the end of dallas the beginning of…

Our drinks arrived and Stephanie continued to flash me the same sweet and slightly shy smile. She was beautiful but in a “I have been put away in an unhappy marriage and preserved” kind of way. She was definitely a stunner in her day and was easily one of the most beautiful women in the bar but she was full of self-doubt and dressed a bit like a hot mom of three who had been out of the game for a while.

Her eyes didn’t break from mine when she sipped her drink. I was holding mine, not even nursing it a this point. It merely gave my right hand something to do as I smiled and looked into Stephanie’s eyes.

Her gaze burned into mine for a bit in a fashion that tipped her hand as to what she thought she needed or at least what the barrage of drinks and her drunken friend had been telling her. There are lots of suggested quick fixes to the end of an unhappy life and she already seemed determined down a path of saluting it’s departures with an apparent unending succession of drinks leading to some kind of naked attention on her previously neglected body.

It amazes me the kind of women some men will choose to ignore. It amazes me the kind of willing body that blossoms in what another idiot of a man deemed infertile soil, where a beautiful woman springs forward with renewed vitality into a world in which she might have previously dismissed herself as a walking corpse with a perfunctory agenda, waiting to merely complete the steps and get off the ride.

Then at some point this woman has an epiphany in which she sees that she has more to offer the remaining years of her life and a vigor she had forgotten she possessed. These women are phases, or rather – you’re a phase to them. You’re a moment in passing in which they are freeing themselves from a cocoon of their former self and trying to reconcile their identity to a new reality. You are the moment, the merry-go-round. Just keep spinning until the music stops.

Alex walked over and chatted with me and the newly reintroduced into society Stephanie. Alex was a decent enough wingman to give the late-night situation its proper gravitas and allowed she and I enough distance to get to know one another. When the time came, Alex went back to the hotel without either Ike or myself, which I knew troubled him but Ike was engaged with an 8-ball and I was tending to Stephanie.

I walked Alex outside and shook his hand, promising I would check in the next day at some point. I had to since my things were in the hotel but nevertheless, he looked as if he wanted assurances. I told him to punch Ike when he saw him and we both turned away laughing.

My turn was a somewhat clumsy pirouette into a tall red-head with the most beautiful smile I had ever seen.

“Watch where you’re going clumsy boy!”

I apologized profusely, one might even say inordinately. She seemed amused with my embarrassment and sincerity and gave me another couple of heart stopping smiles. She then interrupted my antics.

“Why are you headed back inside if your friend is leaving? What’s waiting for you in there?”

There was something in her voice, all too knowing and too full of mischief. I was speechless for a moment but then gathered up my thoughts quickly.

“The only thing in there is an open tab and my phone, both of which I am not necessarily opposed to walking away from.”

She smiled again and I swear I fucking melted. Completely.

“So close your tab and get your phone and then take me to get coffee.”

I am not even entirely certain I acknowledged her, what with the speed I launched into the bar. I flagged down the bartender and gave him the sign for my check and then walked over to Stephanie. I grabbed her by the shoulders and kissed her deeply on the lips. I told her she was absolutely beautiful and I was sure to regret this decision, but I wasn’t in the mood for a mad fling this particular night. I told her I was tired and had an early flight back to LA the next day and I had to be going. I mentioned my living in LA and her being here and in essence added another tiny little break-up to the pile of heartache she was carrying around but I couldn’t worry about that at this time.

I tried to smile at her as I walked off but she was already angry and ignoring me. I bolted out the door and couldn’t see the redhead anywhere. Once again, I felt my pulse stop – but this time for all the wrong reasons.

who’s your daddy…wait, who’s that?

Growing up naturally means a loss of childhood and with that loss comes the accompanying loss of the magic of things like Christmas morning. I remember waking up at the crack of dawn, bursting out of my head with excitement over the toys I hoped to find under the tree. I would be so giddy on Christmas eve, my mother could barely get me to sleep at all. That’s pretty much how I felt sitting in Q’s, playing pool with Jenny, Harley and Ike. Any time a guy thinks he going to get laid he gets pretty damn happy but it becomes exponentially greater when he thinks he’s going to get it on with two girls he just met. That was me, there on the bar stool, with my own personal Merry Christmas taking shape right in front of me in the visage of two nice young ladies who worked at Hooters.

We played a game of pool, me and Jenny against Ike and Harley, and the flirting between me and Jenny began to increase. I’ve mentioned it before, but I do have a mostly dormant conscience that will rear its head from time to time, generally cherry-picking the most inopportune moments to impregnate the situation with moral consideration. I could see in Jenny’s eyes she was infatuated with the young Dr. Christian Reynolds. He had all of my charm with the added bonus of his medical school pedigree and the ability to turn any woman into a doctor’s wife. The problem was he obviously didn’t exist and this usurper of his identity was a far cry from the stable, career-oriented man she was expecting. This usurper was me, a mostly degenerate but affable fellow with a healthy vocabulary and a predilection for dive bars, tequila and easy women.

This dormant fucking conscience of mine looks up and see’s Jenny’s shimmering green eyes and her intentional mix of girl you take home tonight and girl you take home to mom and starts to grouse about it. Jenny was infatuated with a fabrication. So, while watching her walk around the table and lean over to take her shot, realizing a part of the pose she is striking is for my benefit, I was feeling a slight pang of guilt. At the same time, my mostly devious inner-monologue was making the case that she was infatuated more with the Dr. part and less with me, the actual part. That seemed somewhat superficial to my devious inner-monologue and really constituted a wash as far as matters of conscience should go.

All of these thoughts were interrupted by Harley who came and leaned into me, whispering into my ear, “How’s it going?”

I looked at Harley. Harley didn’t have the look of a woman who was out to marry a doctor. The look she was throwing my way was the same I would get from any woman who wasn’t under the false notion that I was a physician. She had a smile that was telling me she and I could have a lot of fun together and the way she winked at me hinted she probably had undressed me with her eyes at some point. Harley was a force to be reckoned with.

“I don’t know Harley. It’s hard to say. I think Jenny has greater ambitions beyond a night of carnal bliss.”

“Yeah, I was kind of afraid of that. She can kind of be that way. At least you and I can still get it on though.”

She laughed an all too knowing laugh and waltzed over to the table to take her shot. Harley was a sex bomb with the way she moved and the way she conducted herself and she was a thrill to watch. Unfortunately, while I was watching her, Jenny was watching me. She got a little jealous and came back to my bar stool with a slight air of petulance. She didn’t say anything to me but she stuck her tongue out at me as she walked my way and then positioned herself between me and Harley. She was making her point pretty clear.

Jenny was definitely being noticeably aloof toward Harley and Harley was the kind of girl who would only then be inspired to agitate and antagonize her friend. In between shots, Harley started putting a full-court press on me, walking up and slinging her arm around me or standing mere inches away from me, giving me a playful poke and lots of come hither smiles. The two girls, the two friends – the two women I had hoped would become the tandem for my menage-a-trois – were at odds with each other.

Ike noticed the budding rivalry for my, or Dr. Christian’s, affections. As with most mild dilemmas I create for myself, Ike took great joy in watching it play out, so much in fact, that he managed to add to the awkwardness building around us. Thankfully his date, Jane, showed up and, after introductions and a quick drink, whisked him off to another bar, leaving me with Jenny and Harley vying for my attention.

Since there were now only three of us, we decided to play a game of cutthroat, which was quite apropos for how things were starting to pan out. With Ike gone, there was even more time for the flirting and maneuvering between shots. Harley had made the decision that the threesome was no longer possible but felt that the night would be salvaged by the two of us slinking off somewhere and getting sweaty naked. Jenny continued her course of saying enticing things while looking very pretty doing it and hinting that we should make plans for a later date – a proper date. I have to say it again, Jenny would make a beautiful wife some day for some guy who was looking for someone like her. I just wasn’t that guy.

Was I more attracted to Harley because she represented more of an immediate gratification? I would be a liar if I said that didn’t factor in but there was more than that. Harley was sexy and fun – she loved to laugh and looked damn fine doing it. She liked the fact that I was a pretend doctor but it was obvious she didn’t care about it the way that Jenny did. Harley was interested in undressing the man, not the job. She took her shot and turned to me, finding me gazing longingly at how incredible her ass looked in her jeans. Her blond and black streaked bangs were hanging over her left eyes and with a quick toss of the head she flung them from her face. While Jenny was setting up her shot, ignoring us for the time being, Harley walked over to my bar stool, splitting my legs and putting her body up against mine and kissed me – not a peck or a friendly hello but a soft-lipped, tongue filled ‘let’s ditch this place‘ kind of kiss. Once again, I was making out in a bar.

When the kiss ended, the gig was up. Jenny stood at the table looking as if she had just been stabbed. There was an anger welling with hurt in her eyes and she would have ripped Harley’s head off if she could. Harley was still facing me, still pressed against me.

“Is she looking at us?”

I nodded and Harley laughed again.

“Looks like it’s just going to be you and me but I think I can keep you entertained.”

It was my shot and it might have eased the tension had I stood up and walked over to the table, but Harley’s kiss and that damn devilish laugh had me so turned on, my cock was at complete and full attention. So, I’m sitting there with the lovely Harley pressed against me and my erection pressed against her. I didn’t feel like modeling my stiffy for the pool playing crowd so I grabbed Harley and started making out with her again. When we finished our second kiss I looked at her and suggested we make a hasty exit, thinking I could use her to help shield my boner. While we had been lip locked, Jenny apparently had enough and left without saying good-bye.

So ended any chance of two lovely ladies in the sack with me, but…

We hopped a cab and were back at my place within minutes. We didn’t stop making out the entire time and Harley was feeling me up like I was an altar boy. We exited the cab, my little member still at full attention, and stumbled to my door. I pressed her against the door and she started removing my shirt before we ever got it unlocked. I fumbled with my key while deeply involved with Harley’s lips and managed to open the door and fall inside just as my shirt was ripped over my head and my pants were undone.

We navigated my living room while never breaking lips and fell onto the bed, commencing with the rest of the disrobing. She asked for music and so I grabbed the remote to the radio while she plied my neck with kisses. There was a Debussy CD already loaded and that would have to do because there was no goddamn way I was stopping to pull out my iPod.

I won’t bore you with a lot of carnal details but our little tryst turned into a flesh filled fantasy of porntastic proportions. Harley may have been one of the sexiest women I have ever met, from the way she walked, to the way she kissed to the way she fucked me senseless. I will say that, deep in the throes of round two, our sweaty bodies fulfilled with each other once already, she got on top of me and began to ride me in a way only my most secret fantasies could have hoped for, my supine body being pulled into hers as she rocked back, bending her torso back over my knees and with an undulating thrust bringing herself back upright. The intensity in her thrusts continued until a low moan began rumbling inside of her and then she started to yell.

“Fuck me Christian! Fuck me Christian!”

Here’s the deal, somewhere in the progress of the night I had forgotten about the false identity. There I was in the midst of having one of the best sexual experiences of my life and this beautiful girl starts yelling some stranger’s name. I had a moment of shock until I remembered how we got to that point and then a lingering cognitive dissonance as the woman I was fucking was yelling someone else’s name. Then suddenly…I was ok with it.

Harley was having a good time. Dr. Christian Reynolds was having a good time and me, I was having a really good time as well. Thus all was good with the world. Harley stayed the night and when she left the next morning I briefly pondered what might happen if I told her the truth but then decided to let it go. Truth would only complicate things at this point.

Shortly thereafter I quit practicing medicine and went into fields less likely to get me laid. I’m sure somewhere my imaginary mother was very disappointed.

one for me and one for me

I’m not going to wax overly philosophical but living is like surfing. There are moments in which you’re just in the line-up, enjoying the scene and then the water starts to move. You paddle for that swell as a wave begins to crest and you take it as far as you can. That’s the general thought behind this particular day. It started just like any Friday in which I have to pour myself into the office but a set came in and suddenly I’m headed off with two friendly girls and one of them has suggested we have a threesome. I had every intention of riding that wave as long as I could.

Jenny and Harley wrapped up their shifts right about the time my world started taking on the unmistakable tenor of just-past-tipsy. Enough beer had gone from pitcher to gullet to drown the most rational of thoughts and we were in the easy slide of inebriation – some more than others. It became apparent we were losing Cliff pretty quickly. He really was nothing at that point beyond a goofy smile with eyes popping wheelies inside his head. He was just about done by six but he had started a little earlier and he drinks a little faster than I do. Ike was his usual self. It’s not exactly easy to tell the difference between drunk Ike and sober Ike. Some people become heaps of worthlessness but I’ve never seen ike regress into a drooling lump of mush.

We plopped Cliff into a taxi and he didn’t put up much of a fight. He started to protest but then had a ‘fuck me, I’m drunk‘ moment and decided to pull the rip chord. The plan was to head over to Q’s, grab a table and some beers and play pool for a while. With Cliff’s exist, that left what would have been a neat four-pack of two girls and two boys, but one of the girls had made her intentions known to me that we were going to attempt the elusive menage-a-trois later that evening. That left Ike as a fourth wheel, which only makes sense in the world of menage-a-trois. I had no real desire to see Ike naked. I have no real desire to see any man naked and when it comes to threesomes, I’m an advocate of the one boat and two rivers versus the two boats and one river variety.

Here’s where I’ll pull back the curtain just a little bit: guy code. It exists but in an entirely fluid fashion and it’s passed along as are many ancient tribal doctrines, via an oral tradition. Some guys tend to ignore it all together and then wonder why so many other guys think they’re douchebags. There is nothing noble about it but it makes our interactions easier and roughly 99% of it deals with cockblocking, or rather how to avoid doing it. It’s applicable in this story because there are two boys and two girls but one of the boys has a shot at scoring with both of the females. This actually is the royal flush of provisions and pretty much trumps any other scenario. Guy code dictated I had position and Ike had to stand down.

When the girls went to go change out of their Hooters uniforms, I broached the subject with Ike.

“Ok Ike, here’s the deal – Harley thinks she and I can talk Jenny into a three-way with us.”

“What?!? No fucking way! Really?”

“Yeah, she just mentioned it to me. Technically she mentioned it to Dr. Christian.”

“Wow, Dr. Christian has a lot more game than you do.”

I have to admit, he was right and that realization was slightly depressing at the time, but only in passing. I had a shot at the Everest of male sexual fantasies. Frankly, I had never been close before and so, even though at 2/3 of the way there we still had the treacherous 1/3 left to go, the near tangibility of it was titillating. I had never consciously aspired to have a threesome but if it looked like it might fall into my lap then I was going to make sure my lap was accommodating.

“Yes, Dr. Christian has game for sure. Thank god I’m his only beneficiary.”

“Ha! Well said, sport. So do you need me to leave?”

“No, I think that would be a little too transparent. I kind of need you here for a little bit.”

“Say no more, sport. Here’s what we’ll do. I will head out to Q’s with you guys and will shoot a text message over to Jane. She mentioned wanting to meet up with us and so it will work perfectly. We can transition to the new spot and get you situated and then I will have the perfect excuse to make a timely exit. Work?”

Guy code – that’s the kind of magic it can work. I had no idea who Jane was but now we had a plan.

“Perfect.”

Harley and Jenny returned shortly, looking far less Hooterish. It was interesting that before when both were decked out in matching orange shorts and white tank tops, Jenny looked prettier but now that they were wearing street clothes Harley seemed more attractive. Both girls changed into jeans and flip-flops, pretty much the fashion de rigeur for west coast beach cities, but Harley’s ensemble with a white blousey thing and her slightly punk hair worked a little better. She gave me another knowing wink when she walked up.

We all jumped into a cab and headed down the street to Q’s. Now Q’s sets itself up as a billiard bar and there are indeed a lot of pool tables to be found there, but the place is better known as a college crowd, or near college crowd, meat market. It’s the kind of place a guy recently graduated from USC might roll into with a polo shirt with the collar up and work some of his douchebag magic and convince a young lady to hop into the BMW he got for graduation and roll back to the apartment he shares with two other guys. I know this because I have been there and done that, minus the raised collar, USC, the roommates and the BMW. However, since Harley suggested we play pool and the options are somewhat limited it would have to work.

Luckily, we waltzed in before the mad rush of Friday evening had started and we were able to procure a table while the girls went to fetch a round of beers. I am a lousy pool player and all the more lousy once I have been imbibing. As I mentioned earlier, we had moved beyond tipsy during our day of drinking but the brief respite while waiting for the girls and then cabbing over to Q’s cleared my head some. A man should have his wits about him if he’s going to try to get naked with two women. That much I was sure of.

Harley and Jenny each were carrying two beers. I felt a little guilty that they had been bringing us beer all day and were still doing it but that feeling of social consciousness was also fleeting. Jenny made her way over to me and handed me a cold mug of suds. I didn’t ask what I was drinking, but merely thanked her and clinked glasses with her in a toast. She never broke eye contact as she toasted and drank. She had beautiful greenish eyes that seemed to shimmer beneath her long eyelashes. Her eyes were playfully dancing around my gaze. She then raised her right eyebrow.

“Sooo…Harley tells me you kind of like me.”

Aha! Already the crafty little minx was whispering like Iago in Jenny’s ear and filling her full of inspiration. I did like Jenny. She was pretty in an all American kind of way. She was the cute girl at your office or the cute girl in your building. She would make a very cute wife for a man much different from me some day. She would probably marry a man like Dr. Christian, which was why she was smiling so sweetly at that very moment.

“Yes, well, Harley is right. I do like you.”

“Good. Maybe I like you too.”

We toasted again, this time our eyes playfully dancing more Lambada than Foxtrot. Then Harley and Ike wandered over and joined us. Harley wrapped her arm around Jenny’s shoulders.

“So what are you two sexy people talking about?”

She winked at me again. I looked at Ike and he winked at me two. It now seemed like everyone was in on the conspiracy except for Jenny, the most crucial person of all but she seemed at the very least amenable to such a suggestion. Harley then handed me the cue ball.

“You wanna break, doc? I was thinking you and Jen against us…unless you want me and Jen against you.”

Jenny giggled. Harley winked at me again and Ike was just smiling.

So far, I was a pretty big fan of Pioneer Day.

wasted perfection

If you’re reading this it may already be too late. You may be as equally fucked as I am. What I mean to say is that if you show any interest whatsoever in this blog then you suffer from a semblance of the same moral character flaws as do I. You are slightly depraved. That being the case, there may very well have been a moment in which you pondered the perfect buzz, that ethereal state in which sobriety and intoxication are balanced in a sliver of the sublime. You aren’t yet stumbling or slurring and you’re cognizant enough to forgo off-putting conversation topics such as your soft spot for Japanese porn, but the world has a magical quality to it that only that drink, that smoke or that pill can offer. Or maybe, if you’re so lucky, you stumbled across a crystal platter of magical brownies, each with a promise of sweet intoxication and a new perspective denied to those who abstain.

The brownie was hot, gooey fresh in my mouth, oozing with a dark chocolate center but crowned with a crispy, flaky layer on top. I know – that sounds really good right now. I describe myself the exact same way sometimes. I used the back of my hand to wipe off the brownie drip descending from my bottom lip, still clutching the next brownie in my hand. I washed the bite down with a taste of Dom. Who knew fine champagne would pair so well with dark, gooey brownies? Standing on the deck of the boat, with the southern California sun sparkling off the loping waves making their way to shore, I felt entirely at ease with the world. The soft rush of the third, or was it the fourth, glass of champagne to my head left me fizzy from belly to cerebellum and the smile on my face beamed effortlessly at the people standing in front of me. There was Ike, now wearing captain Alavaro’s captain hat, Cindy, still clad in the polka dot bikini and still wrapped around Ike, the captain, now with his hat removed sporting a Shakespearean forehead and well-groomed mane of salt and pepper, and to my right Desi, her warm flesh pressing against me so tightly I could feel each breath she took. Each of us had a flute of champagne in one hand and a brownie in the other. We were embarking on this odyssey as a team, save for one.

Biondetta continued to scorn our company, preferring to sun herself alone on the back of the boat. I had to admit, there was a mild but lingering anxiety over her ominous warning of the “strange trip” coming our way. For some reason, there in the sunny moment of the loosening of reality and the imbibing of both the gifts and the company of our new friends, the name Cassandra was nesting in my thoughts. Did I know a Cassandra? I feel like I may have spent an evening with a Cassie while in Vegas for work once but that was al I could come up with. Did Biondetta remind me of her or was there another Cassandra somewhere, locked within my memory vault created and masked by past nights of brutal debauchery? I still felt like I was missing something.

This pensive moment was interrupted by the soft touch of Desi’s tongue, tracing a small delicate line up my ear lobe. The interruption sent tingles throughout my body and in the tingling the thought was lost. If you have ever partaken of anything other than just a drink then you know there is a moment when things kick in. Sometimes it takes an hour and sometimes it happens much sooner but when it does it’s as if the filter to your world has been removed and every sensation from taste to touch changes. Perhaps Desi’s tongue cued this seismic shift in my reality.

As the tingling reverberated through my spine, rolling into and out of my appendages, I suddenly noticed the blue of the water around us brighten to more of an aquamarine wrapped around crystalline azure. The sunlight that had been merely sparkling on top of the water became diamond-like bolts bouncing off the waves. The warmth of the mid-day sun heated my face, softly burning from my cheeks, down my neck and penetrating to my core. The smell of ocean was everywhere – not dead fish ocean but the salty sea. I turned to Desi who was already making her way to my lips.

Sometimes you kiss someone and it is more of a peck. Sometimes the kiss is just two lips pressed together. I’ve had some women thrust their tongue into my mouth as if it were a sea cave and they were spear fishing. I’ve had some women kiss me with just a frozen, gaping hole of a mouth as if they were waiting to me to plop something in. Some kisses match your movements with their own subtle parries, a sort of coquettish fight against relinquishing. Then there was this kiss, standing on the deck of the boat in the warm sun, that is pure bliss. Her plump lips first touched mine lightly but kept moving into me, until it was if we had melted into one another. My every moment elicited an equal movement from her. Our bodies fully pressed together and we explored each other’s skin, all while our lips remained entwined. Our breathing synchronized and I felt her chest expanding into mine, almost to the point of bursting, before the resulting exhalation pulled our hips together. Her hand moved through my hair sending more goosebumps racing across my body and my hand fell into the small of her back, demanding she find a way to get closer to me. I could feel my heart skipping beats and could feel hers pounding through her breast into me. If anyone ever could have made love with a single kiss then that would have been the one. (yes, I just used the phrase ‘made love’) The entire world around us was lost. When the kiss finally dissolved, I was still holding Desi close to me, our noses touching. Our pose threatened to protract on into eternity were it not for the sound of clapping.

I turned to my right and saw the captain, Ike and Cindy smiling at us and clapping enthusiastically.

“Bravo. Bravo! Encore! Encore!”

The captain was once again bellowing out his ‘as seen on tv’ voice. Ike’s eyes were large like saucers.

“Oh man – oh man. As gross as it sounds sport, that was hot and I kind of want you two to do it again.”

Desi leaned into my left ear, causing more goosebumps to pile up into the goosebumps still coasting across my skin.

“Should we thrill them again?”

“Fuck them, thrill me.”

With that she locked onto my lips again, a kiss melting the two of us once more with the aid of magical brownies and the taste of Dom Perignon. This would be my last coherent memory of the day. This would be the moment on the roller coaster as it slowly climbs along a 70-degree incline and hesitates at the top before rapidly descending into the rest of the ride.

What had I been trying to think of earlier? Fuck it – hold on to your hats and glasses.

sailors do it wetter

There was a moment, standing there on Captain Alvaro’s boat, The Melmoth, in which Biondetta and I locked eyes. She was defiantly glaring at me, perhaps trying to ward me off by letting me know I was not welcome, but at the same time, deep within the dark brown of her eyes, there was a pleading. Was she telling me to leave or was she asking me? I didn’t have time to think about it for very long as the Captain, with his hand still on my shoulder, started pulling me along with him to the front of the boat where Ikemael and the two girls were talking.

“And here is where the party is at!”

The Captain’s bellowing voice had the tone of a circus ringleader or a pitchman for an ‘As seen on TV’ product. He definitely resembled John Waters but he had the feel of some kind of shuckster, a smooth talking gentlemen with a great offer that will only be available for a limited time. He was almost too polite and spoke with a casual formality that seemed more like a presentation and less like conversation.

Ikemael and the two girls, both of whom were now dancing to Kanye’s Gold Digger, looked over at us and smiled. Ikemael raised a flute of champagne to greet us and I saw the girls were holding similar flutes and there was a bottle of Dom Perignon off to the side. Obviously our new friends had more refined palates than the Tecate tainted ones we were sporting. Ikemael raised his right hand and the Captain gave him an enthusiastic high-five. During their exchange the other girl, not Ikemael’s new love, walked over to me and handed me a flute of champagne brimming over with bubbly.

“You look thirsty, Starbuck.”

While I gladly accepted the champagne I cringed slightly at the ‘Starbuck.’ This Moby Dick routine was getting old. As you may expect, there is another Jackson Panic law dealing with attractive women in bikinis who offer you a flute of Dom Perignon. You graciously accept while allowing her to call you whatever the hell she wants.

This new beauty, wearing only the slightest red and white striped bikini, then took my Tecate from my hand and threw it overboard. We then clinked glasses and took a deep drink of the cold champagne. It clashed momentarily with the residual Tecate lingering in my mouth but the fizzy sweetness then came through and it seemed like the perfect drink for this very moment. The bearer of my champagne was playfully smiling at me from behind the glass she held pressed against her lips.

“Thanks for the drink, but my name is not really Starbuck. It’s -”

“It is today, Starbuck. I rather like that name.”

There were strong tones of Italian in her accent. The kind that made you think you could listen to her read the dictionary and find it pretty hot. Of course, it helped that she was standing in front of me in a bikini holding a bottle of Dom Perignon and looked damn fine doing it. Fuck it – if she wanted to call me Starbuck then who was I to argue any differently?

“Okay, Starbuck it is, but I didn’t catch your name.”

“That’s because I didn’t offer it.”

With this she broke into a girlish giggle and took a pull directly from the bottle of Dom and then handed me the bottle, indicating I should do the same. I raised my glass to tell her I had enough of my own but she pushed the bottle playfully into my chest, giving me a look that told me to just do it.

“Forgive Desdemona, young Starbuck, she’s lacking a certain sense of refinement. She loves to drink fine champagne but does so like an eighteen year-old girl at a keg party.”

The Captain was flashing me his incissor-heavy smile once again, with his cigarette firmly clenched and still dangling an extraordinary amount of ash. I looked back at my new lady-friend.

“Desdemona eh? That’s not really one I come across very often.”

I then proceeded to drink directly from the bottle myself, a much bigger drink than Desdemona had.

“Well, now you’ve come across me. Or at least you will if you’re lucky.”

I admit it – I choked, literally. I coughed up champagne onto the back of my left hand that was holding my flute. My eyes watered up and I felt the champagne seeping down the wrong pipe. My current predicament wasn’t eliciting any sympathy from Desdemona though, as I heard her peals of laughter coming from beyond my now blurry vision.

“Careful Desi – you don’t want to kill our new friend with champagne.”

There was something about the way the Captain said it that I didn’t like.

“Are you okay baby?”

Desdemona, or Desi, walked over to me, still giggling, and began rubbing my face.

“Yeah, I just choked a little.”

“Here, I’m sorry for making you choke.”

With that she gave me a quick kiss on the lips. I would have been more grateful had I not still felt the need to cough and were my eyes not still watering, but the kiss was a nice gesture. She remained close to me as I blinked and sniffled a few times.

“I guess I’m not good at holding my liquor.”

“So what are you good at holding?”

It seemed like everything she said was purred forward bursting with double entendre.

“Ah, well, certainly not my own since you definitely got the better of me just then.”

“I’ll let you in on a little secret, Starbuck. I’m going to get the better of you every time. I always end up on top.”

So there I am, a foot away from an attractive woman in a bikini who is feeding me champagne and throwing me lines that carry naughty little promises of promiscuity and the whole thing is playing out next to a group of people who have stopped their conversation and are clearly eavesdropping on ours. I looked past Desi and saw Ikemael, the Captain and the other girl staring at us.

“Do you guys need to be alone? I can take the Captain and Cindy back to our boat if you’d like.”

I couldn’t do anything but blush. The happy threesome was over there laughing and Desi was amused as well and I felt like an awkward asshole unsure of what to say, which doesn’t happen all that often. Desi broke up the stilted moment on my behalf by bending over and picking up a bowl that was sitting off to the side.

“Would you like some pomegranate seeds to go with your champagne? They’re the perfect complement.”

I am not a huge fan of pomegranate seeds but I was just fucking thankful that we might direct the attention to something else besides my choking on Desi’s flirtations. As I was reaching for the bowl, a hand reached past me from behind, grabbing the bowl. I turned around to see Biondetta throwing the bowl overboard. What is it with these people just throwing things into the water?

Biondetta icily glared at me again, “Those things are nasty.”

“Biondetta! What on earth are you doing?”

The Captain’s voice sounded shrill this time and tinged with an unexpected anger. Biondetta wasn’t looking at anyone other than me.

“Believe me, you didn’t want any.”

“I guess I will take your word on that.”

She then turned and walked back to where she had been sunning herself. I pivoted back towards the group and gave them the universal ‘what the fuck’ look. Our three new friends looked very agitated but Ikemael was his usual self, bordering on cackling.

“What the hell was that?”

The Captain looked at Ikemael and smiled a close-lipped smile, excused himself and walked back to Biondetta, leaving me and Ikemael alone with the girls. Cindy, the one person I had not yet met, then extended her hand.

“Hi, I’m Cindy.”

Whereas Desi was clearly from another country and Biondetta and the Captain also seemed foreign, Cindy was without a doubt an American girl. She was tanned, blonde and lacking the subtle beauty of the other two – less mystery but more breasts. I shook her hand and introduced myself.

“So where you girls from?”

Ikemael then slapped me on the back and laughed.

“Good luck with that one brother. I’ve been trying to get that out of them for ten minutes!”

I felt Desi’s arm slink its way around my waist. Quite frankly I didn’t care where they were from at this point, though in hindsight I probably should have. Regardless, when you’re standing on a gorgeous sailboat drinking Dom Perignon and an attractive woman in a bikini has her arm around you – you don’t ask too many questions. That’s a Jackson Panic law.

So how did I get from that point, a virtually perfect one, to hovering over a toilet, sweating bullets and hoping I didn’t die?

how to date a really drunk girl

So, the day after my birthday was a little slow. I never sleep well after a night of drinking and my body punishes me by waking me up at 5:30 in the morning to remind me I’m dehydrated and I really need to pee. When I got out of bed that morning I’m pretty sure I heard my liver moan.

All in all the night before had been pretty successful. We had some laughs, did way too many jagerbombs and I made out with a pretty girl. It might not be epic like a Diddy birthday bash but it was going to be one we remembered for a while. I also had the added bonus of scoring a date with Rachel, the now unemployed waitress. Actually, she had another gig at a bar across town so she technically still had a job but I felt really guilty about playing a part in her dismissal. I made a plan to take her out on a special evening to the philharmonic downtown.

Rachel had mentioned at some point the night before about having an interest in design. I thought she might dig the Frank Gehry designed Walt Disney Center that housed the philharmonic and I was jonesing to get out of the west side for a bit. As much as I bitch about having to leave Venice, I do like to mix things up a bit and a foray into downtown is a perfect remedy. I thought we might stop off for drinks somewhere like Liquid Kitty and then jump on the freeway to go downtown. I made a little romantic plan for a romantic evening that I was pretty sure would end up in another make out session. Little did I know how right I was.

Here’s the thing about plans – they’re good in theory but the execution can be fucking impossible, especially if you have to involve someone else. I hadn’t told Rachel what I had in store for us that night. I told her it would be a surprise. It turned out she liked surprises and had one for me as well. I parked in front of her apartment building and climbed a short flight of stairs to building’s main door. I found her name on the intercom and rang her unit and she buzzed in. I walked through the courtyard to her apartment and found she had opened the door for me.

Her place was pretty simple – a small one bedroom with old wooden floors. She was standing with her purse in her hand and was finishing off what looked to be a martini when I walked in. She smiled at me and chugged the last of her drink and then set the glass down on the counter before bounding over and laying an intensely vodka-laden kiss on my lips. The kiss was more of the let’s get it on than the hello variety but I wasn’t complaining. She asked me what we were going to do and I told her it was still a surprise. This earned me another vodka kiss.

I have to admit, she looked pretty great. I’m a complete sucker for a woman in a dress and she was wearing a little black number that made my pulse quicken a step. Her blue eyes were soulfully hypnotic and would have been enough to keep my attention for a long time but the way she looked in that dress was over the top. I was glad I went to the trouble of getting tickets for the concert.

I walked her to my truck and when I opened her door she decided we needed to make out some more. I had to pry myself away and walk around to my side and get in. The moment I closed the door I could smell booze.

“How many of those martinis did you have to drink?”

She laughed an odd little laugh and told me she had a couple drinks because she was slightly nervous about tonight. She then went into a spiel about how great it was that I was a Pisces since she was an Aquarius. This meant that we were astrologically compatible. This also meant she was a little nutty but that was something I could live with. I got the backstory on her recent dating history and how most Cancers are dicks and her ex, a Gemini, was a latent homosexual. Somewhere in her story telling I noticed the faint suggestion of a slur. A word now and then wouldn’t be finished off or would melt into the next. I was mostly paying attention to driving but I couldn’t help but wonder exactly how many martinis constitute a couple.

I have always liked Liquid Kitty. It’s dark and has a cool vibe with stiff drinks and an interesting clientele. Rachel had never been but seeing as how she was obviously a fan of martinis, I thought it would be a good choice before making the trek inland. It isn’t very crowded when we arrived, probably since it was still pretty early and we easily procured a couple of martinis and a table toward the back.

As soon as we sat down she grabbed me and gave me another kiss. She had full, soft lips – the kind you sink into when you kiss. The kind that make you want to do so much more than kiss. She was also a fully committed kisser, with eyes gently shut and the almost undetectable moan accompanying the deeper ones, and she gave very deep kisses, deep vodka laced ones.

We made a little small talk and sipped our drinks. I figured we had time for one or two before we had to leave but she was guzzling hers down fairly quickly. Now the faint suggestion of a slur was a definitive slur. I decided to go ahead and tell her about my plan, hoping that might encourage her to slow down a little bit.

“Are you ready for your surprise?”

She looked at me expectantly over the rim of the martini glass that was being drained into her mouth.

“I got us tickets to the philharmonic tonight. We’re going downtown to the Disney Center.”

She didn’t set her glass down as much as she slammed it and grabbed my face and planted her tongue, now pickled in vodka, into my mouth. Her left arm wrapped around my waist and she slid her hand down the back of my jeans. The soft moaning of her previous kisses was amplified this time and in the midst of her groping attack she knocked my glass over with her right arm.

“Oh my god! I am such a klutz!”

I might have gone with ‘drunk‘ myself but I didn’t take the time to correct her as vodka was threatening to spill over the table and into my lap. I jumped up and ran over to the bar to grab some napkins. The bartender saw the entire disaster and tossed me a towel as I approached.

“I’ll make you another,” was all he said to me.

I returned to the table and wiped up the mess while Rachel was laughing and going on about how clumsy she was. Again, I would have probably said ‘intoxicated’ myself but I wasn’t going to quibble with her. The bartender walked up with another martini and I handed him his towel. He told us to be careful and didn’t look pleased that we were spilling vodka in his bar.

Rachel had finished her drink and was taking a sip of mine when I sat down again.

“Whoa there hotstuff – not sure you need that as much as I do.”

This made her laugh a lot, which apparently made her really horny because she began groping me like mad again.

“Rachel, come on. Settle it down some. At least give me a roofie and tell me I’m pretty before trying to cop my manhood.”

This was apparently hysterical as Rachel began to convulse with laughter and in the process knocked over my newly repoured drink. Surprise! She’s wasted.

You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.

“Oh my god! I did it again!”

Yes, she had done it again much to my chagrin and the glaring disapproval of the bartender who was already making his way back to us again. I righted the glass and grabbed Rachel by the hand and stood up. It was time to leave. I threw another two dollars down on our table and as we passed the bartender I said, “Thanks, we’ll be leaving now.”

I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have had a choice in the matter. As we were walking to the car, Rachel started up with some light date rape again, shoving her hand down my pants. Look, I’m not the prudish sort but I would like to be able to walk unmolested. It’s difficult to walk when a woman has her hands down your pants. It became clear to me there was no way I was going to be able to take her downtown and sit through a concert. I put her in the truck, walked around to the driver side and got in.

“You know what Rachel – I think we should do the philharmonic another night.”

“Why?”

“It’s just a long trip downtown and I think we should do something local.”

“Oh, I was really looking forward to hearing some music.”

“Well, we can still go her some music. How about Harvelle’s?”

She lit up with the suggestion and slurred me her approval. Harvelle’s is a cool little blues joint in Santa Monica. It’s another dimly lit place that serves stiff drinks, which really was a bad idea in hindsight but I needed a drink at this point.

When you enter Harvelle’s you walk through a narrow aisle between the tables against the wall and the bar. The place is long and not very wide, with a stage crammed in the back. You can catch some really talented acts from time to time on a good night. I knew the minute we walked in, this was a good night.

I stopped at the bar and ordered a vodka soda and a water for Rachel. I had gently suggested we drink some water on the way over and she had agreed mostly due to the fact that she wasn’t listening because she was trying to slide her hand past my seatbelt and into the front of my pants. She wasn’t a very good passenger.

I handed Rachel her drink and she threw her arms around me to either give me the biggest hug of my life or put me in a sleeper hold. It was really hard to tell at the time. Regardless, she did it with such vigor that she flung her glass out of her hand and sent it smashing into the wall. I have seen some people do some clumsy things when drunk but throwing a glass into a wall while trying to hug someone was a first for me and everyone else around.

Since we had just walked in and Rachel hadn’t said much, we were still in the bar’s good graces and they laughed at the pretty but clumsy girl and gave her another water, which she set on the bar safely this time. Suddenly Rachel decided we needed to dance. She took off toward the back of the bar where the stage and a makeshift dance floor were. She had me by the hand, dragging me along, and was moving with purpose. Unfortunately, in her purposeful walk, her foot became entangled with a woman’s purse that was sitting on the floor. Somehow she had slid her foot through one of the straps. Instead of doing the normal thing and reaching down and loosening her foot, she decided to kick herself free. She kicked her foot a couple of times, sending the purse flying about three feet before it spilled out all over the floor. Again, a normal person would have stopped and apologized while helping to round up the contents of the purse. Rachel was not normal. She continued storming towards the dance floor, oblivious to the mess she had just made. As she dragged me past the woman who was now screaming and cursing while picking up her stuff I mumbled a feeble ‘sorry.’

We made the rest of the very short walk without further incident but it was extremely awkward as the woman whose purse we had just kicked across the room was ten feet away. Rachel didn’t care or perhaps never noticed. As soon as we got to the floor she put both hands on my ass and began grinding into me. It was drunk girl dirty dancing. I wasn’t really dancing. I was moving around a lot but mostly to fend off her hands that seemed to want to tear off my pants. I’m only slightly exaggerating. The entire three minutes and twenty-six seconds we were on the floor were dedicated to not getting felt up in front of a room of strangers, one of whom wanted to punch my date. Finally, the lead singer of the band, an old black man in a suit and tie, told us we needed to get a room. The only way to keep from getting strip searched right there was to start making out with Rachel, which distracted her from disrobing me in public. I then told her I wanted to leave.

It was the same ritual back to the truck this time, more groping and date raping. Again, having an attractive woman run her hands all over me is generally a good thing but this just wasn’t working for me. I pointed the truck in the direction of her apartment but a few blocks away she realized what I was doing and began pleading with me not to take her home. Our entire date so far was little over an hour but it seems longer when you’re constantly being molested. I guess this was how altar boys felt.

I decided to take her back to my place and give her some coffee and see if she might sober up some. She was pretty enthusiastic about coming back to my ‘stabbin cabin’ as she called it but as soon as she sat down on my couch she passed out. I’m talking within seconds of ass touching sofa she was asleep. I threw a blanket over her and let her sleep it off.

In the morning, she woke up mortified. She was still in her black dress and her face was smeared with mascara. She didn’t remember coming back to my place and apologized profusely. I told her it was fine and she made me promise I would take her out again.

We didn’t really talk on the ride back to her place. I dropped her off at the curb and again she made me promise I would call her later. She walked back upstairs, presumably to continue sleeping off the night before and I went out for coffee.

I never did call her. Is that a dick move on my part? It’s hard to say really. Generally I’m the drunk one so I wasn’t sure how to handle her. I did hear through the grapevine that she started dating a guy in my neighborhood and moved in with him shortly after our night out. I hope that guy likes to drink.

I feel like there should be a moral to the story, some little piece of redeeming information that you can take with you and makes your life a touch better as a result.  Not that every story needs a moral but in this case I would say: you can lead a drunk girl to water but you can’t keep her from throwing the fucking glass against the wall.

why is everything shaking?

Some mornings are better than others. Some are glorious and sunny with birds singing and my surfboard calling, but some are less so, with a lingering taste of whiskey in my mouth and my sinuses feeling as if someone packed my head with glue. Add your very first earthquake to the mix and you’ve got yourself a hell of a way to welcome the day.

About a year after moving to LA, I needed to find a new apartment commensurate with my ever-dwindling income. I was taking more short-term writing gigs and going on more auditions, which mostly amounted to spinning my wheels and not getting anywhere. I met this guy named Derek, a struggling actor who was looking for a roommate. He’d landed a role shortly after arriving in LA from Indiana when he was just 21. It was a soap opera but I can’t remember which one because they all seemed the same to me. He made some money and booked a few commercials but then began to flame out in brilliant Hollywood fashion under a gathering storm of cocaine, amphetamines and booze. He wasn’t much better off than me when we met except for the fact he had a two bedroom apartment and needed a renter, a cheap one.

You can’t be involved in entertainment in this town without doing a stint in the Valley. The place is a mecca for the self-proclaimed talented but ceaselessly unemployed artisan class. I did my time in Sherman Oaks, just off the 101 with easy access to Hollywood, Burbank and wherever else I needed to be. The apartment itself couldn’t have been more generic, a meditation on dingy gray and depressingly off-white. The place had no AC and so the summer months our abode served as an oven. Luckily there was a pool right outside our balcony and so much of the time I should have spent writing was spent swimming, soaking really.

Everyone in our building was roughly the same age and in similar circumstances. They were all actors and writers and we all knew of the failures and successes of everyone else. If the guy down in 3C booked a commercial you knew about it and if the girl across the patio got stand in work for Jessica Alba, then you jumped the tiny fence of her balcony and gave her a bottle of wine. Our neighbor to the right was a very pretty born-again from Minnesota who would sit out on her balcony reading the bible. She was a dancer. Our neighbor to the left was also a dancer but her costumes consisted mostly of pasties and she did her dancing to Motley Crue and the rest of the strip club repertoire. She would phone me up from time to time and ask me to come over and reattach the pole she had installed in her bedroom. I must have put that thing back up for her at least four times but each time I made sure my work was just suspect enough so I would have to return and secure it again. She would usually do a little number for me as a way of saying thanks and I might end up staying the night. I was a writer not a carpenter so it didn’t seem all that odd I did shoddy work.

This was my community, almost my family at the time. In most other cities, young people with our abject lack of work ethic and questionable moral fabric would be seen as the lost ne’er-do-wells of Generation X, but in a city in which one three-minute monologue can catapult you into fame, we were doing alright.

One night Derek, me and the dancers, he preferred the one with the bible, were out celebrating. Derek seemed to have a fetish for women who claimed they were pure. I knew our born-again friend liked to drink but I suspected his amorous gestures would be deflected off of her black bible belt of chastity. Lucy, the other dancer, was more my speed since she didn’t wear a belt and didn’t know the meaning of chastity. The four of us spent the entire night sipping cocktails at a joint off of Ventura Boulevard. It was a lounge with hip tunes played at soft volume and the kind of dim lighting that permitted Lucy’s spindly white legs to either be draped over or wrapped around mine. We ended up in a drunk, mushy mess of flesh, nearly undressing one another in the club and then losing her panties in the cab ride home.

We woke up naked and hungover in my bed. I had a head filled with concrete and a high plains dehydration tearing down my throat. I stumbled to the bathroom to dunk my head into the water-filled sink and then cupped my hands to drink straight from the faucet. I had the decency to throw on some boxers before making my way to the kitchen, where I found Derek standing next to the sink. It was 7am and he was standing in the clothes he had worn the night before, sweating slightly with red eyes bulging out of his face. He had one of those tiny bottles of tequila they sell in the liquor store and you sometimes get on a flight when you order a drink. He was chasing the tequila with an herbal tea and appeared to have been up all night doing blow. Derek and I weren’t really friends as much as roommates. It was a civil arrangement that allowed us to co-habitate without some of the baggage of actually becoming friends. Still, I was concerned about his general welfare.

“Derek…you going to be okay?”

His head darted in my direction and I could see his pupils were nearly as big as his corneas.

“Yeah, I’ll be fine.”

I wasn’t sure whether I would be fine though. I found an old plastic cup from 7-11 and filled it to the brim. I walked back into the living room and plopped down on our old beige sofa that sagged in the center. I drank as much as I could from the Super Big Gulp cup and set it down before placing my head in my hands. I needed just another thirty minutes to get past the headache and nausea and then I would be fine. I looked up and immediately began to feel dizzy. The TV was playing a remake of Godzilla and looked to be shaking back and forth with the terrible lizard. I stood up determined I should go back to bed as the hangover was much worse than I had imagined.

Then Derek began to scream.

“Earthquake! It’s a fucking earthquake.”

He was right. It wasn’t just me. The entire room was moving. The lamp over our kitchen table was swinging to and fro from the chain that held it to the ceiling. I had no idea what to do because I had never been in an earthquake. It felt as if we were at sea, my equilibrium being thrown off, and the pictures on the wall were rattling off of their hooks.

Derek had run into the living room and was still screaming.

“Don’t panic! Don’t panic! Find somewhere safe!”

I had no idea what that meant but Derek was not really helping in the don’t panic department. I looked out through our sliding glass door that led to the balcony and to the pool and I could see water sloshing out of it as it shook. Right about that time Lucy came running out of the bedroom, completely naked, and nearly falling on the floor. She came in an ivory flash from my periphery vision and I turned just in time as she collided into my arms and wrapped herself around me.

Derek was still screaming.

“We’re going to be fine. We’re going to make it.”

I had never learned the protocol for dealing with an earthquake. I yelled over to Derek, “What should we do?”

He looked at me with his red eyes now threatening to eject from his skull and screamed, “Go to the hallway! No wait – stand in a door frame! Just get away from anything glass!”

Before I could do anything the rolling stopped. The overhead light in the kitchen was still swinging and the water in the pool was still sloshing but the earthquake was over. It had been a few seconds of shaking and panic and it was done.

I stood there holding naked Lucy and kissed the black spider tattoo she had on her shoulder. She wasn’t saying anything and wasn’t moving. Derek was in the middle of the living room with both of his arms extended and his face looking savagely wild.

The three of us stood in place for a few more seconds before it finally settled into our fuzzy little brains that the event had ended. Derek collapsed on the sofa and I picked up Lucy and carried her back to my bed. As I walked down the hallway she whispered, “That was scary.” I placed her into bed, kissed her forehead, grabbed a pair of sweats off of the floor and walked back into the kitchen.

I decided to make some coffee but had to take a moment to gather myself. I took a few deep breaths and managed to shake off the shock and regain my composure.

That was my first earthquake. I had never felt the earth move like that before. On the Richter scale it was nothing. I have been in worse ones since – some that roll, some that jolt and some that shake but I have never been in anything like I saw today on the news. The Richter scale increases exponentially so that today’s quake in Japan is 3000 times more powerful than the quake we had in 1994 in Northridge, CA. I saw on the TV that it lasted for thirty seconds but some areas reported five minutes! I could not imagine being in that situation for that long and then I cannot imagine the horror of everything that has followed.

My little sliver of perspective is a mere hiccup in light of all Japan has gone through but it was terrifying enough to me. My thoughts are with the people there whose lives have been altered and I wish them the best. Wherever she is, I’m certain Lucy feels the exact same way.