car.

The random pedestrian asks Mick for money.

“What? No! Get out of here!”

I’m shocked Mick doesn’t toss him a couple bucks, but then again, I don’t either.

“Whenever someone’s car dies, there’s always that random helper nearby, and they always ask for money. It’s a known hustle,” I say.

“That was the same guy?! I was too shaken up to notice.”

We are in a parking lot right by The Lodge. We go there to figure shit out. I left my car on Elmwood and Auburn. The party is around Nottingham Terrace/Parkside, at Father John’s crib.

We take a seat at the bar.

“Look, I have AAA,” I say. Mick orders a martini, straight up. He’s visibly frazzled.

“It’s going to be ok,” I reassure. “The party doesn’t start for like, two hours.”

Mick emits a deep exhale. “You’re sweet.”

The two of us hang out for a while, eventually abandoning the car. AAA would only tow it five miles with the policy I have, and what good would that do? We take a taxi to my car and head to the party.

uncork
At the party, the cozy kitchen is stuffed with middle-aged couples. A long table is lavishly spread with various canapes and hors d’oeuvres. The host, Father John, emerges from the crowd in a nubby Christmas tree sweater.

“Hello, very good to see you Mick,” Father John says, giving Mick a long, hard embrace.

Mick introduces me to Father John, who extends a polite handshake. The two of us head to the open bar. A couple older bartenders are mixing drinks in Father John’s cleared-out living room.

Mick and I stand against the wall, close together.

“Father John is in love with me,” Mick says.

“Oh come on,” I say, “In love?” I look over my shoulder. Father John is staring at us from across the room, with a twinkle in his eye.

Guests gradually fill up the kitchen, living and dining rooms. A state Senator who I spot around town all the time shows up. Mick points out another Senator rocking a hideous royal blue fleece in the kitchen. I force my tipsy self to not ask him questions about his latest controversy. They aren’t as attractive as Mick, anyway, and not just because they’re both Republican.

Mick and I make a few more trips to the bar. The martinis and wine are flowing. A carving station opens up, offering turkey and succulent roast beef sandwiches.

After we chow down, I lead Mick down a random carpeted hallway. We find an empty den with bowls of chips everywhere.

“Ugh, finally – we’re alone,” I lean into Mick.

“You are gorgeous and young,” Mick says. “Everyone here is looking at you.”

“No they’re not. I haven’t noticed, anyway.”

We sit down on the futon.

“How could you not have noticed?”

I want to make out with Mick badly, but go figure – the damn door is clear glass. Not exactly the privacy I had in mind. Suddenly, a goofy-looking short guy with a crooked tie enters the room. He slumps in an armchair with a beer.

“Hey, I’m Jack. Sorry – mind if I sit in here? You weren’t trying to have a private moment – were you?”

Mick and I look at each other.

“Uh, it’s fine,” I say.

Jack starts carrying on about his public speaking job with the county.

“Oh you know, I give tours. Looking to retire soon. It’s been very rewarding….”

He carries on and on and neither Mick nor I say much in response. I’m waiting for this Jack creature to vamoose but then…a fiftysomething woman in one inch heels and candy cane socks comes in!

“Oh, this is my wife,” Jack says, rolling his eyes. Jack’s wife sits on the other side of the room. She looks tired and bored. Jack keeps talking about his job while his wife just sits there looking miserable.

After 25 minutes or so, Jack and his wife leave. Mick and I emerge, going back into the soiree. Father John rushes towards us.

“We’re gonna get going,” Mick tells him.

“Oh, Mick, so good seeing you. Merry Christmas.”
We go off into the night, stopping to make out in the Historical Society parking lot.

Later, I fall asleep while reading a text from Mick.

“See – listen to this. I told you Father John has a crush on me. He sent me an email saying he wishes I slept over and that he loves me! And that asshole Jack. I should have told him to give us some fucking privacy! They are so fucking nosy! And then his wife walks in. I should have told them to go away. You are beautiful and amazing. Let’s go to Rick’s on Main next weekend. Good night.”

Dicks, Diners, and Drives

Diag

Part One

My phone is ringing. It’s 2 a.m. and no surprise – it’s Dan.

I hear static…drunken shouting… and then…. Dan’s voice breaks through, but sounds like it’s coming from miles away.

“HELLO YES -” Dan yells, “HELLO.”

I’m laying in bed, picturing Dan.  He’s holding his phone out in front of him like a walkie-talkie, outside the 33 Speakeasy. His polar fleece is bunched up around his hairy stomach, and his pants? They are no doubt falling down, due to his open fly. He trots away to catch a taxi. I see him, in my mind, trying to light a bowl of weed while running, which undoubtedly leads to him setting his beard on fire…

“YES HELLO -” he continues. “HELLO.”

Now, I don’t always answer the phone at 2 a.m. But when I do, I just so happen to be in a good mood.

DISCLAIMER:  Dan previously assured me that when he calls in the middle of the night, it’s not a booty call. It’s because his workday is from 8 p.m to 5 a.m. To him, calling at 2 a.m is his equivalent of my 2 p.m. So, if he calls and asks to hang at 5 a.m? It’s not a booty call!

“I AM IN A CAB,” Dan shouts, “ I AM ALMOST TO YOUR HOUSE NOW.”

Dan barges through my front door, and the stench of alcohol slaps me awake like a frozen seabass. The room becomes encapsulated in an alcohol-sweat cloud.

He collapses into my armchair, holding a practically-empty bottle of Labatt Blue.

“HELLO,” he says, with a bag of weed balancing on his chest. “WHAT’S NEW.”

The two of us stay up for an hour talking and drinking tea. Suddenly, Dan decides to climb the ladder to my loft bed and pass out with his clothes on. I didn’t want to sleep up there next to him, anyway. The putrid, alcoholic-sweat scent was a major turnoff.

I end up sleeping on the floor.

——————

In the a.m, I put on dance music.

“Come on, wake up, we gotta get coffee before work!”  I say.

Dan raises his body slowly, and opens his eyes as fast as a sloth on ketamine. He stares out  blankly and distantly into the abyss.

“…All right,” Dan says.

We get breakfast at Spot. Dan pays, so I consider this a date. (The actual “dates” in this world are few and far between). Then, Dan needs to get back to his car, which he abandoned at Gordy’s Tavern. I make Dan drive us to Gordy’s, on the outskirts of the Cheektowaga/Amherst line,  in my car.

While cruising down the 33, I ask Dan if he has ever engaged in road-head. (I’m not sure why).

“Why, ah, no.”  Dan furrows his eyebrows.

“Oh, yeah, I did that before,” I say, absently. “Back in the day when I was in a monogamous relationship.”

After a minute of staring out the window, I look over. Dan has his penis completely exposed.

“You moron! I didn’t mean today,” I shout. “I’m already on thin ice with the B.P.D, I do not need a ticket for performing fellatio on a highway.”

I grab a bed sheet from my backseat (from the beach), and toss it over his lap.

We arrive at Gordy’s Tavern. I give Dan a half-hearted smooch in front, like the ridiculous Cheektowaga person that I am.

Is it weird that I consider Dan one of my best friends?

————-

Dad

Part Two

Nothing quickens a man’s pulse like being ignored. At least, that was the case with Eugene.

Back in the spring, it seemed as though our passionate fling would go on forever. It seemed as though the drunken, hedonistic evenings would never end. Actually, we only went out two, maybe three, times. But what can I say? Eugene has that je ne sais quoi.

However, that je ne sais quoi is also pourquoi I decided to cut him loose. Months ago, I grabbed Eugene by his tatted-up arms and placed him in the friend zone. Despite haphazard texts from Eugene, my desire to be more-than-friends with him is suppressed. I just don’t pay him that much attention.

Imagine my surprise to get a text from Eugene while I was gone for the weekend. He was all worried that I moved to NYC. We made plans to meet for coffee upon my return. Apparently Eugene wanted to discuss a “humorous situation” which happened to him “earlier in the week.”

I get to Romeo & Juliet’s as the clock strikes three. The place is closed. “Will re-open Wednesday,” declares a note on the door. I look at my phone, and read a text from Eugene. “R&J’s is closed,” it says. “Meet me at my house.” I drive a very short distance to Eugene’s home.

It’s always really welcoming, going to Eugene’s. I unlatch  the chain link gate and walk right in. Romulus starts barking at me. Eugene rushes downstairs in navy sweatpants, applying citrus-infused wax to the tips of his mustache.

“I was planting garlic, then went for a jog,” he says. “Had to take a shower.”

He follows me into the kitchen and turns on the espresso machine. I turn around. We’re sandwiched in the breakfast nook, facing each other awkwardly.

“So, hi,” Eugene leans in, and inches towards my face with his lips. I back away with a quizzical expression and go sit in a chair.

“So, what’s new?” He asks, sitting across from me.

We catch up. Eugene talks about the kayak expedition he just took down the Mississippi River. I feel kind of awkward. What the heck is up with Eugene,  anyway?

“Let’s go upstairs, listen to some music,” I say.

We go up to the den. Since the last time I was here, the leather lounge chair moved from the room on the right to the room on the left. It’s those subtle changes that remind you time has passed. We go to the room on the left, and I recline on the chair.

Eugene decides to perform a series of yoga stretches.

“I’ve just – become – so – flexible lately,” Eugenes says with a leg behind his head.

“Uh, yeah…” I pick a book from his shelf. It’s called “Sexual Styles” and I start to flip through it very intently.

“I love this book!” I say, focused upon the Table of Contents. “According to this, I’m a Histrionic Lover.”

“Me too.”

I look up after a few seconds. Eugene has both of his hands down the front of his sweatpants. He tugs out the elastic band and pulls them down completely. I look down at “Sexual Styles” unaffected. What the heck is up with Eugene anyway?

“Let’s go for a walk,” I say. “To the bodega or something.”

It’s during the walk that I realize – I am totally desensitized to dicks.

What this all proves is that A) Eugene invented the Pre-Planned, Stone-Cold Sober-in the-Middle of the Day-Booty Call, and B) When men can’t expose what’s really on their minds, they expose their dicks.

Asshole in Sheep’s Clothing

catbook

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.

catcake2.jpg

——————————–

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.”

catcake

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.”

—————————————————

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.”

catsign

———————————————————

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.

The Craigslist Orgy

mustashe “Didn’t you write about Video Liquidators?”

I look up from my wine glass, eyes landing on a mustachioed guy I sort-of know. It’s 10 p.m. at The Gypsy Parlor, and a hip-hop show is going on.

“Yeah, I did. You read it?”

“I was deeply moved by the article,” this mustached guy, whose name is Eugene, says.

The comments to “Movie Date at the Video Liquidators Theater” have been pouring in. I love it, readers – thank you! “Joe”s confession that he’s “been there alone a few times” moved me… as did his invitation to a potential orgy. I’m sorry I couldn’t come, Joe! (That’s what she said).  It has found readers in Brazil, Australia, Germany… and other awesome countries! I wish “Tom” luck with taking his girlfriend there for the first time. How did it go?

“Oh, ok.” I say, surprised.

“I feel that I am your soulmate to accompany you on your next journalistic expedition.”

“Sure!”

Eugene wanders away and begins pumping his fists to the emcee on stage. He looks attractive.

——————————–

It’s the following Saturday. Eugene and I are drinking wine in Delaware Park. It’s pouring rain.  We each have our own bottle in a brown paper bag.

“So I was thinking we could pretend to be swingers and infiltrate the Buffalo Swingers Scene,” I say. “It would be an undercover investigation.” I take a swig of my Drama Queen Pinot Grigio from Gates Circle Liquor. “I’m talking with an editor who is potentially interested in the idea.”

“Great, awesome!” Eugene raises his brown paper beverage to the rainy sky – an offering to the gods. “Yes, there’s definitely a Buffalo Swingers Scene. I’ve been to a few things.”

Things…?” I ask. But then I decide not to ask too many questions. I kind of have a crush on Eugene. “Yeah, swingers… cool!”

“I can be your research assistant,” Eugene says.  

We are steadily sipping our vino beneath the Casino in Delaware Park, wandering around aimlessly whenever the rain lets up. Eugene strokes his mustache, as rainwater patters down on his arm tattoos, making them glisten.

I slow down to a halt. Screeeeeeeeeech. I do not want to imbibe all of this wine and do stupid things that I’ll later regret. But do I ever regret anything,  I’m thinking to myself? Suddenly, Eugene’s voice breaks my meditative cloud, my foggy wine haze.

“Let’s go to the Video Liquidators Theater!” Eugene yells. It echoes.

“Oh, I was just there,” I say, exasperated. Did I really just say that?  “Yeah, I mean, why not? It could be interesting…But we’ll have to sneak this wine in.”

I look at my miniscule metallic evening clutch. There’s no fitting wine in there.

“How are we going to smuggle wine into Video Liquidators?” Eugene asks, truly perplexed. Raindrops on his face look like tears.

“Why don’t we go back to my bungalow? I’ll transfer everything to my most giant purse, and we’ll be good to go.”

That’s exactly what we do. We travel the short drive in Eugene’s rugged truck.

“This is the largest bag that I own,” I’m rushing over to my shelf of bags, fetching an obnoxiously large, embroidered, boho-chic Lucky Jeans bag. I throw it on my kitchen table.

“Ok. I’ll be in my bathroom.”

I run into my bathroom, grab some Nars lipstick in a shade called Damned, smear it on. I’m spraying myself down with strawberry, coconut oil-based mist when I hear a commotion.  I peek into my apartment, and spot Eugene standing completely naked in the middle of my kitchen.

“Is this the first time someone has decided to take off their clothes in your kitchen for no apparent reason?” he asks.

“Actually, no -” I reply. “My downstairs neighbor Kurt did the same thing last winter.”

Eugene appears hurt and looks at the ground. beiber ——————————————————————-

We hop back into Eugene’s truck and drive to Video Liquidators. I‘m drunker than  Mary Tyler Moore at the corner store in 1964.  We arrive at Video Liquidators, and stagger through the grimy concrete corridor. Familiar fluorescent lights jar me awake; one bulb flickers and my eyelid twitches. It all seems more foggy, more pastel colored, than I remember. .. Bimbos on the covers of smutty mags cast judgmental glares. We wander to the back of the store, looking for the  entrance of the seedy porn theater.

“Where’s the theater?” I shriek. “Could’ve sworn it was over here. I was only here once, after all.”

“You’re supposed to be the expert,” Eugene mutters under his breath.

What?” I’m disturbed. I’m a Video Liquidators expert?!

I push open the metal door, and lead Eugene into the depths of darkness. About 20 guys are loafing around inside the grimy theater, which apparently is showing gay porn this evening. I tip-toe down the center aisle, trying not to attract attention…but that is impossible, since the two wine bottles are clanging around in my bag.

“SHHH!” I turn around. Eugene is obscured by the shadows. “Let’s sit over there.”

We sneak down to a vacant aisle and collapse – drunkenly, wearily – into our seats. The wine bottles rattle and clank obnoxiously. I stifle laughter, and uncork my wine…until I look around and realize that some of these guys are staring at me. I slump down low in my seat and hide under my bag, knocking over my wine bottle in the process.

——————————

It’s a cool, crisp night on Eugene’s roof. We just picked up some wine from the bulletproof liquor store on Ontario Street. Eugene’s face is illuminated by the glow of his iPhone, as he scrolls through Casual Encounters on Craigslist.

“What kind of shit can we get into?” Eugene wonders, mustache twitching.

It never really worked out with the swingers. So I thought that Craigslist could provide journalistic inspiration.

“Oh, here’s one,” Eugene stops, tapping the screen on a recent post.  “Sexy young couple looking to set up NHL-theme swingers club.”

For those not familiar with Casual Encounters – reading it is more entertaining than an entire season of The Wire (sometimes). I’m sure the majority of these folks make everything up. I know this because Eugene and I have been sending them e-mails. In the mw4mw section, a couple is “desperately seeking” another couple, for, I don’t know, whatever. It’s never clear. I don’t personally get it,  but thing is – lots of Buffalo people are posting these things up. I’m sure we pass each other on the street, maybe every day. What does it all mean?! What drives such a covert preoccupation? And who the hell is Craig?

“Well, I’ve been involved with these types of things before,” Eugene says.

“You…you have?” What kinds of things? But I decide not to ask too many questions.

——————————————–

I’ve been hanging out with Eugene for a couple of months now. Like I said, I have a crush on Eugene, despite the fact that he went on a drunken diatribe about “relationships being pointless” and “never wanting to be in one, ever.” The only thing he ever wants to do is snoop around the Casual Encounters section. Randomly, when I’m at work, my “research assistant”  forwards me messages/pictures from these Craigslist Creatures.

“OMG – look at this weird guy,” Eugene writes.

“Thug Nigga in2 Spankin House Party. Age 25.”

Only problem is – most of these Craigslist ads are accompanied by completely X-Rated, bad quality photos. One time I accidentally opened one at work and let out a terrified scream. My boss was like, What now? I was like, Nothing.

———————————– condoms2 It never did work out with Eugene. I think he was more into Craigslist orgies than he was into me. But I’ll always have fond memories of the plans that we made, plans which never manifested. I guess he was just my number one fan.

Facebook Fucks

scum

 

 

In the early light of dawn, vampires return to their coffins after a night of lecherous bloodsucking.

I scroll through the Facebook feed in a bleary-eyed stupor, in the space between waking and sleep.   An ex-fling from last year – one that barely registered on the FWB Richter Scale – has become engaged. To someone who looks like Miley Cyrus – The Hannah Montana version.  I vomit everywhere.  C’est la vie. A werewolf howls at the moon.

———————————

greenfaces

The February chill whips around my coupe as I speed across the bridge. Fluorescent lights glow in the distance, on a hill, like the Great and Powerful Oz.  I somehow got invited to a “press opening” at the casino, for their nightclub.  I’m psyched!  I plan on schmoozing with whatever “industry insiders” are there.

I get lost and park my car in an extremely far location by accident. Row 578 Section 46, something like that, in the parking garage. I hop into the descending elevator.

“Are you here for the press party, too?” I ask an elderly couple in patriotic sweatshirts.

The elevator dings! and I’m released into the wild. I follow the fist-pumping beats to the nightclub area. A judgemental-looking woman with a clipboard makes sure I’m on the list, hands me a gift bag, and I go into the party. The crowd appears to me an intimidating hoard of old guys in suits. Some middle-aged couples sit around the periphery. Where’s all the writers? I know a writer when I see one. A skinny, bespeckled chap is sitting at the bar. I reach over him and grab a chocolate-covered strawberry.

“Hello!” I say, “So you’re here for the press party? Who do you write for?”

His girlfriend appears.

“Oh, we both write for Lacrosse Monthly,” she says.

A short, awkward conversation begins, until I get the hint and leave. That’s when I spot a devastatingly handsome guy smack in the middle of the room. He seems about my age, with thick brown hair, medium height, wearing a dress shirt and tie. He has the sullen, brooding romantic expression that I adore. The furrowed eyebrows…. definitely the sexiest person here.

I walk up to him in my Professional/Erotic Stilettos and introduce myself.

“Hey, I’m AJ,” he says. “And this is my dad Francis.” An older guy with a goatee and a Nikon comes out of the shadows. “He’s a photographer.”

We chit-chat; AJ tells me that he sells ads for a newspaper. A cocktail waitress appears brandishing a tray of glowing, technicolor shots.

“All right, ok!” AJ takes two shots from the tray. I am trying to sip the same glass of wine the entire duration of this open bar event and be on my best behavior… but my willpower is slipping. I pluck a shot off the tray and take a sip.

“Bleh, I don’t like it,” and set it back down. I must maintain control.

AJ runs off to the bar after asking what I want to drink. He returns with an armful of beverages.

“We have to make this open bar count, we only have two hours,” he says.

AJ and I grow increasingly inebriated together. Between trips to the open bar, cocktail waitresses revolve through the crowd, offering “samples.” Then, AJ points out a towering ice sculpture. Behind it, martinis are being shaken.

“Martini sculpture!”

We drunkenly navigate our way to the shimmering sculpture, staring at one another, drunk and drooling. This AJ fellow is a serious casanova. Selecting a martini glass,  he holds it beneath the ice-cold stream of booze and extends it my way. With a raised eyebrow, he says – “Let’s go to the slot machines.” He makes it sound like a romantic invitation.

We stagger out of the sanctioned soiree. AJ sits down and whips out a pack of Seneca Menthols.

“This machine isn’t taking my money,” I slur, trying to shove a limp one-dollar bill in the slot.

“Here, I got it,” AJ valiantly says, putting a five in.

We puff away on a few Senecas and talk. AJ asks me about my life, my ambitions, and seems interested in everything I tell him.  His green-blue eyes are large and expectant.

“I just can’t believe you don’t have a boyfriend,” AJ says. “Here’s my number.” He hands me his business card. “Let me put it in your phone!” He puts his number in my phone.

I stub out the Seneca in an ashtray and lean over to AJ, who is leaning over at me, and we smooch. Sparks fly; an orchestra of slot machines create the soundtrack. Beneath the white dress shirt, his body is bangin, I can tell.  AJ pulls back, and loosens his tie.

We saunter back to the party. Francis is dancing front row center with a martini in each hand. He grabs me by the arms and starts gyrating to the floor. I am 50 Shades of Blitzed.

The open bar has been over for an hour and a half. AJ continues buying liquor for all of us. Towards midnight, he squints at a receipt in horror. “My God.” He looks at the floor in befuddled silence.

Francis, AJ, and I all put on our coats and head to the entrance.

“Well, bye!” AJ waves and leaves suddenly.

“Goodbye!” Francis, with a wobbly zigzagging strut,  exits after him.

TAbloid

I’m standing in the lobby alone. Great, I’m up a creek, drank a creek, without a paddle…now what am I gonna do? The prominent Hotel Check-In desk is to my right. Maybe I can score a sweet room for the night, with a bathtub and mini bar…Could be posh. I picture some hangover room service in my drunken mind. My God maybe there’s a continental breakfast.

One should never make the assumption that just because a lad gets you wasted,  that he’ll also take care of your drunk ass and make sure you get home. That’s a common misconception.

“Hello, hi…” I mumble to the poker-face desk girl. “How much for a room? I think I’ll just crash.”

“The last room we have available is $475 dollars.”

“WHAT?!” I’m shocked. That’s more than my rent.  “It can’t be!  One night? There’s not a closet or anything?” I’m backing away, back up right into a sitting area and plop down upon an ottoman.

I call my FWB D.D.

“Daniel….Dan, please…I’ve had too many martinonis and I’m stranded at the casino and there’s no room for me…Was falling in love, but he left…Hello?! Hello!”

But Danny-Boy doesn’t answer. I get a large, black coffee and wander the barracks of the hotel until dawn. This place is open 24 hours, after all.

————————————————-

“If a guy totally ignores your Facebook Friend Request and doesn’t call you, ever, does it mean he never wants to see you again?” I ask a  random co-worker.  She doesn’t know what to say.

“But you don’t understand,” I bite into a carrot stick. “It was magical.”

I get home from work as pissed as ever. It’s been two weeks, and  AJ was clearly Wild for the Night Fuck Being Polite. What the fuck! No one does that!

In a fit of curiosity, I find AJ’s Facebook profile, with my request sitting there stagnant, suspended in time. Clearly there is SOMETHING that I am not intended to see.

I see a recent status of his posted on the side. “Feeling Blessed – At Molly’s Tavern.” Why would you be feeling blessed at Molly’s Tavern? There’s nine people tagged, all family given the last name, except one girl. I click on her name. A giant picture of her and AJ is her main photo, with captions like “beautiful couple!” and “congratulations!”

Wow, that was way too easy,” I think to myself. “He’s lucky I’m not a psycho bitch.”

I close my laptop and go outside,  with a renewed sense of clarity.

truckers