Private Magazine

Tag: tales from the bungalow

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.

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

Finding True Love At Sex Addicts Anonymous

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Disclaimer- Sex Addicts Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous,  etc. ask that addicts keep fellow addicts anonymous, hence the name; therefore, all names and verbatim sentences are fabricated to protect those involved. Also, members of the SAA program depicted in this article, as stated in their booklet, “are not [SAA] representatives or claim to be spokespersons for the press, radio, TV, films , or the Internet.

 

One month ago, I briefly dated a sex addict. It’s hard to be sure, because I’m fairly certain that he’s also a pathological liar. Then again, from what I know, many addicts are also liars.

I only went out with him because he wouldn’t leave me alone. He kept showing up at my job.

“So, when are we going out to dinner?”

“Never.”

It went on like that for a couple of weeks, until finally, I relented. We went to Taste of Siam. Over dinner, he opened up about his wife who suddenly died of cancer four months ago. I realized he was still wearing a wedding band.

“Isn’t that a little quick to be dating?” I asked my 81-year-old friend Annette, afterwards.

“No, you’d be surprised how quick men are able to move on.”

I figured Annette knew what she was talking about, being 81 and all. But only a week into our frenzied fling, my stalker opened up to me at Spot Coffee.

“I’m a sex addict,” he said, looking over his thick black frames. “It’s how I’ve been grieving. It’s hard. I’m dating multiple cougars…” He began to scour the Spot scene with frantic eyes. “You’re the only non-cougar I am seeing.”

He then called over a random woman and  invited her  into a threesome with us.  Not many  situations embarrass me, but that did. I never spoke to him again.

He still stalks me at my job.

 collage

———————

That confession of his has never left my mind. I don’t think about it daily, but sometimes I wonder if he was truly sincere. Probably not. But that isn’t stopping me from investigating the reality of being a sex addict by attending a local chapter meeting of Sex Addicts Anonymous.

I called a phone number I found on the Sex Addicts Anonymous database two days ago; apparently there’s a suburban Christian fellowship that hosts many AA and SA meetings. I pull up outside; a few women are smoking cigarettes in their cars. Armed with a venti Starbucks, I attempt to project a seen-it-all, done-it-all demeanor. In reality, I have no idea what to expect.

I’m worried that my all-black outfit is too sexy for Sex Addicts Anonymous. I mean, vintage leather mini skirt? Hugo Boss blazer? Motorcycle boots? Stockings?

Upon entering the building, I’m greeted with inspirational Christian banners. A few women are heading into an alcove at the left side of a roomy foyer. I follow them. A pot of coffee is steaming on its burner, but it appears to be decaf. Fuck! They start talking about “back when they were drinking.”

“Um, I think I have the wrong meeting,” I meekly express.

“This is a womens-only AA meeting,” says a 30-something with a pleasant face. “What group are you looking for?”

“Well…. well, I must have the wrong place…Maybe it got rescheduled?” I say, walking into the carpeted foyer.

“What group are you looking for?” she asks again, following me.

I swivel around once we arrive in a shadowy corner.

“The sex addicts!”

“Oh, they meet in the basement pretty much every day.”

Figures…

I go down a few steps into an olive green annex. A guy in an olive green dress shirt, cuffed loose-fitting slacks, and orthopedic shoes beckons me into an adjacent room.

“Is this – Sex Addicts Anonymous? I called Tuesday – are you Bruce?”

The guy in olive green confirms that he is Bruce. He facilitates the meetings. I look around; only one other person besides Bruce is present. He’s well into his 70’s and wears sweatpants.  There are a few mismatched recliners and armchairs to choose from, but I opt for the folding chair by the window.

PPhood

I’m surprised there are only three of us here. That is, if you include me, and I’m not even an addict. Or am I? Why the hell am I here? Why do I have a compulsion to do these things? My thoughts aren’t that different from the others in this building. I’m given a blue pamphlet which lays out today’s meeting, two green books about beating sex addiction (which Bruce wrote, impressively), and the monthly group newsletter. We begin with the Feelings Check.

“Russell, would you like to start, since we have a newcomer?”

Russell begins by choosing two adjectives to sum up his feelings of the day.

“I feel appreciated -”

“Yes you are!” Bruce reinforces, winking at me.

“And, um, hopeful.”

“Yes you do!” I chime in this time. For some reason this makes me blush. Then it’s my turn. I start to sweat, and roll up the sleeves of my blazer. This exposes the burn from my stove on my wrist and armful of bracelets. Great, I probably look like a cutter.

“Hi, I’m —-, and  I am a recovering sex addict.  Today I feel calm, because well, this is a pretty laid back setting – and inspired, because I like meeting new people.”

“Yes you are!”

We then recite the Serenity Prayer (“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…”) together. However, the group maintains a casual, open, accepting, non-religiously affiliated vibe. I actually learn a lot from Bruce. For example, AA meetings (12 Step programs) originated in the 1930’s, when people asked God to fix problems instead of seeking medical explanations. Bruce finds error in the fact these methods are still used today to mend complex addictions. The man who developed AA in the 30’s apparently got sober from alcohol, but remained a smoker, compulsive spender, and sex addict until his death.

Right in the middle of our Validations – “I am acceptable, competent, and focused; I trust my own thoughts and emotions; I have positive expectations for today and for tomorrow, etc” another man walks into the room. He’s clutching a liter of Coke and filling the room with the aroma of a Marb.

“Are you here for the meeting?” asks Bruce.

“Yeah, uh, SA?”

“Yes, are you Patrick? Weren’t you here last week?”

“Yes I was.”

He takes a seat, and I catch him looking at me many times. He probably wants to bone, I think to myself. But what’s so erroneous about that?

We continue the meeting, reading through a chapter in the green book about the basis of sex addiction. According to Bruce, his group uses the most up to date, medically sound information regarding the nature of addiction. While medical knowledge 25 years ago relied on pegging addiction as a “disease,” that isn’t entirely true. Also, the only addiction relying heavily on genetics is alcoholism.

Camo

Rather, addictions which are “learned behaviors,” like sex, shopping, eating disorders, and gambling,  can also be un-learned. It all goes back to conditioning and feeling abandoned as a child. This “trauma” increases the likelihood you will develop the Addict Personality.

 

I wasn’t abandoned as a child, but I have an Addict Personality. Bruce says some people with Addict Personalities weren’t traumatized as children. Addiction can just form from faulty wiring in the brain, dopamine and seratonin receptors. He tells me you can work hard and re-wire the brain, if you work at it every day for three years.

Staring down at my sex addict literature, I’m forgetting that I’m not really a sex addict. Or am I? No, I’m not. Our generation just has a problem with intimacy as a whole. I’m sure  some will wind up in SAA when they’re a sweatpants-wearing age 70.  But while I’m not a full-blown addict of any sort, I know that I chemically possess the Addict Personality.  Sex addiction was never my problem, not at all. I’ve already marked a nearby wine store, so I can buy a bottle of pinot grigio after this meeting. Am I an alcoholic?  There have been downward spirals and self-destructive benders, over the years. But I think I manage to toe the line before I hit full blown addict rock bottom. I have too much to lose; I always have to keep myself in check.

Martini

The meeting draws to a close, and I thank Bruce. I might return, because I don’t want Bruce to feel Sad during the Feelings Check, sad that I never showed up again. Sad that I gave up my recovery and returned to an addiction that I never really had.  

This thought almost makes me burst into tears, as I walk to my car, smelling a clove cigarette in the night air.

But I need to stop with always putting others’ needs/wants before my own…I need to affirm my own needs/wants…Maybe I will check out the womens-only AA…


I am competent and capable.