Monday, November 29, 2004

Story of Kim 6: Revenge of Kim

Come to think of it, I don't recall Wayne being around for this event. He's pretty happy about that, most likely.

Anyway, the day of the show came, and people began collecting at my house. Tiffany showed first, and we sat out on the patio talking with my next door neighbor, Janiece, who was beautiful and neurotic in equal measure. Thankfully, her boyfriend Brian was not in evidence, and it looked like I was going to have the company of both of these lovelies for the evening. A few of my other friends began to trickle in, and things were shaping up to be pretty fucking right on. Then Kim showed up.

Now, I don't remember inviting her to this, but that doesn't mean much. I don't remember fucking her, either. But I knew there was going to be trouble, because Edward was on his way as well.

I could have disinvited her, and that would have been the smartest thing to have done. But she looked desperate for company, and I figured, well, it wasn't like we were going to hang around some coffee shop somewhere--there would be a loud ass rock and roll band playing, after all. I did the smart thing and tried to keep Tiffany away from Kim as much as possible, and while I didn't exactly lie to Tiff about my, uh, relationship with Kim, I didn't really go out of my way to talk about it, either. Tiffany seemed to get on well with Janiece, because they were both big potheads, and she remembered Edward from the other night.

Edward was plainly not happy that Kim was there, and Kim did what I HATE: she kept her distance and made with the trembly lip and soulful eyes. Turns out it bugs ol' Edward as well, because I could sense his growing tension, even as he very obviously ignored her, as we waited for the clock to tick over to showtime.

I'll also admit that I was a little hacked off at Edward. It seemed a little ridiculous for him to not even acknowledge her existence--I mean, I was the one who got used as a pawn in some sort of weird sex-power-game, right? And if I could be civil to her, well, shit.

I also confess I had no idea how stubborn Edward could be. This stands him in good stead in a lot of ways, just in case you think I'm hackin' on him, but at this time in our relationship I thought I'd pull a fast one and leave him and Kim alone together. I loaded up the crew, and we all headed out to get some beer.

This was clever of me, because a) I got some beer, b) it forced them to talk to each other, and c) I didn't have to be there when it happened. With any luck, I thought, she'd be gone when I got back.

She wasn't. As I returned from the convenience store, I heard the unmistakable strains of Cevin Cey and the boys melting people's minds with "Harsh Stone White," or maybe "VX Gas Attack." Skinny Puppy, in other words, and Skinny Puppy isn't exactly the type of music they play in marriage counseling sessions. Especially at volumes loud enough to be heard down at the end of the block.

I entered the house, and headed straight for the bedroom, where my little stereo was playing at 11. I found Kim sitting on my bed, almost in tears, looking at the back of Edward's head. For his part, Edward was facing away from Kim, with his nose about six inches from the nearest speaker. With his eyes closed. Dude did NOT want to talk to her. I got his attention, turned down the stereo, and tossed him a beer. It was nearly time to go, and car arrangements had to be made.

During this time I was very concerned about Tiffany's impression of all this--it was unavoidable that she could tell my friends were weird, but I didn't want her to get the impression they were violent and/or neurotic. In fact, I tried to disassociate myself from Kim completely, while carefully steering away from my previous liason with her.

Time to go: Kim rode with me, along with Tiffany, and Edward piled in with Janiece. We weren't even out of the driveway when Kim started whining about Edward. And I do mean whining. The girl had a huge capacity for self pity, and a sort of reedy voice that was always 2 steps away from a whine. I was hatin' life--and decided that enough was enough: "Kim, shut the fuck up about Edward. He's my best fucking friend, and I will not listen to your kvetching about him all the way down to this show. If you want to go to this thing, shut up and deal with him."

(I really should start doing this at the beginning of things, I know, but I'm too nice)

She shut up and dealt with him. Tiffany didn't seem put off by this development at all, so we had a pretty non-awkward trip down to the show. At the show, I planned to avoid Kim, then meet her back at the car afterwards (after all, I couldn't strand the girl, could I?).

Unfortunately, the show was canceled. I saw a dozen people I knew wandering around down there, but nobody seemed to know what the fuck was up, so we all sat around until well after showtime, then headed back to the city in despair. At least I had beer, right?

Back at the house, it was more of the same. Several of us sat around my bedroom and smoked pot, listened to music, and talked. Actually, everyone but Kim sat around in a circle--Kim sat on my bed, outside the circle, and just looked at everyone. Interestingly, nobody seemed in the least inclined to invite her into the circle. I remember thinking, after an hour of this, "how far will ol' girl push this?" Pretty fucking far, apparently, because she actually outwaited everyone at what was now a decent small party, then grabbed Edward and dragged him out into the living room. Tiffany and I were alone together, for the first time all night.

We picked up right where we left off--she seemed to really want this to be normal and pleasant, and I was very, very thankful for that. She turned out to be a Doors fan, and we discussed the John Densmore biography I'd just finished, which she'd picked up and skimmed whenever I was off dealing with someone's party needs.

I had almost forgotten about the storm brewing in the living room, as a matter of fact, which is a testament to Tiffany's personality because there was a lot of breakable stuff in there, and Edward seemed...demonstrative. He's never broken anything of mine, so my fear back then is probably unfounded, but at the time it seemed pretty real.

But eventually we got to a lull. I wasn't sure what time it was, but I was suffering a little from the tunnel vision pot and beer always seems to give me, and I was just beginning to wonder if I look like some kind of stoner jackass (SHUT IT, peanut gallery), when Edward slammed open my bedroom door, and marched inside. He slammed it behind him, as hard as he could, and shouted (as loud as he could) "YOU CAN CRAM THAT FIGURE OF SPEECH RIGHT UP YOUR ASS!" Then he looked over at us, as if seeing us for the first time, and realized the situation I was being put in. To his credit, he apologized and headed back out into the living room.

I knew at this point there was no way I could get out of telling Tiffany the whole sordid story without edging over into dishonesty territory, and I'm just not very good at that. Plus, she'd been nothing but open and accepting of my weird lifestyle, so I owed her the chance to see just how fucking sordid it could get.

She took it very well, I think, but just as I was finishing up we were interrupted by Kim. Kim was crying.

Now, boys and girls, there are two types of women in this world. There are the women that, when they cry, I want to comfort them and, you know, go slay dragons for. I've been fortunate in my life to have run across a good number of these women, because the other type piss me the fuck off.

The other type, of course, are the kind that make me want to smack them and tell them to get over it. I know you can't do that, and I never have, but at times it's scary how...right...that sounds.

You know by now which type Kim was. So when she came to the door, bawling, snot bubbling in her nose and with her eyes red and puffy, the first thing I thought of was how she'd put herself in this predicament. I mean, it was plain to everyone that not only did I not want her around, but Edward was really having a hard time controlling his anger at what he considered a low blow from her. Whether she actually slept with me to get back at him, I have no idea, although the type of woman who'll stand around, meek and passive, hoping for someone to notice her is exactly the type of girl who'd do some passive aggressive bullshit like fuck yer friends to make you jealous. What she hadn't counted on was just how scary Edward can be when he's pissed off.

So she wanted to talk to me, about "us." This is irritating, but since I'd managed to get the story out a few seconds before Tiffany found out on her own, I wasn't that irate. At this point, I was more concerned with finding a useful pretext to kick her the fuck out of my house. Further complicating things was that I had gone to get Edward, so I was going to have to do some pretty fancy footwork to get him home and still have Tiffany around later on.

But back to the wailin' bitch in front of me. She grabbed me by the arm and dragged me out into the dining room. I wasn't in the mood, as you can imagine, but I still felt a little bad because, well, I just do. I suppose I was to blame for a portion of what was going on, right? But after she sniffled out her questions and accusations ("I thought you were my friend," high among them), my mind was momentarily distracted by a very, very angry Edward pacing the living room. This resulted in me picking up the nearest beer, which happened to be hers. We both realized this at the same time, but I needed a drink and was also trying to provoke her into doing something I'd feel good about kicking her out over.

She did. She smacked me full in the face. I'm pretty sure that if I had put down that quart of beer, she would have dumped it on me, but it's pretty hard to get a bottle of beer away from me once I've got hold of it, so I just got a big red handprint and a little bit of overspray from her hissing something melodromatic at me.

I'd been slapped a couple of times before, and it always seemed to me to be just that--a melodramatic act that wasn't terribly effective. I mean, a kick in the nuts is a lot more effective, right? Maybe she couldn't reach that high.

Anyway, that was the excuse I needed. "OK, Kim, you can now get the fuck out of my house. Now." She started bawling again, and I slammed the door on my way back into the bedroom, while winking at Tiffany to show that I wasn't taking any of this too seriously.

Because really, I wasn't. It was an ugly scene, but a scene I knew had been destined to happen at some point, and Tiffany didn't appear bothered by it at all--whenever things got odd, she just picked up her book and ignored us. I like that.

A few minutes after that, Edward came in and made a grand apology. He'd even done me a solid--Kim was going to give him a ride home, and they were going to "talk it out" on the drive back. This was the best news I've heard all night, as you can imagine. They left, and Tiffany and I started making out.

But it was not meant to be (this whole story is the story of me not getting what I want, come to think of it). A couple of my other friends, thinking the show must be over, dropped by with a bunch of pot. Now, Tiffany wasn't one to let pot go unsmoked, so they began to do the social things potheads do, while I nipped outside to grab Janiece.

As I was crossing my yard, I was nearly broadsided by a car pulling up into the grass. It was, of course, Kim, with snot rollin' out of her nose, bright red skin, and absolutely no self control whatsoever. She got out, walked around to the passenger side of her car, and started opening and closing the door.

Now, this is the girl that just finished slapping me inna face, dig? I thought I was pretty cool, but I was in no mood to fuck with her again. "Kim," I said, "you're drunk. Go home."

She came over and gave me one of those hugs (for some reason, touching her always reminded me of touching a toadstool--kind of sickly soft, like rotting things), whimpering about being my friend and being sorry she hit me. I wasn't having any of it, of course, and I had her most of the way back to her car when it struck me: there was no way she had time to drop Edward off and make it back here. That meant, Jesus Christ Almighty, that Edward was wandering around, drunk, pissed off, and rideless. At something approaching 2am, in a city not known for its leniency on drunkards, especially (I realized later) underage drunkards. Hmmm...

I was probably a little rude to her at that point, demanding to know where Edward had got off to. She was not really in the condition to tell me, but between kleenex honkings and snufflings, I gathered that they had actually gone to a Denny's (her favorite hangout) to "talk it out," but they'd started fighting in the car and Edward had bailed out of the car somewhere around 63rd and May. Apparently unhurt, he got away from her, and was now wandering, alone, through the city. Presumably back towards my house.

I was pretty irritated by this. Here he'd been offered a ride home, and he couldn't even keep his act together enough to make it home. In fact, had I felt like I had any chance of finding him, he'd be putting me in danger of a) a DUI, and b) whatever sort of felony you get for providing beer to someone who's not 21. After a long few minutes of thought, I grabbed Janiece and started smoking pot again. The guy has got to learn his lesson, I thought to myself, and I've got a warm girl in my bed.

Friday, November 26, 2004

I Promise I'll Do Better, If You...

I haven't learned my lesson yet, so I've enrolled in Google Adsense to see if I can't make some money without actually working. Once you start seeing ads that actually try and sell you something, clicking on them will help keep me from starving to death once I get out of here. Until then, clicking on it helps keep me from drinking Kentucky Deluxe, and makes sure I've got enough condoms to keep everybody happy.

So really, it's a public service. Win win. All that.

And I promise, I'll write another installment this weekend. Maybe even finish this thing up. THEN what?

Friday, November 19, 2004

Story of Kim 5: Substory Tiffany 2

The following weekend, Edward showed up at my place with a few beers, and we sat out on the porch to discuss the "Kim Situation." He wasn't angry with me at all, he said, but was pretty pissed off at her. I feel like Edward would also like me to point out the reason he wasn't mad at me was because he expected me to do stuff like this, which I suppose I won't argue about. But I try, yo. I try real hard.

No, the reason he was angry with her was that she had apparently tried to do the same thing with his brother a few days before. This had all the hallmarks of a raging passive aggressive obsessive nutcase, I thought, and I was slightly relieved that she wasn't quite as focused on me as she might have been.

Edward was mad, though, and once we finished the beer, he suggested we drop in on a party his brother was having, in Edmond.

Now, Edmond is kind of a weird place. Everyone under 30 years old calls it a college town, and everyone over 30 calls it a bedroom community--a suburb of OKC. Both are, in fact, true, but the important thing to remember about this is that Edmond is about 20 miles away from the house I was living in. Edmond is also where Edward was living, which probably explains why he was so prone to sleeping in my tub instead of driving home.

His brother, who we'll call "Don," lived with a lovely young woman named Brooke in some apartments fairly close to the college. I was a little nervous about attending this party, because a) I hadn't been invited, b) didn't know and had never met Don, and c) Edward seemed to get more and more pissed the more beer we drank. But my strategy has always been "devil take the hindmost," and Edward was driving, so off we went.

The party was a bunch of people smoking dope and listening to Tool while doing shots and keg stands. In short, my kind of people. Edward introduced me to a couple of cool guys, then grabbed Don and dragged him off to a corner, where he began talking intently in low tones and making some rather worrisome gestures with his hands. I wandered off to find a beer, and soon found myself smoked out around the kitchen table with Brooke and a couple of her friends, most notably a girl named Tiffany.

I didn't know this Tiffany, and since the other Tiffany doesn't make another appearance in this story, you shouldn't be confused. A storyteller less intent on verisimilitude would have changed the name, but hey, I have faith in you guys.

So Tiffany was very cute, and very much a party girl, and she seemed pleased to make my acquaintance. She was actually in town for the holidays as well, from an art school in...Santa Fe, I think. We hit it off really well, and when Edward came around to check on me, there was no trace of my former nervousness to be found. Must have been the weed, man.

The party lasted til 3 or 4 in the morning, and at the end Tiffany suggested that Edward and I go with her to Denny's, or whatever all night greasepit we went to back in those days. I was happy to oblige, and made it clear on the way over there that I was in fact very interested in Tiffany, and there wouldn't be any of this friendly competition like there had been with Kim a few months ago. Maybe he knew something I didn't, or maybe he was drunk, but after an hour or so in that restaurant, he asked if she could take me home (which was 20 miles in the wrong direction, a sure litmus test of her feelings for me, especially at 5am), and when she assented, made a graceful exit.

Now, I know you guys are going to find this hard to believe, but I'm actually a pretty shy individual. While I've certainly had a few one night stands in my time, in general I'm not the type of guy to just lay one on ya the first time we meet. So Tiffany and I sat around on my bedroom floor, listened to records, and talked until well after sunrise, at which point she left and I fell asleep on the floor (in that order). She was staying with her parents, and I didn't have a phone, so we agreed to meet a couple of nights later for a few glasses of wine and some more conversation.

[The Cliff's Notes version of the above paragraph would read: "I liked her a lot, and I didn't want to do anything that would make her not like me, so I kept my hands to myself."]

On the night I was to meet her, I stopped at the liquor store and was immediately confronted with the fact that I didn't know a damn thing about wine. I'd never purchased wine for a first date, at any rate, and so I did what a lot of people do (at least, I hope they do): Bought the one with the wicker basket attached. What the hell, I thought, I need another candleholder anyway.

The evening was a success--we talked until late, again, and it turned out she'd taken almost as much acid as I had. She had lived a pretty crazy life out west, it appeared, and that was the type of girl I was looking for. I couldn't tell if she was impressed by the basket thingy, but at the end of the evening I stole a kiss goodnight. It was a very passionate kiss, and it was accompanied by an embrace that didn't linger for nearly long enough. Once she was safely out the door and pointed towards home, I probably did a little jig in the living room, but I can't say for sure.

We met again that weekend, and stayed up all night drinking more wine from baskets and talking (or rather, I listened to her talk--she seemed to have a lot of stories about Santa Fe), and when the sun came up I ventured another kiss. It occurred to me then that we'd done nothing but hang around my gnarly old house, and that girls liked to be taken out in public occasionally. It also occurred to me that one of my favorite bands was playing in Norman (boo!) the following weekend. Eventually I asked her to accompany me and a group of my friends, and she agreed. A DATE!

I spent the intervening week coordinating with friends, including Edward and, if I'm not mistaken, the lovely and talented Wayne, of Big Cliche fame. I also spent a lot of time parked at a payphone, talking to Tiffany. The weekend couldn't come fast enough.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Story of Kim 4: Edward Sings the Drunk Song

He didn't show up at all that weekend, but as you can imagine I wasn't exactly upset by this; I wanted to do some hard thinking about a) whether I should feel bad about what I'd done, and b) whether I should tell Edward about the encounter in the first place.

During the course of the week, which was thankfully Kim free, I concluded that I didn't feel bad, except inasmuch as I felt like I'd betrayed myself. I also concluded that it really wasn't any of Edward's business who I was sleeping with, so I didn't feel obligated to go out of my way to tell him. This is, come to think of it, just the sort of construct I build to avoid thinking I'm a liar, but I think I can be forgiven for just wanting to forget the whole sorry incident. Kim, however, had other plans.

It was on a Thursday night, I think, when Edward finally showed up. I still had some cash left, so we went out and grabbed a case of beer, then sat around and regaled a couple of his out-of-town friends with tales of excess and depravity. This culminated in a midnight walk across the street to the park, where he and I scaled the (now dry) fountain and sang a rousing chorus of "She Caught the Katy," probably most familiar to you as the opening song in the movie "The Blues Brothers." It's what we do when we're drunk and happy--that and wrestle, and it was too cold for wrestling.

All in all, it was a good Thursday night, and it was winding down just as I had hoped, that is, before midnight and with me NOT broke or shitfaced. However, upon turning the corner to go back to the house, I saw what was probably the last car I wanted to see right then: Kim's. Worse, it was parked behind Edward's truck, that is, in my driveway. Not good.

I had a few seconds to think about what to do, and I chose what I'd like to think was the honorable way out. I stopped in the field across from my house, said "Edward, I need to tell you something. I apparently had sex with Kim last weekend."

I must say, he handled it pretty well. As I've mentioned previously, he really didn't have that much room to be angry, but logic wasn't one of his strong points when it came to sex--which is no great failing, I think, or at least not a rare one. Anyway, he kind of stopped in the middle of the vacant lot, stroked his chin for a sec, and said "huh. OK." Then turned and walked to the house. I followed, and as the crew assembled in the cold, cold living room, I searched the house for any sign of Kim. It wasn't that large of a house, actually, and parts of it were even blocked off, so it didn't take long to find her (although the time seemed to pass slowly as I envisioned her curled up naked in my bed, with Edward close behind me--basically blowing my "drunken mistake" argument out of the water). She was in the bathroom, and she was shitfaced.

She basically fell into my arms, slurring about how much she liked me and how drunk she was and how I was really the best she'd ever been with, and how she was too drunk to drive home and needed to stay somewhere and I was close. Which, given the bar she claimed to have been in, was a flat out lie. This annoyed me, so I took a little guilty pleasure in the look on her face when I told her that "Edward" was in the next room.

"Oh my gosh," she muttered, a horrified look in her suddenly focused eyes. "You're not going to tell him...about us, are you?"

Jesus Christ, I thought, what's it take to get through these girls' heads? "THERE IS no 'us,' Kim!" She put a hand on the wall and sort of stumbled out, without acknowledging what I'd said. And it never occurred to me that I hadn't said "yes, I've already told him we slept together." Which might (or might not) have saved me some trouble later on.

I was pretty embarrassed by the whole situation, and it's human nature (I think) to get a little hacked off at the thing that humiliates you. In this case, I stayed back in the back for a bit, taking off my boots and picking up beer cans, trying to get calm so I wouldn't be rude to Kim when I had to see her again.

Soon enough, everyone left but Kim, who still claimed to be too drunk to drive.

As an aside, that's one of the few things I won't think twice about. You could be Josef Stain, and I'd still not begrudge you a few hours on my couch if you pleaded drunk. Sending someone out in the cold, to attempt a drive home when they already KNOW they shouldn't be driving, is not only unsafe, it's bad karma. So as much as I felt like she was probably faking it, I let it go.

Unfortunately, I'd been drinking too, so I didn't think about the heating situation.

See, back when I'd first moved into the place, I'd had to live in the front room, partly because it was conveniently heated, and partly because the bedroom was Where The Ex Used To Sleep. After a winter of $300 heating bills, and a new bed, I felt it would behoove me to sleep in the bedroom again, so I moved back there. I still wasn't making shit for money, though, so I still only heated one room--the back one.

The upshot of all this is that I couldn't bring myself to make Kim sleep out in the cold. She's a girl, and delicate. But I was still mad at her, and not about to change that, so I said "yes, you can sleep in here, but don't even THINK about touching me." Which got me a hurt look and a trembly lip, but no argument.

Just to make sure, I went to bed dressed for work the next morning, down to the workboots. She made one attempt, was rebuffed, got up and left. Guess she wasn't that drunk after all.

Now, this could very well be the end of this story, if there wasn't some weird shit going around that I didn't know about at this point. But there is, so you have at least two and probably three more installments of this to go. Hopefully I'll have time tomorrow to get it out. Definitely before the weekend.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Story of Kim 3: "You Fucked the Autopilot."

So it was that one day in early November I was playing hooky from work, lonely and bored. I hadn't seen much in the way of my friends since the end of the summer, due to a couple of them dicking me over, school, and the cold weather-related reduction in available roof/wine drinking time. The New Orleans had either shut down, or I was mad enough at the owner that I wasn't spending any money there. Either was likely.

As I laid in bed, reading, and being bored, my thoughts wandered to a certain sweet young girl I hadn't seen since that summer. Her name was Tiffany, and she was literally sweet and young. I don't think I've ever met a kinder, gentler person than Tiffany, and she was only 17 when I met her. She was the type of girl that made me feel like a coarse, dirty thug, but that she loved me anyway. In other words, I felt like she was unreachable--too pretty, too perfect, and too nice.

I had recently heard she was single, and I also heard that she was working at a comic book store close by my house.

So I figured what the hell. No harm in visiting an old friend, hey? We were friends, mind you, even though I had ulterior motives. Off I went to the comic shoppe.

No Tiffany. But oddly enough, there was a Kim. She seemed entirely too glad to see me, and sort of bullied me into agreeing to get coffee with her later on that day, once she got off work.

And yeah, I have to be honest, I didn't mind the company too much. I was lonely, and she wasn't hard to look at, and we had Edward to talk about. Additionally, it was time to start Christmas shopping, and I HATE shopping by myself, so we drank coffee, cruised the mall, and split, after exchanging phone numbers. By the time it was all over, I'd spent most of the day with her, and was ready to be alone again.

She talked about Edward a lot, and apparently had been speaking with him on the phone some, which I thought was kind of weird given that he'd barely escaped her clutches when here in the city. But shit, I thought, I'm sure he's lonely as all get out up there, so I can't blame him too much. I was also kind of relieved that she didn't appear to be latching on to me, because she definitely seemed to be the clutchy type.

A couple of days after that, she showed up on my doorstep with a handful of comic books. I was rather nonplussed that she came over without warning, but not wanting to be rude, I invited her in. She gifted me with the comic books, despite the fact that we had never discussed them, and in fact I'm not much of a fan [as a side note, that is changing now] there were a few moments of awkwardness when she realized she'd just given me a gift she'd meant to give to someone else (I gave them back to her a few days later). She didn't appear to have much reason to come by, exactly, and as some of my former roommates can attest, I'm not much of a talker or socializer during the work week. After a couple of (interminable) hours, she apparently got the vibe I was sending out, and left. But first, she gave me a big hug.

I wasn't paying attention to any of this. She verged on annoying, and I thought she was still carrying a torch for ol' Edward, so I didn't think much farther than "getoutgetoutgetout."

The next night, she came over again. And the following night. The night after THAT (yes, the fourth night after the comic book thing), I did the honest and forthright thing and shut off all my lights and locked the door. I was going to bed early in those days anyway, so it was no big deal.

It seemed that did the trick--I didn't hear from her at all over the weekend and during the week. I did, however, hear from Edward. He was going to be visiting the city over Thanksgiving, and wanted to make sure I had the fridge stocked with whatever cheap ass beer I could afford.

So the weekend finally arrived, and I made a special trip to the liquor store for supplies. I was very, very pleased to be seeing Edward again, partly because my life at that time was pretty well devoid of both intelligent conversation and human interaction in general. That, and I wanted some good alcohol for once.

I'd been reading the autobiography of John Densmore, drummer for The Doors, because I've always been a fan of Crazy Jim Morrison, and one specific paragraph had been sticking with me lately--it talked about an incident where Jim had slipped away and purchased a bottle of Jack Daniels right before a show, and gotten too drunk to play.

So, my shopping list was short: a case of beer, a fifth of Jack, and a 2 1/2 gal jug of bad German white wine. And a bottle of Boone's Farm, for the Land Speed Record which is another story.

Saturday night, a couple of my friends showed up to wait for Edward and his people to arrive. We sat in my bedroom, because that was the only room that was heated, and talked back and forth. They were drinking beer, I was taking hits off of the whiskey and chasing it with beer. Pretty soon, we were drunk, and Edward wasn't around.

I remember finishing the beer, and I remember the empty whiskey bottle. There's a brief flash that I can recall, later, of me opening the screw top on the big bottle of wine. An even dimmer flash of the 2 1/2 gallon wine jug, nearly empty.

And then, nothing.

I woke up in the morning, with a head (predictably) the size of a basketball. Something wasn't right--I wasn't...alone.

It was Kim. She was naked, and I was naked, and we were in bed together, and I couldn't for the life of me remember how it happened. I mean, I had a pretty good idea, but there's nothing in my mind (to this day) that could serve as a supporting fact to my hypothesis.

Edward, I knew, was going to be fucking pissed. Not that he'd have a lot of valid reasons to be pissed--after all, he'd dumped her and moved away, and in fact had to do some pretty fast talking to keep her from moving with him, which is as good a reason as any to think that ol' boy was "finished" with her. But I knew, deep down, that Edward wasn't rational about some things, and one of those things was (at that time) women.

Worse, she had that look in her eye. That one look, you know, that reminds me of puppies and baby deer and soft, helpless, innocent things that should be cross stitched onto a goddamn pillow somewhere. The look that all but screamed "I LOVE YOU!" The look, ladies and gentlemen, that you don't want to see on someone's face the morning after a bender. It was a look that told me Edward might not be the biggest of my problems.

When she caught my eye, she got all modest and began saying things that ultimately would have led up to something I definitely didn't want to hear. She stammered something along the lines of "I don't normally do one night stands," and then something about how wonderful I'd been, and how she'd always liked me, etc. This was hurting my head, and I realized I was going to have to be direct and kind of mean to keep this from getting out of hand (or more than it already was).

So I kicked my feet over the side of the mattress, knocking over the empty whiskey bottle on the floor, and found a pint of E&J brandy I'd bought, then realized I didn't like. Anything was better than listening to her drivel when I was sober, I thought, so I took a couple of big mouthfuls and listened to her while it warmed my belly. Finally, I turned to her, looked her in the eye, and said "look, I don't want to give you any false impressions. I don't remember sleeping with you. I don't remember when you got here, or how we wound up in bed together. Plainly we had sex, but I don't remember it. In fact, Kim, I think it would be safe to say you fucked the autopilot. And that's not going to happen again."

She took it better than I thought she would, but didn't seem to show much inclination to get dressed and leave. Thus would begin the awkward part of the morning after--giving someone the hint.

Thankfully, my pager went off, and I was quick enough on the uptake to tell her it was my boss, and I was going to have to go to work. It wasn't my boss, of course, but rather my actual date for the evening, but the little white lie hurt no one. Kim got dressed, reluctantly, and left. After another hug that lingered way too long.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Story of Kim 2: Jefe Loses Out

The redhead's name was Kim, and she was a nice calm young woman, a year or so older than me. Edward and I took her out to various places, most of which I can't recall, but I remember we were downtown (clearly violating Kerr Park curfew, for those of you who spent your angry youth downtown skateboarding or taking acid) when I realized he and I had been competing for this girl's affections all day. This was my problem for a long period of time--taking things at face value, and/or missing subtexts and/or obvious body language. What can I say? I'm an idiot--I'm better about it now, but back then I still thought people not only said what they meant, they said everything they meant.

But once I realized what was going on, I did some quick mental arithmetic and decided a number of things:

1) Edward clearly wanted this girl, for one of two reasons

a) he was very attracted to her
b) his competitive nature had been aroused, and he just wanted to "beat" me.


2) I really wasn't that interested in Kim.

So I backed off, and if I remember right, even began upselling Edward a bit--but I did make excuses and leave them with plenty of the night remaining.

Turns out that's all that they needed. The next time I saw him, they were seeing each other, and both seemed quite happy. Edward was pleased to have someone that was (to all outward appearances) stable and calm, and Kim made no secret of how much she enjoyed Edward's, uh, dynamic energy.

So the summer progressed, and the coffee flowed, and I got a number of roommates in what was formerly a very lonely house. We were all busy, in short, and I think Edward and I may have drifted apart a bit, because he was working while I was free, and vice-versa. It was sweet to see Edward bustling about shouting and pouring coffee, while his little redhead sat at a small table in the corner doing a crossword puzzle, occasionally looking up to moon over her boy.

After a few weeks of this, Edward and I found ourselves alone on my porch together, with some sort of beer in a can, and thoughts turned to Kim. Being a neurotic, trouble borrowing motherfucker, even back then, I was beginning to wonder just how Edward had managed to wrangle such a cute, mild tempered woman into dating him until he moved away to school, in a couple of months.

In this first conversation, his reply to my query was "well, I just told her, 'look, I don't want a long distance thing, we have this time together,' you know, just laid it out, and she's OK with it." And this seemed as it should be--you have rules, and one of the rules is that if you're capable of talking about the difficult stuff involved in a relationship, you're capable of being honest with one another about the relationship, and by dint of being rational, adult human beings, content with the way it's going to progress and/or end up. Shit, this is how -I- deal with things, right?

But by the middle of July, I could tell something was wrong. Edward was...not quite dodging Kim, but spending more time at my place than he had during most of the summer. Kim's doting looks were tinged with need and maybe a hint of desperation, and her omnipresence in the cafe became obsessive.

At the beginning of August, I asked him again about "how things were going." He said basically the same thing as the first time, except slightly more specific. As a bit of a forensic conversationalist, what I gathered from our second discussion was mainly that they had already had multiple conversations about what I'm sure she termed as "their future," despite earlier agreements that there was no future. If you make it clear at the outset that you don't want the relationship to extend past a certain date, for instance, there's no reason to bring up the fact that it wouldn't be cool for the other person to move to whatever city you're moving to. In short, things were getting out of hand for ol' Edward.

Now, back at the beginning of the summer, I thought she was attractive and fun. After a month or so of watching her watch him work the cafe, I not only wasn't attracted to her, it would be fair to say I didn't even like her.

[I've given some thought recently to criticism that I don't like anyone's boy/girlfriend, and I think I can completely avoid meeting this criticism by pointing out that this girl was really and truly a freak. So there.]

And so, the end of the summer came, and since I don't remember Edward's going away party it must have been a hell of a good one. I was in the middle of some serious shit in my own life at the time, having lost all three roommates to ridiculous circumstances. I found myself not only roommateless, but also owing back rent to the tune of nearly $1000, and no visible means of income (my LSD connection had been thrown into disarray because someone in the group was a narc, and I wasn't making that much money anyway). In short, we kind of lost track of one another. In late September, I got my old job back, which helped the money situation for a bit, but then winter and short days crept in, and I found myself sick, cold, and lonely one afternoon in early November.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Story of Kim 1: Summer of 93

While we're on the subject of girls I should have stayed the hell away from, I figured I might as well dig another one out of the more distant past. It's a torrid tale of whiskey and loneliness and a small bottle of E&J I kept by my bed for no good reason at all.

It's also a tale involving someone who reads this blog at least semi-regularly, so I will change that person's name, and he'd better have enough sense to keep his trap shut. Ready? OK then.

Back in the summer of 93 I had a pretty solid crew of friends that actually LIVED IN THE SAME CITY as me, in some cases as close as next door. We did a lot of crazy things, of course, because a) none of us really had jobs and b) I had access to a lot of really, really good LSD. I'm trying to work those things into a coherent tale, but for now you'll have to be content with the Story of Kim.

I had a friend named Edward, who I'd met while I was in school at UCO, but who was planning to transfer to another school that fall, out of state, but close by.

On a weekend in late...May, I think it was, Edward and I had spent the night drinking whiskey and arguing about the definition of art (I'm not kidding--these were the days) out on the front porch, with the ultimate result of Edward falling asleep in my bathtub. [Let's face it, the man couldn't drink brown liquor, and we both knew it, but he was always game for trying and by the time he'd start running his bath I was too drunk to care anyway.]

Sunday morning I staggered out of bed after being awakened by the grumbling and muttering of a wet, half naked Edward, surveyed the wreckage of my refrigerator, and proposed that we visit New Orleans Cafe for breakfast.

As I've mentioned in the Meghan story, New Orleans Cafe was the locus of nearly all hipster activity at the time, because it had the two things young hipsters require: cheap coffee and bad art. Well, maybe the art wasn't ALL bad, but it was mostly artists who didn't mind letting their paintings get covered in grease and soot from the kitchen, which meant a lot of dilettante hippy friends of the owner, who's a whole fucking story by himself.

Upon arriving at the place, I was comforted to see the large round table by the door was nearly full of good people, almost all of whom I knew.

[as an aside, that table held about fifteen people, if you sqeezed them in, and most days and nights you could always find someone you knew sitting at it--it was a sort of proto-friendster, facilitating introductions and contributing to (dare I say it?) a sense of community in a city that doesn't otherwise have a lot to offer for people like me. I loved that table, as greasy and fucked up as it was.]

So, we took the remaining two seats at the table, ordered breakfast, and settled in to talk. The people, as I said, were cool, and some of them close friends, but Edward and I both noticed a girl I hadn't seen before. She was attractive, with reddish hair and green eyes, and before long I was wondering how I'd managed to miss meeting her during all my other visits. She knew all the people at the table, it seemed like, and I knew everyone at the table...and she was apparently single. Hmmm...

I looked at Edward, and I could see in his beady little eyes that he was thinking the same thing.