Private Magazine

Tag: Men

Hot Spring TV – Just 4 U

TV

I’m triggered every time I turn on my TV.

Triggered to do what, exactly?  Well, maybe TV is different for those without deadly vices.  Happy-go-lucky folks seem to dig cooking challenges and talent competitions.  They’re gratifying, satisfying, and wholesome fun for the whole entire family!

However, my go-to shows are “Intervention” and “Celebrity Fame and Scandal.”  And I watch them alone.

I’ve recently cut way back on “Intervention,” after  Episode #119 – “Joe” fucked me right up.  Ever since age 8, Joe was choking himself unconscious for kicks.   Then he mixed in heroin. Joe hung around with junkie girls in motel rooms, but none were into commitment.  Poor Joe. At the end he got sober (for a second), looked at his face in the mirror, and had no clue who the hell that person was staring back at him. Depersonalization Disorder.  So he relapsed on heroin, did some prison time, and as of 2016, he’s been sober.   Or so the story goes.

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I wanted to give Joe a big hug.  And I couldn’t.  I was far from gratified and satisfied once the end credits rolled.   So I changed the channel to “Fame and Scandal”; it was the  Mackenzie Phillips episode.

I first saw Mackenzie Phillips on every 90’s girl’s favorite after-school snack, Disney Channel’s  “So Weird.”  The show was kind of like The Gilmore Girls, but instead of being about the fostering of a healthy mother/daughter bond, or something, “So Weird” centered on a girl named Fiona, who travelled around on tour with her folk-rock musician mom.  And, what’s so weird and cool, is that Fiona encountered paranormal activity along the way.

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So Weird” is more culturally relevant than Gilmore Girls.   Instead of aliens, spirits, and the like, the only thing poor sweet Alexis Bledel encountered were basic Connecticut cookie-cutter boys with personalities that make bowls of clam chowder look stimulating.  Whether Fiona’s paranormal run-ins really happened or were delusions never became a topic of conversation.

IRL, right before “So Weird,”  Phillips was famously coming off a cocaine/heroin binge that had lasted for longer than I’d been alive. Her main fame had come from a 1970’s sitcom, One Day At A Time, that she was booted off of.  In addition, she was a rock star’s daughter – John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas – with whom she carried out a consensual sexual relationship in her twenties.

After “So Weird,”  I didn’t see Mackenzie Phillips again until Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.  She had a hand in potentially saving Mindy McCready’s life as she suffered an on-camera seizure.  Phillips can now be seen in my favorite Netflix show, Orange is the New Black, Season 6!

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So, I recently came back from whoring my [copyrighted] scripts in LA.  Below are the ones picked up for production.

Yes, that’s right, I’ve got Bam Margera, Seth Green, AND the Artist Formerly Known as Carrot Top signed on.  At least, that’s what their manager Spitty told me at that gas station in Ohio… So, without further ado, here’s a teaser for my TV Channel and the shows lined up for the Fall Season.

Dirtbag Bachelor

Do you yearn for validation from a man you’ve never met?   Scores of lonely hearts arrived by plane, train and automobile for 23 seasons for exactly that – this time, to vy for the approval of  one Colton Underwood – one of those totally basic, totally banal, totally inauthentic and unremarkable boys who should probably just model boxer briefs for a living…

Anyway, if that isn’t sadistic enough,  there is no way to know for sure, that if and when you get close with Colton, that you are ever sure to receive some dick.

That’s right – the dude’s a virgin for reasons completely unknown.  To everybody – even Colton himself, it seems.   Despite having played for the NFL and been in long term relationships with famous and attractive women, Colton just hasn’t had the opportunity.  Nope.   Not at all.  He never gave it much thought.

Please.  Colton, I totally know you are plotting to release a sex tape with Farrah Abraham.  I heard it from 1-800-HOT-GOSS.  So sorry to take the piss out of everything.  Either that, or you’ll “lose your virginity” on the show for the whole world to see, like some sort of sick, twisted geisha ritual.  I had to Google your virginity status to make sure it’s still in tact at press time.

Dirtbag Bachelor launches this Fall with a hirsute hottie fresh from jail  –  “Jonny McThunderstrucksdick.”

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He was facing 10 years for marijuana trafficking – but the DA just tossed out the charges.   So Jonny’s gone back to being a professional tattoo artist/model in his Brooklyn warehouse.   He’s looking for love, and his criminal record’s been expunged.   The Dirtgag  casting agents will be touring around Detroit, Akron, and Southern Ontario this summer looking for the right, open-minded woman to become Jonny’s muse…And he’s not a virgin.  In fact, word on the street is that he’s rocking a Prince Albert.

Crackass

A trio of gorgeous misfit girls led by a dumb blonde and backed up by a nerdy brunette and exotic-looking Caribbean chick take to the mean streets to extol revenge on guys who have it coming to them.  This goes for public figures (like Robert Kraft caught totally unawares at Panera Bread!) and also run-of-the-mill douchebags. The “Crack” in Crackass comes from the ladies’ visible thongs yanked up their asses to above pants level; the trio simply rides around town in a 1968 Chevelle with complete hell to pay, and yes, smoking plenty of crack rock along the way.

The unscripted storyline includes plenty of pants-ing of dudes and instigating fist fights.  Keep in mind that, disclaimer alert, Crackass has absolutely no affiliation whatsoever to Jackass, since their cast was 99.99% dudes with no femme fatales in sight.  Considering that was like, twenty years ago, I suppose it’s time for the boomerang to fly in the other direction.

Crackass will premiere this Fall!
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Some of my pitches wound up on the cutting room floor, namely, Smallwood starring Chad Michael Murray, about a guy with, you know, an ineffective body part.  Also, the Hollywood bigwigs weren’t really into The Real Housewives of Niagara Falls. Bummer.  Either way, I’m fairly certain my TV channel will feature  a late night psychic with a call-in hotline and definitely a compulsive shopping network with jewelry, lots and lots of jewelry.

So stay tuned all you guys and ghouls, because the Private Vblog is going to premiere in the Fall.  Ciao.

 

Abducted in Poughkeepsie

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“Gibson Mcaskill and Crosby, LLP,” I recite the law firm name painted on a brick wall behind me, in the tone of voice an anchor girl would use before removing her top.

“You’re beautiful,” shouts a man from parts unknown.

“Cut,” says Pete.  He lowers the camcorder. “That was really good.”

“Now what?” Randy says.

Randy is slouched in the background, but I’ve failed to notice.   Other than being Pete’s drug connection (whom we called upon for a mid-date favor), his role in tonight’s activities is uncertain.  He’s got a “Less than Zero” persona but told me he’s a lawyer, and I have no reason not to believe him.   But then again, I have no reason to believe him either.

We just wrapped up at Tudor Lounge karaoke, where Pete sang Iggy Pop’s “The Passenger” and I did “Interstate Love Song” by Stone Temple Pilots, and Randy, well, I forgot he was even there.  And now it’s 3:30 a.m. and we’re at The Pink, the only place we can potentially blend in and belong.

We’ve consumed enough drinks to mellow our dispositions, and I’ve forgotten where they are coming from. These drinks are being mysteriously procured and paid for by somebody unknown, not by me, even though both Pete and Randy are certified drifters on the fringe.

Something I’ve noticed about derelict guys: they love to party and aren’t afraid to beg.

It’s last call at The Pink, at the time and place reserved for zombies looking to score – sex, drugs, and who knows what else?   Lightning zaps the sky, straight to the celestial vein. We pile into Pete’s car. Inside, it smells strongly of cigs and b.o.  I’m riding shotgun with my head out the window, uncertain whether to even bother smoking weed.

I decide to just let the pinot grigio soak in.

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We are a ghoulish, ghastly trio cutting sharp edges against the fog.  We sit beneath a tree in Day’s Park,  at the same spot where somebody I know may or may not have, as a cry for help, sliced into his wrists with a box cutter.

“This place has the most picturesque litter,” I say. “Where’s the category for that in Buffalo Spree?”

“Melvin Toadsdale, don’t you remember Melvin?” Pete says to either Randy, or to me, or to no one in particular. We’re gathered under the tree smoking herb in the dark.  Pete hasn’t stopped talking for even one minute, not to take a breath, not for anything.

“He died,” says Randy.  Tires screech from somewhere far away.

“Melvin’s dead,” he continues. “Drug overdose. Three years ago.”

Pete pauses for what feels like an eternity, lowers his head, then starts to cry.

“Fuck,” he says.

A group of bros drift by on the sidewalk.

“I remember he was such an awesome kid,” Pete’s words are muffled by his snotty sleeve.   “I wish there was something I could have done, something I could have done to help him before he got back on the drugs that poisoned his mind.” Pete’s glasses fog up, then we’re all silent for a while.

I put my shaking hand on his arm. And then without warning, a new day begins.

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The sound of Pete’s screeching tires eventually fades away.  The unforgiving sun has emerged from behind gray clouds, which hang tackily over the North Buffalo Denny’s like a hooker’s panties on a clothesline.  There’s no place I loathe more than Denny’s.   My brain is a lava lamp.

“Randy, will you give me a ride?” I say.

We drive away in Randy’s car, its floor littered with cut straws and credit cards.  Randy himself is missing a side tooth, and in profile looks like a skeleton. Behind us, the sun rises over Hertel Avenue with considerably more hesitation than usual.

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It’s Memorial Day weekend.  Time to take off.  Au revoir, fuckboys!

I’ve got an AirBnb booked down in Cold Spring, New York, near the Hudson Valley and an hour’s train ride from Manhattan.  It’s a “meditative retreat” according to the married lady hosts, who live in the woods near a pond!  My bedroom looks straight from the Free People catalog, and did I mention there’s an ELLE-approved spa in town?

*The one caveat to this hideaway is that there’s no non-vegan food, alcoholic bevs, or drugs allowed on the premises.  But I can abide by this.  I have respect, pshaw.

I’m not vegan mind you, never was.  To quote Anthony Bourdain’s 1999 article in the Times, “Even more despised than the Brunch People are the vegetarians.  Serious cooks regard these members of the dining public – and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans – as enemies of everything that’s good and decent in the human spirit.”

I steer my Pontiac coupe up the rocky driveway.  Soon enough a dreadlocked blonde in a dip-dyed ensemble emerges onto the porch.

“I’m Shelley,” she says with a mystical air.

She shows me around the house, through the kitchen where there’s “all the granola you can eat,” and a sink spewing unadulterated well water.  There’s a sun-drenched meditation nook with incense burning slowly, ever so slowly, and in the yoga studio Shelly describes the guru they stream.

“At 8 a.m, every morning, we will be in here should you decide to join us,” she says with unfailing eye contact, which makes me self-conscious, like, I probably should have removed my black boots with the spurs and leather jacket, I mean, it’s so colorful in here, so… open. So honest.

“Well, I’m going to go mosey into town,” I tell Shelley a half-hour later. She’s reading a book in the meditation nook.  “I’ll be back a little later.”

On my way out, I meet the other host, Shelley’s wife, who is really skinny and tattooed with piercing eyes like nails.

“I’m Talyia,” she says.

I don’t know what either Shelley or Talyia do for a living, but it must be something really dope, as their spacious enclave in a rather bourgois neck of the woods leads one to believe.  Rich hippies…I think as my car crushes whatever foliage and insects dare to obstruct its path. Could be kinda neat. I roll my window down and as soon as I roll into Cold Spring proper,  locate my weed stash.

SLUT1

Later that night in Beacon, a town 10-minutes away: I’m told by the garçon at the French bistro that this town is pretty hip. Turns out, Beacon has a distinct Brooklyn-meets-East Aurora flair. Pretty soon, I’m tucked inside an air-conditioned hotel bar amid a cougar crowd. I watch a Hall-and-Oates cover band, one half of whom is from Buffalo, according to his wife at the bar –

“Oh, really, Buffalo,” she turns towards me and leans closer, “We met there about thirty years ago…”

After striking out with the sweaty rockabilly bartender, I walk up and down the street, as the stars emerge, and chat with a cute young music producer from LA.  He’s in town for a wedding, and tells me the pitfalls of no one ever knowing your name.

But I pull an Irish goodbye after asking him to meet me outside for a cig.  He probably won’t even come, he probably thinks of me as a dirty, smelly smoker now, and it’s not like I’ll ever see him again…

I walk up and down the street some more while replying to certain texts I’ve ignored.

“I want to apologize in person,” Randy says via a long-winded text from two days ago. “For how rude and disgusting my behavior was, and I want an opportunity to make it up to you.”

I hung out with Randy a few times; but every time we got together, it was apparent that Randy is a legitimate cocaine addict and full-blown alcoholic barely gripping the edge of life. I ran away from him the last time I saw him, literally, ran away after saying I had to return some videotapes. Despite knowing him only a week, I agreed to celebrate his birthday with him.  But when I got to his house (aka, his mom’s unfinished upstairs rental), Randy was all alone and hungover, chain-smoking on a folding chair.

“Um, it’s okay,” I type out. “I’m out of town anyway. Near Poughkeepsie.”

“I could go to Poughkeepsie,” Randy replies, with a wink face emoji.

“Lol,” I send back. “Yeah right.”

“No, really, I could take the train. Pete can drive me to the station.”

“I am staying at a vegan and sober airBnb,” I say. “Okay…”

When I return to the commune, Shelley and Talyia are in their hippie love nest with the door half open.  I say “Um, goodnight” and tip-toe into my tie-dye bedroom.

SLUT2

The next morning, with caged hens clucking beneath my window, I shake myself awake and realize – Randy might actually be on his way. To Poughkeepsie Station. But really, would this dude actually hop a train in the middle of the night?

I slink into the kitchen, and it’s about 8:40.  Yoga is over.

“Good morning,” I say, pouring dark coffee into a mug. “Say, um, is it okay if this guy I know stops by later? I didn’t invite him, per se, he just decided to show up at Poughkeepsie Station…”

“Oh, but you know him?” Shelley looks concerned. “He’s not stalking you?”

“Well, I guess,” I hike up my sateen pajamas. “I don’t know him that well, and he may be a bit stalker-ish. It should be okay though.”

I drive to Poughkeepsie and spend the morning walking across the Henry Hudson Bridge, which is majestic and scary and proof that it’s actually really difficult to jump off a bridge, and definitely not for pussys. Finally, Randy calls and says he’s at the station, so I leave to meet him on the platform.

I love NY train conductor accents … Silver fox train conductors down here have them… I’m thinking as I wait in the hot sun.  Finally, Randy walks towards me, and as I get closer I inhale a strong smell – the B.O stench of a homeless cannibal mixed with regurgitated booze simmering on asphalt. He gets even closer to me and hugs me, and what I breathe in is the bubbling spoon of rancid filth spewing from his pores.  He’s wearing a filthy sport coat made of tweed, even though it’s over 90 degrees down here. His complexion in daylight is like that of a caved-in corpse – pale, gray, and rubbery at best, with teeth melting out of his skull.

“Bleh,” I recoil in disgust. “You totally reek.  I should have known better than to meet you here!”

“What?” Randy schleps towards me, dragging his feet. “I’m here!”

“You can’t stay at my Bnb.”

I’m power-walking way ahead of Randy now, heading towards my car but walking across the parking lot in a daze with Randy lumbering behind me like a sasquatch, half-drunk, and me totally not realizing that obviously this is exactly what would happen, and how did I ever think it wouldn’t?

“I thought it could be cool,”  I shout back at Randy. “But now I know this was a bad idea and my whole solo, mediative getaway has all gone to shit, you don’t have anywhere to stay and you are expecting to stay with me at the Bnb, and I’m telling you IT IS NOT going to happen. Okay?”

We’re alone at my car in a vacant lot; Poughkeepsie Station, and not a soul around. Somehow, I didn’t actually think Randy would come.  I really didn’t invite him and I never said anything to give him the impression he could crash at my Bnb.  Not to mention, Randy is, needless to say, persona non grata anywhere near the hippie commune.

“Just keep away from me.  I need to get sushi and figure shit out,” I say, breathing deep, and remembering that this is just another day-in-the-life.

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Randy and I are at the waterfall/swimming hole in Garrison, right near the Bnb and where I figure, no doubt, at least Randy can rinse off his stench. I just need to get him to another motel for the night, or to head back to Buffalo, anything but just stay the hell away from Shelley and Talyia, please don’t get me kicked out.  I’m a bad girl trying so hard to be good.

But, am I really trying?

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On the way to the waterfall, we stopped at a liquor store, which I already knew existed but hadn’t entered out of respect for Shelley and Talyia.

“I want you,” Randy says, slurping from a rum bottle. There’s a few younger couples around, plus a lot of moss. “You don’t understand.  I would do landscaping tomorrow if it meant I could come inside you again and again -”

“SHUT UP!” I stand up on a rock. “I am just not into you! Get it through your skull!”

(I had previously told Randy that if he would apply himself and his law degree, join a firm, get malpractice insurance, and pay your dues to the Bar Association, or at least get some kind of decent job like every other fortysomething dude, maybe I would consider dating him. It was obvious, however, that Randy’s ever-present, bloody coke straw is his one true passion and that he will only succeed in ruining my life).

Now it’s 6:00 p.m.  The sun is beginning to fade.  I check my phone and see a message from Talyia:

“We went out and will be back around 9:00,” it says.

“Great,” I exhale a sigh of relief. “We can go back to the Bnb and I can shower and we can figure our shit out.  You need to call a motel and then maybe I’ll go find the strip club in Newburgh…”

“We locked the door,” is Talyia’s eventual response, right as Randy and I arrive at my car; we are both dirty and sweaty, and hungry to boot. “We couldn’t leave it open, obviously.”

What the fuck!”  My voice echoes; somewhere far away, a bird flies out of a tree. “Noooooooo!”

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Randy and I go to Beacon to kill some time.  Despite the extensive “nighttime” looks I packed, I’m stuck going out in Victoria’s Secret slides and a muddy skort, with Randy, this year’s worst accessory, to boot.

The Stockholm Syndrome sets in at the air-conditioned hotel bar.  I toss away my cares and worries simply because I have absolutely no control over the situation, never did. I succumb.  No matter how hard I try, Randy doesn’t listen to a word I say. I’m locked out with him stuck to my side.  We are both homeless derelicts, so what’s a girl to do? Enjoy a pinot grigio, even a cig, and Metallica’s “Sad but True” emanating from the jukebox.  I stop drinking to keep in driving shape, and when we stagger into the Bnb, it’s close to 10:00.

Inside, It’s deathly quiet. Shelley, Talyia, and a new kid with glasses are all sitting in the  mediation nook.

“Well, this is Randy,” I look at Talyia with pleading (but probably bloodshot) eyes.  Everyone is silent.

Randy and I creep closer to the crew, until Randy is right up next to Talyia and she looks up at him in horror.  I’ve probably grown used to his noxious stench, and can’t smell much of anything anymore.

“Ok I think I’m speaking for the group here when I say Randy needs to leave,” Talyia says.

“Thank you,” I quickly throw Randy under the bus. “I’ve been trying to dump him all day!”

Shelley and Talyia gather around us and the room starts to close in.  I worry that my tainted mental state is obvious.

“Have you guys been drinking?” Talyia says.

“No, no, not me,” I say.  “Randy, I’ll pay for your Lyft back to the station, and therefore pay you to stay out of my life forever!”

The new skinny kid with glasses comes outside with Randy and I, and he waits with him at the curb. I go back inside.

“Thank God he’s finally gone,” I look to Talyia and Shelley for sympathy, or something, but Talyia shrieks at me like a banshee.

“I think it’s best if you just went to bed!”

And that’s precisely what I do. But it’s only 10:30 p.m.  Damn.

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The next morning, over dark coffee, I am asked to leave.  It’s okay with me though; I do not fit in here.   I start to cry because of the lack of control I seem to have over my own life.

“I wish there was more we could have done to help you,” Shelley says.

Like not lock me out.

“I had no idea it would get so bad,” I say. “I thought I could handle it on my own.”

“We wish you peace,” Talyia says.

“Namaste,” says Shelley.

I pack up my room – contraband salami sandwich, leather clothes – and take off down the hill.  It reeks of Randy’s booze in my car, and sure enough, I find a cigarette butt in the console.   I clean and freshen the shit out of the interior then leave my car at the train station. It’s a fresh and foggy morning, and while waiting for the train into the City, I share my story with a South Carolinan family here for West Point graduation.  The train squeaks to a stop.  Soon, I’m smushed up against cute guys in Yankees gear heading to a game.

I walk from Grand Central to Soho in my boots with the spurs. “Coffee?” says a man with a shaved head near Washington Square Park.  “On my way back,” I say.  I’m comfortable in the NY crowd, where you’re totally alone and totally not at the same time. There’s peace when nobody knows your name, when you are just a face in the crowd with nothing but endless pavement, noises, doorways.

Lifestyles of the Rich and the Homeless

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Oh, to be nice.  Isn’t it so rare? Nice, nice, nice.  Nice guys finish last.  Well, that’s a good thing.  Nice guys make sure their ladies come first. NICE!

What I really need is a nice man.  Someone who considers my feelings.

Pete seems like he can keep up.  Plus, he makes me laugh.  He reminds me of Philip Seymour Hoffman, he’s really nice, and he’s down to go out any and every night of the week!   I met Pete last year through my social butterfly bestie, Maurice.

Recently, I ran into Pete at Caffe Aroma (where the writers hang).  He asked me out for a drink.

A few days later, he picked me up in an environmentally-conscious car stickered with hippie quotations.  The passenger side said, “Kindness is an act of rebellion.”

“You know, when I met you three years ago – “ Pete’s driving us downtown, and hasn’t stopped chain-smoking.  “I got so nervous, I got so…” He sucks a hard drag. “I felt bad about myself for a week.”

“What? I met you one year ago. With Maurice.”

“You guys came into Aroma,” Pete continues, and inhales another drag. “And you looked at me and didn’t say anything, and I felt bad about myself for a week.”

“Pete!” I’m shocked, because I don’t even remember. “I’m sorry.”

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Before we hit the town, Pete needs to shower.  We pull up to the truck stop.  You can apparently shower for $8.00 here.  It’s a full moon.  Turns out, Pete is a legitimate homeless person, albeit one with rich parents on the West Side.

We walk into the smoggy diner. There’s a smoking section enclosed by glass.  The vibe here is of a hospital waiting room on an 80’s soap opera; Pete introduces me around to some people he knows, an old saggy couple in stretched-out sweats.

“Here ya go, honey,” the waitress’s voice crackles like a record.

I sip diet cola slowly and page through XXX Guide.  

“Thanks.”

All I hear is the ticking of a clock, and the gradual burning-down of a cig.

Suddenly Pete emerges, towelling his hair. “I feel so much better now,” he says.  “Ready?”

“Sure.”

We leave, and continue on our way downtown.

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Pete squeezes his car into a spot across from Thin Man, still chain-smoking, still a nervous wreck.

“I only have twenty-eight dollars in my wallet and thirty-two in the bank,” Pete says.  His glasses fog up. In his car are empty cans, clothes, even a half-full mug of coffee is in the console, which he spills all over the place. “Oh my GOD,” Pete yanks the rearview mirror down towards his face. “I just have to do my hair quickly.”

Pete grabs a container of pomade from somewhere, rubs a giant globule between his palms, then pours bottled water over it and slicks down his coif with the mixture.  It becomes a methed-out Morrissey kind of look, and it works.

“The other day I almost smoked crack,” Pete declares. “This girl came out of the alleyway over there…”

The two of us cross the street. Apparently, a show is about to begin. Pete is a huge fan of the band playing tonight.  I didn’t even know this place was a venue?  I’m apparently not as hip as I once was. We sit in a booth at the far end, so we can order fries and absorb the mood.

“I need to smoke,” Pete says, standing up.  “I need a cigarette.”

A waitress approaches; she has a Tori Amos/Ani DiFranco kind-of vibe.

“Hey, guys,” she says.

“Oh, uh,” Pete fumbles with his pack of smokes. “Hi,” he says. “Let’s all have some shots. I’ll buy you a shot,” Pete says to the waitress as her patchouli wafts across the table.  “Look at all this money I found!” Pete opens his wallet and there’s a bunch of twenties inside.

“What about me?” I say.

“Of course,” Pete says.  I look at the table, embarrassed. The waitress is looking at me, and I mean really looking at me, almost through me for God’s sake.  I know my shirt is low cut, but…

“Can I please also order some fries, with a few avocado slices on the side?” I say. “Is that weird?”

“No,” the waitress says. “Not weird at all.”

The waitress disappears, but soon enough another girl is at our table.  She’s a plain jane of indeterminate age.  She stands at the side of our table and gives me the stink eye for thirty seconds, but it seems like forever.  My confusion and the awkwardness is too much to bear.  I turn to Pete and say,

“What IS going on?”

“I’m sorry,” Pete says. “This is my ex-girlfriend Mandy.”

The waitress is ten feet away, and definitely eyeing me up and down provocatively.

“I invited her,” Pete says.  “Mandy, I just wanted you to be able to meet new people.”

“Pete?” I say. “What IS the situation?”

“I’ll be right back,” he says, and the two of them go off and argue in a faraway corner.  I’m certain I’ll be left with the bill from the shots and alone to fend for myself.  I’ve never truly been this close to a lesbian encounter in my life.  I return the waitress’s gaze.

But soon, Pete comes back, apologetic, and we continue the evening at Rohall’s.

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“I wrote a song about you,” Pete’s text says the next morning.  There’s a video attached and sure enough, it’s  of Pete singing into a mic in a living room somewhere.  He crashed at someone’s apartment last night.

“She takes away my misery….” he croons. “She took away my virginity…Metaphorically….”  

The phone video crackles and cuts out.  Hmm…

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I’m never bored with Pete in my orbit.  He’s always down to hit the town even though we are in the friend zone, or maybe because we are in the friend zone?  His thoughts are always scattered and never able to be pinned down…

My mom and I are going to an event at the Hotel Lafayette.  There’s supposed to be vendors, and cocktails, and more.  I invited Pete via Facebook.  He told me he would be there.  It’s Sunday, and the sun is shining down upon the beautiful pigeons and street people of the Square.

As my mom and I walk up to the Hotel, I can already spot Pete dramatically inhaling a cigarette and pacing around the sidewalk.

“Good morning,” he says.  I wonder how long he’s been here? Maybe Pete is always here. He manages to be everywhere at the same time, omnipresent if you will.

“I can’t stay,” he says. “I’m double parked, and I lost my wallet last night. But I wanted to give you something. It’s my most cherished possession.”  I look at my mom. She’s unfazed by all this.

Pete presents me with a heavy cast-iron amulet on a leather cord,  an upside-down cross with a snake wrapped around it.  It’s mildly Satanic in nature and in line with my aesthetic.

“Wow!” I say. “Thanks Pete.”

HOMELESS2

There’s a show at the Mohawk tonight. Pete invited me. We are supposed to meet up on Washington and Ellicott to get some sushi, get some chow.  It’s Wednesday, and a balmy night at that.

Hump day.

Can Pete actually seduce me?  Ever since his ex showed up on our first date, he’s been stuck in the friend zone. But I can’t help but think Pete is so nice.

“Hey, how’s it going,” Pete walks towards me from the curb. His outfit throws me for a loop – white linen pants, loud aquamarine Hawaiian shirt, and a floppy bucket hat.  In my world, Wednesday is strictly an all-black affair.  I didn’t get the memo. Maybe tonight is a special Beach Boys/Gilligan’s Island tribute…

We go into Seabar for some chow.

Homeless

“I’m going to tell Mandy tomorrow I have strong feelings for you,” Pete says. “We are meeting at Spot.”

“I don’t know, are you sure?” I say. “ You don’t have  to do anything hasty…”

“It’s something I have to do,” he says. “She keeps wanting to get back together.”

“I admire that,” I say.  “I’m nervous about settling down with someone.”

“I do want to get married again..” Pete says, staring into the distance.

“I couldn’t marry somebody unless I’ve known them at least ten years,” I say. “Even for a few years, somebody can hide their true self, who they really are, and turn out to be some kind of psycho…”

“Are you a serial killer?” Pete says.

“No,” I say. “No one’s ever asked me that before.”

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The next day at work, I receive a text from Pete around noon.

“I’m back with Mandy,” it says. “We decided we both want the same thing. We are going to get married with the Justice of the Peace.  I can’t wait 10 years.”

The JUSTICE of the PEACE? I shouldn’t have fallen for Pete, not even a little bit, even though he did just give me a bouquet of black, faux roses two days ago.  His world is one of chaos. My therapist says that I connect with chaos.  I think Pete and I are better off as friends.

I’m sure he’ll change his mind. But I mean, a plain jane?  Then again, I’m just not “nice.”  Let’s face it – I’m too much of a diva to settle down and have kids while also being the breadwinner of the family and breastfeeding while wearing yoga pants and “practical” shoes.  Bah!   The next man I date will surely be wild, more wild and crazy than ever before. But at least now I know I can appreciate a man who is nice.

 

Murray’s Return

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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.”

Murrays

“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.”

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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…

…………..ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ……….

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.

“Oh.”

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.”

READER SURVEY: WHEN ARE MEN IN SKINNY JEANS OKAY? FACTORYGIRL1987@GMAIL.COM

WTF R U TALKING ABOUT: VOL. 1

 

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Thank you to all the men who send me messages on Facebook. Please don’t stop! Whether it’s to discuss their relationships, sex lives, or secretive forays into bisexuality, I had no idea my blog would resonate so well with men. I’m blessed to learn what I have about the male mind, which is… that they don’t know what the FUCK women want! That’s no fault of their own. Women don’t know much about men either, it seems.  Or rather, they do, but many don’t care. Women are the new men. Either way, there are serious, stage-five miscommunications going on.

Honestly, I’m blessed as fuck to know the things that I know. It’s a writer thing. Which leaves me… just as hard up as all of you guys. Knowledge is power until it all goes sour. I don’t have love, romance, or even so much as a recent dick pic to speak of. Ok, that’s a lie. I received a dick pic yesterday. But it wasn’t the dick that I wanted a pic of. So typical. Sad emoji. C’est la vie. The best I can do is watch August Alsina music videos, because apparently that’s what aspirational true love looks like in this day and age.

I’ve noticed communication gaps between men and women around here, and I’d like to talk about them. Let’s not allow technological fuck-ups to ruin our love lives.

Any romance queries can be directed to factorygirl1987@gmail.com and our panel of experts will reply shortly.

DICK PICS

A source for building sexual energy between two people, the Dick Pic is my favorite relationship enhancer, besides wine. While I called this section “Dick Pic,” I’m intending this to mean any “sexts” between two people including X-rated pictures and/or text messages. For two consenting adults over 18 who have filed a privacy protection contract through their respective attorneys to hold them accountable should said Dick Pic wind up on the Internet, (wouldn’t that be a good idea?) the Dick Pic is a faster, cheaper sex tape. I grew up admiring Pam Anderson and Tommy Lee and their brazen exhibitionism. You’ve seen how far that’s gotten me. But it’s okay to love one’s body so much that you want to share it with the world. That’s the Kim Kardashian Wave of Feminism, and it’s taking over Instagram. If you are in a relationship (or just hooking up) with someone and the Federal Government hasn’t tapped your phone due to a pending felony, there’s no harm in shooting off a sext. Just make sure the recipient is the one you intended.

Here’s some practical tips on making your sexts look great. 1) Take them when you aren’t sober. They come out better, for some scientifically-undetermined reason. 2) Don’t use a filter. You are going for Terry Richardson/American Apparel ad/I-woke-up-like this, in-the-heat-of-the moment aesthetic. 3) For a great picture of your own butt, you are going to need a mirror that’s either full length, or a wide mirror like you’d find in a public bathroom. There’s nothing better than shameless sexts from a public location. 4) A long-distance relationship without regular sexting isn’t a relationship. 5) There’s money to be made by sending pics of your feet to weirdos from Craigslist. 6) A sex tape won’t turn you into a superstar anymore. The best you can hope for is Stassi from Vanderpump Rules level (If you’re asking, Who? I rest my case).

BLOCK PARTY

It’s never been easier to meet people. With online dating, I can easily Skype (and sext) with a beau who lives in Hong Kong and works for a Fortune 500 company. Hell yes! However, this works both ways. Technology has made it easier to cut ties and theoretically erase ex-lovers from our lives. I’m jaded and have no patience, so I’ll admit I’ve felt a surge of contentment after blocking a guy that I was just on a date with five minutes before.  One guy made me pay for my own chicken parmesan, so I blocked him. Another man flaked on a date the morning of, so I blocked him. That’s not to say the legitimately psychopathic ex-con I had to block didn’t deserve it. But damn, he was sexy! And that’s not to say, there are some men who have me blocked. Yes, lil ol’ innocent moi. Besides, I’ve seen the blockers and blockees in person since. We’ve gotten along courteously enough. It was eerie. It was as if the Internet world was a completely separate reality.

Recently, I ran into the previously-mentioned flake at Gypsy Parlor. I was out with a new man. It was cordial between all of us. So that little hit of satisfaction over clicking “Block” is a passing high. It feels like you are getting back at the person, since they probably will notice that you’ve blocked them. But I doubt they’ll lose sleep. Plus, you will run into them soon enough around town, anyway, and just act like nothing happened. So, out of experience I’d recommend not blocking someone unless it comes down to personal safety. You look immature. It’s more enjoyable to let your jilted lovers see all the fun you are having.

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DRUNK DIALS

We all have our Achilles heel. Mine is the Drunk Dial. Back when I was having an affair with a married man, I’d LOVE to get boozed up at the club and call him late at night. It was on my top five favorite things to do, right between watching Steve Wilkos and drinking pickle juice straight from the jar.  The man was a lush himself, so we’d have some seriously heartfelt late-night chats (if I remember correctly).

But not everyone is keen on receiving Drunk Dials. Those are the people I tend to avoid, and they avoid me right back. Drunk Dials are a polarizing subject. For the most part, the men I’ve discussed them with enjoy being on the receiving end of a genuinely heartfelt Drunk Dial. It means, ‘Wow, she got drunk and had me on her mind. Flattering!’ I used to have a Friends With Benefits who would Drunk Dial me semi-regularly. He worked at a bar and would get out of work at 5 a.m. (He appears on the blog as “Dan” in The Sex Drive).  The best Drunk Dial I ever received was from “Dan” at about 2 a.m.  I was asleep in my loft downtown when my phone rang and Dan told me that he was outside. Literally the dude took a cab from Cheektowaga to Gates Circle to apologize for something he did a month before. A little belated, but I accepted his apology but made him sleep on the floor. There was something endearing about Dan’s stupid Drunk Dials. Of course, now that I think of it, he got stuck in FWB territory, and wasn’t exactly known as boyfriend material. Which leads me to…

TIMING IS EVERYTHING

It’s 2016. All the single ladies and all the single men seem to be ships passing in the night. We are all obsessed with ourselves and if the other person doesn’t like it, we tell them to go away forever. It’s all or nothing nowadays. We don’t compromise. We don’t exchange pleasantries. We don’t make sacrifices. I’m convinced that sometimes our soulmate is right in front of us, but we are too preoccupied with looking at our own image on social media to notice them across the room.

I walk down the street every day and always say ‘Hi’ to strangers, and only get a “hi” back maybe 50 percent of the time. Hipster men with glasses and beards are the hardest to talk to. They really have a wall up. I think I’m known around town as the doped-up girl with the vacant stare always saying hi to strangers, but that’s better than being known as a raging asshole.

Perhaps the best part of dating and the Internet is being able to save articles related to ex-flames’ arrests and police reports. I have a whole folder saved on my Web browser – DWIs, weapons charges, even a date rapist I met at The Bend! This technological age of dating allows us to get to know the object of our infatuation faster. But is this always a good thing? If my mom got to know everything about my dad the first month of dating him, would I ever have been born? The question remains as to whether ignorance is bliss. But typically, yeah, it is.

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Dicks, Diners, and Drives

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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

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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.”

catsign

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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.