Private Magazine

Tag: cats

Murray’s Return


I have a bad habit of “boyfriend recycling.”  As soon as one romance fades away, his predecessor twice-removed comes out of the woodwork. That’s exactly what happened with Murray. He slid into my emails, asked me to go to a “strip club in PA,” and of course, I couldn’t say no.

Murray’s living room

It’s sunny inside Murray’s living room, for once. Probably because it’s mid-July, the perfect moment of the year when one’s perpetual drunkenness is enough to make time stand still.  I study Murray’s coffee table like a map.  What cards does tonight hold?  There’s a bottle of Fisheye Pinot Grigio, a bottle of Evan Williams Green Label, copies of Playboy that I unearthed from Murray’s bathroom, and an ashtray of smouldering Senecas – some of them  lipstick-stained.

“We should probably head out soon,”  Murray says, squinting like an old man. He’s wearing those dangerously-skinny jeans again, but he’s not  exactly “thick.”  I guess skinny jeans for a skinny man are okay.

The Echo Club

In the backseat of a black Nissan – why are all rideshares so generic? – Murray and I gaze out the window. We’re buzzed. Smoke stacks reeking pollution pass us by, and that’s not even counting what lies beneath the surface of Niagara Falls.

The Nissan pulls to the curb of Burt’s house, which sits among shot-up bodegas.  At one, you can score stolen appliances, hookers, and some bomb-ass pizza.  But you didn’t hear it from me.

“So are ya ready for a funky-ass night?” says Burt, who’s wearing lobster-print shorts. He and Murray record music together. Last weekend, they wound up at the Echo.  Since Murray and I have been hanging out regularly again, he invited me there.  We all joined together on this shadowy, Saturday night.

“Do you really think it will be open?” Burt asks,  popping open a Michelob.

“It’s gotta be,” says Murray, sauntering around in his worn oxfords.

We pile into Burt’s van and search for the Echo along the pitch-black road.  I’ve got a blunt danglin’ from my mouth; Murray’s on his twelfth Seneca. Finally, I perceive a dim yellow light.

“There it is!” I squeal.  “The Echo.”

We walk onto the Echo Park Mansion’s giant wraparound porch. A cat scampers off.  It’s got a William Faulkner, “A Rose for Emily” vibe.  It’s a relic of a more prosperous time, when the grandeur of this stately mansion wasn’t overshadowed by run-down wreckage surrounding it.   Rumor has it the owner kept debtors in a basement jail cell.  We climb the steps, and peer through the bars of a steel storm door.  There’s a sign flickering inside – “Karaoke.”


“Hello?” Murray walks in, and I follow, and so do Burt and his finacé, Noelle.

The wood floor is buffed and polished. At first there’s not a soul.  But then, a middle-aged brunette rises from behind the bar. She’s got a Scrunchie on her wrist and a gray tee shirt on.

“Hey,” Murray says, already taking a seat on the vinyl barstool.  “Dina, right?”

“We were here last week,” says Burt, standing behind him.

I sit next to Murray, who’s got his denim shirt half-unsnapped.

“She’s going to have a pinot grigio,” Murray says to Dina, ordering my drink of choice.

“I’ve got some right here,” Dina says, stooping down. “Wait – what happened to the pinot? It was right here.  The other girl must’ve put it somewhere.”  She leaves.

“Spooky,” Murray says.

“Look what I brought in,” I whisper in his ear, and look down so that he notices the clutch purse open on my lap.    “Kinky Liqueur.”  I pull out the tiny bottle of neon pink liquid, and take a sip while looking him dead in the eye.

“Hmmm….” says Murray. “Let’s go on a tour of the place.”

I agree, even though this punctuates the seductive moment.  The four of us walk through a dark, dusty banquet room with black-and-white portraits on the wall. Murray leads the way – since he’d been here with Burt – and takes us on a tour through the mansion’s three floors, via a peeling “Yellow Wallpaper” staircase, past end tables of porcelain dolls and hand-painted china, up to a diseased-looking bedroom with wedding dresses hanging all around.

“We could be up here later, Burt,” Murray says, pulling a curtain aside to gaze at the moon.  “To watch the sunrise.”

This captures my attention. How come Murray didn’t invite me to watch the sunrise? I look to Noelle, but she’s off in another room, apparently. We return to the bar and Murray continues to buy me drinks and bum me cigs and do all the things I like men to do for me (that pretty much covers it) and then a whole bunch of Murray and Burt’s pals start to show up.  So I call my girl, Trixey, who’s often driving around The Falls for no apparent reason.

“You guys seem really cute,” Trixey tells me at the bar while Murray does a rendition of Brian WIlson’s “Good Vibrations.”  We’re the only group in the place, besides Dina, the ghosts, and a karaoke facilitator/DJ. “I can tell he’s into you.”

“Really?” I say. “I’m really into him, too.  Although, if I continue hanging with him I’ll get cirrhosis of the liver.”

“Do you want a Valium?” asks Trixey.

“Yeah, sure” I say.  “I’m knock knock knockin’ on Heaven’s door and I really don’t give a fuck.”

After that, I decide to sing “My Own Prison” by Creed as my karaoke debut.  Court is in session, the verdict is in. Then we all go on the porch to smoke. Shoulda been dead on a Sunday morning banging my head. Murray and I are seated on the concrete ledge, overlooking the front lawn.

“I only take people I trust to the Echo,” he says, inhaling his final drag.

“You trust me, Murray?” I say, hoping this will become one of my more memorable functioning blackouts.

“Whoa…WHOA!” Murray falls sideways and takes me down with him; we fall completely off the porch and into a patch of bushes underneath.

“Are you guys okay?” Trixey calls down.  “I’ll drive you back to Burt’s.”



On the way back to Burt’s, Murray’s not the only one who’s passed out in the car this time around.

“Hey, hey,” Trixey is shaking me awake.  “We’re at Burt’s.”

I head upstairs to brush my teeth, then crawl into Burt’s guest bed and wait for Murray.  I’m wearing a fishnet outfit  from the porn store.  I’m sure our makeout will happen any moment now…


Before I know it, sun is streaming through the open window.  It’s morning.  I’m on top of the covers in the same position as when I got here. There’s no trace of Murray.  I get dressed and go downstairs.

Murray and Burt are slouched on the couch alongside an almost-gone bottle of whiskey.

“Oh, hey,” I say, nonchalant. “Good morning.”  I sit in a chair on the other side of the room.

So wait….we really didn’t make out? 

“You guys drank all that whiskey last night?” I say. “When?”

“We just went to bed two hours ago,” Murray says, scratching his chest.


I look from Murray, to Burt, from Burt, back to Murray.  They are two peas in a pod. I guess this is how sexual frustration feels.

“You don’t remember?” Burt sits up.  “You came downstairs, took the whiskey bottle from Murray, went up and were cuddling with it.”

“What?” I say. “I was sleepwalking?!”

“You really don’t remember?” Murray says.  “You were cuddling with the whiskey bottle.”

Probably because that was the closest thing to a make out as I was gonna get….I drag my weary body out the back door and sit on Burt’s dock, overlooking the river.  After a few minutes, Murray comes out, still in his dirty, all-black clothes from yesterday, and lights a cigarette.  I look at him, but don’t say a word.

“I’m not boyfriend material,” says Murray, exhaling a smoke plume.  He’s pale, sweaty, and totally unhealthy in every way.  And we didn’t even make out.

“You know what, Murray,” I finally say, “You say that all the time, but I think it’s just an act.”

“No,” he says. “It’s the truth. I’m honest about that part.”

“Well then, let’s just get an Uber back to town,” I say. “I have some weed I need to be smoking.”


All Dogs Go to Heaven, All Cats Go to Hell


Be my victim


Monogamy bores me. I prefer to keep it casual. My “official relationships” last anywhere from three to five months. After that, I can’t take it anymore. I resort to the quick n’ easy break up – via phone, text, or just out of nowhere one day. This doesn’t make me a bad person –  I just don’t have time for broken down bozos.

A few weeks ago, I broke up with Drew through text message. I figured we could be friends or something. We’d only dated three months. I couldn’t deal with his erratic behavior. I have my whole life to live. Something told me, “run away.”

Turns out, Drew is prone to psycho behavior more than I even knew. I heard my story Dick Fuzz got back to him, so he dressed up as a cat and posted a “Revenge Selfie.” Yes, we are talking about a full-length cat suit and fuzzy hat- that I didn’t know he even owned.  Is that not disturbing or what?

I’m going to tell you a story. It’s about trust issues, jealousy, and the time Drew looked through my phone.


My friend Maurice, a total social butterfly, and I are inside Just Vino. We are sampling some pinots and cabs, nothing major.  It’s just one of those kinds of nights when the world seems at your fingertips – late September, crisp and stimulating. The kind of night where anything could happen, especially on the corner of Main and Virginia.

“It’s Gypsy Parlor karaoke tonight,” says Maurice.

“No way,” I say. It’s been my short-term goal to perform “Whiskey in a Jar.”

“Yeah, it’s Thursday,” he says.

“Well let’s go,” I say.

I get into Maurice’s petite Toyota, and we jet off in the direction of Gypsy. I’m buzzed, and just now beginning to realize it.

“I’m going to have to sleep at Drew’s,” I say, “if I continue drinking wine like I’ve been drinking it.”

“Yeah, ok, why not invite Drew?” Maurice says.

“He is at some arts and crafts party,” I say. “I think. It’s at his friend’s house, this guy who’s randomly a millionaire.”

“Really?” says Maurice.

“Yeah, yeah, it’s right over here actually, on Linwood,” I say.  Maurice does a U-turn on West Ferry, so that we’re heading towards Linwood. “Should we just pick his ass up? We can go get Drew, and maybe have a drink there.”

Maurice and I pull behind Drew’s friend’s stately mansion. I mean, how sketchy is that, some random mansion? Anyway, Maurice and I knock on the back door. The middle-aged guests are all exiting through it, even though it’s barely ten. I peek into the kitchen. It appears all the booze is gone.

“Drew?” I say, walking through the kitchen. “Drew?”

Drew emerges, rosy-cheeked and presumably, two beers deep. He has a low alcohol threshold.

“Is there any vodka here?” I say.

“Actually, we should go to Gypsy,” Maurice says. “It looks as though the party is over.”

“Damn,” I say. “Oh well, want to go to karaoke with us?” I say.

“Yeah, sure,” says Drew.

Drew jams himself in the back seat of the petite Toyota, and once again, we jet off to Gypsy. He pulls out a brown paper gift bag packed with green tissue paper.

“Here you go,” Drew says.

I reach down into the bag, wondering what the fuck this could be. I pull out a crown, one that someone has made.

“It’s from the party,” Drew says.  “I had to buy something from Desiree.”

I look at Maurice, my fashion consultant, after putting the crown on my head. His mouth becomes a toad-esque frown of disapproval. The crown has three glittery white stalagmites jutting out, with a plastic lion’s head in the middle.

“Thanks Drew,” I say. “I’ll wear it to a Christmas party.”

Maurice, Drew, and I pour into Gypsy. A man is onstage singing “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” by Celine Dion. There were things we’d never do again, but then they’d always seemed right. Drew sits in the corner. Maurice and I stand next to him.

“You got this?” Drew says, slouching against the wall.

“No, I don’t,” I say. I look at him like he’s crazy.

“I’ll get you a drink,” says Maurice.

Drew sits there, unflinched.

“Thanks Maurice,” I say.

I leave to put my name on the list to perform “Whiskey in a Jar”. Once I’m back at the bar, I end up talking mainly with Maurice. Drew hasn’t said much. Some metalhead-looking dude is staring me down from four feet away.  Maurice and I are having fun, like we were at Just Vino. Maybe I shouldn’t have brought Drew along.

Forty minutes later, I check with the emcee about my position on the karaoke list. He tells me that I’m next.

“Wow! Thanks,” I say.

I rush over to Maurice and Drew.

“i’m next!” I say, “Let’s do whiskey shots! Maker’s Mark!”

“I don’t want a shot,” Drew says.

“Ok fine, two then,” Maurice says.

“Why is he being a buzz kill?” I whisper to Maurice.

The emcee in a bowler hat calls out that it’s my turn. I rush up to the stage and seize the microphone. The resounding intro of “Whiskey in a Jar” begins.

“I took all of his money, and it was a pretty penny,”  I sing in my most deep-throated voice.  I kneel on the ground and fall back. “Yeah, and I brought it home to Molly.”

During the instrumental interlude, I walk down to floor-level.

“How are you doing tonight, sir?” i say, raising my microphone towards a middle-aged chubby guy. Before he says anything, I turn and strut away.

Before I know it, the song is over. There’s a brief smatter of applause.

“Thank you dear, what a beautiful mess you are, that was really something,”  the emcee says.

I take that as a compliment, as I was channeling Courtney Love.


Back at Drew’s apartment, he puts on Aliens (his choice again, obviously) and I pass out on the couch. I don’t know how much time has passed when I’m woken up, the living room light still on, and my heels and vintage Dooney shoulder bag being thrown in my direction.

“Get out,” Drew’s at the end of the hallway. “I looked through your phone.”

“You what?” I say, in a sobered-up, half asleep slur. “That’s an invasion of privacy.”

“Ok, so who’s Jared Newton?”

Drew looks stricken, overemotional, and vengeful.

“A guy I was texting, obviously,” I say. “What the fuck is your problem?”

“Who is he then?”

“None your business, but someone I met last year,” I say. “He texted me first. What’s the big deal?”

“What about that metalhead guy at Gypsy Parlor, huh?” Drew shrieks like a banshee.  “You were all flirting with him, buying him drinks -”

Drew starts stuttering and stammering.

“You are not making any sense,” I say. “I didn’t buy drinks for anybody, not even myself.”

“You were talking to everyone there but me,” Drew says. “And now I find you’re texting with this Jared Newton, and other men -”

“Hey!” I yell. “I don’t believe you had a search warrant for my phone, or my purse, you dick.”

Drew continues to stutter and stammer.

“The next time you touch my stuff, and if you throw anything at me again,” I say, leaning into Drew’s face. “I’ll smack the shit out of you.”

I collect every one of my belongings from his room, and go back to the couch.


That’s just one of the reasons I broke up with Drew. He has issues – more issues than a newsstand, yo. More baggage than Charles de Gaulle. There’s not much that can be done for him this late in his life. I’d categorize him as a lost cause.

Like every horror movie come to life, his considerable baggage is a ticking time bomb waiting to detonate and destroy the entire female population. He’s single now and already casting shadows upon the Buffalo dating scene. Be careful out there. This confession is a cautionary tale.