Loneliness was marked one listen at a time. Three in the morning, shrouded in the dark front room, only the streetlight out front flicking light streaks through the window as infrequent cars, no doubt also filled with the near despondent with a night full of booze and nicotine like myself came through. The record would spin in circles until it reached the end, at times I would lift the needle to the beginning of a certain song, the song what would capture what I felt, maybe a chorus maybe a riff or maybe the sounds of a bow on strings. I fell in love frequently, it was easy. It was needed. Nervousness was cloaked in laughter, in the foolish things that would tumble from my lips, I would say anything to garner a smile. Jerry would as well, and Jenny was an expert at burying her feelings under six feet of joke.
In a five month period I managed to fall for four woman named Jenny, it was comical almost as if there was a sitcom screenplay my life was following. Jenny number one was of course, Jenny Mae, whose fragile existence made me worry at night. The romantic love had burned bright for two years and then the love that is born of responsibility and loyalty took over, it has somehow continued for over twenty years since I walked out in the fall of 1991. Transformed from puppy-love to the concern of parental responsibility, she is symbol of how, as a society we take care of our own for me. A fountain of frustration and stubbornness that, is rarely tempered by blasts of laughter that somehow make up for the frustration of observing a twenty-one year car accident in progress.
I had begun to make bi-weekly and weekly visits to Athens, ducking out of work early on a Saturday night, loading up my pale blue Chevrolet Chevete, perhaps the saddest sack of a car this side of a Gremlin with cassettes and a six pack. Motoring down route 33, past the flat farms of lower Franklin County, towards Lancaster where the landscape would shift abruptly mid-town town. From the smooth as a quarter landscape of the north end of town into the staggered foothills of Appalachia on the other end, just a three mile distance. One could feel the molting of Columbus as the landscape shifted, a renewed energy boiled inside as I replaced “Daydream Nation” with Superchunk’s “Foolish” and what would become the soundtrack for my next three break-ups. The affinity I felt towards Athens was profound, even though I had made and found a home and finally a sense of community in Columbus, the roots of my childhood lay in Athens. In the college town atmosphere and liberal politics of the region, while Columbus was home, Athens felt like a refuge. Chris Biester was one of my best friends, perhaps the most talented musician I have ever come across, at once a storyteller but also one that could make his guitar to do anything he desired. A master word conjurer of sorts, that could spit out a lyric that could lay next to America’s greatest poets and then entertain with a way with the spoken word with the same wryness as Will Rogers.
Chris lived haphazardly, at certain points in his life, he resided in a tent in rural Meigs County and at other junctures he lived the shambling existence of most bohemians, that is a life filled with roommates, dogs and countless lovers all of them promising relief from the storms of life. Chris was well aware of my precarious mindset, and when I would greet him at the Union, he would enquire about my mental health with a quizzical look complete with a frozen raised eyebrow and ask again, “I mean how are you?” “Great” I would reply, as I was filled with at least six drinks from my way down, a few cups of coffee and the hope only a Saturday night can promise a young man of 23. Chris introduced me to Jenny number two, a thin woman with full lips who rolled her own cigarettes and eye lashes that could reach out and break a man. They had been a couple and Chris had moved on, he had no doubt counseled her on my recent mental health issues and the precarious nature of my own existence. She was devoted to Chris, not just a former lover but as a guidepost, one whom would see that the neurosis that climbed inside him was scrubbed out. One weekend, Jerry and I drove to Athens and saw Chris’s band Appalachian Death Ride at a sub-level bar called the Dugout. ADR, as they were called amongst their faithful had just received welcoming and positive press in the College Music Journal and Your Flesh magazine. That night a sonic bomb went off in the underbelly of Court Street, as ADR ripped through a set that, 21 years later is still fresh in my mind. They ended their set, shirtless, with the walls sweating from the overabundance of hair and stickiness of the patrons, with covers of “Pale Blue Eyes” and Tom Petty’s “American Girl.” It was brilliant. That night I went back to Jenny’s apartment, just up the hill from Sunnyside Drive and across the street from a playground I had played at when I was a toddler. To uneasy to make love, I held her tight until the room quit spinning and woke up with a dog licking my face.
Jenny and I started to become a couple and by early December she made the drive to Columbus to spend the weekend with me. She was going to spend the month in San Francisco with an Aunt. That night we finally made love and the next morning I drove her the airport that New Years Eve we spent the weekend in her new apartment in rural Athens County with her best friend Haynes. I remember drinking one glass of wine, walking in the early morning through brown weeds and a gray morning sky while thinking to myself that I would have to end this relationship. A week later she called to tell me that she was pregnant. I had helped make arrangements for her to terminate the pregnancy, and while I was a practicing Catholic, I felt relief that she had decided to make this choice. She stayed at my apartment that weekend. And soon after the relationship ended as quietly as a leaf landing in the forest.
Jenny number three was a librarian from Philadelphia, bookish, with large eyes and a wide smile that held perfect white teeth. She was committed to a man in Philly, who she missed like the wheat misses the wind. Jenny number two came in the store frequently and my crush was solidified when she bought a Nothing Painted Blue single. The next time she came in she went to buy a ticket to see Unrest at Staches,
“hey, you wanna go?” I asked.
Smiling a smile that was more grimace than smile, “uh, yeah. That’s why I’m buying a ticket. You know, because. I. Want. To. Go.”
“Yeah, I know that but I mean, if you don’t want to pay for it I could take you. Like, for free. We get in free” gesturing towards the entire store with my hands.
She put her wallet back in her purse, tilted her head, thinking for a moment, “ok, sure. why not” she replied, more to herself than to me.
“We can meet at Dicks Den across the street? How about nine or ten?”
She looked at me strangely, “is that too late?”
“no, it won’t start until ten, Gaunt is opening up. That’s Jerry’s band.”
“oh, Gaunt, they are local right? Who is Jerry?”
Jerry sat at the back counter, smoking a cigarette, head tilted back, staring at the flyers on the ceiling. “that’s Jerry.”
“He’s in Gaunt? I didn’t even know they were from here. I thought they were from like Chicago or something.”
“Yeah, you’re not from here are you?
“No, I’m from Philadelphia but I went to school in D.C. We played Gaunt on the radio. That’s cool” she smiled back toward Jerry, her head nodding in approval. Jerry waved to her, as if he were sitting in the back of a station wagon, and he was five. “Sure, ten at Dick’s Den then?”
“Yup, see you then.” I was already worried she was going to fall for Jerry.
He walked up to the counter, “Did you just ask that girl out?”
“Yeah, well sorta, I mean I offered to take her to the show tonight, I don’t think it’s a date though.”
Jerry, at that time swore he was celibate, “I don’t need sex, it’s over-rated” he would say between swigs of beer and draws off his cigarette. It was an odd thing to say, but he was not seeing anybody at the time, and he hadn’t yet started seeing the woman who would compel him to write “Yeah, Me Too” and “Kryptonite” in quick succession. There was a bit of jealously between us, the competition for the affection of women was unspoken and while I thought Jerry was silly for stating he was celibate, he thought I was nuts for the want of women after the dangerous break-ups I had.
“You should just stay away from them, you can’t handle them” he would offer without prompting.
Stung by his words, “shut up, Jerry. I never fucking asked you.”
Jerry skipped out of work early that night, he was always anxious on the days Gaunt played, his nervousness combining with his over caffeinated and nicotine addled brain made him unbearable as if he were clawing the back of his eyeballs out. “Yeah, just leave–I can handle the last hour by myself” I said as he mentioned for the fourteenth-fucking-time that his band was playing. A relief poured over him for a flash, “thanks dude, I’ll see you tonight. Good luck on your date!” he yowled as he left the store, I stammered back, “It’s not a fucking date!.” As I heard him reach the top of the stairs, no doubt blowing a stream of smoke from his lips, “Whatever duudddeee!”
Jennifer number three and I met at Dick’s Den, she was wearing a red skirt and black hose, with a tee-shirt. She was stunning and I was still dressed in the same grimy shirt and jeans that I had worn all day, only now they smelled of cigarettes, booze and pizza. A winning combination unless you were meeting someone for a first date. I had bounced from Used Kids to Larry’s where I made conversation with the tall bartender Becky who was just hired from Buckeye Donuts. Running into Eric Davidson, singer for the New Bomb Turks, he plopped up next to me. “Going to the show tonight, Unrest, pretty cool. Jerry must be fucking stoked. That’s all he has been talking about all week at the house. It’s like we FUCKING know Jerry, it’s cool your punk-rock band is playing with Unrest but it’s not like you haven’t played a fucking show. They aren’t the Dead Boys for Christ sakes.” Eric popped a pretzel into his mouth. The man was always eating pretzels. “Yeah, he drove me nuts at work, always fidgeting, he would take a record off three songs in, then turn his back to counter while people were waiting to buy shit and then look at them like they were stupid. He’s the most neurotic person I’ve ever met,” shaking my head, I ordered another beer.
“You going as well?”
Eric said, “yeah, I hated but I had to ask Jerry to put me on the list, I’m fucking broke and he can be such a dick about it. It’s not like I wouldn’t put him on the list for one of our shows but you guys get into everything for free so why bother. He was like, ‘Jesus, Eric, I don’t even know how many people we get on the list?’, like I was asking him to wipe my ass or something, he can be such a douche.”
It was easy to pile on Jerry, he himself had a unique way of piling on everybody else unbeknownst to him.
“I know he’s excited, I remember when he brought them last year and interviewed them for Cornhole.” Cornhole was Jerry’s Kinko’s stapled fanzine, he published four or five issues.
I looked at the time behind the wall, “I gotta head up to Dick’s, you wanna walk up there with me?”
Eric shook his head, “no thanks, I’m meeting Majesky and a few other guys in a little bit, we’ll be up there soon.”
“Just don’t miss Gaunt, or Jerry will kill you, ‘I put Eric on the fucking guest list and he can’t even see our band.’ That’s what I’ll have to hear all day tomorrow at work if you don’t make it in time” explaining as I swallowed half a beer in a single gulp.
Crossing High Street, ambling up the west side of the street, so as to walk in the long shadows of the trees that blanket that side of the street, I get my bearings. It’s early but I can feel the cool wind of an Ohio autumn, with the flecks of hope the change in the weather brings. The old feelings of new school are brought to life, stirring as if the wind was doing the stirring itself within me. Hands plunged deep into my pockets, keeping my head down and counting my steps. There are roughly five blocks to cover, and for a good chunk of it there are little to no commercial businesses on High Street. Just past Lane Avenue, the longest road in Columbus grows quiet for a moment as canopy of trees leaning over the sidewalk into the street it’s as if the city planners knew this area would be ripe for graduate students, professors and young families. I walk past Northwood and glance across the road and up the dark slight hill that Northwood disappears into, I think of my father. Sometime, many years ago, he and my mother brought me home from the hospital to a small white house sitting on a corner alley up the road. I think of the nervousness in his hands, wiping his hair out of his eyes and he breathed in deeply, almost holding his breath as my mother handed this tiny infant into his clumsy hands. Inside were my sister and brother, with my Aunt Cheryl and my mother’s parents. We lived on Northwood for six months before moving to Athens, and as I stroll by I wonder what my life would have been like if we stayed. “No doubt, I wouldn’t be working in a record store, getting drunk off my ass” I think as I quicken my pace.
Just past Patterson Avenue, just two blocks from home, I spy Dow’s on High, I need to pee. The campus area reeks of urine from too many drunken frat guys and out-of-campus visitors relieving themselves on the sidewalks, alleys and doorways of High Street and neighboring streets, it is unfathomable that these are the future leaders of the new world. I made a vow not to do this unless it was absolutely necessary, I do a slow motion backwards count of how many drinks I have had, “let’s see, at least four at work but I had pizza and I started at four. Three beers and a shot at Larry’s, that’s only like um, seven and half over five hours. I’m fine.” The alcohol has settled in my knees and around my ears, I can feel it but I am thinking clearly. I don’t want to overshoot it, so, I manage the intake well. this has been done countless times before, I open the door to Dow’s, it isn’t very busy. “I’ll have a Bud, be back in a moment.” The bar is small, with a thin walking space next to the bar and a jukebox that almost hides the men’s room, just to the left of the men’s room is an underutilized room that has a haber-dash of beer signs and posters left over from the nineteen eighties, an old Cleveland Browns poster complete with a schedule from 1990 dangles from the far wall. The season is only half-filled out, by week nine, after a drubbing by the Buffalo Bills that left the morose team, 2-7, even the hardcore owner of Dow’s had given up. And he was an ex-Brown and played for Ohio State. The poster has started to curl at the end, a seldom used pool table sits under a thin hanging light with only three of the four bulbs working, there are stacks of beer protruding from behind an area that was once a kitchen. It would be easy to make off with several cases of beers out the back door which is at the end of a long hallway jutting off from the far wall. That would not happen in a place like Dow’s though, which is the loneliest dive/sports bar on this stretch of High Street. It’s a good place to drink, with polite bartenders who eye us carefully but after several visits accept us. The jukebox sucks, filled with the likes of Journey, Bon-Jovi and Heart, and most times when there isn’t a Brown’s game on it is playing, “Don’t Stop Believing” and “Barracuda” for the four thousandth time. I wait outside the men’s room, although there are only a handful of patrons in the bar, one of them is taking a leak. Behind me sits a small table, with a crock-pot filled with homemade Barb-queue, and a large spoon ready to fill up a thin white roll that is housed in a yellow and clear plastic bag. A stack of styrophom plates and a bag of rippled chips sits on the table. There is a football game flickering on the television but it is not the beloved Browns. While waiting to pee, I shake my head at the juke book, where Billy Idol is bellowing away.
Dick’s Den is one of the oldest bars around the campus area, with multiple nights of live jazz being played, although Dick’s was no piano bar, a tiny almost platform stage wedged between a the doorway to the most cramped area laid out for a pool table, just to the left of the doorway, shoved into a corner as if straddling a cliff sat a Terminator II pinball machine. If you played the game a bit rough, full with fits, bumps and lunges you may well make the jukebox, filled with Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington and Miles Davis, skip. Below the stage were a handful of tables, where the drinks would jockey for space much like the musicians on the stage. The bar staff was older than the staff at Larry’s, the Blue Danube and Staches, with many left over from the High Street debauchery of the 1960′s and 70′s. It was, in a way the post-doc equivalent of a bar compared to the graduate student manner of Larry’s. I was usually frustrated with doorman at Dick’s, due to the explosion of college clientele during their carnival/riotous nights of quarter beer nights during the early nineties. While, I’m sure the loved the business they made quick changes to the flood of frat types on the Wednesday nights of quarter beer nights, the first upping it to .50 beer nights and cracking down on carding people. I took some umbrage at being carded every time I went into Dick’s, mostly because I drank there at least once a week and also for the fact that I had assumed I had long-ago cemented my credentials as a High Street veteran.
Dick’s was busy that night because, sure enough, it was .50 beer night and as I stuck my ID back into my back pocket, I eyed Jenny sitting at the bar with a tall bottle of Rolling Rock in front of her. “Hey,” I said as I saddled up next to her, raising my finger to the bartender and mouthing the words, Budweiser to him. He was a Used Kids regular, prone to buying Lucinda Williams, Jimmie Dale Gilmore as well as jazz titles, he nodded and smiled, silently placing a beer in front of me he stuck his hand up, signaling I didn’t need to pay. I flipped him $2 for a tip and nodded my thanks. Jenny smirked at me, “you come here often I guess?” Looking sideways at her, as I lifted the bottle, now neck empty, “not too much, really, maybe once a week. He comes to the shop a lot, I usually give him a deal. The secret to successful drinking is to know how to treat your bartender, in or out of the bar. Smiling, and shaking her head, “I see that.”
After a few formalities she cut to the chase, “hey, I think it’s cool that you asked me to join you, I could have paid for a ticket but you know, graduate school money doesn’t go very far. So, that was nice. But I need to let you know I have a boyfriend, Kevin, and he lives in Philadelphia. I just don’t want you to think that, um, I don’t know…..”, she looked skywards, “now, I feel stupid.” Thinking to myself, “only Jerry thought this was a date”, I smiled, “I didn’t think of anything more than just getting you in, really, I didn’t think this was a date or anything. I’m not good at that sort of thing anyway.” In some way I was relieved, shirking from any sort of romantic investment was easy for me, a great deal of the people I spent time with were woman, almost all on a platonic level. “Whew, I was worried you might be upset with me,” she replied, almost to herself, and it was obvious a burden was taken off her shoulders. “nope, not at all.” I stuck my hand up for two more beers, pointing to her half empty bottle and my empty one. “Don’t you think we should go? It’s like 10:30 and I think the ticket said 9:30. I wanna see your friend’s band, Gaunt.” “it’s alright, shows here start late, and besides there is another band playing first, there are always three bands. I think their called Swivel-Arm Battlegrip, Gaunt will go on in about twenty minutes and they’ll play a short set because Jerry is nervous about playing with Unrest. He loves them so he won’t play too long.”
Staches was half-full, Unrest had just put out the finest record of their career, “Imperial F.f.r.r.” and chimy, ringing piece of guitar pop, the was one of the most catchy records of the year. They had played Staches the year before, again with Gaunt, and were lack-luster as was the turnout for the show. It was a decent crowd for a Wednesday night, and when we entered, I got three beers from the bar, two Budweiser’s for me and a Rolling Rock for Jenny. “you don’t have to buy me any drinks, in fact I probably shouldn’t drink very much more, I have class tomorrow.” “It’s ok, I don’t mind.” I motioned to the stage, where Jerry was just getting ready to plug his guitar in, Gaunt had jelled into quite a live band by this point, having released three records on Thrill Jockey (“Whitey the Man”, “I Can See Your Mom From Here” and “Sob Story”) and doing several tours. Jovan Karcic was a welcome addition to the band, of Serbian descent, Jovan had a startling resemble to a more handsome Frank Zappa and with his mop of curly hair hanging down the second guitar he supplied to Jerry’s fuzzy tone was at times humorous, with its startled burst of frenetic balls of feedback and sudden stops, Jovan fills bolstered Gaunt’s sound tremendously. That night, taking a cue from Jerry’s neurotic energy, they bulldozed their way through a short set, built mostly on the songs from “Sob Story” and a few new songs that came out as singles, “Good Bad, Happy Sad” and “Pop Song”, they were superb. In fact, a small crowd had gathered around the stage, I was in front, just to the right of Jerry. Jenny stood next to the thin barrier that kept the customers at the bar from spilling into the area in front of the stage, where there were a few tables. I looked back and saw her bopping her head, smiling the entire time. Eric Davidson and Jim Weber stood next to me and as Gaunt launched into “Lies” we all yelled “Spirit of the Radio” to the feigned annoyance of Jerry, as “Lies” shared a close melody to the more known Rush song. It was absurd to think that Jerry had ever listened to Rush.
Unrest were pale in comparison, with both a male and female singer, their brand of indie-rock was almost sober following the sonic assault of Gaunt. They were decent, especially to those of us who knew all the words to their songs. Afterwards, I asked Jenny if she wanted to come by my house and listen to a few more records, it wasn’t too late I offered. Only 12:30 or so, plus we could have another beer. She thought about it, “how close do you live?” Pointing to the back of Staches, “Like two blocks from here, it is literally a stumble away.” Breathing deeply, she sighed, “O.k., but just for a little bit, I really have to go to school tomorrow.” I had no aspirations of anything from her that night, at that time of the evening my goal was to continue to listen to music and drink more beer. As I introduced her to Richard and Istvan, my two dogs, I opened the beers. Excitedly I started playing records, mostly 45′s of bands she may or not have heard of, The Puddle from New Zealand, Number One Cup from Chicago, Belreve from Columbus and the pure bliss of the Flatmates, a female fronted band from the UK who sounded somewhat like the Wedding Present. We were almost hugging the stereo, as if the giant piece of furniture and electronic wires were an Iron Lung for us, she grabbed my arm, “Listen, I need to leave. I’m sorry but there is way too much sexual energy for me right now, going on. I don’t know, I need to leave.” I was dumbfounded, at that moment, I had felt no sexual tension, I was like a five year old showing off his toy trucks. “Oh, don’t worry, I’m not thinking of that. You can stay.” I don’t think she believed me. “You aren’t? Well I am, and I need to leave.” Jenny walked home that night, I walked her partway. After this my crush became immense and over time nothing more became of our friendship, she became a late night voice for me, as I would tremble from the loneliness I felt after drinking until three am, I would call her and she would talk to me until I drifted off to sleep. She eventually broke up with Kevin, I went through a series of relationships and one failed marriage before we were ever romantic together. And these moments were few and rushed, heavy petting on a couch and a furtive brief front seat hand job that ended because, well we were on a residential street. “Listen,” she breathed towards me, “I have to teach tomorrow, but we can go out this Saturday ok?” “Are you sure you just don’t want to come up now, I get up early, I can wake you up,” I promised. “I can’t, I’d like to but I need to go, I can’t risk it.” Her responsibility to her job was very enticing, she was different from many of the women I knew. “Ok, I’m promoting the Grifters show on Saturday night, we can go to that, and get dinner before.” “Deal.” Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if she would have went upstairs with me to my bedroom that night, as the next day, my (current) wife came in the store and we scheduled our first date for Thursday. I had to call Jenny on Saturday and let her know that I had fallen for someone but would still put her on the guest list. She was very understanding.
Crushes came and crushes went, like the passing of the trees at the side of the road, if one pulled the car over, took a gander at the tree it would be easy to fall in love. To see the muscled roots burrowing into the ground, plowing deep into the soil, with the passage of time and branches stretching high into the sky with a billion leaves shaking forth in the wind, the site would be breathtaking. Currently, in between worrisome moments, where the future crushes any thoughts of the past as the phone bill winks as I rustle the keys from the front door. A child around my knees, spurting out ideas that have just been born form his young mind, I panic. “What the fuck, where I am?” I think to myself. The dog jumping high into the air, in my moment of worry I am annoyed. A flash of anger grabs my throat forcing out a stammer, “fucking stop! Hold the fuck on!” I am lost again. Other moments take flight of a mind that tries to placate the suffering the winds up in my office, the homeless woman with two kids living out of her car, the veteran trying to drive to work but can’t because his license is suspended, the woman who goes home to a house where her elderly father, in failing health waits for her to clean him even though he is the one that raped her when she was four. The time for crushes appear to have fluttered to the earth, like the giant tree jarring it’s leaves free.
Jenny number four lived around the corner from me, her roommate who everybody called Kat was friends with Richie Violet (Jack Taylor), Kat later became a well known poet but at the time I associated her with hanging out with druggie Jack. Jenny had long red hair, she went to Ohio University and was good friends with Chris Biester, she was in a total sense an Athens woman and while we were attracted to one another the thing we did the best together. She had a wide smile, with white teeth sparkling with her blue eyes. And we cackled together frequently, the absurdity of life cast itself around us, from this hillbillies in Athens to the pretentious mob of art-fucks who sometimes infiltrated Larry’s. Jenny and I were never a couple, she would crash at my apartment when Jack and others were at her apartment. She had experimented with heroin and did not want to be tempted, she said, “I don’t need to be around it, it makes me do dumb shit. Weed is cool but all in all I’d rather get drunk with you. You’re funny.” We would listen to records, walk to bar, take in a show at Staches and eat at the Due. She was too strange for Jerry, “you hanging out with that Athens chick tonight?” he’d ask, with a skepticism in his voice. “I dunno, probably, I suppose.” “She’s got big tits, doesn’t she” he would grin, “I dunno, probably, I suppose.” I would answer.
Jenny worked as a stripper that summer, and after she left work she would drive to my house, climb in my bed and cry. “I fucking hate that shit, I hate it, this guy keeps trying to follow me home.” We never made love, that summer, she would resist when we got to that point, explaining, “I can’t do it, I want to but, I can’t.” I never pushed it, we were in a sense fuck-buddies without the fucking. More like blow-buddies.
She left for Athens that fall and during the course of the coming year, there were a few times we would fall into each other at the Union but soon she fell in love with a handsome be speckled guitar player named Brandon. The next summer, while she and Brandon had temporarily broken up she showed up at a Flat Duo Jets show at Staches. The Flat Due Jets were fronted by Dexter Romweber, a frantic front man, whose hyperkinetic energy onstage pulsated the duo’s sound. He cracked jokes and took his music seriously. During the course of the evening, it was decided that the after-hours party would be at my apartment as soon by three am, the apartment was filled with the lonely and the drunken crowd from Staches. The house was filled with people I barely knew, it didn’t matter, just as long as I heard voices and could see people smiling. Playing a freewheeling trove of music to have bodies move was easy, the dancers may have expected rare rockabilly or art-punk damaged grimy 45′s but I kept things simple, always.
From James Brown to Pet Shop Boy remixes perhaps and Bloodstains Across (whatever) song would be thrown in but by the time four am rolled around, everybody was dispersing.
Jenny cooed in my ear as we swayed hips and spilled beer on the scuffed hardwood floors, “hey, can I stay here tonight”, “oh, yes” I mouthed back over the din of Prince’s “when you were mine”. As people left out the door, Jenny and I headed to my bedroom, sitting in the middle of my bed, we traded gulps of beer and kissed each other. the light was on and the door was cracked, in a moment Dexter strolled into the room eating a leg of fried chicken. He plopped himself down in the middle of the bed, climbing over my shoulder and leaning his head against the faded white wall. I looked at Jenny, “um, we were kinda making out.” I explained. Jenny giggled. Nodding his head and taking a bite out of the leg, “that’s cool.” Jenny and I looked at each other and laughed. Dexter was moving his head to the distant music, “so, Columbus is pretty neat. I like it, great afterhours by the way” he mumbled as a flake of chicken skin fell from his mouth, wiping if off, “sorry, I guess I shouldn’t eat this in your bed.”
After about five minutes of awkwardness I leaned over and said just above a whisper, “hey man, um I’m trying to get laid here.” Jenny blurted out, “yeah, and I think he just might!” Dexter, nodded again, “oh? cool, that’s cool, I didn’t even realize that, I thought you both were just hanging.” And with that he left the room. That was the last night Jenny and I went out.
for Jenny # 2
for all Jenny’s
for Jenny number #4
for Jenny number #2
for Jenny number #1:
For Jerry Wick: