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Posts Tagged ‘dating’

Jake Chronicles: Part One/5/04/15

In My Stories, Stuff I Post Just To Keep This Blog Alive..., The 80's on May 4, 2015 at 3:30 pm

I push my way through the crowd up to the bar where I order two drinks- one for me and one for Carly. The Night Raven is filled to capacity, thick with cigarette smoke and sweaty bodies, the usual turnout for Twisted Sister- a band out of Long Island that plays here once a month, always on a Thursday night.

You can’t get through the crowd without bumping into people-it’s standing room only- but luckily Carly and I snag a table tonight. I grab the two Greyhounds- house vodka and grapefruit in cheap plastic cups (classy!) and gingerly try and make my way back to the table with minimum spillage. Nothing like not getting to guzzle every last drop of your fifty-cent drink- tomorrow’s headache depends on it!

When I arrive back at the table, Car makes a big show of it, screaming ‘THANKS FOR THE DRINK,  SWEETIE” – grabbing hers out of my hand and almost blowing out my eardrums in the process. She gulps it down in a split second, then slaps it down on the tabletop in celebration, staring at me with raised eyebrows like she’s done something great- won a race or the Pulitzer Prize. I think of cornball platitudes about celebrating the small things in life, and figure this must qualify. I give her a thumbs up. And tell her the next round’s on her.

I decide to do a lap around the club to see if Jess has arrived. I tell Carly to save our seats over the blare of the club’s sound system, currently blasting Aerosmith’s ‘Same Old Song And Dance’ my friend. I stand up, put the palm of my hand over my plastic cup to prevent spillage ( a drunkard’s makeshift sippy cup), and say I’ll be right back. Carly winks and throws up devil horns.

I walk down the four stairs that lead to the bar, scanning the crowd. No Jess, or anyone else of note. I turn to check out the back room, filled with pinball machines and Asteroids games, when SLAM!! someone knocks into me, hard. I barely hold onto my drink, which splashes all over my palm, and through my fingers. I grimace, instantly irritated. Shit!

“Oh my god! I’m so sorry!” says a male voice loudly and when I look up I am eye to eye with none other than “Adonis’ himself. My motorcycle mystery boy, right here in the flesh! My heart beats like a baby bird’s, as Aerosmith segues into UFO pleading ‘Doctor, Doctor, please!’. Things have just taken a good and unexpected turn for the better, half spilled drink be damned. And the music’s cooperating, too!

I quickly look him up and down (better than I even imagined- and what I imagined was p-r-e-t-t-y good)  He flashes a Kodak smile and I inwardly swoon. Nothing hotter than a good smile on a nice face atop a body to die for, amirite? Sand, streaked dark blond hair, straight, gleaming white teeth, blue eyes and a golden tan. Could it be I have a type? Even if that’s true- I’m fairly sure this guy is any girl’s ‘type’.

He wears a blue Hooker Headers t-shirt, faded jeans and high top Nikes (black swish) His arms are built, his body an inverted V. He doesn’t seem to be a guy you’d have to fight with to use the mirror (no eyeliner or hair products). Up close, he almost reminds me of my screen crush, the leader of the Warriors street gang, from the movie of the same name. I fight the urge to break out the catch phrase “Warriors…Come out and play-yay-yay’, but it’s too specific a reference, and it might fall flat.  I’m a wise ass, but he’s making me second guess myself just by looking so good. All in all he has rendered me speechless. I tell myself to breathe. We lock eyes and it feels like electricity flows between us. And silence.

Finally, he extends a hand  and smiles – “Hi! I’m Jake!’ he says loudly. It figures! I love the name Jake.

I shake his hand (nice and mildly calloused- he must work!) and introduce myself as well. I fight the urge to plant my lips on his, just in case the opportunity never again presents itself. I’m telling you, It would totally be worth it, regardless of outcome.

“Can I get you another drink?” Jake asks, yelling (it’s loud!) pointing to my cup and then to the bar.

“You don’t have to!” I yell back, sipping what’s left of mine through the red and white swizzle stick, the vibrating slurp of what’s left of melting ice cubes, as if I’m really getting any.

“No- I want to!” he insists, smile lighting up the room.

“Okay….then I guess a Greyhound would be cool” I shout.  The whole time we are in the middle of crowds of people, but they are just a blur. I point towards the back room, and indicate I’ll wait there. I definitely want to corral  him to where I might have him to myself for a bit. He nods his head okay, and pushes up into the crowd at the bar in front of us, holding up a fistful of bills.

I walk towards the back room, mindlessly bumping into people, a goofy smile plastered across my face. I love how shit happens when you least expect it.

Jake Chronicles: Part Two/5/03/15

In My Stories, Stuff I Post Just To Keep This Blog Alive..., The 80's on May 3, 2015 at 10:43 pm

I float dreamily across the game room on the fumes of anticipation. Beat up pleather bench seats line the perimeter of the room, and a large group of rockers are watching a lone player on the Kiss pin-ball machine. I’m not a Kiss fan (too comic-booky) but even I can see they are perfectly suited to a pinball game. I  scope out a place towards the back of the room, where we can sit and get to know each other (I hope) I gulp down what’s left of my drink-just ice chips and a drop of water. (This drink has been through the mill and I need to stop expecting anything from it) I sit  and wait.

I hear loud, annoying feedback, followed by  raucous, drunken cheers. Twisted Sister is taking the stage. They’re sinister and hard rocking -though not exactly my cup of tea. Maybe it’s the costume and ridiculous makeup they wear. Sort of like the band I was just talking about. (Regardless, I’m sure they care what I think. After all, I’ve paid my admission and thus, paid them)

Plus, they have a couple cool songs, I’ll grudgingly admit.

The crowd around the pinball machine disperses, leaving behind only the solo gamer. A few seconds later, Dee Snider, as over-modulated as can be (is he eating the mike?) growls ‘SO HOW ARE YOU, MOTHERF**KERS TONIGHT” then roars like a wild cougar in a 1970’s car commercial. The crowd goes crazy, as the band slams into ‘Shoot ‘Em Down’.

Then, like a vision, Jake rounds the corner, and my heart flips. He’s holding a bunch of drinks unsteadily. I jump up and meet him halfway. The pinball player looks over at us, in between flips. We’re the only other people back here now. Jake’s smiling as I get to him (how many watts is that? Enough to run the whole fucking town for a good hour!) I quickly grab a drink and a shot out of his hands.

“I got us some shots, too!’ he says, “Alabama Slammers. Do you like them?” he asks.

“Like ’em? I looove ’em!” I say, as we clink shot glasses and pour the red liquor down our throats. We both let out synchronized  ‘Aaaahs!”, and start giggling like school girls. I lead him over to our newly designated ‘spot’ and we both sit down. We’re so close we’re almost, but not quite, touching. We keep glancing at each other and smiling like simpletons. My face is flushed, and trust me,  it’s not the Elizabeth Arden Blush-On. When Jake’s arm accidentally brushes against mine, I get chills and feel the current between us. I feel like a cartoon bomb, like my fuse is lit and I’m set to explode, sparks flying everywhere.

I’m asking him stupid questions like ‘where are you from’ (his answer: ‘around here’) and then I cut to the (literal?) chase.

“Haven’t I seen you at the Beach? I ask. “On a bike?’

“Yes!” Jake exclaims, the floodgate to admitting our head game really happened, flung open.

“And I’ve seen you down there for sure. You have the blue Cadillac, right? With the music always blasting out?’

Ding! Ding! Ding!

In the background, Dee Snider is screaming  ‘Death to Disco’ and breaking Donna Summer records to thunderous applause.

“Yup!”

“I saw you there Thursday- with- was that your boyfriend?” He’s talking about Jess, and the moment when he drove by us on the bike real slow, just as Jess was trying to get me to sip his flask. (For real. Not in an ‘is that what we’re calling it now?’ kind of way) He remembers this as much as I do- validating it all. Wow! I’m flattered to even be in his sightline, to take up space in his mind.

“No, no- that’s just my friend, Jess!” I answer, waving my hand like I’m shooing away flies.

“I don’t have a boyfriend’ I state, loud and clear, just to emphasize the point.

I take a sip of my Greyhound, and look at his arms. There’s a tat- a rose with a crown of thorns, well done. His arms are defined but not steroid and protein powder big. I love the faint ‘v’ of his upper arm muscle to his bicep.

Jake asks me if I want to go watch the band for awhile- and if I’m upset to be missing the show.

“Oh-pshhht! -I’ve seen this band a million times already!”I say nonchalantly, waving a dismissive hand. Right now I  wouldn’t want to leave this room if Black Sabbath was onstage.

(Author’s note: That’s clearly an exaggeration made in the heat of the moment)

“Wanna go for a ride?” he asks- and it sounds like the best idea ever. I can see us flying down the road on his motorcycle,  our hair flowing back in waves, the bike dipping low into the asphalt as we whip through hairpin turns. I’m up off my seat in a flash.

Jake Chronicles/Part Three/ 5/02/15

In My Stories, PRINTED, Stuff I Post Just To Keep This Blog Alive..., The 80's on May 2, 2015 at 12:55 pm

We step outside the Raven into the parking lot which is abuzz. People are everywhere, heading into the club, away from the club, standing in groups around parked  cars, loitering, flirting, getting high.

Sounds carry: peels of laughter,  shouting, the revving of car engines, the whoosh of the traffic whizzing by on the main street out front. The muffled sound of the band thuds from inside the bar, like it’s bubble wrapped inside a box.

I let Jake lead the way, checking him out thoroughly while I have the chance. The parking lot is flooded with white light from its many street lamps, the sky a dark void above.

A gang of guys-inebriated Twisted fans- pass us by on the way in, all bluster and bravado, chanting ‘SMF!”(Twisted Sister has a fan club- the ‘Sick Mother Fucker Club’ of which I am- surprisingly- not a member) A thin guy with brown wavy hair, wearing a Zeppelin tee, lunges at me and says ‘Hey, Baby!” Jake turns around abruptly and glares at him. The guy flinches and speeds away, his friends laughing at him. Jake extends his hand and I happily grab on. This makes me incredibly happy- to be holding hands with him, kicking the tires of the couple we might become.

I’m scanning the lot for Jake’s Kawasaki, but all I see are cars and Harleys. We stop walking and Jake clears his throat.

“I have to tell you something” he says in a tone that makes me think: Ut oh.

“Yeeeahh?” I ask, wide eyes and lilting voice, as I let go of his hand.

“I don’t even have my bike here,’ he says.

“Whaaat?” Wtf?

“I know….I just wanted to get away from all the commotion and talk to you” he says, sheepishly. “I shouldn’t have lied” He looks around, avoiding eye contact.

It strikes me as unsettling, and that warning signal I feel when something’s off shoots through me. Intuition? Perhaps. I do hate liars. But then again- maybe I drove him to lie by participating in this month long flirtation dance. Or  maybe (and more likely) my anger towards liars operates on a sliding scale that fluctuates depending on physical attraction, availability, and interest. Either way- we all know I’m going to blow it off and move on. Which I do. Immediately.

“It’s okay” I say. “Wanna go stand by my car?” I suggest, like it’s the place to be.

“Why not?”

I point towards the back of the lot, as a group of giggling girls walk by us, dressed in what looks like lingerie. They say ‘Hiiii’ to Jake in high pitched baby voices, and turn around to look at him as they pass by. Their spike heels click-click-click on the pavement. I picture extending my foot and tripping them, watching them fall like slutty dominoes. He pretends not to notice them at all and scores back any points he lost by lying.

The back end of the Cadillac is hanging out of its slot just a bit too much, and I make a mental note to move it forward. It’s such a boat. Jake laughs when he reads the bumper sticker: ‘Everybody Wants Some’ over the Van Halen logo.

“You really do love your music, huh?”he asks

I furrow my eyebrows and say ‘Ummm….yeah” I mean-duh! What a kooky question! Who doesn’t?

We lean against the side of the car, close but not touching. I fold my arms and look up at the dark sky. Jake’s thumbs are hanging from his belt loops, and he’s looking over at me, probably thinking of something to say, while I pretend not to notice. He leans into me lightly,  our upper arms touching and I want him to stay there forever. I’m aware of him with every fiber of my being.

Then, he stands up straight and faces me, pushing the hair gently out of my face, hooking it behind my ears, his hands on either side of my face. We plunge into a kiss like we’re diving into a cool swimming pool on a hot summer’s day. It feels divine. And I’m thankful that he’s a good kisser, swirling his tongue like he’s writing cursive love letters in my mouth, and I’m very, very glad that Carly’s persistence that I come out and party tonight has turned into this.

Jake Chronicles: Part FIVE 4/30/15

In My Stories, PRINTED, The 80's on April 30, 2015 at 5:48 pm

It couldn’t have been two minutes later, knee-deep in a frencher, when I hear my name again, this time from a distance. Will anyone just let me savor the friggin moment and make out with this dude? I look up to see its my dear friend Suzy Blueberry, who was with me the first time I  spotted Jake on his Kawasaki. She is such a sweetheart-the kind of girl who’s so nice she has no enemies, and is never gossiped about. I will forgive her anything, including this.

“Oh my god! Is that you, Sam?” she asks. She’s wearing a pink tube top with acid washed Jordache jeans and slouchy white ankle boots. Her ash blonde hair is teased just so. She looks adorable, and is with two girls I vaguely recognize, girls I’ve seen around. Both have brunette hair in side ponytails, fastened with neon colored scrunchies.

Jake looks over. I catch the moment of recognition in Blue’s face when she realizes who he is.

“Oooooh!” she says, exhaling for days. “You and me gotta tawk when you get inside!” she says, eyes wide.

At that moment, one of the pony-tail girls blows a pink Bazooka bubble from her lips and pops it loudly like a firecracker. It serves as an exclamation point on Blue’s words.

A crowd of people surge out of the Raven, and I realize that the muffled thudding of the band had ceased. The band must be on break.

Blue winks and says goodbye, salutes me with devil horns and walks off with her pals, whispering and giggling. I see her thumb aiming back in my direction, and know she’s telling them the story.

The parking lot is filling up with slightly (or mostly?) drunk Twisted Sister fans, many of whom are adopting the obnoxious behavior of their favorite lead singer’s brazen stage persona. (Offstage, he famously swears he’s a grandmother, doesn’t even drink, which comes across as a damper) At the other end of the lot, someone blasts an M-80, and we all jump. (July Fourth is around the corner-but don’t get me started on my disdain for that particular holiday and it’s moronic melding of booze and explosives-nor the flood of ‘gee-there’s a shocker’ news items about missing digits and evil carnage the following day.) Needless to say, the conditions of our make-out session are less than ideal. As it should be in a public parking lot. With all of the commotion, it’s obvious there will would be no privacy to be had.

“We might as well go back in!” I sigh.

I’ve driven my friends here, and don’t want them to think I bailed. If I’d gone for a motorcycle ride it would have been fine- my car would be in the lot and they’d  know I’d be back. I’m pretty dependable that way. If Jake and I leave in my car, I can’t guarantee we’ll be back.

As we walk back towards the Raven, I keep glancing sideways at Jake, thirsty for a look. When that doesn’t satisfy, I  cease walking- I stop on a dime so I can check him out as he walks in front of me.  It’s a fine sight, and man,  I’d love to take (and therefore have) a picture to swoon over. When Jake realizes I’m no longer keeping up, he pivots and backtracks, so in a flash I pretend to be looking for something in my purse. He appears to have no flaws. His built, tan arms, longish sun-streaked hair hair- don’t even get me started on his ass-it’s all good. I see why people are objectified, and I’m full-on participating in it until my next women’s rights bull session. It’s not just guys who do it. I can’t help myself.

We stand in the club’s door and hold up the back of our red-stamped hands for the bouncers who flag us through. We step back into a veil of smoke, sweat and loud music, readjusting to the chaos and noise. Jake leans into my ear, and shouts he’ll be right back (what? don’t leave!), but I casually shout back, ‘I’ll be around here somewhere’ and twirl my finger like a helicopter blade. I’m let down that he’s walking away, so I play the ‘I could care less, mister!’ card. We’re all such fakes, playing the worst board game ever: Chutes and Ladders: Relationship Edition. I slip down a chute as we head off in opposite directions.

Jake Chronicles: Part 6/ 4/29/15

In My Stories, PRINTED, The 80's on April 29, 2015 at 2:08 pm

I make my way through packed room, crossing the front of the stage, then up the stairs that lead to the second level. It’s very crowded but I’m on a mission and push my way through. I wonder if Carly is still at our table and am happy to see that she is, and bonus- she’s been joined by Jess and Blue. Jess’s white blond hair stands out like teeth under a blacklight, and I note he’s wearing his Jack Daniels T-shirt with the sleeves I personally cut off. His white leather jacket is hanging off the back of Darla’s chair. “Beer Drinkers And Hell Raisers” by ZZ Topp is blaring from the speakers. We’re all shaking our heads a little, in time with the song. Darla holds her beer up high in the air during the chorus- because clearly, this song is about her and she wants everyone to know it.

“THERE YOU ARE!!” she bellows when I approach the table. I nod, validating her astute observation. Nothing gets by Darla. Blue looks at me with wide eyes, open mouth and her hand splayed over her heart. I know I owe her a story.

“Are you done humping it up in the parking lot?” Jess asks, as he stands up and points to the empty seat next to him. I shake my head, and give him an insincere smile. I take the seat, folding my hands together atop the table, like the Principal at a parent-teacher conference.

“You shoulda seen her out there” he yells to the girls “She was really goin’ at it!” He slaps his knee, and chugs from a Bud bottle.

“That’s NOT what happened!” I say loudly. “Jesus!”

“Where’s Mr. Suave? He leave you hangin?” Jess asks, laughing.

I ignore him, and lean into the table, motioning  Darla and Blue to come closer. Jess stands up, and says he’ll be right back. “I don’t wanna hear any of her Penthouse letters” he cracks. I give him another fake smile and the finger.

“Anyway!” I say to our little huddle, inside which we can hear ourselves if we really lean in.  “That was The Guy! The Guy on the Bike!” Blue nods in quick succession, while Darla asks ‘Bi-cycle? What bicycle? Who are we even talking about here?”

“Tsk! No! Not a bicycle…’ I say, exasperated. ‘I’m not scoping out bicycle riders, Darla! I mean- what am I-  riding around in my car checking out guys on ten speeds?” I say this as if it is as impossible as me flying to the moon, and just as preposterous. The truth is, I’ll scope on any guy, anywhere. Driving, walking- you name it. The only real criteria I have for a guy is ‘existing’.  I mean- who am I kidding?

“OOOOOH!” she yells, finally recognizing who I’m referring to, “You mean that fox on the rice-burner you were telling me about!”

“Shhhh!” I say, looking quickly around for eavesdroppers, like anyone would care, like anyone could even hear us over the music if they did. Which they don’t.

“No, Darla- really- you’ve gotta SEE this one! I mean- yowzah!” Blue shakes her wrist, flapping her hand back and forth, validating my taste. “How’d you ever meet him, Sam?”

“It’s so funny- you won’t believe how it happened!” I say, shoring up my tale, convinced it’s the most random sequence of events ever. Just imagine: two people, constantly checking each other out around town-when- big twist! they run into each other at one of  the only three local bars people in our age bracket gather at. Still, that didn’t stop me from weaving a dramatic yarn, like a ghost story told around a campfire, with cute guys and motorcycles instead of diaphanous ghosts and witches brooms.

When I  finish, careful to supply every detail and nuance from ‘saw him speeding into the beach all foxy and what not’ for Darla’s benefit, all the way through to the random bumping into each other in the crowd here. I lean back into my chair, throw my hands up: mic drop!. What can I say? I’m fascinating. Blue squeezes her arms together and giggles, while Darla holds out for a high five. I don’t notice this right off (so taken as I am with my own story) that when I finally do high five her back it’s awkward and clumsy and doesn’t quite connect.  If this was a movie, we’d have to do another take. But Jake would still be the star.

As if on cue, he strolls up to the table with a drink and a beer, and hands me the drink. My heart races. His presence is so in my face-he stands apart from everyone else in my eyes- I’d swear he’s more three dimensional. Almost like he’s in color, and the rest of us are black and white.  He leans in to whisper in my ear, his ass practically in Darla’s face. Her and Blue are literally pointing at it and making duck lip faces. Darla’s pantomiming a squeeze. I kick her under the table. Thankfully,  she straightens up and flies right. Blue follows suit.

“Listen- I need to leave with my friend” Jake says, his voice deep, tickling my inner ear, giving me goosebumps. “Can I get your number and call you tomorrow?”

Can you? I nod my head and reach into my purse, holding a finger up, hold on a sec. I pull out my tiny brown leather address book, embossed with a braying unicorn. (Underneath its hooves, it reads ‘The Unicorn’ in case I mistake it for a regular horse) I flip through, looking for a blank page, which I  rip out sloppily, it’s edges jagged which faintly bothers me; I wish I could scissor that off- (I have a sprinkle of OCD, only a dash, really) I find a pen at the bottom of my purse and write my name in extra swirly script (script is one of my specialties) and add my number. I’m actually trying to make my handwriting sexy which may be certifiable. (oooh!…when I saw the way you looped that  ‘S’ I knew you were the one for me! A classic love story)

I feel like I’ll be competing with a stack of other girl’s numbers, though, so I put in the extra effort. I fold the paper and pass it to him. He leans down and whispers in my ear “I’ll call you tomorrow, foxy”, and actually play- bites my earlobe gently. I shiver. He walks away-a vision of hotness as the three of us track him. As soon as he is just out of range, we all start swooning, slapping the table and clucking like hens. We all agree-wholeheartedly-that he is one buff motherf*cker and just ‘oh my god!’

On the upside, now that he’s gone, I can finally be my effing self, my voice suddenly a few decibels lower, my posture less stiff, relaxing into my chair, the relief of no longer being watched from afar by a potential lover and his opinionated friends. I hadn’t realized how clenched up I was, subtly posing, holding in my stomach, boobs up and out proudly, like flags. But the evaluation is over, it seems I’ve passed and now it’s time to slouch- and party. Let the drinks and expletives fly!

Jake Chronicles: Part Eight/ 4/27/15

In My Stories, The 80's on April 27, 2015 at 1:31 pm

 

Jake calls the following morning at 7:30 am. It’s odd, but I’m thrilled. He apologizes for leaving abruptly the night before, and wants to secure a date for that evening. I accept, and can’t even be bothered to play coy. He says he’ll be by at 8:00 pm to pick me up.I give him directions to my house. We could go for a motorcycle ride, he suggests- or he’ll put some gas in my car and we can take that- ‘in case you don’t want to mess your hair up’.

Excuse me?

He goes on to say that girls always complain about their hair getting all tangled up while riding on the back of his bike. This statement is interpreted by me as a challenge- sure all of those  ‘girly girls’ are complainers- but not me, pal. I’ve ridden on the back of Harley Davidson choppers, regular Harleys and a bevy of imports- not to mention racing boats. He has no idea who he’s messing with. I’ve spent many a day with messy hair -and yeah- I’ve spent endless minutes in ladies rooms trying to secretly untangle said hair, swearing the whole time, close to tears- but I do it discreetly, behind closed doors. Without (public) complaint.

“I’m not afraid of ‘messing up my hair'” I say in  a sing-song voice, insulted.

He sighs. “That’s sounds great. Because most girls are” I can tell he’s not completely sold, by the way his voice goes up on the ‘are’.

Just how many girls is he toting around on the back of his bike, anyway, I wonder? I refuse to take the bait and ask, but I mean- really? Then I realize that based solely on his looks, it’s a high number. Still- I’ve yet to see him riding with any chicks.(He’s probably saving that until after we start dating, if my history is any indication)

We talk a while longer, cement plans, and hang up. I can’t help but happily hiss ‘Yessssss….” aloud to myself after I place the receiver in its cradle. I have the whole day in front of me, nowhere to be, the place to myself, and a decent amount of cash. This is going to be the best summer ever.

Which is why it’s such a shocker when he doesn’t show up. Or call. Or anything.

The Warning: Part 1

In The 80's on March 15, 2012 at 10:17 pm

Warn1

It’s the early 80’s, winter. I have my big, blue Cadillac sedan, and am getting my shit together as far as what I want to do with my life. I know I want to be involved with writing, and I love music, so I’m considering combining the two. I’m not thinking there would be money in it- but it’s important to me to be happy. Most of the adults I know are miserable and hate their jobs so I’m sure as hell not taking their path or advice. Also, I don’t understand money or its importance.

I’ll start school in the Fall-at the local college.  I’m still of the mindset that summers are for slacking so summer courses are out. I’m nineteen years old, working part-time and hanging out with my musician friends, helping them shore up their acts by listening to them jam, filling in lyrics and critiquing their ‘look’. Also bar-hopping where they perform and taking notes. It’s backbreaking work.

The person I’m with most often with is Jess, my new best friend. Ever since Adrian and I broke up, we’d been hanging out. We met at one of Adrian’s many band auditions. Like most bands, there was a perpetual search for a good singer. Like quarterbacks on NFL teams, they were rare and valuable.

Jess showed up after answering an ad in ‘The Bargain News’ He sidled up to me during the audition and began taking shots at Adrian and the band, whispering such doozies as “Who dresses these guys?” (to be fair, the band wore  street clothes- jeans and flannel shirts- because it was mid-afternoon on a Thursday. Jess was in zebra spandex pants, black cowboy boots draped in silver chains, and a ripped up Aerosmith shirt, which I immediately coveted. It was like seeing a sliver of the moon in the daytime)

He auditioned, his white blonde mane, twirling about in a frenzy, but his voice wasn’t as impressive as his get-up.  He later blamed it on the band in a stolen whisper to me: “Their timing is too fast!” he spit.

I was off in my corner, reading a book-as usual ‘waiting’ for my boyfriend’s much- more- important- than- mine to-do list so Jess’s approaching me at all was a surprise. His comments struck me as ballsy- he had no idea what my relationship was to the band.  But since I already had one foot out the door with Adrian (which, come to find out was mutual) I found Jess’s comments funny.

I also recognized that though Jess had the  perfect stage presence for a front man, he was quite possibly the worst singer I’d heard that day. Or possibly, year. I would best describe his style as ‘caterwauling’.

This didn’t matter to me at all (I didn’t have a band-nor did I ever think to form one-damn you, Patriarchy!) and I was happy to exchange numbers with him (undercover, like coke seals) on tiny pieces of paper.  I accepted his invitation to meet for a drink. It was a friendly invitation and there was no ‘I’m trying to pick you up’ vibe. I don’t know why- he certainly was cute enough. 

It was clear from that first drink that we would become good friends. He had me rolling with laughter, mostly mocking people, especially my ex, who I  caught cheating on me only days later. I walked into the Night Raven mid-week, on a whim and noticed him playing footsie with some girl with badly crimped yellow hair, who looked at me condescendingly as I walked over to their table. Adrian played innocent (the room they sat in was open and raised- one had to walk up several stairs to get to it. From the bar you could see the undersides of the tables, something these two rocket scientists couldn’t deduce. Which is how I witnessed the not-so- subversive ‘footsie’ playing)

“Oh, hiii!’ Adrian  said, fake smiling, looking nervous.

“Heeey!” he continued, a quick flash of ‘ut-oh’ in his eyes. I played cool.

‘Whatchya doin?’ I asked. They glanced at each other (totally in cahoots) and I said: “Be sure you don’t trip when you stand up. Looks like your feet are all tangled up under there” The girl gasped, and Adrian’s eyebrows shot up. With that I turned and walked away.

I pictured this new girl nested down in my old ‘reading chair’ for hours,(that is-if she could read) bored to tears and begging Adrian: “Please-please! let’s go out  somewhere!” I’m sure she thought she’d won a prize, but it was the kind of plastic prize that tumbled from the silver slot of a gumball machine. Sometimes the winner is the one who didn’t get the guy.

I stopped at the bar for a quick Kamikaze shot, which I downed in two seconds and headed out the door. I was shaking and humiliated. My pride was hurt- I didn’t think Adrian would actually cheat on me (and of course, I wondered how long it had been going on) . Worse yet, I thought I was  hanging on to him until a more convenient time to break up  (like when met someone new?) But the joke was on me. He had forced my hand, and in doing so, had done me a favor- though I couldn’t see it then.

'Undercover' Footsie

‘Undercover’ Footsie

I drove straight over to Adrian’s house from the Raven, mere blocks away.  I had a few books there, as well as some expensive Paul Mitchell conditioner (which Footsie certainly needed, but would get over my dead body) and a few incidentals. I rapped on the front door, until his brother Lance let me in, nervously babbling something like: “Adrian went to The Fortune Cookie with Steve” (he was the one brother of the three who was a shitty liar) but I busted right by him, heading downstairs for my stuff, and pointed out that I didn’t recall asking where Adrian was in the first place.

I grabbed ‘Interview With A Vampire’ and ‘Helter Skelter’, purposely leaving behind an old, tattered copy of ‘I’m OK, You’re Ok’ , crossing out the second OK and writing in: ‘A Dick!’ with a pen on the desk.There was a pack of EZ Widers on the dresser, which I flicked like a paper football, where it disappeared into the void. (Ten to one, they’re still there) I turned his desk clock back an hour, and took one last look around. 

After I left, I drove  aimlessly down the main drag, and tried to think of somewhere to go besides home. I was supposed to be meeting Suzy and Heather at the Night Raven, but I wasn’t going back in there tonight. I remembered I had Jess’s number in my wallet, so I pulled into the Pizza Den parking lot and searched for it. It was right underneath my Led Zeppelin ticket stub, which I carried around as proof of my coolness. I got out of the car and headed over to the pay phone, standing precariously on a little pile of dirty snow- depositing two dimes and dialing the number. Jess answered almost immediately. I started to explain who I was -he knew- and after  I told him about Adrian and the girl,  he laughed and said: ‘Oh, just be glad to be rid of him!  Come get me, we’ll go out and get drinks, and you’ll be sure to forget about his ass!!” I loved it. I got directions to his place and headed over, cranking Van Halen’s ‘You’re No Good’ and singing right along…loudly.

Warn6

Jess was standing outside when I got to his house. I recognized the shock of white blond hair, hanging past his shoulders, his pouty lips jutting out. He wore a white leather biker jacket, black jeans and snakeskin boots. He held a lit cigarette in one hand and a St. Pauli Girl in the other. When I stopped the car, he nodded, and strutted around to the passenger side, easing himself in.

‘Ahaaa!’ he said, almost giggling ‘I didn’t know you drove a BOAT!!’ I laughed and headed slowly down the street. We decided to go to  a small bar we knew, located on a golf course, called ‘The Pines’. On the way we couldn’t stop talking about Adrian. Jess said he wasn’t that good of a guitar player, but I knew he was just sore. 

 He went on to say he was glad they didn’t pick him to be the singer because he’d been jamming with a much better band, two towns over called Saint something or other.

“If Adrian can’t see what a good singer I am, fuck him!’ he exclaimed.

I noted the phrase see how good of a singer he was, and realized that it was like being at a wedding when they say ‘If anybody here sees any reason why these two should not wed’ and that if I said nothing about his bad singing, I’d never be able to. I decided I was good with that. Besides, maybe he’d grow into his voice. IT’s been known to happen.

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