What I didn't mention about bailing out on the coffee house last Saturday was that after leaving I made a beeline for the nearest bar, which happened to be Costello's (“If we wanted you to come for the service we would have opened a church”). In passing, I want to mention here that I thought about leaving Lo a big note in Common Good Books: “Lo, hadda go, come meet me at Costello's across the street after Garrison autographs your left breast. Hulles,” but then I remembered that she's an impressionable youth and, as such, walking in the door of Costello's would instantly turn her into a crack whore. As you might imagine I didn't want that on my conscience plus I couldn't afford her so I didn't leave the note.
Where was I? Oh yeah, Costello's. My friend Lu was tending bar, so I was pretty sure I could belly up and periodically emit lugubrious sighs and order glasses of water in my most pitiful voice and she would buy me a beer. Sure enough, it worked. It was also during the “two for one” hour -- 2pm to 3pm for you Twin Cities drunks that don't already go there (both of you) – so I ended up with two beers. Much better than the coffee shop, although I was beginning to miss reaching around the saxophone player to type on my laptop.
As I was sitting there, in walked a lovely woman. This happens very seldom in Costello's. Women come in there all the time, and I know most of them, but the “L” word can seldom be applied with a straight face. “Ridden hard and put away wet” is the usual sotto voce comment, I believe. (Like I'm a prize.) Since I was still a little blue from missing out on meeting Lo, when the hot female unit approached the bar I found myself muttering, “Please let her sit next to me. Please let her sit next to me.”
Wonder of wonders, Lovely Woman did sit next to me. As she was settling in, I turned my face upward and said, “Thank you, God!” She found this funny, which I in turn found encouraging. To make a short story even shorter, she told me her name was N_____1 and I either learned or observed the following facts about her:
She was pretty, as I mentioned.
She had a good sense of humor (i.e. she thought I was funny sometimes).
She was articulate.
She was well-traveled.
She had a great tan (just back from Mexico).
She had raccoon eyes (see above).
She had lovely brown eyes.
She had great hair.
She was 5' 4” tall.
She was nominally 30 years old.
She repeatedly spilled beer on her jeans.
She liked Costello's.
The last item is questionable about whether it's an asset or a liability, but since Pollyanna is my middle name2 I went for the asset as usual. If you're wondering about her body, so was I. She was Minnesota Winter Clad, and I have no idea what her body was/is like. This is certainly not for want of ogling, however (discretely, it goes without saying). And oh yeah, forgot one:
She was meeting some substandard dork there for drinks.
She didn't say “substandard dork,” of course, she said “friend,” but I knew she meant “substandard dork.”
N____ laughed when I said “I hope your friend develops car trouble and can't make it,” and she took it for the compliment it was. What I really was thinking was, “I hope the substandard dork is consumed in a fiery car accident and all they find of him is the metal eyelets from his Nikes.”
SD finally arrived. I was introduced to him; his name was Bob or David or Ted or something, who gives a shit. I was happy to note that SD and I were about the same size, so later when I had to take him outside later to engage in fisticuffs it wouldn't be totally unfair that I pummeled him unmercifully. (Note: people, generally Brits, really used to talk like this.)
Those guys gabbed among themselves as I sat beside them and listened in on their insipid conversation and surreptitiously glared at SD (“Enjoy yourself now, chump, you're going to be wearing a shiner pretty damn quick.”) To her credit, N_____ periodically turned to include me in the conversation, but SD was having none of it. He could probably somehow sense my innate virility and was desperately seeking to prevent me from carrying off his woman.
Actually, it sounded like they really were friends. I thought she was just being disingenuous and trying to spare my feelings because she knew I would shortly fall madly in love with her. I really liked that she made a couple of comments while SD was in the Men's Room that implied she also thought he was, shall we say, a less-than-optimal drinking companion. Unlike yours truly, of course.
Finally, after spilling about twelve beers on her jeans, N_____ and SD left. As they were leaving, I brashly gave N_____ my bar card with my blog address on it and said modestly, “You should go there and read my blog. Sometimes I can be funny.” She smiled and responded, “Really? I have a Masters in Comparative Lit and I have a lot of respect for writers.” Then she and SD walked out of Costello's.
Good thing they left, because suddenly I was trying to figure out whether to a) bypass the fisticuffs altogether and just quickly go and shoot the fucker and carry off his woman, or b) lose myself in Fantasyland where, after Casti and my acrimonious divorce and custody battle, N_____ and I have a extended and physically strenuous tryst in Saint Tropez3 where we both die from too much sex and our improbably entwined bodies are discovered with drool seeping out of the big smiles on our faces. I chose (b), but only because the wood chipper has been acting finicky lately and one does want to do a thorough job of body disposal.
And did I mention that N_____ has a Masters in Comparative Lit? Telling me that was like pouring a 55-gallon drum of 97-octane unleaded on an already-burning campfire. Or something. I wonder if she likes poetry?: “No magic wand...”
1This is not her real name. (“Anne? Oh, En, sorry. How do you spell that?” “En, underscore, underscore, underscore, underscore, underscore.....”)
2And yes, I was teased unmercifully at school.
3What the hell is Tropez the saint of? Nude sunbathing? (“Please, St. Tropez, don't let me sunburn my scrotum again today.”)