Welcome to part 4! If you missed the previous entries:
This is my longest blog entry ever. You might want to get a beverage before reading it.
Episode IV: A NEW HOPE
(A vast sea of stars serves as the backdrop for the main title. War drums echo through the heavens as yellow text scrolls from the foreground to the background. Blog readers hum the main theme from Star Wars.)
It is a period of great unrest in the life of the ACCORDION GUY. Plagued by the EVIL EX-GIRLFRIEND and babysitting friends with POOR IMPULSE CONTROL, our hero has his sights set on THE WAITRESS.
Unfortunately, The Waitress is involved with a cur known as THE ARTISTE, a vessel of POINTLESS ART STUDENT BABBLE and ODOR-CAUSING BACTERIA. Unbeknownst to our hero, a series of EVENTS is about to unfold. Events that will change everything…
Chicks Dig It
It was a good day.
I spent most of it hammering away at my laptop at Tequila Bookworm and ended up finishing my report ahead of schedule. I shut down the laptop and moved from my usual perch at the bar to one of the easy chairs in the back with a copy of Maxim.
I was undisturbed for about half an hour before a British voice startled me as I was reading an interview with Kelly Lynch.
"A Maxim reader. There’s no end to a Scorpio’s depravity, is there?"
"Well, if it isn’t my favourite Scorpiophile. What d’you suppose is worse, a Scorpio, or a Scorpio groupie?"
She peered over the cover the magazine. One page was filled with the text of the interview, while the other had a full-page photo of Ms. Lynch wearing only a construction helmet and vest, posing strategically behind a jackhammer she was supposedly operating. She clucked in mock disapproval.
"That’s art, you know," I said in my defense.
"And this?" she said, pointing to the copy of Spock’s World from the cafe’s bookshelves that I just finished reading. "You can’t keep a good Trekkie down," I said. "Besides, it’s kind of fun reading someone’s imaginings of the history of the planet Vulcan. And Bones comes off as completely un-prejudiced against Vulcans in –"
Oops. The geek factor might have been a bit much.
"Ah, never mind," I said.
"Anyway," she said with a little sigh, "the reason I came over here is that I was wondering if you knew if there was anything going on tonight. I have the night off and I’m a little bored."
"I was planning on going to ‘Chicks Dig It’ tonight."
Chicks Dig It is a DJ night that takes place every Monday — even to this day — that spotlights women DJs, a rarity in the business.
"The sounds perfect. Would you mind if [The Artiste] and I came along with you?"
Couldn’t we drop The Artiste off at a kennel first? I thought.
"Sure," I said, "what say I meet you here at around 10 tonight?"
I met The Waitress and The Artiste at the Bookworm at the appointed time. The Waitress was reading the issue of Maxim that I’d been reading earlier that day, while The Artiste was reading a Milan Kundera novel — which one, I forget — in the most obvious look-at-how-deep-i-am manner possible.
"’Ell-o, Jo-way," said The Artiste, "We are goeeng to be dancing to the electroneeeka tonight, yes?"
You weeel be keeping your malodorous bah-dee downweeend, yes? I thought.
"Uh-huh," I answered. "DJ Chocolate’s spinning tonight, and she’s quite good."
"Let’s get going!" said The Waitress, and off the three of us went.
On the way there, The Artiste told us about school in his native country. "We used to wear these red…cloths…how do you say?"
I’ll be damned, I thought. People really do say "How do you say" with Euro accents.
"Neck-ker-chiffs," he said, treading on each syllable as if it were an eggshell. "We ‘ad to wear them as part of the Junior Communist League. We called them ‘Leneeen’s Diaper’. Ha ha ha!"
I couldn’t help but think of the Trotsky line. Oh, how I wanted to acquaint his head with the pavement.
We arrived at the club just in time to catch the start of DJ Chocolate’s set.
"C’mon, [The Artiste], let’s dance!" implored The Waitress.
"No, no, I prefer to stand steeel and leesten," said The Artiste.
"You dance…weeth…weeth your leetle friends. And Jo-Way."
I wasn’t going to argue. And we danced for most of the night. The Artiste leered at her, but spent some time mentally undressing some of the other girls there too.
At the end of the evening, I bade The Waitress and her loser boyfriend farewell and started unlocking my bike for the ride home. I had conflicting feelings: happiness from having danced with her all night, but annoyance that in the end, I was just the opening act and The Artiste was the headliner.
I’d just tossed the U-lock into my bike bag when The Waitress came up behind me.
"Hey, this was fun. We’ll have to do this again," she said. "Here, give me your phone number, and I’ll give you my pager number."
After the exchange, she hugged me goodbye and ran off to join The Artiste.
Well, I got digits, I thought. Now if only we could lose [The Artiste].
A few days later, another friend of mine who waited tables at the Bookworm told me that The Waitress and The Artiste broke up acrimoniously.
"I don’t know the exact details," said The Other Waitress, "but apparently he’d been stalking her after the breakup. He’d follow her around all day, and finally, after he’d been loitering all day here, she snapped and dumped a pitcher of water on his head."
"It’s probably closest he’s come to bathing in months," I said.
I wondered how long an appropriate waiting period I should leave before giving her a ring to go and "hang out" would be.
"Hey, [The Other Waitress]," I said, "tell me what you know about [The Waitress]."
An Unexpected Call
A week had passed. I was expecting it to be a mellow Saturday night. My uncle had invited the whole extended family to dinner at a Chinese restaurant downtown, and after that, I had no plans for the evening. I thought that I might go down to the ‘Worm for a late-evening coffee and thumbing through both Harper’s and Maxim.
My phone rang. I excused myself from the table and tried to find a quiet corner of the restaurant. Since it was a Chinese restaurant, there were no quiet corners to be found. I took the call in the entrance stairway.
"Hello, is this Joey?" It was The Waitress.
"Hi, [The Waitress]! Great to hear from you! To what do I owe the pleasure?"
"I got off work early and was wondering if you’d like to join me for a drink."
This would normally be the point during which I would wake up. However, no such thing happened, which meant that this was really happening.
"I would love to. When would you like to meet?"
"In about half an hour? At Tequila Bookworm?"
"Perfect. Dinner’s winding down right now, so I should be able to meet you there and then. Looking forward to it."
"Me too. Bye."
I hit the "end" button on the phone and did a little victory dance.
"Who da man?" I asked myself.
"You da man!" I replied.
"Damn skippy, yo!" I said back.
I clapped my hands over my head. "Self high-five!" (Yes, it was dorky. You’d have done it too.)
Since I was already dressed for an evening out, I biked straight to Tequila Bookworm from the restaurant. The Waitress was sitting at the bar, reading a book. This was the first time I’d seen her dressed to go out: she wore a grey halter top and gray skirt. She looked hot.
"Hello!" I said. "You look great. I love your outfit."
"Thank you," she said, greeting me with a hug. "I’m dying for a drink."
I suggested that we go next door to Taro Grill, where they placed us in a quiet, out-of-the-way booth. We ordered Amaretto Sours and started trading stories about ourselves. I told her about how I got kicked out of the Yamaha Organ School. In return, she told me about some strange game she and her friends played at the age of thirteen in boarding school: she was the Faerie Queene, but since she was a bad Faerie Queene, she had to submit to many spankings.
"Clearly all the porn flicks that take place in a boarding school have an element of truth to them," I observed.
We spent an hour or so just getting to know each other. It was the first chance we’d had to actually have a conversation that wasn’t interrupted by the demands of her job nor any programming I did on my laptop at Tequila Bookworm. There were no dull moments or awkward silences; the conversation flowed like water.
My phone rang. I answered it.
"Hey, Joey! It’s [Crabs]!" "Hey man, what’s up?" "The Bears and me, we’re at Buddies right now. You wanna come dancing?"
"Hold on," I said and turned to The Waitress. "My friend is at Buddies in Bad Times. They’ve got a great dance night tonight and has invited me. Do you want to come along?"
"That sounds like fun! I like dancing with you."
This has got to be the best date ever, I thought.
Girl, I want to take you to a gay bar
There was a line outside Buddies. Normally, I’d have been annoyed — sometimes you had to wait for an hour before you’d be able to get in — but with my present company, I’d have waited a week gladly.
We started talking with two people behind us: a guy from Glasgow whom I’ll call “Renton” (after the Trainspotting character) and a girl from Toronto. They’d somehow met through exchanging letters, so I’ll call her “Pen Pal”.
Pen Pal told me that she’d been showing Renton around Toronto for the whole week and that this was his last night in town. She’d decided to take him here, as it was probably quite unlike anything in Glasgow.
Renton was eyeing two raver girls who were making out behind him. "I love this city! Are there beautiful girls snogging everywhere?" he asked.
"On every corner," I replied, "and often in regulation French maid outfits. It’s the law."
We waited a good forty minutes before we were let inside, but it didn’t matter. We were having such a good time talking that I didn’t notice the time passing.
Once inside, it didn’t take long to find Crabs, who was with his friends, The Bears. The Bears were big bearded men with pot bellies, both wearing Hawaiian shirts. I did the introductions and bought a round of drinks.
"You’re a cute couple," said Pen Pal to me.
"How long have you been going out?"
"We’re not going out…yet," I said. "This is just a date. Of sorts. She called me up for drinks."
"Oh, she likes you. You’re a handsome man," she said.
Ooh, a date and an ego-boost. It’s good to be the king.
The music was as eclectic as ever. The DJ wrapped up a three-song alt-rock set with Spacehog’s In the Meantime… and started a dance set with ABBA’s Take a Chance on Me.
Upon hearing the opening a capella, "If you change your mind…", The Bears went berserk. (The only real difference between gay bars and straight bars, when you boil it down to basics, is whether it’s the boys or the girls who scream when ABBA comes on.)
"C’mon," said The Waitress, taking me by the hand and pulling me towards the crowd, "I want to dance. Follow me."
"Anywhere," I replied, although I’m sure she didn’t hear it.
We danced for a half-dozen songs, flirting all the while. The music was great, my dance partner was cute, and I was having the time of my life.
After a few more songs, we decided to take a break from dancing. I led her off into a quiet corner of the stage.
"I’m having a great time," I told her. "I’m so glad you called."
"Me too. I knew I was going to have fun if I called you." "You can call me anytime."
"You know, I’ve had my eye on you for a while."
Is this really happening? I wondered. This was end-of-a-John-Hughes-movie moment, the sort of thing airline pilots would call a "textbook landing". It was time to close the deal. I put an arm around her waist and drew her closer. Our faces were closing, maybe only an inch apart now…
…when I felt a hand on my shoulder, pulling me back.
What the hell? I turned around to see who was trying to ruin the best date ever.
It was Renton. "I really need to speak with you, Joe," he said. "It’s…it’s very important."
"Not now, [Renton]. This is a really bad time."
Is this really happening? I wondered, again.
The Waitress squeezed my hand. "See what he wants," she said.
I sighed and squeezed her hand back. "Okay. Wait here. Think very impure thoughts."
That got a smile.
"[Renton], " I said, "[The Waitress] and I were…you see, I’m trying to have a moment here. A moment, which I might add, you fucking interrupted at the fucking wrong time. Whatever it is you interrupted me for had better be very im—"
No sign of my rant seemed to register on his face.
"Hello?!" I shouted at Renton. "Did you hear any of what I just said?!"
"I’m in love with [Pen Pal] and my heart is breaking, Joe," he said, the sound of unrequited love mixing in with his Scottish brogue, "You look like a bloke who’s got it together. What should I do?"
You sir, I thought, are sadly mistaken. Any "having-it-together-ness" he might have been seeing was the product of blind luck and metaphorical duct tape.
Pen Pal was a short distance away, dancing and flirting with a gaggle of guys on the stage. The song playing was The Prodigy’s Firestarter. During the breakdown, where the rhythm cuts out, leaving nothing but a falling synth line, she planted a "but wait, there’s more" peck on the cheek of a guy who looked just like Indie Rock Pete.
I’d have been well within my rights to say "Well, fella, ’tis better to have loved and lost, yadda, yadda, yadda." That, or the less sympathetic "You must have me mistaken for someone who gives a shit." Surely there’s some chapter in Miss Manners or a similar book on etiquette where it says that it’s bad form to interrupt a guy about to have his first kiss with a cute blonde with a sexy British accent.
However, I couldn’t just leave him there. The poor guy looked broken and had a beaten-puppy-dog expression on his face. I recognized his posture as the Slouch of Ignominious Defeat. He was where I was, in the sense of state-of-mind, not too long ago. He was also in a strange city an ocean away from home with no one to turn to. It would’ve been nice if I had someone to turn to at the club when I was feeling low. I couldn’t just leave him there in good conscience.
"Be with you in a minute," I said with a sigh. I turned to face The Waitress, who’d been right behind me all this time, her hand in mine. Even just holding her hand was such a kick.
"He looks like he could use a friend," she said. "Let me talk him down. And then we can, um, pick up where we left off."
"That sounds fair," she said, with a smile.
"You’re the best," I said, and gave her a slow peck on the cheek, as a way of saying "Thank you for your patience. You will be rewarded handsomely."
"C’mon," I said, as I started to cut through the crowd on the dance floor. "Bar. Now."
Impromptu counselling and butterscotch schnapps
"I need cheap and plentiful drinkage for a heartbroken friend to drown his sorrows," I told the bartender.
"We’ve got butterscotch schnapps, a buck-fifty a shot."
"Sounds absolutely disgusting," I said, pulling a twenty-dollar bill from my wallet. "I’ll take a dozen, please."
I took the tray of vile alcoholic sugar-water to a nearby table. As I sat down, I realized it was the same table where Pudgy Guy first made his move on Crabs.
"Look man, you’ve got to be realistic," I said, "You’re leaving when? Tomorrow, isn’t it?"
Actually, I already knew he was leaving the next day. It was just a conversational trick to actually get him to say something and to make sure he was listening.
I continued. "So let’s say you and she hit it off. You’ll have, at best, one romantic night and then boom — you’re on one side of The Pond, she’s on the other. And then what happens? Something long-distance? How long will that last? It’s guaranteed heartbreak."
"But I’ve never met anyone like her before!"
"But no one is like anyone else. That’s because each of us occupies a different location in spacetime."
Serves me right for getting too nerdy in the wrong context. I do that sometimes.
I decided to try another tack. "Uh, let me put it this way. The ones you really care about, that’s how you’re supposed to feel about them. Yeah, they’re rare, but that’s what makes them special."
"What’m I gonna do, Joe? I’ve got it bad for her."
"Look, you’re a good-looking guy, and you’re from Scotland! There’s lots of pretty girls there. You’ll find someone there, and you’ll be happy because she’ll always be around, and not thousands of miles away."
Everything I said made perfect sense to me, but I was speaking with the distanced rationality of man who was trying to resolve the issue as quickly as possible so he could resume getting his swerve on. Maybe he already agreed with me in his head; it looked like his heart would need a little more time to catch up.
"I know. It’s just hard, s’all."
"To women," I said, raising a shot glass and borrowing a line from my buddy George: "Can’t live with ’em, and shagging guys is too messy." (Only later did the irony of saying such a thing in a gay bar hit me.)
"Right," he replied, and then tossed back the schnapps. "Fuck, that’s dead awful," he said with a grimace. "Let’s do another."
"That’s the spirit."
Six shots of awful hangover-inducing sickly-sweet shots later, Renton bought a round of beer to wash away the awful taste. Afterwards, he resolved to enjoy the rest of his evening, no matter what, and marched off to the dance floor. I too was determined to make the most of the evening, and started looking for the rest of the gang.
I found The Bears first, still at their perch near the balcony stairs. It’s hard not to spot two men, each weighing at least two hundred and seventy-five pounds, in Hawaiian shirts and drinking wine coolers from glasses with paper umbrellas.
“Hey, boys,” I said, with the enthusiasm of a kid of Christmas Day, “where’s [The Waitress]?”
“Who?” asked one of them.
“My date. Shortish blonde hair, British accent…”
“Oh, her,” he said, with extreme cattiness for the word ‘her’, “She’s with [Crabs], who couldn’t stop talking to her once she found out she was a Pisces.”
More of Crabs’ Astrological crap. “What’s that got to do with anything?”
“[Crabs’] boyfriend is a Pisces too, so he figured that your date and he must be simpatico, best friends and fucking soulmates. And we haven’t been able to get him to say more than five words to us since. Bitch.”
I couldn’t figure out if “Bitch” was directed at The Waitress, Crabs, or both.
“I’ll go look around and take her away from [Crabs]. He’ll be all yours.”
“That would be nice. I hate it when little hags cut in like that. The nerve.”
I went for a wander around the club, stopping only to return greetings to people I knew who’d spotted me and said hello. I found them after about ten minutes of looking about, sitting on one of the benches in the basement lounge, deep in conversation.
“So I figured that if I fixed up the feng shui in my apartment,” said Crabs, “I’d be able to pay the rent on time.”
If you’d stop spending your money getting bombed every weekend, I thought, you’d be able to cover rent.
“Hey, look,” I said, cutting in, “why don’t we go upstairs. [Crabs], the Bears are looking for you. [The Waitress], I do believe I owe you a dance.
“Dancing!” yelped Crabs, who jumped up from his seat, “I love that! Let’s go!”
He grabbed The Waitress by the hand and ran up the stairs.
I sighed. I thought to myself: These interruptions were just minor inconveniences. She called me, she was interested, and things were going quite nicely until [Renton] went looking for a shoulder to cry on. Compared to my prior date — the no-show where the bartender said “she ain’t comin’, man,” — I was batting a thousand in this one.
Patience, I told myself, will eventually pay off.
Crabs and The Waitress danced for a couple of numbers. I was getting antsy, because I wanted to get back to having our moment. The Bears were getting cattier because some girl had stolen their thunder.
“Earth to [Crabs],” on of them said with a lilting nag, “You’re gaaaaaay.”
The DJ announced that she was playing the last number of the night. I decided that Crabs had had enough hanging out with his new bestest friend in the world and that I would have this last dance. She was, after all, on a date with me.
“Hey [Crabs],” I said, after tapping his shoulder. “May I cut in? I haven’t had much of a chance to dance with her.”
“Sure,” he said, with a toothy grin.
I took The Waitress in my arms and was about to say something — I can’t remember what — what Crabs leapt between us, and swept her away.
“I lied! Get my coat, willya?” he yelled, and handed me his coat check stub.
Of. All. The. Nerve.
I’d put up with all kinds of crap that night with a smile, but this was too much. I’d also had enough of Crabs’ thinking-only-of-himself garbage, especially after all the times I’ve had to help him out of ridiculous situations brought about by the fact that he was all fucking id.
The alcohol was also beginning to hit me.
And dammit, I’d just been cock-blocked!
Crabs, I decided, make peace with whatever stupid god of self-absorption you worship. You are going to die.
I looked at his coat check ticket and got an idea. Then I dropped the ticket on the ground. I didn’t care about getting his jacket back to him. Cock-blockers deserve to freeze in the dark.
I walked to up the dancing couple and tapped The Waitress’ shoulder.
“Hey [The Waitress], they’re closing coat check in a couple of minutes. You’d better run down and get yours.”
“Oh! All right. See you in a moment,” she said and ran off.
“May I have a word with you?” I asked Crabs, as I took him arm-in-arm into the same blind corner where The Waitress and I were supposed to have that first kiss.
“Hey! What gives?! I was dancing with her, and you interrupted. And hey, where’s my coa–”
Crabs never got to finish that sentence. As soon as we were out of sight of any of the bouncers or bartenders, I grabbed him by the neck and slammed him as hard as I could against the wall. His back made a low thud against concrete bricks, but the more satisfying higher sound came from his head, as it snapped against concrete.
“You! Fucking! Asshole!” I screamed. “I have had enough of your bullshit. You have been monopolizing my date all night, without any consideration for me. After all times I’ve saved your sorry ass because you’re too big a fuck-up to fucking take any fucking responsibility.”
I pressed my hand on his Adam’s Apple with more force. I wanted him to remember this. I wanted to him to wake up in the middle of the night from Joey-induced night terrors for the next week in a vile puddle of his own sweat and urine.
He stood there, his eyes wide, completely frozen.
“You have two choices,” I said, “You can leave this place under your own power, or you can leave in an ambulance. Me, I don’t fucking care which you pick. You’re a fucking zodiac nut, so I want you to remember this till the day you die, which might be tonight: Never. Fuck. With. A. Scorpio.”
Understand that I had no intent of actually beating him up. The last thing I wanted was for The Waitress to come back from coat check and see Crabs lying on the floor in a pool of his own blood and teeth as I was being escorted into a police car. I meant only to make sure he got the point, in the same way as when The U.S.S. Enterprise fires a warning photon torpedo across a hostile ship’s bow in Star Trek.
The Uniform Code of Guys is very clear on issues such as this. The proper response would have been for him to shove me away, and yell “Back off, man!” after which I’d respond with “I’m cool, dude, but you were crossing the line.” And then we’d clear the air and have a beer.
Instead, he burst into tears.
“You…you…YOU HIT ME!” he yelped, his choked-back sobs turning into exploding waterworks.
This was not what I expected.
Three thoughts hit me all at once:
- Look at what you just did. You just hit your friend over a girl. You are the lowest form of life, a first class heel.
- Look at what you just did. With your own strength and menace, you just made a man cry! Cooooool!
- Look at that pantywaist. One slam against the wall and he goes to pieces. You know what we call guys like him? Chicks! I should finish him off before he shames my gender further.
Thought number one got the better of me. I released my grip on him, and he slumped to the floor like a pile of wet rags. He was sobbing uncontrollably.
“I’m sorry,” I said, the full gravity of what I’d done hitting me through the schnapps-and-adernaline haze. “I’ve had a little bit to drink, and you were ruining my date.”
“Yoooooouuuuu hiiiiiiiiiiit meeeeeeeeee!” More blubbering. I had to resist the urge to kick him in the head.
“I hit you because you weren’t listening to me. You were monopolizing my date.”
“You were on a date? With who?”
“[The Waitress]. You know, the woman I walked in with, hand in hand?”
“You were on a date?”
“You want me to hit you again?” Urge to kill…rising…
(Parents of the world, I implore you to stop raising children who live in their own little solipsisms, blissfully unaware of the feelings of others and the consequences of their actions to anyone but themselves. I, and I suspect many other people, will thank you.)
“But why did you hit me?” He wasn’t quite listening yet, but his wailing had attenuated to muted sobs.
“Because I haven’t had a chance to hang out with my date all night. Because you’ve been taking up all her time. Do you understand now?”
“Please don’t hit me. I can’t deal with violence.”
He was fearful and self-absorbed at the same time. Clearly I wasn’t going to get through to him as to why I hit him. Worse still, I was running out of time. Even through the haze of anger and alcohol, I knew that The Waitress would soon return, and the last thing I wanted her to see was this scene.
I lifted him up by his armpits. Crabs was a scrawny guy who probably weighed no more than 120 pounds soaking wet. I walked him arm-in-arm towards the door. I needed to get him out of the club and far away before The Waitress saw him and started asking questions whose answer would blow this date straight to Hell.
Presuming, or course, that the date hadn’t already been blown straight to Hell.
I saw a bouncer who saw Crabs’ sorry state and headed straight towards us.
“What happened here?” asked the bouncer.
I decided to take the reins of the conversation before Crabs could answer. I imagined how badly the date would end if the bouncer heard the truth and decided to call in the cops and get Crabs to press assault charges.
“Ah, this. You know…” I said, making an O with my lips and pantomiming drinking from a bottle with my free hand. “Uh, can you help him outside? I…uh…gotta get my coat from coat check before it closes.”
“Sure,” said the bouncer, and I passed Crabs to him.
I could feel my karma dropping.
The Waitress returned from the downstairs coat check at about the same time the bouncer was walking Crabs to the door. She ran towards me and asked what happened.
“Why’s he crying? He looks awful!”
“Um…” I said. Time for another quick lie. There is no way I’m going to blow this date over a beating he so richly deserved. Or maybe didn’t deserve. The guilt was really beginning to creep up on me.
“He’s…he’s gone down the K-hole.”
(”K” is club slang for ketamine, a veterinary tranquilizer that someone became a club drug. I guess 50,000 really relaxed horses can’t be wrong.)
Oh, good one, Joey, I thought. Let’s cover up your bullying by making him look like a drug fiend.
I tried to justify it to myself. He was, after all, a very regular user of recreational drugs. The odds were good that he’d actually done some tonight. It’s just that drugs had nothing to do with what happened.
I imagined my karma altimeter doing rapid counterclockwise cartwheels.
“Should we go after him?” she asked.
“No” wouldn’t have been an acceptable answer.
“Um….Yes. yes, we should. Let’s go in the direction towards his house.”
I led her in the opposite direction, and we went west towards Bay Street along College instead of east towards Jarvis where he lived. I couldn’t risk running into him. I continued the charade of searching for fifteen minutes before declaring him M.I.A.. We went for late-night coffee and pie at Fran’s, a 24-hour restaurant on College, and the date resumed then.
From that point on, the date resumed, snuggling ensued and by most standards it was a pretty good one.
Except that I couldn’t enjoy it. My conscience kept nagging me.
I got a phone call the following afternoon, which happened to be Easter Sunday. I’d just returned from the deVilla family Easter mass-and-brunch thingy.
“I…I saw a side of you…I didn’t like…” said Crabs, still choking back sobs. I was still feeling that strange mix of guilt about my hurting him and disgust at his wussiness. I’ve eaten pastry that was tougher than he was.
“Look. I was on a date,” I explained. “You were monopolizing my date. But nooooo, you don’t care, because you have no fucking impulse control, you’re all fucking id, you’re the poster child for only children. I’m sorry I hit you, but you were asking for it.”
It wasn’t a very good apology, I’ll admit. I’d just had enough of his self-absorbed silliness.
The phone call devolved into him going on and on and on and on about how poorly he handles violence and how it wasn’t nice to hit him and how he would never try to interfere with me trying to find someone and just how he thought he’d met a new soulmate because she was a Pisces and yadda yadda yadda if you don’t shut up I will go over there right now and finish the job.
I rarely get headaches, but by the end of the call, I had a good one building.
An hour later, another call came in.
“I’ve been giving it some thought,” said The Waitress, “and I also heard that you were asking questions about me.”
The Other Waitress told her that I’d asked about her. So what?
“I’m a little uncomfortable with that. Some of the regulars are talking. I’m not comfortable with that. Look, I hate to say this, but I think we should go back to being waitress and customer.”
Well, alert the media. I’d just heard something worse that “I think we should just be friends.”
“Oh, and I’d appreciate it if you didn’t come to the cafe when it’s my shift.”
I put the phone down and put my head on my desk.
It was a bad day.