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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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Parts of a Whole — by Mack

Something's gotta change.

Something’s gotta change.

“I gotta go. I promised I’d meet my friends on the east side. They’re waiting for me.”

I’ve said those very words a dozen times. Now they’re being said to me. Katherine, with her shoe half way on, slips her index finger into the heel as a makeshift shoehorn. I reach for her wrist and lead her back to the bed. Before she has a chance to object, I soothe her with a kiss. With my tongue in her mouth she gently sucks, then releases, but not before biting my lower lip. I think she just might stay.

She breaks away. But with one part consolation, one part condescension, she cups my chin. The way someone might to a silly dog.

“You’re too much fun, you know that?” She gently slaps my cheek.

I want to say, “Please stay. I love the way you reach into my shirt from my sleeve. I was hoping we’d wake up together in the morning. I could make breakfast and you could do that thing where you hug me from behind and you rest your head on my shoulder.”

But instead I say, “It’s all good. My buddy, Ian has a thing in Williamsburg.” What else am I going to say?

It’s later.

“What was I supposed to say to her, Mack?”

It’s a different time and a different place. Since high school, over the last ten years of my life, I’ve played around, had fun in the city. But not Malcolm. He got a serious job, got married, had a kid, and is now getting divorced.

“She said she just wasn’t happy anymore. And I knew it, too. She didn’t lead on, but I knew it. Hell, we were still talking on the phone 2 times a day and texting all through out. But…I just had this feeling. I’m fine though. I really am.”

I want to believe that. But I can’t imagine how he could be anything but devastated.  I just want to say that thing, that nugget of wisdom that makes the world alright again. But the only thing that comes to mind are television inspired cliches. I am woefully ill-equipped to make any substantive comment whatsoever.

“That sux, man,” is what I come up with.

It’s even later.

“So you said the horse is big, like a Clydesdale. Dark, with a white star on his nose, and is eating the flowers around the room? Well the horse represents your ideal mate.”

“Oh my gawd! This…is…so freaky!” Beth says as she puts her hand on my arm.

I’m running The Cube. It’s a personality test/game/cold read exercise pickup artists use. It’s no wonder I have no faith in marriage. If it couldn’t work out for Malcolm and Meredith, how could I ever believe it would ever work out for someone like me?

“So you probably like your guys big, but since he’s eating your flowers and they represent your social circle, I bet your boyfriends often get in the way of your friends.”

Her eyes are so wide now, they’re about to pop out of their sockets. She puts both of her hands over her eyes and throws her head back in disbelief.

“My mama, says that exact thing to me awull the ti-em!”

It’s a little earlier.

Malcolm is singing in front of the bar. I have no idea how he can get out the words to “Don’t Stop Believing.” I don’t care how drunk or how much of a high he gets from karaoke, after that bombshell, I don’t see how anyone can be a believer.

Now it’s much later.

And I have made peace with the fact that I am kissing a married woman. She understand a part of me no one ever has before.  It’s the polar opposite of Beth. I didn’t go after Nadia, it really did just happen. But I am not thinking about the how. I’m thinking about the profound sense of wholeness I had given up on ever finding. And the nagging knowledge that it will not end well. I’ve crossed a line. I am someone who has done irreparable harm. But I keep telling myself, “I don’t believe in marriage anymore.”

It’s earlier.

Back in the bedroom with Katherine. She’s putting on her coat and pulling her hair out from beneath the collar to flop down on her shoulders. As she leaves, the light spills into the room. Katherine has a beautiful silhouette. I could be happy with her. But for some reason it isn’t happening. It’s just out of reach. Something has got to change. I give it one more shot.

“Let’s do something next week. What’s your Wednesday like?”

She peeks her head back around the door.

“Yea, I’m pretty busy. But text me…gotta go.”

So something does change.

I’ll become deeply puzzled…

“We still talk, Mack. Hell, I still talk to her father. I’ll always love her. But more I came to understand her the more I realized I wasn’t what she needed.”

“Was she what you needed?”

Malcolm chuckles to himself.

Then reckless…

“But the star on the nose of the horse means you won’t settle for anyone who doesn’t stand out. Like really special.”

My hand goes to her inner thigh, right in the middle of the Starbucks.

And finally selfish…

“I should go.” Nadia whispers.

But she doesn’t move. She’s curled up, cradled in my arms as I’m sitting on the floor with my back against the refrigerator. I could spend the rest of the day here. All my defenses are down. I’ve never had this before. How was I supposed to abstain from this? How was I supposed to say no? Don’t you have the right to be selfish sometimes?

Nadia finally gets up. I want to ask, “Where do we go from here?” but I’m terrified of what she’ll say.

She looks at me with profound sadness in her eyes. I know at that moment I will never see her again.

Something has to change again. I just have no idea what to do anymore.

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2013 in By Mack, Dating

 

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Marty’s Half Dozen Chapter 3: Part 2 — By Jill

I sit silently in the emergency room chair. Marty talks to the cop. The woman I hit was wheeled in a hospital bed to a curtain drawn space twenty feet from me. I don’t know any details so my imagination goes all over the place. What if, because of me, she’ll never walk again? What if, because of me, she never gets married? What if she has nerve damage and can never feel an orgasm again. I make no effort to censor my thoughts. I take a deep breath and an incredible sharp pain pierces my lungs. This send me into a coughing fit that hurts even more. The X-ray showed two ribs were fractured, but not broken.

Marty comes back over to me. I still have no idea why he’s here. Part of me is afraid to ask. But the bigger part is glad he’s here. My parents are out of town and being alone right now would be so beyond terrifying I’m pretty sure I’d shut the whole world out.

“Try not to take so deep of breaths. Want me to get you more water?” Marty inquires.

I look down. My cup has three ice chips. No matter how much I push at them with the straw, all they will do is slide along the bottom rim of the plastic.

“No. That’s okay… What did the officer say?”

Marty sits down next to me.

“Don’t worry about that now.”

“People don’t say ‘don’t worry’ about good news.”

“No, it’s just that–“

“Fuck you, and fuck your stupid hospital!” A woman who can’t be much younger than me,  wearing all black and dyed pink hair with blond roots showing, screams as she stumbles out of her curtained room.

“I’ve been here for four fuckin’ hours and I know you fuck heads are laughin’ at me.”

The police officer approaches her and directs her to sit down.

“You can’t keep me! I know my rights.”

She stumbles off. On her way out she knocks over a suture cart. The metallic crash echos in the hallway.

“Things could be worse.” Marty points out.

“Not knowing is worse.” I choke up while saying.

“Hey. Listen. You weren’t drinking, were you?”

I don’t reply.

“Jill? ”

I look down at my shoes.

“Okay, well I’m a lawyer. I can–“

“You’re a tax lawyer, Marty.” I say sharply.

“I have friends.”

“I wasn’t drinking.” But I still shouldn’t have been driving.

“Well, good. So you don’t have to worry about that. Even if it is your fault–“

“That what the cop said?”

“No. They don’t know yet. It’s snowing. It’s probably going to be a no fault accident.”

“But if they do find that it was my fault?”

“Well…you’re insured right?”

“Right now I am.”

“What does that mean?”

I look down at my shoes, again.

“I uh…” I rub my hands over my forehead then brush the hair out of my face. I feel doomed. But until the words come out of my mouth, I can still linger in that denial. I think I understand, for the first time in my life, what it means to ‘face reality.’

“I’m not supposed to be driving. I’m an epileptic.”

Marty’s reassuring demeanor vanishes as he takes in the new information. His mind is chewing it. Thinking. He is determined to find an answer. To save me. Then he lets out a breath and, for a split second, I can see defeat in him. It’s a deflation in his character. In the way he holds himself. Then a mask goes up.

“Well, that doesn’t mean…”

He wants to make it okay. He wants me so badly to be safe that he’ll lie to me.

“Please Marty, don’t. I’ve lived my whole life of people lying to me. Not you too.”

He starts to refute my accusation but then stops.

“I’m sorry.”

For the first time, the ER is quiet. Then two women in high heels and very short leopard print skirts walk in. The first one sings ♫”I got glass in my foot”♪ and her friend sings back up ♫”She’s got glass in her… foot!” ♪

“Did you have a seizure?”

“I don’t know. I really can’t remember…which makes me think…” I can’t finish the sentence. A golf ball swells in my throat. It feels like cancer. I wish it was.

“It’s impossible to know what to do or what to think when you’re in that oblivion of guilt. You’re not a bad person, you didn’t want to hurt anyone, but here you are with someone hooked up to a beeping machine.

It’s hard enough to trust yourself with your own problems. But now someone else’s fate is on you because of a mistake, not even consciously made. How could you ever live with yourself?

You’re not the only one to walk away from an accident terrified that someone’s blood might be on your hands. Twenty-three years ago, I sat in a waiting room. Only it was an ICU, not an ER.  And it wasn’t a stranger. Those moments of not knowing…they’re the seventh circle of hell. But they’re nothing compared to the torture you endure from a guilty imagination.”

I look over at Marty. Until now, he had always struck me as a man free of worry, embodying a perpetual calm. But here was a man sentenced to a remorse so profound, so crippling it was as if the despair wore him like a cheap suit and a weathered mask.

He doesn’t say anything for a moment. I almost ask him something, but before I can–

“My son pulled through. I thank God every day for that. Two things never happened after that night. I never drank again. And my wife never spoke to me as her husband.”

Another long silence. Maybe the two girls were still singing and maybe the man in the room down the hall is still demanding more Percoset. Maybe the girl in black is being cuffed and dragged back. I wouldn’t know. Everything was so beyond my awareness at that moment. Everything but me and Marty.

“But I smiled again. It did happen. And good days followed once I did.” 

I sat back in my chair and took stock of everything I was until this moment, bracing for all that was about to change.

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2013 in By Jill, Marty's Half Dozen

 

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Marty’s Half Dozen: Chapter 3 part 1 — By Jill

The funniest things...

There was a tree I used to climb when I was a kid. I haven’t thought about that tree in years.

I wallowed in a bubble of nothing. My eyes closed, I focused on the cold air of my breath and leather-like-plastic of the steering wheel. There are moments one has to remain ignorant of…for at least a few minutes. Because once you peek around the corner of the unknown, you’ll understand the reality of the situation. A reality where your whole life will change. So instead I lingered in ignorance.

After what seems like hours, the wallowing becomes uncomfortably hot. Like a furnace left on all night, but you’re just too exhausted to get out of bed. There’s a knocking. Not the patterned *knock, knock, knock* *knock, knock, knock* but an incessant rapidity and increasing intensity. “tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, knock, knock, knock, knock, knock, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, pound, pound, pound, pound, pound, pound” I never realized it, but those are all onomatopoetic.

“JILL!” I hear, muffled, but emphatic. “JILL!”

What…who knows I’m here. I don’t even know where my glasses are. I manage to swat my arm completely missing the door handle. My knuckles land somewhere between the locking pin and the window. The glass is so cold. Too tired to swat again, I work my finger tips around the locking pin. It’s so hard to get a grip, even once my fingers wrap around it, I can’t press them into a grasp.

“JILL, YOU CAN DO IT.”

I swallow. That’s painful too. I have to take a breath or two before I try it again. I try to pull the pin one more time, but instead I give up on manual labor and it occurs to me to drag my hand to the automatic door lock. Rounded and grooved at the ends, of course the first time I press it I relock the car. I then try the other direction on the switch. Immediately a gush of freezing wind and the smell of fireplace overwhelms my senses.

“Jill, you’re going to be okay.”

A warm hand cups my chin. Then moves to my forehead. Finally I feel a forefinger and a thumb pry open my eyelids.

“Jill, can you see me?”

I squeeze my eyes shut. It can’t be…what’s…Marty doing here?

Too be continued…(more regularly)

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2013 in By Jill, Marty's Half Dozen, Uncategorized

 

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The Jackass — By Jack

Out of control.

Speeding down Van Nuys, Marcy demanded Donovan stop for the yellow light. Her Mini Cooper came to a halt so suddenly, I’m sure the tire tracks will be scorched into the boulevard for at least a decade. I quickly became fascinated by Donovan’s recklessness. In my life I’ve always been analytical and careful. Careful of my safety, careful of other’s feelings, careful…of well everything. And this guy seemed to be the antithesis of that. I had to take a closer look at this man/boy who represented everything I was not. I guess that’s how I ended up in his girlfriend’s car quite possibly endangering my life.

Marcy is a host at a bistro I managed to get a job at. People from work were supposed to meet up at this bar after the shift. But as usual I ended up there too early, so I went to a nearby In-N-Out. The minute I walked in, I heard someone call out my name. It was Marcy. The relaxed eyelids and blithe smile was starkly opposite to her usual demeanor and thus a dead giveaway that she was stoned. Sitting with her was her boyfriend Donovan and his friend Johnny. Donovan instantly engaged me and asked if I wanted to smoke out with them. I figured, why not, and got my burger to go. In the time it took me to get my burger Donovan managed to connect with me on our east coast roots, get Johnny to scarf down his two burgers for the sake of expediency, and jumped behind the register counter to grab me a cup of water and give a high fives to three of the employees. On our way out we passed two cops. Donovan gave them both a high five then decried “You know what I always say? Don’t shoot ’em, fuck ’em.” Once the police officers were safely inside, he climbed onto the trunk of their squad car, posing, and had Johnny take pictures on his iPhone.

I was ambivalent, torn between running as far away from this guy as possible and trying to figure out his secrets of confidence and charm. I could see Marcy’s frustration growing. She wanted to check the bar to see if anyone from work was there and Donovan insisted they head back to the apartment to smoke more weed. He told her to check the bar while he grabbed the keys to her Cooper from her purse. When she emerged from the bar, she found him tearing up the parking lot driving wildly in her car. Mack had always said that girls were attracted to dangerous guys despite their best interests. I had always rolled my eyes at the notion, but here was the proof. Continually Donovan dismissed Marcy’s wishes for wildly foolish and sometimes dangerous choices. His only reprimand? A slight nagging, immediately ignored. And as quick as I was to judge Marcy, there I was, getting in the car with him. Who was this guy?

Back at the apartment, he smoked me out and then danced crazy to Afrojack’s Rock the House. Marcy played with her dog and Johnny tried to dance too. But Donovan just danced harder putting Johnny in his place. I got a text from my coworkers informing me of their arrival at the bar. Marcy immediately wanted to return so Donovan rolled a joint for the road. Immediately my mind jumped to the probability of culpability should Donovan’s driving get us pulled over and the joint was found. I figured, should such a thing happen, one joint on his person probably wouldn’t get me into much trouble in California. But I was aware of the risk.

But here’s where my concept of Donovan radically changed.

Up until this point I saw a wacky, gutsy, foolish and possibly overcompensating individual with an abundance of charm. A dangerous combination? Definitely. But the danger was from a place of foolishness and youth. Something that hopefully, life’s hard lessons could correct. Then I saw something else. As we got back into the car. Donovan takes out the joint and hands it to Johnny. “Hey buddy, can you hold this?”

Could it just be that the joint wouldn’t have been safe tucked behind his right ear? Or maybe it would have been crumpled in his jacket pocket? Possibly. But the way I saw it. Should he get pulled over, the joint wouldn’t be on his person, it would on his friend’s. That’s then I decided the jackass was an asshole. He would never listen to Marcy’s nagging to slow down. I was, now, actually concerned for the pedestrians as the Cooper turned right in front of them crossing the intersection. And later that night I would sympathize without surprise when Donovan would decide he was too cool for the bar and leave Marcy to cab home.

Donovan’s self-centeredness bordered on psychopathy and I was glad he was gone. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t fascinated by him and what he was able to accomplish with his ability to influence those around him.

–Jack Out

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2012 in By Jack

 

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Ask Mack! — By…c’mon, figure it out.

The guide.

One day I’m sitting in the apartment, wasting time watching Hulu. I noticed I left an OkCupid tab open and to my surprise found a half dozen IM messages from some chick.

PANDAmonium: So I’ll be up front- I’ve come on to okc to ask for some feedback

PANDAmonium: on a guy matter

PANDAmonium: also im NOT a phone sex operator or scammer

PANDAmonium: yes i am serious about all these things

PANDAmoniumWhy the hell am i messaging you? I put u on my faves list apparently some time ago (I add people who seem interesting) so no, I don’t know u in person

PANDAmonium: and im not wacko despite the out-there ness of this message!

Should I have ignored this crazy person? Yea probably. But a mix of curiosity and sympathy with a dash of inflated ego proved I would choose otherwise. 

BigMackAttack: I was afk. (away from keyboard, for those unfamiliar with internet abbreviations) What’s up?

PANDAmonium: you responded yay! Okay so can I get ur opinion about this…thing?

BigMackAttack: shoot.

PANDAmonium: It’s kinda complicated…stupidly so…but I’ll try to not give alllllthe little details…and perceived details etc. So i had this guy teaching improv — I took his class — Now he’s about 27 and on a side note has a gf (who is also a model) — I’m 98% sure there have been messages, signals, communication if u will- that indicates he wants to fuck me

BigMackAttack: …okay…

PANDAmonium: I want to….plus im into him (as in like him…and on a side note im a feminist so the whole gender divisive women=all emotions men=all sex Annoys the crap out of me…I don’t subscribe to it)

BigMackAttack: You’re not really making any sense…

PANDAmonium: Which part?

BigMackAttack: Like all of it.

PANDAmonium: I’m also almost 100% sure at least 2 people if not more know about this thing we have (aka nothing really…but something u know?)

Why am I still talking to her?

BigMackAttack: Okay. Hold up. Let me ask you some questions. See if I can’t sort some of this out.

PANDAmonium: allright

BigMackAttack: So this improv instructor, have you and he ever hung out outside of class?

PANDAmonium: Well not just the two of us — we’ve been to this bar with ppl from class

BigMackAttack: Does he ever talk to you specifically at this bar?

PANDAmonium: well not like to just me…

BigMackAttack: What is your physical interaction like?

PANDAmonium: physical interaction?

BigMackAttack: Like does he ever put his arm around you? Ever tap your thigh or arm when he makes a point?

PANDAmonium: this one time I gave him a back massage!

BigMackAttack: Oh! That’s big. How’d he react to that?

PANDAmonium: he gave like a high pitched squeal he wasn’t expecting it — he was talking to another girl… but he WAS BEING FUNNY!!!

BigMackAttack: How long have you known him?

PANDAmonium: bout 6 months

BigMackAttack: Shhhh…yea…It’s not looking…

PANDAmonium: k k I know, but so like he does an improv show after class and I go to them a lot and he knows I go to them a lot

BigMackAttack: …

PANDAmonium: and like a lot of his scenes are about like marriage or like one of the topics was “proposal”

BigMackAttack: I think you might be reading into–

PANDAmonium: But he like looks at me when he does them!

BigMackAttack: So there’s eye contact.

PANDAmonium: not exactly, but he turns his head this way, and its towards me and one time he held his hand with his finger up over his forehead…so it was like…you know…?

BigMackAttack: A penis?

PANDAmonium: well yea…and this other time—

BigMackAttack: Okay I’m going to stop you here. Have you ever been on stage before? Like a real live performance?

PANDAmonium: in high school I did Grease

BigMackAttack: You remember those light?

PANDAmonium: yea?

BigMackAttack: How well could you see specific people in the audience?

PANDAmonium: oh 😦

BigMackAttack: All the stuff he does in improv, you have to discount. You’re wasting time if you think you can dissect any of that. If you and this guy aren’t talking outside of class or his show, I’m not seeing any evidence.

PANDAmonium: but theres this energy

BigMackAttack: Doubtful. But here’s a way to test for sure. You have a monologue you’ve been working on, I take it?

PANDAmonium:  not really

BigMackAttack: Wait, you’re an actress right?

PANDAmonium: well, yea but I do improv

BigMackAttack: Get a monologue. Like yesterday. Once you’ve got it memorized, go reserve one of the rooms in the drama building, ask him to help you with it. If you two spend the whole time working on your monologue, he’s not into you. If you two get distracted talking about each other, if you feel that chemistry, then you know.

PANDAmonium: That’ll work?

BigMackAttack: You kidding me? You’ve any idea how many times girls asked me to “work on a monologue” with them?

PANDAmonium:  *O_O*

BigMackAttack: Be careful, though. If he has a girlfriend, you might piss people off or end up with a bad rep. If it were just college, that’s be one thing. But, this is the theatre world. You’ll see these people long after you graduate. I guarantee it.

PANDAmonium: didn’t think about that…thx

BigMackAttack: np

PANDAmonium: feel free to message me if you ever wanna ask me something or if you want my number…

BigMackAttack: That’s okay.

Mack Landers

–Mackified for your entertainment

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2012 in By Mack, Dating

 

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Marty’s Half Dozen: Chapter 2 — By Jill

Slow night.

Continued from Chapter 1.

Day 94

“Nothing ever changes, Jill.”

Marty’s lip trembles as he blinks to hold back his tears. I’m terrified. How could a person, so sensitive, so in touch with humanity, turn into this…monster? The bar is silent. Every single person’s eyes are fixed on me.  I have no idea what to do.

Marty breaks the silence. “I’m tired, Jill. Then he commands, “So pour me the drink.”

Day 5

It was a slow Tuesday at work. At first I was relieved as I was finally able to get comfortable behind the bar. But after about four hours I wanted to pull my hair out. There was me and a quiet and silly homeless man spending his “spare change?” money. I had nick-named him Sloppy Joe. I couldn’t help wishing Marty would come in. He and I didn’t really have a chance to talk the other night as I was perpetually in the weeds.

The front door opened and I sharply turned my head like a dog left home all day. But no Marty. Just a young couple. They immediately went to the back then started gratuitously making out. I could have gone over to them to ask them to order or get out, but when you’re working a painfully slow shift, you don’t really want to do anything. So I left them to their public privacy.

In your face!

Eventually, I couldn’t take it anymore and rested my head on the bar top. After what felt like seconds, I was awakened with a startling thud. Indentations in my forearms and cheek mirroring the rivets of the bar top paired with the warm apprehensive tingling sensation of the chest and neck were indicative of an ill-timed nap. I surveyed the bar. PDA couple, Sloppy Joe and…was it…could it…yes! Marty.

He was sitting in the exact same stool from a few nights ago. Black trench coat, hat resting beside him and his briefcase propped open on the bar. That explains the thud. I approached him as he sorted through his papers.

“What’ll it be stranger?”

“1/2 dozen hot buffalo wings and a club soda with lime.”

He ordered matter-of-factly, not looking up from his papers.

“Sure, you don’t want a Negroni?”

“A club soda with lime will be fine, thank you.”

Nothing. Nada. He is a customer. I am an order taker. I was a little heart broken. Maybe he had gotten drunk the other night before he came into the bar. Hell, maybe I had imagined the whole thing to begin with.

“You want those less cooked, so their not crispy, right?”

He gazed up from his papers and took a good look at me.

“And if you don’t want a drink, Can I make it a ‘Marty’s Half Dozen?”

“Why that sounds magnificent, Jill.”

He smiled and went back to his papers.

***

When his food finally came up he put his papers away and we started talking. I told him about New York and my mistakes with Mack prompting me to move back to Seattle. We were interrupted by PDA guy.

“Excuse me. Can we get some service, please?” he demanded.

“Thought you two wanted your privacy.” I quipped.

He sneered then, “Two shots of Patron.”

After dealing with him I went back to Marty. “Can you believe those two? This isn’t a motel.”

“Well, I don’t take to his rudeness, but at least you can be happy for them.”

“What? Why? It’s disgusting.”

“I guess so. But I walk through this city, riding its buses, and with the constant overcast, I find myself surrounded by so much solitude, so many grimaces, and utter contempt. It’s nice to be around someone enjoying themselves.”

“Well it doesn’t make me feel any better. It makes me feel angry. It feels unfair.”

“I know. Believe me, I know. That’s hurt. That’s loneliness. You wonder why love has been kept from you. Rationalizing that luck simply just hasn’t gotten around to you yet. But when you see two lovers there, in front of you, it’s real. Like being picked last for baseball, there’s no denying the problem is probably you. And you sink deeper.

But that breeds something dark within you, Jill. I used to have a friend. She’d  say that we should always feel the joy of others. For the longest time, I rejected that. But I’ve found that she has a point. Something magical happens when you spread the good.

“Sounds like some cheesy after-school sentiment to me.”

“Maybe it is.”

With that he left me a 20 for his wings. “Hey Marty, one thing before you go. You always do the club soda thing. You ever drink?”

“No. Never.”

“Why not?”

“Let’s just say, I lost something very very special because of it. And I’ve been wandering ever since. But that’s a story for another time.”

“And you still, ‘spread the good'”?

“Yes, I have to.”

He put on his coat, packed up his briefcase, gave me a smile, and went over to Sloppy Joe.

“Have one on me.”

Day 94

I’m still terrified, but I stick to my guns. “Marty, if you want a drink, you’re going to have to go somewhere else.”

“No Jill. You’re going to pour the drink. Or you’re next.”

And that’s when it occurred to me. That when the best of us fall, they do the most damage.

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2012 in By Jill, Marty's Half Dozen, Restaurants

 

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