Saturday, July 31, 2004

Meghan: Epilogue

She and I fooled around for several more months, through what was another tough winter for me. I was smart enough to have her in MY house, of course, and the closest I ever got to seeing her boy was when he'd drive past my house and see her car in my driveway, at which point he'd start circling the block and honking his horn at her til she left. After that, I only let her come over during the daytime.

Meghan finally split after I got a real girlfriend, and I didn't see her again until 3 or 4 years later, in rather embarrassing circumstances that I won't relate here. The next story is a really good one, if I can tell it right, but it's a bit out of place chronologically. It takes place right after I'd busted up with the girl who'd run off Meghan.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Wow, Already?

I like that one.  It still took me too long to tell, and I'm not happy with parts of it, but it's over with. 

Jennie didn't like it--ah well.  She does have a damn good idea for what the next one should be, a story that I'd forgotten all about.  But as usual, she's right--I like it a lot.  I can't figure out what to call it, though, so y'all are going to have to wait for a bit. 

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Meghan 6: Leaving Blue Stucco

Meghan was already hurling herself down the stairs by the time I hit the top, and passed me with a screech, something about keeping the kids from waking up. This was a little strange, but since she was headed back downstairs, there's no way I was going to let her go alone.

By the time I took a slug of whiskey, gotten reoriented, and observed whatever original decoration was left in her bedroom, then stepped back downstairs, she was in full swing. A harpy, ladies and gents.

Not to say that I blame her. This boy was out of hand, and threatening by his actions to wake up her babies, while potentially ruining her evening of dalliance with a boy who *(at the very least) hadn't seen the inside of a public school in three or four years. When I hit the foot of the stairs, she was pointing her finger and screaming at him through the glass fit to beat the band. She glared at me over one shoulder when I stopped behind her, then shrieked something and....

...opened the door.

Now, I was OK til this point. It seemed that everyone had pretty well accepted that he was outside, while I was inside, and that was the way it was going to remain. I had confidence that I could avoid, intimidate, or rassle him to a draw out in the yard, but I didn't want him in the house, where he could fuck shit up (which would no doubt be blamed on me, once they got back together) with impunity. But then she unlocked the door, shattering what I was just beginning to realize was a delicate balance of power, and he struggled into the house, gun first.

I know what all you armchair cuckolders are thinking: grab the gun. I missed that. Maybe I was putting down the whiskey (in fact, I think I was in the midst of another slug when she turned the knob, but quien sabes?)...but before you know it, dude was halfway in the door, screaming and being screamed at in a fit of reprehension I haven't seen since girlfriend before last--and that when she caught me drinking vodka out of a koolaid glass at 9am on Sunday morning. Anyway.

Began a gang of hollering, waving, and screeching that I really couldn't decipher. I'm sure they weren't arguing at their most reasonable, either, so I knew there was no way I'd ever get to the bottom of what they were arguing about. However, I knew what -I- would do, or rather what -I- would be yellin', were I to be in that situation, and I knew who had the gun. And ladies + gentlemen, I sided with the gun guy.

I didn't side with him because I was scared. I didn't side with him because she had tits that had disappointed me. I sided with him because I -identified- with him...and because I finally sorted out that he was the sane one of the pair. I heard him say the magic words: "I just want to talk." That was enough for me. I grabbed his arm and her shoulder, guided them both to the kitchen table, and sat them down. I confess, I didn't take his pistola away from him, because I didn't want to exacerbate the situation, but I -did- make sure the safety was on. Then I split... the next room, where I began (once again) jamming on those boots. I heard them murmuring in the next room, as I heard Kevin Neilen once again failing to fill Dennis Miller's shoes as SNL's Weekend Update correspondent.

I waited, as still as humanly possible, ready to bust in and stomp some poor kid's grape--but they were quiet.

What seemed like an hour later, I heard the door click, and Meghan shuffled in the side door. "Come upstairs, he's gone," she murmured.

And you know what? Despite her weird body, her psycho lovers, sisters asleep in the next room, penchant for closets, and general incompatibility, I went.

I mean, it was pretty good--better than sitting around eating acid and staring at the woodgrain in the floorboards again. Better than sitting around staring at the girls, wondering whether anything was going to happen. So yes, it wasn't bad. In fact, it was all right.

And the next thing I knew, I heard an alarm going off next to our bed. The sun was up, I was near naked, and she was doing unmentionable things to my lower abdomen. I sat bolt upright, thinking that someone was in the house, and began looking around for (what else?) my boots.

She looked up, obscenely cherublike, and said "what's the matter? you've got 15 minutes before my mom gets home from the airport."

"Just get in the closet!"

I was out, ladies and gentlemen. I was out, and I wasn't polite about it. We whispered furiously at each other for several minutes, while her little sisters stirred next door, and minutes clicked away on the clock. Finally, I walked out of the front door, minus my socks, baseball cap, and shirt (I kept my wallet, shorts, and boots, as well as a couple of inches in the whiskey bottle), and stepped across the street, under the towering sycamore. I got in the car, and saw back east through the rearview mirror, where the sun was beginning to pink and orange the windows of various mansions down the street.

I felt good, kids. I'd marked something off my list--something I didn't even know was ON my list, and lived to tell about it. I turned on the radio, and rolled down the window. It was almost foggy, which was rare, and I enjoyed the cool air on my arm as I listened to (I'm not making this up) Johnny Cash as I drove home.

I hit Classen Blvd at 23rd Street, and headed north. The sun was completely up by the time I passed 29th, and as I looked over, I saw none other than The Dan setting a table full of coffee and fettucine liliana for a couple of female friends of mine. He waved me over, and I pulled a U-turn, rode the curb to a full stop, got out, and dragged my bottle of whiskey out of the passenger floorboard.

"Ladies," said Dan, "meet my friend Jeff."

I made myself a coke inside, dumped the whiskey into the cup, and sat down to start another Sunday.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Meghan 5: The Boyfriend

There have been many instances in my life when time seemed to slow down--or more accurately, my thought processes speeded up.  It's in times of stress or danger, more often than not, and this was one of those times. 

I felt aware of everything, most especially the gun.  It was small and silver and not very impressive, except inasmuch as it was about to be trained on me.  If I had to guess, it was probably some kind of .25--not guaranteed, instant death, but you never could tell.  And hell, getting shot hurts, I hear.  I wanted no part of that.

Even more worrisome, the kid's eyes were wild with anger and jealousy--this wasn't encouraging, since jealous people do stupid things like shoot folks.  Furthermore, I realized that I was going to have to come to a complete stop right outside the door, in order to reverse course up the stairs.  He was beating on the door and yelling, which couldn't go over too well with the neighbors, much less the kids upstairs asleep.  And I, always the outsider, was going to get in trouble for it.  I knew it--hell, I figured it was a foregone conclusion that the only way I couldn't avoid getting in trouble would be to get shot.  Don't ask me why I was guilty--I just knew that I was, somehow, guilty of something. 

So there I was, stopped, looking through a quarter of an inch of glass at an 18 year old kid with a pistol.  I was plainly diddling his girlfriend, and he was plainly not happy about it.  I stopped, and for a breath we just stood there and looked at each other.  Something needed to be said.  Some pithy statement, on my part.  One phrase came to mind, due to me watching "The Blues Brothers" four nights a week for the preceding two months.

The relevant part of the plot of this movie is that Jake and Elwood Blues are being followed by a mysterious woman who keeps trying to kill them with various heavy ordnance (bomb, flamethrower, some sort of heavy machine gun).  Close to the end of the film, you find out, as she corners them in a sewer tunnel with said m.g., that she's the former fiance of Jake Blues, who's intent on killing him because he stood her up at the altar.  Ensues a large string of excuses from Jake, culminating in her acceptance of his apology, and he takes her in his arms.  They kiss, then he drops her in the mud and runs away.  Elwood catches her eye as he sprints past, stops, and seems to be in the same sort of quandary I found myself in. 

We spoke as one, across twenty years, to jilted lovers we really didn't owe an apology to, except on behalf of the world at large:  "ah, take it easy?"

Then I sprinted up the stairs.  The kid began pounding on the door--and that's when I knew we weren't in any danger.  If he was going to shoot someone, he would have shot me in the back.  If he really wanted to get in, all he had to do was break the glass.  This kid wasn't a real menace, if he wasn't pushed.  He was sad and frustrated and jealous, and I knew all about that.  By the time I reached the top of the stairs, I was starting to feel sorry for him. 

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Meghan 4: Mom

You're thinking "how stupid is this guy?"  I know--I would be, too.  But in my defense, I told her no, repeatedly, until she told me where mom lived.

Who knows the circumstances surrounding her parents' divorce, but mom had remarried well, and was living in what was essentially a spanish style mansion made of blueish stucco, down in a part of the city called Heritage Hills. 

I love old architecture, and I'd spent a large part of the preceding years mowing yards down in this very area.  I knew the house, and knew that being inside would be like stepping back into the twenties or thirties, unless they'd fucked it all up by modernizing the interior. 

So off I went, with a bottle of Evan Williams and my boots securely laced.  Mom was out of town, it turned out, and Meghan was babysitting her two much younger siblings, who were already asleep upstairs.  I parked across the street from the house, under a huge sycamore tree, and approached the front door.  It had a large window, broken up into several small panes. 

Meghan came to the door, dressed in a tshirt and not much else.  She let me in, and led me to a couch, where we reclined and watched some Saturday Night Live.  We kissed, a lot, during the commercials.  It says something for our relationship that kissing her wasn't worth missing Saturday Night Live, come to think of it.

Anyway, we were interrupted by the phone ringing in the next room.  Meghan grabbed it, so the ringing didn't wake up the kiddies, and was gone for a few minutes.  Then she was back, and settling in to my lap.  It rang again.

In fact, it rang four or five times, and she was getting progressively louder and more argumentative with whoever was on the other end.  During the commercial breaks, I drank shots of bourbon and unlaced my boots.  And took off my shirt, then wandered around, bottle in hand, eyeballing the wainscotting.

Eventually, she screamed something into the phone and slammed the receiver into the cradle.  She came back, plainly pissed, but curled up in my lap and ran her fingers through my chest hair. 

"That's my ex boyfriend.  He's obsessed with me."

Oookay.  This would have been nice to know...

"Well then," I said, "is he bigger than me?"

"No," she replied, "he's not very big, but he'll probably be over here in a minute.  He saw your car outside."

Great.  A stalker, no less.  A stalker who knows the cars in the neighborhood, too.

"No problem, then.  Does he have a gun?" I joked.

"Yeah," she said, "and he'll probably bring it."

Damn...this girl was trouble, y'all.  I was thinking about how to gracefully extricate myself from the situation, or at least get my stompin' boots on, when the pounding started on the front door.  Meghan started for the door.  I took off my socks, so I didn't slide around on the wooden floors, and followed her.

She hit me full speed, right in the chest, coming back through the door.  She shrieked, grabbed my hand, and said something to the effect of "he's got a gun, let's go upstairs!"  I grabbed the whiskey bottle, and we headed 'round to the staircase.

The staircase, it turns out, was through the kitchen and right by the back door.  The back door was all glass, and as we approached it, preparing to make a hairpin turn, I saw him, silhouetted against the landscape lights in the back yard.  He had a gun, and he was livid. 


Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Meghan 3: The Escape/Interlude

I shot bolt upright in bed--my testicles tried to climb right back where they came from. 
"Hey, relax," she said, "he always hits the snooze once."
I couldn't tell if she was trying to be funny or not, so I whispered "so you're telling me I've got nine minutes to get my boots on and get out this back door before he comes in and blows my guts out through your bedroom window?"
"It's OK," she said, "just get in the closet."
Now ladies and gentlemen, your favorite monkey is not a dumb monkey.  Yes, at times he makes poor decisions, and at times those poor decisions have actually bit him in the ass.  But I was nowhere close to hiding in her closet.  Nosir. 
So I threw on my clothes, and pulled on my boots, and tried not to listen to her whispering seductively in my ear:  "he only comes through here once on his way to work, and then we have all day here."  I don't think I growled at her, but I probably came pretty close.  I was cursing myself, too:  mad at myself, most of all, for wearing those great big clunkers of combat boots. The kind that have, like, 200 holes.

I don't know why I wear them, people. Maybe it's nostalgia for the first pair of boots my dad ever gave me, that were made before I was born and didn't give up the ghost until the mid nineties. Maybe it's because I hate shoe shopping--I hate it with a passion, with something deep within my soul, something central to my very core. I mean...well, you understand. So I appreciate footwear that will last 20 years.

But since that morning, I don't buy anything with more than seven pairs of laces. Too much time to lace...

As it happened, I only made it about halfway up each leg before my mental countdown began to go red--so I grabbed my shirt and my socks, kissed her again (hurriedly--I was already mentally calculating my odds if I went back through the same gate, or chanced the other side), and hit the door with a minute or two to spare. Turns out, there was a completely free gate on the other side of the house--I wondered as I sprinted through it if I'd just misheard her, but I'll never know.

Jennie says this is a terrible story because I don't get chased, or shot at, or anything. I think it's great story for just that reason--my ass did not wind up in a sling. Granted, it could have been better if I'd hidden in the closet, or if he'd shot out my back windshield, or something like that. But I'm committed to the truth, here, and I'd only be encouraging kids to behave in this lascivious and irresponsible manner if I made it seem "fun," or "rebellious," or "downright kick-ass." So there.

Anyway, I spent the better part of two weeks dodging her phone calls. This wasn't hard, since I was working 14 hours a day and didn't have a phone. Times were very good at chez Jefe back then, with lots of wine, women and LSD (song, too), so it wasn't hard to convince myself I was too busy to talk to her.

It was during this time that my friend Dan got himself hired on at New Orleans Cafe, as what amounted to the entire waitstaff for the shift aptly titled "Midnight Madness." There were something on the order of 20 tables in that place, all covered with beatniks or worse, and all of us drunk as pirates (or tripping) most nights. Thankfully, these shifts were only on Friday and Saturday nights, but they were literally all nighters, from about 9pm til the morning crew showed up, between 7 and 9 the next morning. Generally, some of us would stick around once the place closed to help mop and sweep and get Dan (or whoever) out earlier...but it was still a weird and difficult job.

So there I was, contemplating my prospects for a Saturday evening, when up dashed Dan with the phone: "TELEPHONE! NO TIME!! TOLD HER YOU WERE HERE!!" This was all you could really expect out of him during these days, since he drank more coffee than all of us combined, and tended to lose focus after about three hours of having orders for food and drink shouted at him.

Of course, it was Meghan. I couldn't escape.

She said, "Hi! I was just thinking, maybe you could come over to my Mom's house..."

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Meghan 2: Dad

Meghan instructed me to go to the south gate, through the back yard, and to the glass door in back. She also instructed me to be VERY QUIET while entering the gate, because Dad's bedroom was on that corner of the house.

I parked down the street, got out, and shut my door carefully. I was going into a man's castle to fuck the dogsnot out of his nineteen year old daughter...quiet isn't even the word for what I was being. I was actually willing myself to be invisible, whenever my mind wasn't busy playing scenes of me getting shot by a cop as an intruder. And really, I didn't know much about this girl--she might denounce me as a rapist, if suddenly confronted by Daddy. Yeah, there were a lot of things that could go wrong.

But hey, it makes a great story, right?

Things began to go sour as soon as I hit the gate. Piled in front of the gate were three cinderblocks. There was no way to open the gate without moving them.

You know the sound cinderblocks make when they're being moved? I know that sound intimately, and I want to tell you some special qualities about cinder blocks and their sounds that might bear scientific study:

1) Cinderblocks always make noises when you move them. I'm sure you'd hear the same noises if you were moving them around in jello on the floor of the Atlantic ocean. You can try to minimize it by moving them slowly, but all you do is make the noises last longer.

2) There is nothing in the world that sounds like moving cinderblocks but does not, in fact, involve the moving of cinderblocks. Nothing. So when you hear that sound, you automatically know someone's moving your cinderblocks.

It took an eternity to get those things moved. I became intimate friends with each one of them, knowing their size, relative grittiness, and temperament. I would have named them, and known them by name, had I not been so completely petrified of taking a 9mm round in my right ear, where Dad's bedroom window was.

But finally, blessedly, it was done. I opened the gate, which squeaked, but wasn't the horrifyingly loud squeal I imagined it would be. Fantastic. I'm in.

I crept around to the back of the house, and found the patio door. Then I heard a growl coming from the black depths of the back yard, followed by a fusillade of barking and yapping. A fucking DOG. I almost wet my pants, and I might have even squeaked when I felt a hand close around my elbow. It was her, thank god (whatever god in charge of watching over boys who sneak into strange houses to butter the muffin of strange girls), smiling up at me in the dark, urging me inside.

The dog slipped by me, and I had to fight back the urge to kick it, because she still had hold of my arm and could probably tell what I was doing. Plus, it was the dog's house after all...and I didn't feel like making any more enemies than I already had.

We were in a sort of laundry/utility room, with what appeared to be a large closet and a couple of steps leading up to her bedroom. Her bed was directly underneath a large window, and I remember how brightly the moon shone on her white sheets. She sat on the bed, and I sat beside her. We kissed for a bit, and then I started taking off her clothes. It was a bit like a romance novel: the moon shone down, making her skin seem even more translucent than it normally was...I removed her blouse, and felt the soft skin of her sides and back as I unhooked her bra.

Finally, The Breasts were free. They were perfectly round, but hung a little lower than I expected. Other than that bit of weirdness, they were wonderful breasts--the kind you see in movies, but so rarely encounter in real life. I kissed her again, and gently pushed her down onto the bed. I kissed her neck, breathed in her ear, and then sort of worked my way down to where I could start to work on her nipples.

Gradually, I began to worry. I mean, I was moving slowly, because I really was enjoying it, but I kept feeling around with my mouth, eyes closed, and I knew that something was amiss. I searched, in ever widening circles, away from where those breasts should be...and as I searched, my sense of doom grew stronger.

While I was prospecting for nipple, Meghan was doing quite a bit of moaning and jerking about. She plunged her hands into my hair, which is fairly normal for girls who like long hair on guys. Also fairly normal for a girl who wears a watch, she caught several strands of hair in her watchband. When she jerked them out of my head, I opened my eyes in surprise, and what I saw made me sit up in shock.

Meghan's breasts were in her armpits. They were so far off her front that the nipples pointed sideways, like chameleon eyeballs do...and her sternum was as bare as bone, shining in the moonlight.

It was a catastrophe, not least because I couldn't let on how freakish she was. But I felt sorrow in my heart, for the perfect breasts that were, once again, unrealized.

But, being a trooper, I smothered my disappointment and moved on.

We fiddled around all night, we did, and I won't bore you with the details. Finally, we drowsed, after some spectacularly unpleasant sex. The moon had moved on, and I lay there, watching the sky turn gray, without thinking about anything except her white breastbone in the moonlight.

Then, I heard the alarm clock go off in the next room.

UPDATE:  Jeez, I didn't think I'd have to get into this, but yes, I know that breasts are made primarily of fat, and not, say, styrofoam.  I KNOW that breasts which are large enough to be affected by gravity are going to roll off to one side.  Yes, it's true! 

But this was unnatural, folks.  I've been thinking for some time about how to describe it--the best phrase that comes to mind is "egg in a sock."  The shit wasn't right, yo. 

Still and all, you may have missed the point.  This story isn't me dragging up some slut from years past in order to chuck rocks at her body image.  The story's about what I used to put up with, or go through, to get laid.  I'm the one on the dunking stool, here.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Meghan 1: The Date

Meghan was a cute little redheaded girl I'd met at New Orleans Cafe sometime late in the fall of 93, I think. She was vivacious, slightly earthy, very flirty, and had boobs too big for her body. She ran with a flock of bright, chattering bohemian birds who were either still living at home or just getting out into their first apartments together--a little wild with freedom, and up for just about anything involving talking to boys.

I noticed Meghan about .5 seconds before she came and plopped herself down in my lap, and introduced herself, to a chorus of whispers and giggles a few tables behind me. She had bright red hair, ultra pale skin that still looked as if it was being cared for by a dermatologist paid for by daddy, and vivid green eyes. And cleavage. Lots of it.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, I'm not a breast man. Even back then, I figured that the pool of women who would be interesting enough to date was small enough that I couldn't be too picky about cup size--and although maybe I'll eventually tell you about my experiment deliberately dating an ugly woman, I DID try and look beyond the pretty face and flirtatious eyes.

But when someone -did- come along with a nice pair of breasts, and was so plainly in love with showing them off, it was like sprinkles on ice cream.

[also, upon reflection, it may be that I started paying more attention to minds and social skills after dealing with Meghan--just to keep myself honest here.]

So we set up a date for the following night--a quick bite of Chinese food, then back to my place to watch a movie. John had the courtesy to retire early, so she and I lay on the couch, kissing and touching each other til nearly midnight. She did something no one's ever done to me before or since, incidentally: she spent a lot of quality time kissing and licking the inside of the crook of my arm. I'm not making this up! There was something incredibly arousing about it, and by midnight the wine and this arm-licking had reduced me to this high school monster of a boy who couldn't do anything but mumble the equivalent of "take yer clothes off" and "oh baby." Which she didn't seem to mind.

Meghan had told me earlier that she lived with her father, in a house not too far from my house. It was too far for me to walk, of course, but only a few minutes by car. Now, as midnight approached, she began to disengage herself and make whispered apologies about having a curfew. This, as you can imagine, was a disaster...both because she was leaving and because I was seeing a girl that had a curfew, you understand.

Sometime after I muttered my eighth "don't go," she murmured back (while nibbling my earlobe, no less) "why don't you come with me?"

This was something that I hadn't even considered before, and it took me a second to grok the ramifications. "But," I replied intelligently, "don't you live with your dad?" She looked at me with these eyes that just sort of danced with glee at the prospect, and said "yes, but you can sneak in the back door. It's easy! I've done it lots of times before."

"But," I replied, still working on my nuclear physics thesis for Cal Tech, "didn't you say he was a PRISON GUARD?"

"Look," she said, and kissed me a long, slow kiss, "are you coming or not?"

There are times in life when you run up against your own beliefs and goals and what you believe you're all about. Times when you have to put up or shut up--fish or cut bait--defecate or vacate the throne--take your pick. This was one such time. Six years later, I would find myself in the same situation, w/r/t my belief in who I was, with Sketchy Bill, which begins here:

(for some reason most of Blogger's editing features are down this morning, so I'll have to come back and fix this later)

So I kissed her again, then put on my boots and stomped into John's room. I shook him awake, and clipped my pager to his ear. "if this fucking pager goes off--hey, listen to me--if this pager goes off, you'd better call, because it'll be me at some payphone at 7-11, most likely naked, and I'll need a ride home. OK?" "OK," he mumbled, and turned over. Crossing my fingers, I grabbed my keys, and we were off.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

My Worst Date Ever 2

We eventually made our excuses and left Fritzi's, either because Linda could tell I was getting plumb walleyed with panic about the whole fucking situation or because Carol was slowly getting drunker and less circumspect about looking at my lap. No, I swear to god, I'm an arrogant son of a bitch a lot of times, but this was the case.

In a way, this is the story of life. Here I'd been, looking to get picked up by 40 year old women married to rich attorneys...and then, there I was. Surrounded by 40 year old paralegals, and I didn't like the feeling one bit. What I was thinking was 2fold. First, life just sucks. There's what you want out of life, what you think would be cool--and invariably, life gives you some sort of fucked up parody of your dream. Every time. The second thing I was thinking was this must be what it's like to be a 22 year old girl in a hell of a lot more of America than Fritzi's, and that if I got out of this alive I should really endeavor to treat women as people.

Which I've had pretty good success with, I'll have you know.

So, onward and upward, to New Orleans Cafe.

The Cafe was sort of a Hipster Mecca during the early 90's here. Everyone who was worth their flannel shirt and/or their cock ring was there, and there regularly. Many of us had jobs, sanctioned by the owner or not, doing some menial task like cooking food. And since the owner wasn't so good at paying his people, that was OK. He was drunk on bad wine most of the time, anyway, and slept on a plywood platform above the storage area in back. The food was good, when you could get it, and when you knew the employees, you could bring your whiskey inside and mix it with Coke.

Sigh...the stories we could tell about that place.

But Linda bought us dinner there--she knew the new manager, and just ran a tab, as many of us did.

After dinner, we went to Null's and smoked another joint. Sometime after 3am, Linda and I walked downstairs and got in the car, where she promptly put her hand on my...uh...lap. We split directly to the house, and to bed.

Off came my shirt and her bikini top (ech). Off came my pants, and her shorts. Well, OK, off came everything. A marathon makeout session ensued, but I found (after the initial rush of passion had subsided a bit) that very little progress was being made towards winning my bet.

Once I began thinking about this, I couldn't stop. It became a sort of duel--I would attempt some sort of maneuver that would melt her remaining resistance, and she would acquiesce, until she seemed to the point of losing control...and then she'd stop, and kind of counterattack.

Don't get me wrong. It was dark, she wasn't talking much, and there are worse ways to spend a Saturday morning than in bed with someone as dirty as Lisa.

But soon enough, the sun was rising--unmistakeably, the sky to the west was lightening. Suddenly, I knew what was up. When she asked me what time it was, I knew for sure. Null had offered her $2.50 not to sleep with me!

And she'd taken it. Where do we go from here? How many times had I been betrayed? What were my obligations to her?

It was all clinched when, once it was plain the sun was up, she began making another attack. Annoyed and confused, I feigned sleep. Well, it wasn't that hard to feign, actually, but she left without a word.

I never paid Wayne his $5.00. I doubt you blame me.

Monday, July 12, 2004

My Worst Date Ever 1

I'd always been disappointed that women didn't really go for tanned, sinewy dudes who mowed grass for a living. It took me several years to realize that any kind of theoretical sexiness working out in the hot sun evaporated like money at Mardi Gras when you were confronted with sweat, gasoline, and green shins. Granted, I was in great shape, but the girls weren't sticking their phone numbers under the windshield wipers of my truck like I was hoping they would. Nor was I being invited inside for mint juleps by bored socialites.

That said, it took an extra bit of madness to convince me that any woman who IS interested in a dude who is sweaty, smells like gasoline, and has green shins has some serious issues and should be avoided at all costs.

There's also a corollary to this, that says any girl you find walking along the side of the road has got some serious problems, and you should only involve yourself in those problems if a) she's obviously walking away from a Mercedes, or b) her name is Carmen Electra. Pretty, sane girls don't have to walk to the store to buy cigarettes. They have boys to take them.

But back to the date: I had met this girl at a Godfather's Pizza. She was working behind the counter, and had been staring at me as I blew the grass off my feet in the parking lot. I, for one, was quite taken by her eyes, which I later found out was due to an overabundance of mascara (there I was, 22 years old, and still being fooled by painted on eyes) I gave her my pager number, and by the end of the day I was calling her on a pay phone in front of the 7-11 by the shop.

[Now, lest ye think I'm more of a playa than I really am, pagers were always a huge inconvenience for me, but work paid for it, so I was happy to use it in lieu of a home telephone. It's not like I had it on a gold chain or something.]

I'll call this girl "Linda," because I've blotted out her real name. Linda and I agreed to go out on Friday night, and see what we could shake up. I began to get warning klaxons in the back of my head when she insisted we make a stop at a club called "Fritzi's," to visit a friend of hers. Said friend was newly single, so I invited my friend Null along for the ride, anticipating some kind of sketchy double date.

The guy's name was Wayne Null, but I don't want ANYONE to confuse him with my friend Wayne over at Big Cliche. That would be bad. So I'll call him Null, which is appropriate for all sorts of reasons.

I went to grab Wayne on Friday night, after making love to a half pint of Wild Turkey while I showered. While I was waiting for him to roll a couple of joints (him being a forward-looking pothead and all), I made the mistake of telling him how much Linda appeared to like me, and how I was absolutely sure to "get some" that night.

Now, I knew at the time that this was a) kind of immature and, more importantly, b) liable to jinx me. But I figured this was a sure thing, and even if "it" didn't happen, surely something else almost as entertaining would occur. And, with a half pint of Turkey already under my belt, that was all I was really looking for.

To sweeten the pot, Null proposed a wager, which we pinned down (I thought) with Vegas precision. The specifics:

1) I had to achieve full vaginal penetration of Linda, with my penis (no stunt cock).

2) I had to perform this act before sunup on Saturday morning.

3) The winner would receive one $5.00 bill. This was important, as there had been
a recent trend towards paying off bets with pennies, since we were all so broke
from buying quantities of LSD from Null's neighbor.

4) A condom was optional--I'm a stickler for them, but I wasn't about to lose five
bucks because Linda turned out to be allergic to latex.

Her address wasn't hard to find: she lived in a house on May Avenue that was the lone survivor of a plot to raze an entire neighborhood of old frame homes and build expensive condos in their place. It was kind of weird, like being in a tornado zone: acres and acres of land and debris, and a single rather dilapidated house sitting in the middle. I knocked on the screen door.

Linda danced around the corner in a rather frightening outfit, which I will describe to you directly. She was teasing her black hair into something that Robert Smith would have been proud of, and wailing to, of all things, a Bullet Boys album. Yes, that one. The one that was 10 years old back THEN. I managed to get her attention before she started using her hairbrush as a microphone, and she let us in the house. She stood on her toes, grabbed my hair, and yelled into my ear "I'M ALMOST READY! COME BACK TO THE BEDROOM!" Away she danced, leaving me to eyeball Null and snicker, while he grumbled and checked his wallet.

Her bedroom was an 80's metal hair band time capsule. It's like time quit going in there after Bruce Dickinson left Iron Maiden, or for those of you less Maiden-centric, right after Reagan left the White House. The walls were covered with posters of Axl Rose and those dudes from Poison and Warrant, and I think there might have been a Ratt one in there too. Linda was sitting at a vanity, applying more mascara and eye shadow.

Her clothing could best be described as Cyndi Lauper meets, uh, streetwalking hussy.

Starting from the top, big ol' pentagram earrings. A floral print bikini top, covered by a sort of macrame shawl. Short cutoff jeans (I won't get into what constitutes Daisy Dukes here, but they were SHORT), black fishnets, and either red or black high heels. Sorry, boys, I just don't recall.

It was at that point that I realized that girls who throw themselves on dirty lawn guys are weird. And, furthermore, I was going to have to suck it up and be awful fake, for an awful long time, if I was going to have any chance of winning this bet.

Soon, we were drinking another pint of something I'd picked up on the way over (I thought of it as liquid courage), and cruising down May. She put her hand on my thigh as soon as the door was shut, and whispered in my ear "do you mind if we stop off at The Samurai to pick up my paycheck?"

See, folks, there's a lot of specific red flashing lights you're not picking up on if you've never lived in Oklahoma City. The first would have been Fritzi's, which I'll get to in a minute. The Samurai Sake House is another.

Legend has it that the Samurai is owned by a Japanese dude named Achiro, and it has the distinction of having a live band every single night. The drinks are strong, and the clientele runs to the headbanger gone to seed. Not a pleasant place the first time you're in there, especially if your date looks like she might be sleeping with most of the patrons. There was a distinct faux-motorcycle atmosphere to the whole place.

Now, don't get me wrong. There's a sense of community that builds up in bars like this, and I can appreciate a sense of community wherever it may be, or around whatever locus it's built. But this place...this place scared me. It was loud and smoky beyond mortal comprehension, and I couldn't see the band through the smoke until I realized that I was in fact looking towards the pool tables and juke box, and the band was just warming up behind me.

After getting dirty looks from the doorman and bouncers for refusing to pay cover (Linda chirped something at them and dashed through the fog towards the bar), we decamped to the parking lot to smoke a joint and hit the pint. Linda, it turns out, was quite the pothead, so by the time we left the parking lot we had smoked one and she was rolling another out of her special stash.

The other big screeching klaxon horn you should be hearing is Fritzi's. I didn't think the place was still open, actually--I figured the fire department had shut it down just to put it out of its misery.

How to describe it? My friends, Fritzi's was like...disco hell, only with a lot of AC/DC songs and beer so bad I sneaked back to the car for my bottle of Turkey. Fritzi's was three, three, three clubs under one roof: one a live band showcase, one the aforementioned disco hell, and the third...well, I don't know what the third one was. I could barely stomach the disco room, and I had to go through the live band room to get to the pissoir.

Linda's friend was named Carol, I think, and Carol had a hairdo that was as blonde and curly as Linda's was dark and straight. Both do's were about the same height, though, and their outfits were, if not matching, at least of the same school of fashion. Linda's bikini top was glowing under the blacklight as she gyrated close to my left side, and Carol was devouring me with her eyes from dead ahead. Null was off buying drinks for us, and I was stuck like a bug on a pin. I found a place to sit, beside one of those ridiculously small and unstable bar tables that are made for about 2 drinks before they start to wobble precariously (the top was bubbled-up laminated wood).

Then, I heard the unmistakeable straining of Brian Johnson, that screeching weasel who perverted the legacy of AC/DC from one of the greatest rock bands in history to one of the most commercialized, ridiculously overrated wastes of acetate in history. He sounded constipated, even more than usual, and I knew this could only mean one thing. I grabbed my drink, got up, and braced myself against the nearest wooden column.

"She was a fast machine, she kept her motor clean"

I briefly saw Null's lanky frame, holding up some drinks that were glowing under the blacklights, being swept into the vortex of the dance floor.

The next three and a half minutes were the kind of thing that one tries to forget about. No, really. It lasted long enough that I actually came to and, overwhelmed by the sheer depravity of it all, began to watch what was going on.

Do you know that part in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," where HST begins to see the lizards partying in the lounge, with all the lights pulsing and blood soaking the carpet? Think about that. Except these aren't lizards. These are 40 year old roofers, former high school wrestling stars. These are 40 year old receptionists out to cut loose, drunk on Mai-Tai's and looking to score, hiking up their already too short skirts and sort of hunching on the legs of those roofers (who were in turn making pelvic thrusts with their too-tight blue jeans). These people are old, yo, and they were all desperately attempting to recapture something of their youth.

And maybe they were. I was still young, and it freaked me out to see people with wrinkles flailing about in an orgiastic frenzy to a song that, not too many years ago, I'd considered a good rock and roll song.

Well, OK, maybe not. But it was definitely weird, and it definitely made me wonder about how old my date and her friend really were. With that in mind, I accompanied Carol to the bathroom, where I was hoping to catch a look at her face under good light. No such luck. Fritzi's was too coy, and didn't have unisex bathrooms, so I drained my lizard and headed back out to the floor.

As I approached, I saw Null's head turn away from Linda's ear, his lips moving, then rapidly turn and walk away. This didn't really bother me--I knew he was having a hard time dealing with this type of crowd (the music had moved on to something by Journey, which had half the people slow dancing and the other half looking for their drinks). I thought naught, until the next day.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Goodbye, Not Farewell

Ladies and Gentlemen:

As you know, I've been really busy of late, as work slowly takes its toll of my ability to form coherent sentences and (more importantly) stick them together to make a concise narrative. I've thought about it a lot recently, and I've decided that I'd rather just turn it off than try to half-ass something together to keep you coming back til I get some free time.

Consequently, I'm going to quit posting on this blog, and this blog only, until September 18th of this year. There will be something here very occasionally, basically just to ensure that Blogger doesn't remove the thing.

Seeing In The Dark is another kettle of fish entirely. The stuff over there doesn't really take as much effort to write, so I'll still be posting there quite frequently. It'll probably grow more Burning Man-centric as the event approaches, but there'll be other stuff as well.

So, thanks for reading, and hopefully you'll come back for more in September.


Tuesday, July 06, 2004

New Orleans Cafe 2: Boy Buffet

Dan and I were both young and idealistic, which as you can imagine equates to a lot of time sitting around within two feet of a space heater, drinking cheap beer, and thinking we were on top of the world. I guess everyone does that--maybe the good ones never grow out of the idealism, and just sort of channel it away from 'what is art' and 'build-a-better-bong' into more productive and socially acceptable ways of dealing with the world, like, say, puppeteering.

But I think everyone agrees that no matter how much you flinch when you (if you) recall some of the words that came out of your mouth back then, you grew a lot, and in large part what you become later in life is due to those conversations and the people you have them with. I have Daniel-san to thank for my taste in literature (alternatively, you can choose to blame him). I would posit he has me to thank for much of his taste in music, and most likely brown liquor.

I wasn't seeing much of Becky, for some reason--sometimes I wonder if he, knowing our past together, and knowing her tendency to, uh, stray, was keeping her away from me. Come to think of it, that was probably a good idea.

Becky was every young guy's dream: a cute girl who liked sex, and lots of it. After a few months, though, she began to creep them out, as it became clear that she liked sex a lot more often than they did. There was something almost animal about it--maybe there always is, but you know those almost mechanical, reflexive orgasm movements that a lot of women have? That's cool, because you're doing it, but when you see it happen every day, at least once a day, for a couple of months, it's a little off-putting. Like you're in bed (or wherever) with a pretty little clockwork doll that's got a tooth missing on a gear somewhere inside. I don't know--I mean, I know we all make faces when we have sex, but there was something just bizarre about the look in here eyes--like she was focused down inside herself somewhere, and didn't give a fuck what was actually going on.

So the point is, Dan was a little relieved when she started standing him up with lame excuses. He was much more worried about WHO she was fucking, but it wasn't until several months later that he found out she was sleeping with none other than John.

John had returned to me, like a herpes outbreak, as he's done several times before and since. No matter what, we always remain friends, at times I suspect more out of habit than anything else. You put up with someone's shit for so long, you feel something's missing when you're not hearing about it. We've been like an old married couple since before we could legally drink.

It was rather odd, then, when John started missing the weekly Boone's Farm fests on the front porch. For those of you who were hatched at age 25 or so, with a checking account and no sense of irony at all, Boone's Farm wines are a fine selection of carbonated wine products that cost somewhere between a dollar fifty and two dollars a bottle--the downside being that you had to drink enough to give yourself heartburn in order to catch a buzz. But more on that later.

It took me about two weeks to mention to John that Becky had apparently ditched Dan, and had moved on to another part of what I began to think of as the boy buffet. Turns out, as I've said, that she was over in the baldheaded guy section.

By midsummer, we had a pretty good selection of single guys running around the place, if you were a woman who wasn't too picky about things like beercan sculptures, showers, or having sex around a roommate's sleep schedule. But once again, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

New Links

Textus Perscribo is a friend of Wayne's, who's been posting some good stuff for quite some time, but I've been lazy and haven't been paying attention.

Henry Panky, as I've talked about over on SITD, is just a fucking nut. If you like Rowland's stories on his livejournal site, you'll like Mr. Panky. I want to take drugs with this man.

There's nothing like a cold Carta Blanca for breakfast, kids.

Saturday, July 03, 2004


I was leaving work tonight at 10pm, and my first thought was "thunder? what the fuck?" Of course, it was fireworks exploding down in Bethany, and on the drive home I got to thinking about past 4ths, and New Years, and stuff.

My first thought was breathing fire up at Tom's place in front of about 40 kids and adults. You could just see the kids eyes light up, and their mothers' abject horror at what they were witnessing--I even think I heard a couple of pre-emptive "NO's" in the background. Much later in the evening I walked down to the lake and tried to engage the fireworks people in a fire conversation, but they never could get their act together and respond by lighting their fuses at the right time. Ah well--it was pretty, out there reflecting off the water.

My second thought was coming out of Baptist Medical Center after sitting with a kid who cut what amounts to his entire hand off with one of our lawn mowers. I was exhausted from two days of dealing with doctors, angry relatives, and the normal bullshit that comes with running a large small business...they had attempted to sew the kid's thumb back on, but it started turning black and stinking, and he was so out of it on morphine that he didn't know that the smell was his own thumb, and no one had the heart (or guts) to answer in the positive when he asked in this pathetic, dazed voice if anyone smelled something funny in there. When I finally left, I looked up dully at the shells exploding over downtown, and wondered what anyone could possibly find worth celebrating in a world where an 18 year old kid can smell his own thumb going necrotic, and not know it.

Yeah, I didn't really recover from that one for quite a while. Remind me to tell you the whole story sometime, when I'm feeling good and sad.

And finally, back when we lived in crackville we could step out the back door and see those same fireworks going off at New Years. I'd always try and find good hallucinogens, and it was always very cool. The crackheads would fire their pistols into the air in sort of a rising crescendo as the time crept towards midnight, and there was some ultra-crazy dude who had a shotgun that lived VERY close, and no one shot anything after he'd discharged what sounded like both barrels of a very large gauge weapon. Kind of like the final "bong" of a grandfather clock, you know? That one would always send us scurrying back inside, with visions of lead falling from the sky.

Oh yeah, and then there's the story of Ed Hedge firing a bottle rocket out of a moving car and hitting a parked patrol car in Claremore, Oklahoma. The only patrol car, as it happens, that had a dash camera...court admissible evidence: a grainy black and white video showing headlights flashing by, then a rapidly approaching trail of sparks, an explosion on the hood, and a short chase. Bob, Ed, and Bob's cat were all arrested. Claremore police love their paint jobs.

Last one: walking out to the fence with Liz, under a full moon at BM 2001, standing at the edge and looking back at all the lights. After a bit, some people rode past that were having a roman candle fight--you could see the color of the fire racing across the desert floor towards their targets. Laughter, and a warm girl who loved me. And that confounded beeping, dammit.

New Orleans Cafe 1: Dan and Becky

I'm not sure how I'm going to style this one. It's basically going to be a series of stories about the parties held and disasters dealt with during 1993, beginning where I left off in SATMATC and ending (probably) with the house we all lived in burning down, falling over, and sinking into the swamp. It's a strange and twisted tale of love, friendship, treachery, and Night Train wine. And there'll be sex in it, although it'll be sex involving me, so avert your eyes, or pretend I'm Brad Pitt.

But before all the glory, there was some soul searching and hard livin'.

As I wrote in SATMATC, I was left alone in a huge (at the time) house with little in the way of heating, and even less in the way of furnishings, by an ex girlfriend who saw the handwriting on the wall and moved all of her stuff out while I was off gallivanting around the Northeast, learning hard lessons about the nature of dealing drugs for a living.

[Zora the editor is probably cringing at the structure of that sentence, but hey...]

For those of you who have been in NYC for a long time, we in the rest of the nation can actually control the temperature of our domiciles by merely flicking a switch or twisting a knob, instead of suing our landlords. This seems to work out pretty well, except that we also generally have to pay our own utility bills, which is hard on a guy who mows lawns for a living come January. So I was living in the living room of my house, with all of the trappings of civilization right there within easy reach. It was a decent room, all things considered, with a fireplace and french doors and big windows that looked out across the street at a vacant lot, behind which was the Magic Fountain, which I'll get to later. The kitchen, where I kept my rice and beer that winter, was tiny and not generally used, especially when the floor started caving in under the sink...but you can buy a fifty pound bag of rice for something like eight dollars here, and if you don't cook it all the way, it swells up in your stomach, giving the illusion that you actually ate well, until your teeth start to fall out. Lots of rice and soy sauce, mixed with $2.00 McDonalds meals at work. I was squeezing by, barely, and I was seriously depressed.

This was the first time in my life that I actually lived alone, with no girlfriend and no friends that were worth a damn (The Legendary John will return during the summer, but not yet). It was a difficult time. I had a phone, but little in the way of numbers to call. I'm not a social person by nature, so finding friends was difficult, even though I was enrolled in college. Ultimately, I wound up calling an ex girlfriend named Becky, who is probably the only true to life nymphomaniac I've ever met, which is probably why I had her number memorized without having seen her for something like a year and a half. Becky's sexual conquests are awesome, in some respects--in fact, every man I know that had met Becky had slept with Becky, except me...and I don't know why that is. Maybe because she was a serious biter (we did make out a lot). Maybe because there was something a little too intense about her. Maybe it was because she was, at root, untrustworthy--which is yet another tale. Anyway, somehow I dodged the sex bit, but I liked her well enough, and shit, I was a very lonely boy. And, as they say, "any port in a storm."

I called her up, and as it would happen she was taking classes in the same building that I was enrolled, in fact, was in a class next door to one of mine. We met the next day, and I got to meet all of her friends.

It was a pretty typical mix of hippies, homos and artists. They were mostly girls, and the boys were mostly gay, with the exception of her current toy, whose name was Dan. Yes, that Dan. Dan was the dark, intense artist of the bunch, and we got along well, especially since we were both a bit frightened of her big gay friend Brandon.

They were all smokers-I learned early on that all the cool people smoked, and smoking areas were where you found all the cute bohemian girls...and even if they didn't smoke, they knew that's where you found all the cute bohemian boys, between humanities classes. To this day, I always assume that my edgy friends smoke cigarettes. It's always pleasant to find they do not.

Anyway, I made them my official between class crowd after a few days, and after Dan got over his subconscious "this-girl-is-mine" issue, we started hanging around together outside of school.

Now, I know you'll find this hard to believe, but I tend to cut class a lot, if I'm not interested in what's going on. All those core classes? Fuck it--I was pretty well ahead of the curve in high school and in college, due to being a voracious reader, so I would show up for tests and spend the rest of the time drinking beer at home, dodging work. What can I say? It's attitudes like that which have kept me under The Thumb of The Man my whole life, right?

So when Dan caught me in the hall and suggested we go drive around and look for Becky's car in the parking lots, I was game--I don't even remember if that was an excuse for smoking pot, which in retrospect it sure sounds like. After hearing a bit about my lifestyle and interests, he gave me his number and suggested we "hang out some time." He didn't know that I'd been talking more to my cat than pretty much any other human being for the last several months, so what was to him a casual way of ending a conversation was to me a sort of lifeline.

A few days later, I showed up at his parents' place, where he was working on a rather large painting with a bird skull stuck in the middle of it. Skinny Puppy or Coil was blasting from the speakers in an otherwise spotless garage (complete with ping pong balls on strings dangling from the ceilings). He wrote a note, and off we went in my car.

[I really wish Dan would write his version of this and post it--it's much more entertaining than my version, and knowing that it's out there makes me a little more self-conscious about what I write here. Ah well. Maybe I'll send him an email.]

Friday, July 02, 2004

The Interim

I don't know what I'm going to do next. There are several stories I could probably tell, but I'm a bit loth to start something up I'm bound to neglect in the coming weeks. I'm considering doing several individual (ie one post) sketches of some of the people I've met over the years (the CIA agent working the liquor store on Classen comes to mind, as does Wayne's old friend Janiece), which will mean no commitment to an ongoing story--but it will require me writing something from start to finish at one go, which is daunting in and of itself. I don't know. Maybe I should look back at that list of future story ideas over on Seeing in the Dark.

In the meantime, check out Big Cliche, Ochus Machus, or Roving Gastronome.


Thursday, July 01, 2004

SATMATC 14: Home, Or What's Left of It

I managed a good bit of sleep in the back seat--I guess my subconscious figured that I was too far away to grab the wheel when Shea lost control again, and I was too tired to drive any more. Maybe a steady diet of Sun Chips and Coke had done this to me, as well--I don't know, but the next thing I knew, we were pulling over in Indiana again. It was still dark, but Shea was complaining of seeing spiderwebs in the road, so I knew he was about finished.

Amazing, when you push your body to the very depths of exhaustion, what a few hours of sleep will do. I drove through sunrise, through ANOTHER snowstorm outside of St Louis, and then all day through that purely maddening stretch of road that is I-44 between St. Louis and Tulsa, or as it's called on maps, "Missouri."

We arrived in Oklahoma City without much incident, and I was rather disheartened to remember that I had to take Shea all the way across town to his grandmother's place. We hadn't spoken a word to each other since the snowstorm, some 12 hours earlier, and I was glad of that. In fact, I don't think I've spoken a word with him since dropping him off that night.

I turned onto 36th Street at 11pm, after driving something like 20 straight hours, and saw an unfamiliar shiny black pickup in my driveway. As I parked my car in the yard and got out, stretching my legs on Oklahoma soil for what seemed like the first time in months, a strange dude in a black cowboy hat came outside with an armload of stuff, and put it in the back of the truck. He gave me a dirty look, then went back inside.

Inside, of course, I found Alethea. I also found a lot of dust bunnies, and a few pee-stained newspapers, and my stereo. I didn't find much else.

This is when I found out about The Treachery of Dink, and what her phone call to NYC had been about. She calmly but sadly told me about the condom wrapper on the floor, and how she felt that she couldn't trust me any more, and that she had no choice but to take all of her stuff back and end our relationship, forever.

What could I say? I could have argued, yes, and maybe I could have convinced her that no fucking had actually taken place in "our bedroom." In time, I think she came to that conclusion on her own. But with a brief clarity I saw that this was the best of all possible things: I was going to sleep on the floor for a few days (in fact, on a really sturdily constructed dining room table that belonged to the landlord), and I was going to be lonely as hell, but the bandaid would be ripped off for both of us. Everything that was left in the house was mine--I didn't have to see her or think about her again, if I didn't want to (as if I had a choice, but that came easier with time). I didn't have to worry about coordinating retrieval of this or that object with her, and I didn't have to worry about that fucking dog. I had to pay all the bills, which was OK, and I had to drink myself to sleep most nights, alone, but that was OK too.

After they left, I dragged the table from the dining room into the living room, where the heater was. Heating proved to be a major issue in that place--there was a nice one in the living room, an inefficient gas stove located in the fireplace, and then a small space heater in the bathroom, about as far away from the living room as you could get. I shut down the rest of the house--entire rooms were closed off and had the lightbulbs scavenged. I put the catbox in the bedroom, where "our bed" used to be. It was freezing in most of the house, but I could keep it livable in the bathroom, so at nights I'd go home, grab a beer from the case sitting in the dining area, and retreat to the bathroom to bathe myself. Once done with that, I'd flee back into the actually pleasant part of the house, grab another beer, and turn on the CD player. Then I'd lie on my back on the table, watching the square panes of light from passing cars wash the walls and ceiling until I fell asleep.