Santa Rosa Bound

Taking myself completely by surprise, last week I met a man in the local Starbucks. He was down from San Jose with a property management company…….a regional manager of sorts checking in on his managers of the local properties here in Fresno. A pretty high end and professional property management company. Their rentals here in Fresno are all north of Herndon Ave. Which means bucks in Fresno.

We were sitting next to each other in the cafe. We both had our laptops out. Sipping coffee. He was working, strangled in a collar and tie while I was too in a collar and tie, but relaxed, top button popped, knot loosened but pinched-perfectly even loosened. I just had my hair freshly barbered and my face was a satin strip because I actually treated myself to a straight razor shave at the barbershop.

He had a spreadsheet of sorts up on his screen…..I was watching videos on YouTube of Petula Clark, Dusty Springfield, Truly Smith, Susan Maughan and Tom Jones….sixties British vocalists…grainy black and white on a high resolution screen or the occasional “Technicolor” video that would have looked brilliant on a new GE color televison in 1966.

I glanced over at him, good hair (must be Irish genetics), probably pushing sixty…our glances met for a moment. He nodded at me, I removed my earbuds and he said “That your Vespa out there?” I replied that it was, and I asked him “How did you know?”

He said “You’re the only resemblance to a Mod in here. They still around? I remember the revival down in LA back in the early 1980’s.”

Brief and polite introductions made. Hands shaken. His name was Jim. Last name Murphy (Irish, I knew it! I didn’t hold it against him). We chatted for a few.

He discovered that I was in property administration with the Salvation Army (Silvercrest, low income housing for independent senior citizens). We talked for awhile. He said that Silvercrest has an excellent reputation in the low income rental market for senior citizens (excellent? I don’t know about that. We do care deeply for the residents, and do our best to maintain property above the bare minimum).

We ended up chatting more…..but his questions were getting a little deeper. More focused. We laughed. Talked music. I did casually find out he was divorced, and only had two more child support payments left on the last kid, and the alimony was ending to his “bitch” ex-wife as well. He slyly asked me if anything was “holding” me in Fresno (insinuating children, wife, ‘girlfriend-with-future-plans’ type of thing). I repled “no”

He then started asking about education, skills……stuff like that.

He handed me a business card. Not his. It had his supervisors number on it (another Irish last name). He said “Call him up. He’s my boss. We have a mixed-use commercial, retail / office building in Santa Rosa that needs a property manager now. You fit the bill. Call him, setup an interview………..see if its up your alley.”

Shortly thereafter, he had to go……..I walked him to his car, we shook hands and I promised him I would call his supervisor.

I called that number. I was told apply for the position online. I did. A day later, the phone rang, and this supervisor wanted me to “come up to Santa Rosa for an interview, see the property………have lunch or dinner.”

I did. I rented a car. Ughhhh……A 2016 Chevrolet Impala. The most uncomfortable car I have ever sat in. Even my low end Plymouth Neon I bought brand new in 1994 when I was a ‘young’ Mod with a full head of blonde hair was more comfortable than this car.

A glorious 5 1/2 hour drive to the north bay of San Francisco from Fresno. A place of wine, rolling golden hills, redwoods, geysers, and Californianess to the extreme (Maria Maldaur songs, chardonary, and sex in hot tubs under the hot brassy blue skys and fog laced ocean breezes over the coastal hills from Bodega, Larkspur, and Stintson come to mind……I digress).

I researched this company online. Old school. Professional. High end. I suited up for the interview. I looked good. I would have looked better rolling up on my Vespa…..but that was impossible. Too far.

Let me say I was offered the job. I will get an apartment in this mixed use property. It has a few upper floor units for rent. I will be paid a handsome 45K a year….but take out the rent and utiliities……its almost pure profit for me.

I leave on June 9th. Lots to do before I leave Fresno. My home of ten years. It’s officially the end of an era…………..and the start of a new one.

 

Advertisements

Children of the Night……..

There was a PSA segement a decade and a half ago shown on all the local TV channels here in California. It usually was shown sometime between the hours of 10PM and midnight.

The premise was “It’t after ten o’ clock……do you know where your children are?” It showed a bunch of teens at a house party or pool hall or out and about on the streets of urban and suburban California.

Did it do any good? Like all public service announcements, the results are debatable. In this case, I don’t think it did any good.

On Thursday night I hit the streets, no longer in my Salvation Army uniform…..but out to offer help, services, prayer, and encouraging words. What surprised me was that there were a ton of teenagers out and about….and it was a school night. I am not talking about an eighteen-year old-who is gonna graduate in a few weeks. I am talking twelve and thirteen-year-olds………at the corner of Fulton and Ventura here in Fresno, dressed “london” skin-head in style (new Levi 501’s, high gloss “doc martens” with a crisp oxford). I asked to a pack of girls “Hey, shouldn’t you girls be at home, this isn’t the best ‘hood to be walking around in…”

One girl who was playing in mommys make-up a little too much replied “Yeah it isn’t safe here, maybe you should go home, you being a white boy….”

“I live here. This is my neighborhood.” I said.

They laughed, we all chatted a bit…….the thing is………they didn’t seem to care, neither did their mom’s or grandmothers when I asked them about “What’s mom / dad have to say about you being out this late?”

Notta one mentioned a father. All had an aunt, a mom, an older sister or grandmother taking care of them. One of the older girls said she had seen me “on TV” (promoting the BSA locally a few years back). She asked how come I wasn’t in my Scout uniform. I smiled and asked her why she wasn’t at home getting some sleep?

I told them where the local police station was, where The local Salvation Army was, and said…..if any of you are runaways, and you need help, I have a number for you to call.

I offered prayer, one took me up on it (her name was Aieesha…pray for her…..if she actually had a dad, a PASTOR or grandfather around she would turn around quick).

Fresno is a rough town….and the neighborhood I live in isn’t the best…….but its home. I strive to be known in the area who wants and expects better. Keep these folks in prayer.

Leaning against a streetpost on the warm California night, watching the cars, the occasional hooker who always offers me a “good time” or says “You ready? I sure am.” This song beat upon my brain…………in so many ways, the music, the styles, the times have changed from the long ago year of 1972 but the message rings truer than ever in my life………………….

 

 

 

 

 

Gordon Lightfoot Show. Fresno, California

It’s something of a sensation when a singer you remember from riding in the pickup truck with your dad as a boy back in the 1970’s comes upon a stage for an intimate show. At eighty years old.

I was there last night for this show.

It was held in the “Tower Theater” an old movie house from the 1930’s restored and refurbished into a small, intimate concert venue here in Fresno. It’s about a ten minute walk from my apartment.

It was an event for me. I don’t make a lot of money, and I got my ticket the day they went on sale about a month ago. It set me back a mint. I paid $100.00 for my third row seat. The theater maybe holds 700 people tops.

The crowd was silver and old. I was the youngest person there and I am pushing close to the age of fifty now. Dressed in suit and tie I made small chat with people before the show (people don’t dress up anymore)

The lights dimmed promptly at 8PM and a few seconds later the Canadian legend himself took the stage with his band (a standup bass player, a keyboardist, drummer, and an electric guitar player). Thunderous applause as he took the stage.

He smiled, and said in his mild Canadian manner “Hi I’m Gordon Lightfoot, and the reports of my death are greatly exaggerated!” Shouts, cheers, and thunderous applause.

 

He cut immediately into the show, the lighting and sound accued perfectly and seemlessly into and in between every song. Fitting every mood and nucance of his performance. In between songs he would tell stories about some of the songs, and he had running joke with the audience. He kept saying “Fresno Friday” to us….and we laughed back at him in mutual admiration.

He performed the big hits of course but the real treat was wide catolog of the nameless, faceless story songs from his “folkier” days and times before his worldwide fame. Waaayyy back. The sixties.

The highlight for me was the 1972 song “Beautiful” which was not a big hit per say, but just a timeless love song………and one that I was hoping he would perform.

The audience responded well, and I was for once proud of my city who gave him a great reception. The show touched nothing on politics, or the “condition” of the world, what mattered was the music…….

I was glad to see this legend perform and it was one of those nights where everything was “just as it should be” for a few hours………

 

“Game” Over. Final

“Hey” she smiled.

“Oh, hello there…….bar is closed.” I said smiling playfully, lighting a cigarette.

“No sh*t jerk. You know exactly why I am here.” she said, letting her blonde hair down.

I raised an eyebrow, smirked sarcastically “No, I don’t, perhaps you could tell me while you…….” I started to say but her actions cut me off. Quick.

She walked up to the bar, reached her toned n’ tanned arms around my neck. I froze. I tried to show no surprise, but it was pretty much impossible. She pulled the cigarette from my mouth, tossed it on the bar, leered in close……her breath (she must have brushed her teeth in her hotel room before coming back here) was sweet, heavy, intoxicating as her exhale hit my neck………I could feel my pulse already quicken fast and hard. I felt a rush over my body. Women didn’t and never did this to me……I will admit. Inside I was freaking scared. Really scared.

She said in breathless, seductive whisper burning with need “F*ck me. F*ck me right now.” Her arms tightened around my neck, I was sitting on the bar, she started to bring her body up to me, press in-on against me……..

So this is it. Something I had been wanting since I was 13 or whatever was finally gonna happen at the age of 34 on a bar in an empty banquet room in San Francisco around 3AM. Coming off cocaine with a woman who was a straight-up b*tch the whole night to everyone at her sisters wedding. Real classy Jason. 

She pressed up between my legs pulled me to her……the contact with her body sprung my body to life…….I got instantly hard……..I won’t be graphic here…but you all get it.

“Ooooo!!!!” she said close to me, her body feeling my immediate reaction……”What a naughty boy you are!” I swallowed hard said in a strained whisper “I’m not a boy.” She smiled, impressed with herself. Gently pressed and ground herself onto me…….”That feels good??” (“YES, HEAVENLY” I thought to myself). She asked coyly wide-eyed, and smiling. “Cause, it feels good on me…….” She moved, adjusted herself…..a little…..”Yeah, Oooooooo…..right there” She sighed-giggled intensely, “It’ll go right in there, feel that? You want that? You wanted that all night from me didn’t you? F*uck me. Now.”  She said seductively.

How could I maintain? HOW? Do I just do this, get over this, just do it………sh*t at this rate it’s gonna be “over” before it starts and we’re not even naked, and we have not even kissed yet. Do I tell her I’m a virgin? Are we gonna use a condom. Does she have one? I don’t.

Fighting for control. Fighting. I smiled, said “Your room.” In a commanding whisper.

I struck hesitation with her, she smiled and whispered seductively “Oh…..no, no, I am sharing a room with my young cousin. She’s 12. We have to f*ck here, right here. Right now.” She breathed on my neck, gently licked it shooting lightening-pleasure through me. She slowly reached her hand to my crotch, and so gently fondled me through my trousers, tracing her fingers down and around….a wicked smile hit her lips as she spoke “Ooooooo, a little bigger than I expected, full too…….”

Okay, okay……..it’s gonna be over here real quick if I don’t command control of this now. A woman like this will shame me, heap contempt on me because I didn’t perform like a porn star. In fact, by her behaviors and actions tonight no man has ever satisfied her. 

She pressed her female parts on me I could feel them through her panties……….started to unbutton my shirt.

“Do you even know who I am?”

She giggled, ran her hand through my hair…..”I bet you’re blonde down there, the eyebrows give it away.” She playfully said, unbuttoned the next button on my shirt.

“We girls just want a nice guy. Really we do.” 

Her hand reached through my waist on my trousers…..she slid it down, touched. Explosion of pleasure by her physical touch gave pulsing anticipation…..

“Well…..are you????….Oh you are?” She said coyly as she traced the shape of me with her finger. I was flushed, heavily breathing……she looked at me in my eyes……hers a hazel-brown, eyes that could be and maybe once were pretty……zero emotion. Eyes of only power, and control.  Only anger. Only a vile vindictiveness. The only “Game” here was by her, only another conquest by her. I had nothing to do with this. I was the last option tonight. Passable perhaps. Not her first choice by far.

“It’s not you its me……you’re a really nice guy, but…….you would make a great father………a nice girl doesn’t want a guy who does cocaine or drugs or wastes his time…….treat women like the trash they are…….bro, you got game…………Tell me! Tell me what do I have!?”

I breathed, threw my head back in ecsatsy…….I said hoarsely “Girly, It’s gonna be over before it starts if you keep………..(hard swallow)……that going.”

She lit up, “Oh, well in that case….I may not even need a shower afterward.” She smiled softly in my ear….still gently touching and exploring me with her hand down my pants……..she bit her lower lip teasingly. It. Felt. Amazing. I could not even fathom what it would feel like inside her body.

“Not if I cum in your hair.” I said with a smiling-whisper, lifting my hips as if they now had a mind of their own.

“Ohhhhhh, there’s a bit of kink, and fetish under this buttoned-down image you have. It makes me even hotter for you…..” She whispered. Her other hand went for my belt.

Not like this Jason. Not this way. You’re better than this. 

Husky with need, urgency…..I *forced* the words out “You have a condom?” Hard swallow by me. She whispered sweetly, as she undid my belt “I’m on birth control.”

A quick flash-image to all the penises that had a turn before me. That mouth that probably sucked-off many more….who am I to judge…….I am a cocaine addict. A liar. Slowly going downhill, working a night club at 34……..time was running out for me……what could I offer……is this the kind of woman I deserved because of my choices?

Besides” she said, “If I get pregnant at this point, I could handle it without a man.” I heard these words with a sweet, seductive whisper, she unbuttoned my trousers, she went for my boxers……but underneath that statement. Such anger. Such contempt. Such a carefree and careless attitude towards this.

Promises made in the heat of quick pleasurable decision…….not like this Jason. Not this way. Not here. Not with this one. No. 

In what seemed *impossible* by me at this point; and if we had been able to go to her hotel room, it would have happened. If I had ripped a few lines of cocaine before she arrived, I will fully agree that I would have done it. Maybe if I had indeed downed that shot of gin before she arrived…….it might have went down on this bar, in her mouth, down her throat or even in her hair…………..

Opening bars to The Rolling Stones “Monkey Man” played on my brain

I pushed myself back, she playfully tried to pull me back, thinking it was a “game” to her. I smiled, said as gently as I could still flushed with need for release, and aching pleasure to experience this…..

“Girly, no condom? Well there is NO WAY I am getting this way with you.”

She. Stopped. Went slack. Stood up fully. Tossed her loose hair behind her ear, Said quite loudly, and forcefully “What the F*CK is that supposed to mean?!”

I knew now it was not going to happen. Didn’t play Game. Game only means the woman’s way. What she wants. Who she chooses. And when. Men have been falling for this, calling themselves “alphas” when women the whole time are calling the shots. They smell desperation in men for sex. They call it out. Not men. Not today.

I want sex………but not this way. I want a girlfriend. Despite my addiction. My problems. My self-esteem. My mess. For once……with something I walk with and have……and have not lost. Not this way. Only with a girl who likes me, and really wants to be with me. A girl who will only share this with me as a girlfriend.

I said gently “You know exactly what I mean.”

She shoved me hard back on to the bar “Assh*le!” she yelled (can you imagine if I didn’t perform to her standards or expectations). “Mary Poppins and June CLeaver don’t f*ck guys like you because you have zero to offer them (and this woman does have something to offer me besides berating and not playing HER Game).

“I smiled, and actually laughed a little by her outburst “Umm…..no Mary Poppins should have married that chimney-sweep, and June Cleaver built up her husband and stood by him.”

“F*CK YOU!” She yelled. She fidgeted and tried to find her way back through the slit in the curtain……and when she did find it…..pushed through and left. She yelled “F*ckin’ Faggot!” as she left the banquet room.

Ummmmm….’no’ I thought to myself. A guys sweaty, hairy-butt doesn’t turn me on.

I poured that shot of gin. Downed it. I was shaking a little. Poured another. Downed it. Still shaking. Poured another. Downed it. I then went to the small back room behind the bar. Locked the door. Dropped my pants and let go, had a wank it was quick, believe me……….I don’t need to explain to anyone on how it felt. It was a very “gushing” situation. I let out a good cry of pleasure too. I won’t explain further.  No, I won’t. You all know what I mean. Don’t freakin lie 🙂

I smoked a cigarette and then finished cleaning up the bar. I admit, I just wanted to go home, do some cocaine and listen to music for a bit…..maybe have another wank or two…I was super aroused still……I will admit that.

I suddenly didn’t become all moral. I was still willing to have sex with a woman who was WORTH my time and standards I wanted. I still was a drug addict, and alcoholic. I was still sneaky in my personal behaviors…….but this night………….I saw how Game worked for real…….and it showed me even back then………..what joke it was and still is.

End.

(San Francisco. September 2004)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Game” Over VIII.

“Jay! A change for tonight!” Wayne caught me in the change / break room as I was getting ready for work. I looked up, “Yes sir, what is it?”

He smiled…….(uh oh, that means I am going to have to do a HUGE favor)……”Ummm, look, there is a HUGE wedding in banquets tonight. They don’t have a bartender tonight. I need you down there on the 2nd floor and Mezzanine level tonight to run the bar, here is the BO (Banquet Order). You will be working with the crew in banquets. Open bar for two hours before dinner………..closed for two hours while dinner is on….open bar from 9 til 2AM. It’s the bar in the large banquet room, so you won’t have to set up a mobile one. It’s for 300 people. Tip jar allowed. All tips yours. Better get going. You will be by yourself working the bar…..I know, I know, but plenty of staff down there to back you up.”

I gave him the “are-you-f*cking-kidding-me” look.

Wayne, reached into his suit pocket, pulled out a wad of 100.00 bills, started counting. He stopped at $300.00. I said “keep going.” He peeled off $200.00 more, handed me the $500.00. Slapped me on the shoulder. “Make us proud down there……and I know you’ll be on til almost 6AM cleaning up and closing with the staff down there. Harry will approve your overtime. Get going. You have, oh 45 minutes til that bar opens……better get moving.”

I took the elevator DOWN to the second floor.

Banquets was in mass confusion as it always was. The sales girl “Stephanie” booked this at the last minute, promised the bride, groom and father of the bride the moon. I arrived, demanded to meet the “Captain” of this banquet. A stoner guy with a resemblance to Keanue Reeves who had zero sense of urgency. Useless and clueless. I found Stephanie, let her know what I needed. Keys to purchasing (to get all the supply and alcohol), two banquet workers assigned to me to keep me in ice, glassware, etc…..she was relieved that I was there. I was assigned two workers who were happy that they were going to be working with “the bartender” (evidently a coveted job for the night in banquets).

I wasn’t playing around. I assigned tasks to them both, they started to WALK, and had zero urgency. I yelled “MOVE! NOW! TON of WORK to DO. 300 THIRSTY PEOPLE GONNA BE HERE IN LESS THAN 30 MINUTES!!!” They broke into a run. They sensed I really wasn’t messing around. I ran those two HARD stocking, setting up……how I wanted stuff placed….presentation………they thought it was gonna be a an easy night for them.

I purged the taps, got the fresh kegs up and running….beer would be a bit warm for the first hour or two……typical of banquets here……zero preparation….and with about a minute to spare, I opened that bar……….a crowd fell right up to it. The two other workers I had with me ‘gasped’ at this sight, they were scared, and looked overwhelmed. I was wiping my hands with a bar towel. Quickly checking the scene. I smiled, spoke loudly and clearly “So glad to have you all here tonight! Look, I am a pro, a good bartender. I am gonna take care of you. Welcome to The Sir Francis Drake. My name is Jay………now, these two other workers you see with me are only allowed to draw beer, or get you bottled beer, glasses of wine, soda…..tonic. Any shot, mixed or well drink. I’m the guy. Who wants to party and celebrate?!!!”

The crowd cheered! We got to work. I was already exhausted. It was gonna be a bear to grab a line tonight, or have a cigarette, or have a break. I hate working banquets.

It was at this moment I saw “her”. She pushed, shoved, through the throng and made her way to the front of the bar. She was my age…..maybe a little older. She was aggressive and had a veneer / sneer of entitlement. She had a look of “she was hot and she knew it” but she also knew that her looks were fading fast……..some deep, dark, anger in her realizing this truth. Yeah, her looks were fading. No doubt that she was still a cutie, but she was def really hot a few years earlier I am sure. You could tell. She also emitted a very “mean” vibe. A vibe that got pleasure in treating men like trash back when she was better looking, but also realizing now that there were no “nice” guys left in her life. She was in her own vicious circle. That “Sex In The City” TV show ruined a lot of women….it really did…as she pushed to the front of the bar………….many in the crowd recognized her, gave her nasty looks. Shook their heads and she pushed up to the front.

She got right in front of me demanded, “A Cosmo, and I know this is wedding bar, so it won’t be good…” I smiled, I had eight drinks staged…………I looked at her. “If you say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to me tonight, I promise you I’ll take excellent care of you babe.” I said.

I was rocking out drinks, she got pissed that a lowly banquet bartender who was a loser in her book was gonna talk to her like that. “You’re job is to make shitty drinks tonight, do you know who I am?”

“No, but I am assuming you are a sister of the bride. You’re not dressed as a bridesmaid. Jealous that no attention will be paid you today. Look. Let me work here. I will get to you, and when I do. You will use ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ or we’re gonna be off to a really bad start on a happy night!”

Other patrons, family and friends at the bar who heard this were looking at me as if to say “Yeah! You go boy! Finally someone put this gal in check!” The tip jar was filling up fast already.

I made her Cosmo right in front of her. It was perfect. She said “thank you” really snotty-like and found a clatch of equally angry and entitled women at this wedding to stand with a few feet with from the bar while she sipped her drink. She was talking about me, shooting me a pissed look….I was too busy to care…….but…..my comeuppace happened then….she had a look of surprise when she made a face of “OMG, this drink is actually excellent” let her friends sip it…….looks of defianat surprise…..her bitchy friends all got into the line / mob at the bar….

The bar closed for dinner/ reception. I did hold a rule of “no exceptions of drinks” unless it was the father / mother of the bride and groom…..or the bride and groom proper. None of them came. Myself and the two workers I had were busy. I worked them just as hard to restock, and supply up as I did while setting up…….we would have to go almost five hours after this break, and this crowd were drinkers. It would be swamped til the end.

I took a break, did a few rails, smoked a couple of cigarettes…..let the two workers take a break as well. Their eyes on the large tip jar-snifter, that I had emptied twice already and threw the money into a drop safe at the bar. Many twenties and tens dropped were dropped into it.

*there is another HILARIOUS story that happened right about this time….and THAT could be a long entry on its own. Perhaps someday I will tell it*

Well, 9PM came too quickly, and the bar opened up for the second round. Dinner was over. The cutting of the cake, and speeches were done. It was time for this wedding party to dance, drink and this is where the real test would come. The one worker DID point out the father-of-the-bride to me. He was the one I would have to find at the end of the night to pay for bar. The way the billing was set up by the sales rep was “bar / alcohol will be paid / rendered for / with bartender at the close of the night”. It was going to be a huge bill. By this point it was well over $2000.00

One of the workers joked that every wedding the DJ ALWAYS will play sometime during the night “I Will Survive” (Gloria Gaynor) for all the single women, and “YMCA” (Village People) for all the old aunts, grannies, and kids.

One older teenager at this wedding did try to get served. The worker looked at me when he came to the bar……I laughed “ID holmes….you look like you can barely shave.”

He said “I look young for my age, be a bro man, come on!”

I said, “Nope, but if you want to come behind the bar for a few and help serve sodas and the like, you can impress the one girl you have been eyeing ever since you came in here tonight…..” I smiled.

“Really? You would let me do that?!!!” He said in shock….surprise. “Sure” I replied, come on around. The one worker showed him how to work the one “soda & water gun” and he “helped” for about an hour, and he had the whole “under-age / teenage set” at the wedding awestruck. His “status” went through the roof with the younger girls there; like he had a personal “in” with the bartender. The family and friends were “oooing and awwing” him as well. When he was done (and I wanted him gone after an hour if truth be told), I gave him twenty bucks, made sure I did this in front of girls his age. High fived him, patted him on the butt as he left…….His dad at the end of the night came by and thanked me personally. He put a crisp fifty in the pocket of my bartenders jacket.

Let me just say it was busy for the rest of the night…..it became manageable after 1AM. I let one of the workers assigned to me back to the banquet staff at this time, gave him $50.00 bucks. He was really happy. I technically didn’t have to share any of the tips with anyone but alliances in this hotel and nightclub are made with money.

The brides sister was noticeably drunk at this point and she was getting louder and louder. She was all over one of the groomsmen at one point and he was laughing at her  on her drunk and sloppy condition, not because she was funny. This man had options tonight with bridesmaids….he wasn’t gonna a take the drunk-brides-sister who was fifteen years older than him. She still was snotty to me, when she came back to the bar but as the evening waned………she put her eyes up and on for her “kill” of the evening. Me.

Credit card accepted. Bill signed. The father of the bride paid the over $5000.00 balance in full. The banquet room was empty from guests…..just banquet workers cleaning up, housemen rolling away tables……the DJ rolling out his gear with a bridesmaid in tow……

My gratuity from this bill was another $600.00 which would be paid out to me tomorrow or the day after when I dropped into the business office. I was tried, body aching for some cocaine……a drink…………I cut $50.00 out of cash for the other banquet worker who was assigned to me. I let him go at 2AM. All I had to do was wash, clean the bar…….and go home. I was gonna milk this time, since I was now on overtime and it was already approved.

I pulled the curtains closed in front of the bar, hopped up on it and had a seat. Lit a cigarette, and counted all the money I had made tonight. $500.00 from Wayne. $50.00 from the dad of that teenager……….and the grand totals from that jar? $927.00. The Gratuity from bill, another $600.00. Grand total…..$2,077.00

Bomb. I laughed to myself, stuffed the money into my sling pack. I poured myself a shot of gin…..lit another cigarette………smoke this, drink this……crack a line or two of cocaine…..put the radio on, and clean this mess up here at the bar…..Go home and sleep!

I was making here more some nights than when  I was when I working at IBM……for the past six months…….my salary only took a slight dip

The curtain moved………someone was trying to find the opening, the slit…….I crushed out the cigarette, dumped the shot behind the bar. You never know if management could be sneaking around. Smoking was a “no no” inside the hotel. So was doing drugs. So was drinking while ‘on’ or ‘off’  clock on premises…….

She emerged. The brides sister. Sinister and seductive grin on her face.

(San Francisco. September 2004)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Game” Over VII.

 

Josh, myself, Sandra, and Jennifer were partying hard at an “after hours” club (after 2AM) open only to DJ’s, bartenders, waiters and the like in deep, deep “Mission” soul of San Francisco. The Rolling Stones “Monkey Man” was blasting loud over the sound system….the club was packed…..it had been a hard night for us. Sandra and Jennifer, two of the cocktail waitresses came out with us to party tonight.

We had a young drunk Asian dude go all “kung fu” inside the nightclub around 1AM, and he smashed mirrors, over turned tables effortlessly with punches and roundhouse kicks and it took three security guards, one bouncer, and several staff from the Hotel to subdue him. Screams. Yells. Stampede. Josh and I ducked down behind the bar…..astounded that this was actually happening. The SFPD arrived and got involved. An ambulance. The club owner was livid. The “local news” outside……..

When we closed up, Josh and I wanted to rage. We were furious because the club was going to be closed for the next night, a day lost of work……so we decided to really “tie one on” tonight, have a vacation night, and just cut loose harder than usual…..we invited Jennifer (a newer cocktail waitress) and Sandra to come out with us. Josh was determined to have sex with Jennifer. Tonight. To help in this he insisted that Sandra was into me, so while we went as a group, he could focus his prowess on the naive Jennifer………….and Sandra; who was into me anyway….it would make the whole setup look natural. We had been here about two hours all laughing and talking about the night we just had at work. Who needs soap operas? We have The Sir Francis Drake Hotel!

“This just tops it. I’ve been working here two years. Never seen anything like this! I’m drinking brown liquor all night tonight!” He said as he smoothly downed another shot giving all his attention to Jennifer. Lustfully undressing her with his eyes. She seemed to be reading his vibe good too. She must have been about 22. Slender, nice legs. Very pretty face.

Sandra was getting a good buzz on her as well. I was drunk, but alert…I was ripping cocaine in the bathroom….so despite the blurs, slurs and weirdness that alcohol does do. I was not at a loss for motor control……I could stand, sit, and not look like I was holding the bar to steady the room. I was putting the drink away tonight too. I think Sandra was a tad impressed on how much I was downing, but still standing.

Sandra smiled at me. “You know, I’m really glad you’re working with us Jay. Julie loves being teamed with you so much. You’ve been a bartender now six months?

I nodded. Smiled.

Wow! I remember your first night. Julie and I thought when we first saw you; we were both, ‘what-a-stiff’ but you’re one of the coolest people I have met there. I really mean that. You’re classic. Handsome too. Julie says you tip her a lot more than the standard cut of 15%. She appreciates that. She says you’re a gentleman to her, and you treat her like a lady. We girls like that in a guy. Believe it or not! So few guys who work there do know how to treat a girl…….” Moving her eye to Josh, and then smiling coyly. She then laughed, leaned in and said……”did I make any assumptions here?” She took a sip of her drink and smiled again.

I lit a cigarette, offered Sandra…she smiled, shook her “no” head politely.

“I was a stiff?” I said taking a sip of whatever I was drinking.

“Yeah, you were…still are. You reply to Wayne as “sir” (our boss) Your grooming is perfect. I have never seen you with tee-shirt or sneakers on. You look like a TV dad from 1964. Your hair is always freshly cut, neat. Very downstate, southland Republican if truth be told. You’re really tall and your walk, well everything about you is a little rigid, almost military. Did you serve?” She asked.

“No. Never served. Do you have a thing for military guys? You are from San Diego, right????? Kind of a given down there.” I smiled

I was about ten years older than Sandra. She was a Pepperdine graduate. She came from California-Waspy stock for sure. She had nice velvet blue eyes like me, and she had a toned and slender body on her. Yeah, a southland California girl for sure. She moved to San Francisco to “find herself”(her words), her degree in English was useless (her words as well), and she was just enjoying herself right now. She had two roommates that she hated, and I guess the feeling was mutual.

She laughed, lightly pushed my arm…”No silly, I am not destined to be a military housewife…….making a gelatin dessert with Cool Whip topping for my husband when he gets a promotion. That is so not me. Though many of those boys are fine-looking for sure.”

She suddenly motioned with her compelling blue eyes to Josh and Jennifer

I spun around and Josh and Jennifer were having a pretty serious make-out session at the bar. I turned back and said “Looks like a Big Red commercial from back in the day.”

Sandra laughed. “Well, I guess that’s our cue.”

“That I am supposed to kiss you now?” I said laughing, taking a sip of my drink.

“No…time for me to go home. I’m drunk, tired from work and I would assume you would want to go home too unless you watch to watch that.” Motioning gently to Josh and Jennifer.

NO! SLIPPING AWAY AGAIN!!!! CHEATED AGAIN WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I screamed inside my brain.

“Look, let me close our tab, and I’ll walk you out and get a taxi for you.” I said.

She smiled, “You are a dying breed of guy!”

Outside on the strip, I hailed a cab and before she got in, I gently pushed her hair behind her ear, told her that I wanted to see her alone. Again. A date. Us. Soon. I had could make reservations for Monday evening out. I told her that she was different. She was fun, crazy, cool, and had class about her….something I rarely see in women……

She seemed a bit caught off guard…….”Look, Jay. You’re sweet. I like you and would definitely say yes to this, but I am interested in someone else, and I don’t want to lead you on, hurt you because I then get the one I am trying to get………. and you are not a creep or weird. I just want to be friends. I really mean that. I am being so honest here…despite you putting me on the spot. You have sooooo much to offer a gal, and I really enjoyed tonight out with you…….just……..I have to be honest with you.”

I nodded. She touched my cheek lightly, gave it a little pinch, smiled genuinely, got into the cab…. I shut the door and slapped the roof with my hand…..and the cab then drove away.

It must have been well on to 5AM at this point……..the quiet street, and a light ocean breeze that somehow always was passing through this city-by-the-bay suddenly gave me a chill. I was tired, drunk and still high……..I hailed my own cab, rode in silence home….got into bed, and what was the first time in ages……….I wept, cried myself to sleep.

(San Francisco. August 2004)