Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Scottsdale Lady Meltdown

I had just put in a solid six hours at Grand Lux Cafe. Dinner was going to be slow, so I was relieved of my night shift double. Good thing, because my knees were starting to ache.

So I walk through Z Tejas and Kona Grill’s patio area, and continue towards the parking garage.

Ahead of me are three Scottsdale women. There are two blondes, and a woman that looks like Annette Bening from American Beauty in the middle.

I’ve unbuttoned my collar and wrists, apron under my arm; I can’t wait for a nap. I follow the women up two flights of stairs, hearing their clacking heels, as breezes bring their powerful perfume.

I move faster than them, and have caught up so I’m about ten feet behind. My truck is in view.

A large Toyota FJ Cruiser, propped up on giant wheels with limo tint, backs out very slowly in front of the women. He’s stuck between two parked Escalades, and can’t see a thing.

“Um, hello! There are people here!” Annette shouts.

Not hearing her, the FJ driver continues to inch out of his spot. The women aren’t in any danger. The two blondes seem to think Annette is just joking.

“Stop! WHAT are you doing?!” Her voice cracked. Something terrible is about to burst through.

The blondes stand still, watching. Annette has placed herself right behind the FJ Cruiser. She’s banging on the back window now, I can hear her diamond rings scratching up the paint and glass, “This is the ugliest car I’ve ever seen! What the hell is wrong with you!”

I’ve set my apron down by my feet and have lit a cigarette, observing.


I hear a power window roll down, and a calm voice comes from it, “Oh, excuse me ma’am. I didn’t see you there.”

Apparently, that was the wrong thing to say.

“Fuck you 'you didn’t see' me?! I hate you! I hate you!” The last sentence gurgled through clenched teeth.

Annette starts swinging her Prada purse like a wild woman, hitting the window over and over. The Cruiser was built for mountains, floods, fires and bullets, but I wince each time her purse smacks the rear window.

Her lipstick, eyeliner, tampons and cell phone have sprayed out all around her on the pavement. The Cruiser’s reverse lights shut off. He’s just sitting there parked now, halfway out of the space.

Annette’s screaming about him leaving her, and she hates him, she hates him, she hates him. That stupid whore too, she hates her too.

A pocket mirror lands in front of me, I pick it up. While she continues to swing at the Cruiser, I quietly start collecting her purse’s contents, hoping to save her some further embarrassment.

The two blondes have since acted like they don’t know her, and have gotten into their car and driven away.
The Cruiser driver resorts to backing out again, rolling up his window for safety. Annette moves aside, and is tiring herself out with a few more swings at the passenger door.

Her screams have deep breaths in between them now, her hair is a mess. Somehow she broke a heel, too.

The Cruiser, with just enough room to leave, does so in a hurry. With one last “Fuck you!” Annette crumples to the floor, grabbing her face and crying deep, shuddering sobs.

My truck is just passed her. I could just go. Leave her here. Blend in.

The cigarette dwindles in my mouth as I approach her, carefully selecting a tone of voice. The one you use with a child throwing a tantrum, or someone holding a shaky gun.

“I got your stuff.”

She glances up at me from behind her hands, then covers her face again. Now she’s embarrassed.

“Oh…God I’m… Oh God…”

“It’s all right.”

“Do you think I could...” she looks at my mouth.

“Sure, here you go.” I hand her a Camel and light it for her, then sit beside her in the parking space.

“Thanks,” she says, taking a drag like she hasn’t in years, but remembers it well.

“Rough couple days?”

She rubs her wedding ring, unsure of its meaning anymore. 
“Try a rough couple years,” her voice is still a bit shaky. She wipes her eyes and gives a sad chuckle at herself.

“It’s okay. You should probably never wear those shoes again, though,” I nod to her feet.

She laughs, “Oh geez, he’s turning me into one of those crazy girls.”

“I hope not, we already have plenty of those,” I smile at her, “Do you need a ride or anything?”

“No, the Benz is… right over there somewhere,” she waves her hand in a general direction, fixing her hair with the other.

She’s stood herself up, wiping dust off her skirt, “I just… I don’t know what to do anymore.”

“I’d start with a nice bath, glass of wine, light a few candles maybe. Just relax, you know?”

“Good idea, a really good idea,” she says, taking another drag.

“Okay well, I’m gonna go home. You sure you’re all right?”

“Yes, thank you young man.”

Sometimes they just have to let it out. Other than how she’s holding her shoes in her hands, you’d have no idea she just went murder rage on a stranger.

In my truck now, I start backing out, she waits for me.

“Whoa, careful there. This one’s pretty ugly too!” I holler at her.

She laughs, covering her face.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Andrew Goes on Another Date

POF is usually a waste of time. Yes, there are Plenty of Fish in the sea. But there are also poisonous jellyfish, sharks, eels, ugly things, salt, tidal waves, and death. Case in point, occasionally logging into the free account usually reveals a series of tragedies.

There’s a message in my Inbox, I ready myself for something horrific, but am instantly surprised upon a few clicks. It seems this time I’ve caught a beautiful marlin.

This girl is gorgeous. Her name is Diane. She’s 23, it says. A 1st grade teacher, so she likes kids. She’s got a great smile in her little black dress. From a large family. Dark hair, even darker eyes, and a shapely, healthy yoga body. No cats. A nonsmoker. Classy, but sexy. She even writes in complete sentences.

So I respond to her, with brevity. Friendly, but all business. Within minutes I have her number, and she wants to meet me at a bar near her house in Tempe.

I couldn’t believe how easy that part was. I was so excited, reinvigorated even.

After work, I open my phone and see that Diane texted me “See you there at 10!”

She remembered me! She really wants to see me!

I get to the bar twelve minutes early. I want to get at least a drink in me beforehand. I’ll need the social lubricant, especially because I need this date to count.

I finish my first long island and check my watch. It’s ten o’clock.

10:05 rolls around, and I imagine myself reliving that scene from Dumb and Dumber. I order a second drink. What if she never shows up? A part of me would be relieved, for some reason.

At 10:07, the door opens. It’s her. And there isn’t much left to the imagination.

In the picture, Diane’s hair was tied back neatly in a studious bun. This time, it’s long, dark and flowing. She has strikingly smooth, fair skin. I noticed this, because she wasn’t dressed like a teacher would be. Not even close.

Diane’s in tiny jean shorts (so the pockets stick out the bottom) and like half a top with her glorious boobs pushed up. There’s some kind of bracelet and ring accessories going on, but I’m too intimidated to look any longer.

I stare at my drink, as she sits next to me. She smells like vanilla and fruit mixed together.

“There you are, Andrew,” there’s a smile in her voice. I turn to her, and watch my body operate in its charismatic charade. It says hi to her, tells her she looks great. She giggles, like a ray of sunshine bouncing in her stool.

“You look better than your picture,” she says, clearly relieved about it.

As the minutes pass, and the booze tingles through me, I start to realize she’s just a person. I can talk to people. She’s just one of them. My funnyguy shell is doing great, I let him handle it.

It’s going well, she’s laughing real laughs. At one point, she kissed my cheek in between sips of her cosmo.

I check my watch, it’s 11:30.

“I wish I had a teacher that looked like you in 1st grade,” my mouth says.

“Oh… I’m not a teacher,” she says to her cosmo.


“Are you still in school for it?”


“I’m sorry, your profile sa-”

“No one means that stuff.”

“They don’t?”

“No one reads it, either.”

“I do?”

“That’s stupid.”

So I sat for a bit, sounds of sports and clamoring drinkers around us. I wonder how far her profile’s inaccuracies went.

“So what do you actually do?”

“I’m a dancer.”

“A dancer. Like the kind that uh… make lots of money?”

“The exotic kind, yes,” she smiles from her lips, but not from her eyes.

The internal conflict of excited weiner versus disappointed brain waged inside of me. I could feel my shell faltering.

Diane’s finished her drink, and is concentrating on her smartphone. I take the moment to observe her. Some of her hair has fallen across her pretty face. While looking at her phone, a shade came over her eyes, and for a second they looked much older. I really don’t know a thing about this girl, I realize.

She taps something on her phone, and is putting it back in her purse, and says

“So you gonna fuck me or what.” 

So flatly, I wasn’t sure if she actually said it.


She’s got her purse over her shoulder, ready to leave, “Uh yeah, so we gonna fuck?”

The last word flicked out of her face again, so casually, so routinely, so empty of any emotional investment. This was happening, this was real. This was what I thought I always wanted.

But why don’t I?
Wait, I do. Don’t I? Am I finally lucking out?
 I should. No, don’t. Should I? Is this a trap?

My charismatic robot body was failing. It was just me now, showing through. Nervous and lost.

She must have sensed my hesitation. I could feel the window closing rapidly. She didn’t move away, but the distance between us tripled.

“You don’t want to?” she asked, slightly confused.

“Yeah, I mean yeah I do. I just. Well usually I have to court her for a while first. Get her to like me, or something y-”

She puts a hand on mine, patting it, “Don’t worry. I don’t like you. I don’t even know you.”

“Well isn’t that. I mean why, I don’t, uh.”

She stands up from her stool, placing a crisp fifty on the counter.

“I’m gonna go. Forget it,” her voice fell flat again. I was already worthless to her.

The bartender, who was in earshot of the whole thing, watches her rear as it swaggers out the door.
There’s a pause, I’m staring at my hands, and I feel him lean in towards me.

“Wow. You blew it man... Holy shit.”

My hands clench and unclench. The room is much dimmer now.

“Can I just get another long island, please.”

“Sure, man...” he looks again at the empty doorway, breathing in the last of her scent, “Damn.”

I watch him chuckle to himself, shaking his head, as he makes my drink.

This long island tastes much stronger than the last. He must be thinking he’s doing me a favor. I sit alone, watching a few replayed innings of a baseball game I don’t care about, hate myself, then leave.