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Fools and Fiends – By Jack

Steven just didn’t get people and it was painful for me to watch. He was raised by and still lived with his Christian grandparents. There is something about the ultra-religious that just doesn’t get how people relate. It didn’t help that his weight gave him a double chin and belly that draped over his belt.

I tried to be respectful and mature when he came talking to me about the latest movie trailers. But his inability to recognize my lack of interest forced me to often cut him off mid-sentence. The only thing worse than his movie rants were his awkward situational jokes. Jokes so cliché and predictable I felt like I was in a Garfield comic strip. Something akin to “Monday’s are just the worst” or “I’m dead without my coffee.” Feeble attempts to start conversation, that instead left you wanting to run away.

So despite my best efforts, I ended up bullying him from time to time. Nothing too terrible. Just a slight relapse into the middle school persona I was less than proud of. Sometimes I would send him on a coffee run to the far away Coffee Bean for the office (opposed to the across the street Starbucks) or pretend I was on a conference call, mouthing conversations into my speaker phone when I’d see him approaching (one of the advantages of a clear sliding glass door of my office.)

Today Kelly and I were getting drinks after work. Kelly was the production coordinator for Monster Car Concoctions.  I had had my eye on her since she was hired two months ago. Some girls are beautiful and some girls are cute. Kelly was the perfect mix, desirable yet sweet and approachable.  The way Belle from Beauty and the Beast was quirky, but sensitive and down-to-earth. Slowly, we had started to build a rapport.

See what I mean?

But I hadn’t had the directness to officially call our drinks a “date”, so before I knew it, half the office was joining us. I tried to make the best of my dashed expectations. What would Mack do? As Happy Hour turned to regular bar hours, I had managed to enjoy myself with other coworkers while at the same time joking and comfortably engaging with Kelly. But every time I started to achieve that level of undivided attention from her, Steven would pop in, “Hey guys, they serve California rolls, but it’s not real crab. Why are they charging 9 bucks for them?”

“I don’t know…I think it’s something you’ll have to ask them.” Kelly responded, more sincerely then I would have expected. To which Steven then proceeded to actually do. “Sometimes that guy just makes my spine crawl.” I finally came out with it.

“Steven? I think he’s cute and endearing.”

“Really? You want me to set you up with him? I bet he’s free this Saturday.”

“Stop it. He means well. And nicer than most of the people we work with. ”

“There’s just something that really puts me off about him.”

“Well you know what they say? When ever something annoys you in someone else, it’s usually because it reflects something in yourself that you don’t like.”

“Is that so? You get that from a cookie at Pei Wei?”

“I’m serious, we see what we don’t like in ourselves in others.”

Just as I was about to reply, Steven cut in with “They claim that even though their crab is made from white fish, they can ‘attest that their sushi chef’s expert craftsmanship’ is not only worthy of the price but ‘is actually priced at a discount.’ Coooome on!”

“That’s a tough one Steven, but it’s too rich for my blood. I had better settle up.” At that Kelly took her coat draped on her chair, sliding her slim and tender forearm into the first sleeve.

“Where are you going? The night’s still young.” I pleaded (trying to sound relaxed.)

“I’ve got that conference call at 6 am. Why does the network have to be on the east coast? But give me a call sometime, maybe we can finish that conversation.” She winked then went up to the bar to pay and left. I sunk into my chair and took a defeated gulp of my pilsner.

“Hey, hey, hey! I can see what’s happening there, you like Kelly!” Steven chimed in like he had finally seen the 3D image in one of those Magic Eye pictures. I rolled my eyes. I was starting to be too drunk to censor myself. “But Jack. You’re going about it all wrong.”

“And what should I be doing to go about it all right?” This should be good.

“You should treat her with respect…”

“Oh yeah?”

“…listen, make sure she knows you care for her…”

“My God, you’re sooo right Steven!”

“…and do you want to know the most important thing?”

“Please…hold on. Can I record this? I may need to review the more complicated points.” I pulled out my phone, it may be a good thing to send out in a mass email.

“By all means! You should subscribe to my Youtube page.”

I started laughing so hard it was hard for me to keep my phone steady. Steven felt like my monkey. Running to do anything I wanted. I couldn’t help but indulge in the power from time to time. I took a deep breath to record the upcoming monologue.

“I’ve been watching you for a while Jack. I see how you talk to Kelly. Trying to be her friend but at the same time trying to get close so you can make your move. And I have got to say that is wrong.”

“Wrong?”

“Yes. Wrong. She is a sweet girl, Jack. She deserves better than you. Don’t think I don’t know what you’re after.”

I put down my phone.

“Look, Steven.  I know your grandparents have given you some crazy values–”

“Jack, I see what you do–”

“Seriously Steven, that Christian stuff can rub people the wrong way–”

“I see everything, Jack.”

“You see, that’s what I’m talking about. It kinda comes of as creepy.”

“I see the filth you look at online.”

“Excuse me?”

“The pornography and the fornication. You view some unholy material, Jack.”

“Woah. What are you talking about?”

“I check up on you. It’s important. Micah 7:5, ‘Trust you not in a friend, put you not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of your mouth from–”

“What do you mean, you check up on me, Steven? What are you talking about specifically?”

“I am aware of your internet browsing history. And I have to say I was mortified–”

“How? Did you go on to my computer? It’s password protected.”

“Jack. Your name spelled backwards with your birthday isn’t a very original password.”

Suddenly everything went fast and slow at the same time. I struggled to fully acknowledge that this…buffoon…had had access to everything in my digital life.

“And Jack, you should also probably have different passwords for all your other websites and email…and banking.”

“Banking?”

“Oh yeah. And you should be much more diligent about filling out the security questions, otherwise someone else might do it for you. You’ll never guess what Chase thinks your mother’s maiden name is now.”

It suddenly became hard to breath…

 

To be continued…

 

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Posted by on November 3, 2013 in By Jack

 

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Marty’s Half Dozen Chapter 5: The Bigger They Are… by Jill

Ralph had done it. His warning had been haunting me for over a week now. When someone says something that you know or fear deep down is true, their words infect you. “He’s angry.”

I’d never seen Marty angry for a micro second. But he had this thing about him. My father was a full on Orthodox Jew when he was growing up in Brooklyn. He was so Jewish that his parents sent him to a Yeshiva in Israel when he was 18. And my dad used to tell me about these Rabbis that, within 2 minutes of talking to you would know your fears and dreams and strengths and insecurities. Their level of sensitivity and insight, only surpassed by their wisdom, allowed them to instantly see into a person’s soul.

I knew Marty had this. Night after night random strangers would sit next to him and with in minutes they’d completely open up, pouring out their deepest problems and darkest secrets. Without missing a beat, Marty would pay them a compliment would light them up like a 5 year old getting the best Christmas gift of his childhood. I loved to watch him do it. Marty, giving someone the reassurance or compassion or whatever it was that person needed…like a psychologist with a cheat sheet. But always in the back of my mind, I wondered, what if he wanted to do the opposite. How easily he could decimate someone. 

Ralph didn’t mean angry like yelling at someone who cuts you off in traffic or even a bad temper.He meant the type of anger that’s vindictive and out of control. And that’s what terrified me. I had opened up to Marty so much. Where with most people, mere minutes gave Marty all he needed to bolster them, with me he had enough ammunition for an arsenal. I felt dangerously vulnerable. 

Every night since then, I prayed that Marty wouldn’t come in to Wild Child Wings. And for the week I was lucky. Until Thursday night. He had such a smile on his face. I hopped he would sit down in a booth where Jess could serve him. Or maybe next to Carolyn or Eddie as they debated the Republican agenda. 

But instead he walked right over to me, smacked the bar counter and asked,

“Jill, tonight I’m doing a full dozen! What’s Gus offering on the specials?”  

The golf ball in my throat thwarted my efforts to play it cool. There was no way I’d was going to get out the nightly wings specials, so I coughed. Then I coughed again. Then decided to go with it.

“Are you okay?”

I squinted and smiled and let out two more suppressed coughs, then held up my finger to signal “one moment” and walked into the bathroom hallway to get a hold myself. But what then? What was I going to do? Quit? It took me 6 months to get this job. Then another 3 months to learn all the ins and outs so I wasn’t a deer in the headlights every night.

I leaned against the wall and sank down to my knees. I wanted to be so much stronger than I was. The whole reason I moved to New York was to toughen up. I left with my tail between my legs, a failure, more lost than when I got there. But here I finally felt like I had done it. Found my voice, doing something I was good at and actually enjoyed. And one man, who I can’t stand up to, takes that all away…makes me realize that everything I had built was all an illusion. And he didn’t even have to try to take it from me. But then, I felt a warm hand on my shoulder.

Jill…I think it’s time you told me what your problem is with me.”

 To be continued…

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2013 in By Jill, Marty's Half Dozen, Restaurants

 

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Well, I guess this is growing up. — By Mack

I’m sitting in my boss’s office. Charlie Mandolin doesn’t call his waiters into his office except for one reason. To fire their sorry asses. And not just a regular firing. He’d let one of the managers do that. No, he’s called me in fillet me.

I’m not sure how to describe Charlie Mandolin. If you could picture an adult sized baby with glasses, a chef’s uniform, and a South Jersey accent, you just might have an idea about his unreasonable but authoritative nature. That’s Charlie, the head chef, owner, and micro-manager of everything at The Magic Mandolin, a fine Italian restaurant in the lower east side of Manhattan. I’m alone in the office. It is very compact but perfectly organized. I can’t help but stare at the cartoon on the wall.

Real 99%

The comic’s prominence clearly demonstrates that Charlie and I don’t live in the same world. That getting him to understand my point of view was going to be pretty much impossible.

Charlie enters. He doesn’t say a word. Instead he swats his hand for me to get out of the chair. When I get up he plops down and folds his arms.

“Mack, Mack, Mackie-boy. You got yourself in some hot water this time.”

What he was referring to was a wine distributor that I had waited on last night. It was a 20 person banquet. And the head guy had a serious control issues. You see, most of the time, parties that size have prefixed menus and the food is prepared ahead of time. But when the food hit the table he was mad we didn’t have one thing or another.  Even though the party had been paid for ahead of time, he kept ordering martini after martini and after the 6th one, I had to cut him off. Long story short, the guy screamed “Fuck you! You’re the shittiest waiter this side of Yonkers. I better not have a gratuity on that bill or Charlie’s going to hear about this,” and then he walked out on the party midway through dessert.

Normally, I’d have let it go and write it off as Manhattan Ass-hole Syndrome. But I’ve not been myself lately and between running around to get the guy more butter ever 20 seconds and trying to switch the menu around in the middle of the dinner rush (which got the cooks super pissed) I followed him out into the middle of 2nd Ave and punched him in the fucking face.

With Charlie in his swivel chair, yelling at the top of his lungs, threatening to not only fire me, but to call every restaurant manager in Manhattan to make sure they piss on me if I even look at a job application, I simply tuned him out. I couldn’t stop thinking about that cartoon on the wall. I had been doing the actor/waiter thing for 10 years now. 10 years of trying to get people to cover shifts and I race across town for an audition. 10 years of seeing my friends from high school and college get married, buy houses, and have children. 10 years of serving dip-shits like Charlie Mandolin who will never see me as anything but a monkey who wants to take his money so I can be a lazy screw up artist.

So in the middle of Charlie’s yelling, I opened the door to his cramped little office and walked out.

I’m sure he was surprised. He probably started yelling louder. But I didn’t care. My life had been going wrong for far too long. As I walked on to 2nd Ave in my waiter’s uniform, tie, vest, apron, pocket full of pens, I saw right where I had hit that bastard, and I knew it was time for something new. It’s time to leave New York.

—Mackified for your Entertainment

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2013 in By Mack, Restaurants

 

Onward and Upward Higher! — By Jack

…Continued from the post below. “What do you mean ‘you don’t talk to me that way’? I’m your fuckin’ CEO!” Max’s yell could be heard from his office, echoing through the bullpen. Donald stepped out of his office out into the open. He was going to make a show of it.

“You don’t call my assistants ‘your bitches’, you don’t call my sound mixers ‘incompetent fuck wads’ and you don’t call me–” Donald announced as if he were nailing a reformation on to the post schedule’s cork board.

Max stomped out of his office like a bully who just received a weggie from a chess club champion. He teetered on the edge of cool composure in the face of anger and going atomic. Then he stared Donald down which shut him up mid sentence. He was literally face to face. Noses no more than an inch away from one another.

Donald was a husky man, not quite thick enough to be called fat. Long gray curly hair that went down his back, topped off with a baseball cap. Mutton chops and a bushy mustache. He wore jeans, sneakers and a Spurs jersey. He was a man who had been bullied before, but couldn’t resist fighting back. Max on the other hand was never used to the push back. It dumbfounded and infuriated him. He had an Ari Gold style to match the temperament. Finely pressed silk-like khakis, French cuffed dark red shirt, a class ring on one hand, a Rolex on the other. And always perfectly trimmed hair. Everyday it looked like he walked in with a fresh haircut.

Max pulled away. “You know what? I was wrong. You’re not a shit stain. You’re a monkey. You don’t think I haven’t talked to people. Your crew? The network? The clients on location? You showin’ up late. 12 hour shoots that last 16 hours. Receipts for $300 dinners your crew says they never had. Footage that barely resembles the episode pitch. Hell I got editors working round the clock to fix the shit you told the DP to shoot. Makes me wonder what the fuck you’re doing. Then my brother sends me this.”

He pulls his phone to show him a video.


“And all I can think of is, that reminds me of Donald. It must be all you fuckin’ do in that office of yours. Because sure as shit nothing else is getting done.”

Donald is fuming. But he has no comeback. He knows he’s fucked up. The only person people bitch about more than Max is Donald.

“You need me to finish out the series, Max.”

“You know, I don’t think I do. I’m so confident in how worthless you are, I think I’m going to have…”

Max peers around the bullpen. He starts wagging his finger as if he was playing eeny, meeny, miny, moe. Finally he stops dead on me.

“Jack.”

“Seaver? He was a PA like three months ago. ”

“And he cast your whole show. He knows more about the companies than you do.”

“You can’t be serious! Max, bud!”

“I’m not your bud. I’m also not your boss anymore. Clean out your office and get the fuck out.”

Then Max walked off pulling out his cellphone to watch the Youtube video again. “I love that fuckin’ monkey drinking his pee! I’m going to call this the Donald video from now on.”

Donald couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it. And neither could anyone else in the bullpen. Everyone was looking at me. Donald stood there for a second then finally turned to me and said, “Kid, you’ve no clue what you’re getting into. Good luck.”

–Jack Out

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2013 in By Jack, Writing

 

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Upward and Onward — By Jack

Meant for bigger things.

Lazarus Motors just pulled out. The crew is scheduled to land in Michigan two hours from now. And I didn’t get the location release ahead of time.

For anyone unfamiliar with television production, this is bad…very very bad. Without that release, a legal document agreeing to let us film the yacht builder’s facility, $600 plane tickets per crew member (of which there are 7) and 3 nights of $150 per night hotel rooms (also per crew member and also non-refundable) totaling $7350 dollars, will go to waste. That doesn’t account for day rates or travel expenses of those crew members or equipment rented or baggage fees. And when the airline doesn’t have media rates, a truckload of film equipment equals a shit load of baggage fees.

Long story short. I am fucked.

Back up nine months ago. Suffering 2 months of unemployment destroyed all my New York savings. I took a deli counter job. I was serving a chocolate cream pie when I made a joke to a guy on his third martini. I honestly don’t know what the joke was, but before I knew it the guy offered me a job at his documentary production company.

“I like you kid. You remind me of a really good shit I once took.”  He handed me his business card which, I swear, was made out of aluminum. Embossed in big letters was the name Max Luxburg. If I could have crumpled it up, I would have. But instead I gave him call the next day.

Before I knew it I was sitting in a cubical of a loud and hectic bullpen. Walls and floors made of marble echoed the chaos like a basketball court. But for the first time in my adult life I had an email address with my name followed by a company and weekends off. It felt good.

I started out as a production assistant, but instead of copying papers and making lunch runs, I was instantly given a short web series to produce.

“Knock it out of the park, penis head.” Ever since I shaved my head, I found I liked the bald look. But Max made no reservations about phallic comparisons. “You’re from New York. You know how to get things done.” Then he got on his motorcycle and drove out the emergency exit from his office.

To be honest, producing the show, a collection of short segments about pet stores around Los Angeles wasn’t that hard. It mostly involved calling stores and shelters, trying to convince them were weren’t trying to make them look crazy or stupid (which we were)  and figuring out how to make a schedule work between them and our “avant- garde” host Doggie Dave.

Max continued to throw projects my way and I kept doing what needed to be done. So then he bumped me up to assistant producer on Fill My Grill, a show about customizing BBQ equipment with Richard Karn.

Then one day I was at my desk when I heard Max knock over a bowl of jelly beans. The clash echoed through out the whole office, as the usual chaos came to a silent halt. What followed was a yell of, “What do you mean ‘you don’t talk to me that way?'” Something was up and someone was getting fired.

To be continued…

–Jack Out (Also I won’t drag this out like Jill. I’ll update it in a few days.)

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2013 in By Jack, Writing

 

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Marty’s Half Dozen Chapter 4: Part 2 — by Jill

Let's Dance!

Let’s Dance!

“Last call was fifteen minutes ago.” I told Ralph.

“That’s a shame. My waitress didn’t inform me. I’d hate to have to tell my good friend The Pearl about that.”

I glared. Ralph was mocking me about tattling to the owner. But I didn’t care. I wasn’t the scared newbie bartender he managed to intimidate into a panic from a few months ago.

“Awww c’mon. You still ain’t sore about that? Tell you what, I’ll buy you one. And good ol’ Solo Man can have one too!”

“I d-d-don’t want one.” Solomon insisted.

“Just shut up and take the free drink, fuck-stick.”

“I said get out.” I said, pulling Ralph’s bullying away from Solomon.

“No you didn’t.”

“Then I’m saying it now. Pay your tab and get out of here.”

“See the way she treats me Solo Man?” Ralph slapped Solomon on the shoulder. “Eh, you’re no fun. Fine I’ll get out of here.” Finally, he threw down his credit card. I ran it and slapped down his receipt and tossed the pen on top.

He picked up the pen, “But know you ain’t ever gonna be good with Marty ever again, right?”

His accurate perception of my distance from Marty made me pause. Either Ralph had gotten lucky and coincidentally stumbled upon my recent turn of events in his efforts to fuck with me. Or he was right.

As he signed the check, ” I mean, I’ll give it to the guy. He’s got a knack for cutting right to the heart of anyone sad enough to listen to him. And right there on the spot. Like a shrink with super powers. Solve the problems of your soul in seconds flat. I ain’t never seen anything like Marty in my whole life.”

“Glad you’re a fan” I said with arms folded.

“Yea, well that’s the rub. That’s a lot of power for someone to have over you. It’s scary if you think about it. I mean, it’s seems like a neat trick at first. Instant insight, like that. It’s why chumps go to fortune tellers and read horoscopes.  But when someone gets as close as he does? And that quickly? Feels like somethin’ ain’t quite right. Being that vulnerable that quick. 

“What do you want Ralph? You’re keeping me, to bitch about some old guy who got you thrown out of here months ag–?”

“He’s angry.” He said cutting me off.

There was a long breath.

I had expected any accusation Ralph would make to Marty’s character would be said with glee. But the way Ralph said it was…heavy. His eyes were terribly sad and his throat was both full and empty. 

But despite Ralph’s gloom, his comment offended every part of my body. Ralph and I locked eyes sharply, partly to access the truth, and partly from a searing need stare him down. To get him to take it back. The tension in the room was almost tangible. Solomon looked at the both of us, not making a move for fear it would trigger an explosion. But Ralphs eyes weren’t fighting me. There was an exhausted futility. Almost a frustrated surrender.  He was the one to break the eye lock by finishing his drink.

“I’m just sayin’ you–“

“Get out.”

“Hey I just think–“

“Get. Out!”

“Look, I’m sorry if–

“GET OUT! GET OUT! GET OUT!”

“Jeeze calm down, will ya?”

I turned around and grabbed a fifth of Smirnoff Vokda and lobbed it at his forehead. It only hit him in the shoulder as he turned to shelter himself. As soon as he turned was met by two rocks glasses as my response.

“OKAY OKAY! I’m going, you crazy bitch.”

He put on his coat and walked to the door. I immediately locked the door behind him.

There was a long silence as I picked up and broken glass pieces. Solomon came over to help me. I wanted to tell him, he didn’t need to help, but I couldn’t speak. Not yet. Finally after sweeping the area, (with Solomon holding the dust pan), he broke the silence.

“Jill?”

“Yes, Solomon?”

“You okay?”

“Yea, I’m fine.”

Solomon reached into his wallet to pay for his one cider.

“Don’t worry about it. You helped me clean the place. That’s certainly worth a Strongbow.”

“Th-thanks.”

I walked him over to the door to let him out.

“Have a good night, Solomon.”

“Thanks, Jill…” But I could tell he had more to say.

“Wh–” he glanced down, then over, then down again, then finally back to me, “Wh-what did that g-guy mean? About Marty being an–angry?”

There was another beat of silence.

“I mean, we all get angry sometimes right?”

“Sure. That guy’s just a jerk.”

“Okay, good night.” He didn’t have the courage to press the question further.

But that wasn’t what Ralph meant at all. I couldn’t admit it to myself at that moment. It was too terrifying, but Ralph had nailed the very fear that was pushing me away from Marty. That the happy-go-lucky, live in the moment, appreciation for everything old man that had managed to penetrate past all my walls and see me at my weakest might, just maybe have it in him to exploit that vulnerability. “Angry” could have meant anything. But somehow, in the last few weeks I had found myself worried that Marty might have it in him to lash out and use it. I don’t know why I thought that he would. I’d never seen him lash out at anyone. And for weeks I would wonder why I would have such a reaction. It wouldn’t be for a few more months that I would learn the truth that I was so afraid of. 

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2013 in By Jill, Marty's Half Dozen

 

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Marty’s Half Dozen Chapter 4: Part 1 — By Jill

Think I'm getting the hang of it.

Think I’m getting the hang of it.

The crash, as it turned out, was ruled the woman’s fault. Time had passed and I was starting to feel like myself for the first time since moving back to Seattle.  At Wild Child Wings, I could now handle the main bar on a Saturday night by myself without writing a single order down. And if anyone gave me shit, I had a line of regulars ready to throw the bum out.

There was Eddie a lanky Irish banquet server from up the street. Carolyn, an actress who was in the “inner circle” of Seattle Equity actors. She had the cutest Hello Kitty backpack even though she must have been 34. Thomas and Stanley, two newly weds. I always thought it was funny that they came all the way down to drink at Wild Child in Pioneer Square rather than staying in the much more gay-centric Capital Hill. And Solomon. Solomon had a sheepish quality. He didn’t like to come when the place was busy and he often stuttered when it was.  Someone told me that he took care of his mother, but others said that he lived with her because he had had a nervous breakdown. I didn’t know which and I didn’t care. He also used to tip me in half dollars. And I love half dollars. They’re the perfect size.

The only one I didn’t see often was Marty. Something was different now. He had been there for me in the bleakest of moments and instead of that making us closer, I had started to avoid him. Marty always used to come in on Tuesdays and I had told Gus I couldn’t work them anymore. When Marty did come in, I put up a wall.

When he came in on a Friday, I did my best to play it cool.

“And how is the night treating you?”

“Good.” I replied as I turned away to restock the lowboy.

When I came back a few moments later, I dryly asked “So what’ll it be? The usual?”

He looked at me, maybe deciphering, maybe interpreting, and maybe just thinking. Then he answered, “Sure. Sounds good,” Giving me a smile as if to say, ‘It’s okay, do what you’ve got to do.’

He ate his wings with a contented smile as he turned to Solomon.

Meanwhile, Carolyn argued Stanley about Pride week.

“How can you say that?” Carolyn exclaimed.

“I’m sorry, I’m just over it.” Stanley matter-of-factly retorted.

Thomas, with his arms hugging Stanley’s waist silently mouthed “He’s not.”

Stanley instantly responded with a playful slap to Thomas’s face. “I am, it’s become too commercial. I mean, there’s corporate sponsorship.”

Carolyn interjected, “Jill! Tell Stanley he’s full of it, then cut him off!”

“What makes you think I give two shits about Stanley’s Pride participation? All I care about is if he wants another Goose on the rocks.”

“As it should be! And I do!”

On the other side of the bar, Solomon looked deep into his Strongbow. “Are…yo–you sure?” Marty wiped his hands and took cash out of his wallet placing it on the counter. “Solomon, I’m not 100% sure of anything. But you have needs too and there comes a point when you’ve done all you can for someone.”

“You’re going? B–but what if–“

“Solomon, if it does…there’s nothing I can say to stop it from happening. And I would hate to think that your anticipation of it stopped you from living the life I know you deserve.” With that Solomon gazed back into his Strongbow. Marty put his hand on his shoulder. “Have a good night, Sol.

Marty put on his coat and headed towards the door. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched to see if Marty would look back and give me some sort glance or wave goodbye.  

“But it’s not. It’s about expression, right Eddie!”

“Carolyn, are you talking about football?”

“No, we’re talking abo–“

“Then I don’t give a flying fauck!”

With that the entire group erupted with laughter. The clamor obstructed my view of the door.  When the group died down, Marty was long gone.

The night died down and one by one Wild Child Wings emptied out and I started to get ready to close. The only one at the bar top was Solomon, still staring into his Strongbow Cider.

“Hey Jill, I have one table left. Just one guy over in booth 3. Can I transfer him to you and get out of here?” On weekend nights we have a server or two to take some of the tables. Lindsey was always antsy about making the last bus.

“Yea, just let him know, it’s last call in 15 minutes.”

“Thanks, Jill.”

I went over to Solomon. “You’ve been nursing that cider for like 2 hours now. You okay?”

“Yeah. I think so. But…” Solomon lingered with his thought, as if he was about to ask a question that would ruin his whole outlook on life. Like a kid asking this parents if Santa Claus is real or a wife asking her husband why his office didn’t know he was going on his “business trip.”

“But what?”

“You and Marty used to be really close right?” I was afraid that I was going to have to confront Marty and my estrangement sooner or later. I just didn’t expect it to be with Solomon.

“Yes. Yes we were.”

“Then you were in that accident. And then…nothing. What happened?”

That very question I had spent dozens of 3 am mornings trying to figure out. Notions of my own sense of vulnerability that Marty had managed to penetrate deeper than anyone before. He was there when I was my weakest and most desperate and I couldn’t stand that. There were questions I was afraid to ask. What was he doing there the night I had crashed? Had he been watching me? Had I simply out grown him? Too many feelings and I just found it easier not to address.

“Nothing happened, Solomon. We just grew apart.”  

“Hmm…” He took another moment. “Do you trust him?”

Now it was my turn to take a moment.  I wanted to say yes. To say no would call into question all the wonderful things he had done for me, and all the other people I’ve seen him help night after night. Sorting though their problems with an uncanny sage-like wisdom. His ability to pierce though a person’s exterior and almost instantly know their inner thoughts and fears…helping these people see what they’ve been running from. A gift like that, it must come from an altruistic and giving person. Because otherwise…it would mean that…well that was something I simply couldn’t think about. And so, in avoidance of that possibility I started to answer.

“The thing you have to understand about Marty–“

“She doesn’t.” A voice from booth 3 interrupted.

“Excuse me?” I inquired.

“She doesn’t trust him.” The voice continued.

Then the patron stood up from the booth. It was Ralph. “And I’ll tell you why…how about a Negroni?”

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2013 in By Jill, Marty's Half Dozen

 

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