I was not just celebrating the other Saturday, all that day before April Fools. I was drinking to get drunk. And in truth it only takes one drink to get me bonkers. The trouble is, I can’t remember if it’s the thirteenth or fourteenth.
Years back it had taken doctors only minutes to listen to my wife and stuff me like a turkey me with all sorts of psychotropic drugs I said I didn’t need. But, alas, I was the one person in the room they felt they didn’t need to listen to.
Later they finally figured it out: A woman who can’t get what she’s scheming to get by acting smart, can get it by turning on Niagara Falls, flooding the gates of her streaked mascara.
And now, after six years of studies and tests and surveys and reports and polls and seminars and courts and all the stuff that has knocked the stuffing out of our common sense, those bright shrinks and other docs have finally dulled those nine-inch titanium prostheses dangling between their legs.
They have withdrawn me completely off the very same, totally discombobulating pills they now seek to administer to my ex-wife – Stephanie Blatt.
From a safe distance, of course. Probably with rocket launchers.
Hmm…They’d have a safer chance of shooting an elephant in their pajamas.
Anyway, Saturday I was drinking heavily for the first time in years…celebrating…toasting to all the women I’d loved before — before Ms. Stephanie, that is. (Does Ms. really stand for ‘miserable’? Ya think?)
And then along came Michelle. Or whatever her name was.
She crooked her finger at me from a right corner in Grumpy’s crowded bar in South Philly. It was an invitation for me to park my seat-meat on a stool next to hers. The high chair was recently vacated by an obsequious young man who took his cell phone outside. The cheery fellow, I assumed, was her companion for the night.
When a woman who looks that good, long before 2 in the morning, offers a come hither sign, you immediately make room in your pup tent – even if those white tips of her French manicure are extended from long fingers on big hands throwing down hard booze like a man.
Her voice, even if I’d been sober, seemed a tad lower than Lauren Bacall’s. And when we exchanged thigh and arm jocular smacks I felt I could strike up my cigar matches on her lissom, proud physique.
But her lips were the titanic stuff of Hollywood pouters. And her dark hair flowed to parts where men go to moan.
And when her young man-friend returned he seemed to understand. Although he no longer had a stool to perch upon he stood comfortably between Michelle and me as the Saturday night parade of bon vivant marched on.
To put it mildly, Michelle attracted attention. She was ostentatious, flamboyant. Somewhat of an exhibitionist. She rapped her head to the boozy music, splaying her smooth, long hair through the dim lights and shadows.
Younger men struggled to avert their hungry eyes. And older guys, like me, feasted, especially when she displayed her torso tattoos by hiking her bumpy sweater up to a bountiful black brazier.
But there was something askew, perhaps a tad too bitchy about her. Especially during our repartees when her friend would tease in good cheer that she couldn’t seem to win tonight. She had met her drunken match.
So when she stood up — to at least my height — on wobbly black stiletto heels rising to catch her skin tight black pants, and make her way down to the far restrooms, I turned to her friend as most everyone’s eyes turned to her.
“Friends?” I queried.
“Without benefits.” He smiled and laughed uncomfortably.
“Known her long?”
“About a year and a half,” he figured.
I suddenly posed: “You think I’m drunk?”
“Pretty much,” he offered.
“Okay, then let me ask you this: Is she ah…how should I put this? Aw go pound the damn bell… Is she a man or a woman?”
He tussled his shortish brown hair with the same hand he raised that dark red baseball cap and buried his thinking behind an uneasy smile. After a brief pause he replied:
“To tell you the truth, I’m not sure. I really don’t know.”
I studied his chipmunk cheeks puffed beneath his sideways glance.
“You know,” I replied in a momentary visit with sobriety. “You can learn a lot about a woman by getting smashed with her friends…But I don’t think I’m smashed enough for this.”
We observed her returning from the ladies’ room and stop at the far end of the emptying bar, soon closing for the night, to flash her busty black Victoria Secrets at the leftover lechers. They all cheered. Even the proprietor, Joey-duh-Grump, brightened with a thoughtful grin that made the tall, willowy, blonde at his side consider pouring her icy vodka down his hot pants.
Then Michelle returned to us and insisted on going to an after-hours club. She commanded that I accompany them.
Until the state liquor stores go private in Pennsylvania there just isn’t enough good, affordable bourbon in Grumpy’s to get me drunk enough to see Michelle the way I see Michele Pfeiffer.
Nevertheless I accompanied them out the bar and up Ninth Street towards an odd black car he boasted he was able to purchase by working his way up the career ladder at UPS. I stumbled behind Michelle who was stumbling in her high stiletto heels like a teenage girl on training wheels.
As I offered my goodbyes Michelle continued demanding that I get in the front seat. I said that’s where the woman goes, don’t you know? I opened the door. She pulled me in tight and hard against her steely, muscled thighs of superhero legends.
“You don’t like me?” she pouted.
“Well,” I began, stuttering to corral some gracious words. “I like you. But I’ve got a few questions.”
She stared through me and zeroed in on planting those luscious lips. I offered a cheek. A popular gesture in this Eye-talian neighborhood.
“Am I going to see you again?” she cooed.
“When the sun shines,” I said. “Definitely when the sun is very bright. So I can truly see the way you really are tonight.”
At that they squealed off. And I wandered off chewing over my day of celebration. My new freedom. Chuckling about what kind of hands I almost fell into, this time.
My bells and whistles had gone off. And for a change I listened – even though I may not have understood what I heard. I may have simply April fooled myself.
Maybe there was something wrong. Probably there wasn’t. But I realized the only man who is truly free is the one who can turn down an invitation from someone who looks as great as that, and even Ms. Stephanie, without giving an excuse. Just because it seems like the right idea at the time.
I really needed a drink. And there was not a drop in the air at that hour, anywhere. The problem with me is that when I’m not drunk, I get too damn sober.
And dats yDrewIS on DIS penal colony…