Friday, October 30, 2009

Shoot first, aim later

Guess it's time for real update vs. a chapter in a story that maybe I'll do something with sometime.

Passed the six month mark at the job and in the port of last resort. It's a slow Friday and I'm being lazy. I should be working on a story proposal but I just don't feel like it right now. I need to chill.

The bloom is off the rose. I don't regret anything but now that the first six months has passed, the newness with it is gone. Yes, I'm back. Yes, I proved I could still do it. The game has changed a little since I left. Lot more shoot first, aim later. I still have game. Move over, Brett Favre, I'm back. All that shit.

And it's still not enough. I'm passed four years without a drink and almost three years without a smoke. I sometimes crave the latter, I'm doing fine without the former.

I've been on some dates since I've been out here but nothing took. There were two that I liked but they didn't go any where. Next weekend, in a most un-Rambler move I am going to New Mexico for a few days to reconnect with a friend/lover who will be there for a conference or something. I need to get away. The job is very draining and I'm as hard on myself as ever.

Still doing the AA thing. Meetings here are different but I'm not going to bore you with all that crap. I still go five-to-six times a week and am gradually getting to know people. It's not easy. I had risen pretty high up the ranks of the recovery chain in NYC and now I'm at the bottom again.

I am reworking my steps and was doing my inventory or resentment list as it is sometimes known and I think I'm my biggest resentment. Yes, I still hate myself.

And, if you've been paying attention, I've been trying to do some more creative writing. That last effort is not finished but for now I need a break from it. I have an idea for another story that isn't quite so tawdry.

On the family front, life is creeping up. Got a brother who is having heart surgery and a mother who has seen better days.

That's the update.

One of those days

Saturday, October 24, 2009

She's Nothing But Trouble XIV

They say you can control if you go out. You can't control if you come back.

Now I know what they meant. I had often wondered how I'd go. To be honest, I always figured I'd have coke-induced heart attack after a night with a whore, porn, phone sex and loneliness. Then I'd rot for at least three days before someone would come looking for me. Hopefully there'd be enough food in the cat dishes so they wouldn't start chewing on me. And until the toxicology came back, my mom would think I just had some undetected heart defect. I was usually pretty good at cleaning up the scene of the crime after my binges.

Then I got sober and the grim reality that I might actually live a long time started to sink in. We all keep living longer and I'm not so sure it's such a good idea. We're not built to take care of all these 80 year-olds. I'd rather go out while I was still in control of my shit.

And now I wasn't in control of anything. I was the wrong place at the wrong time guy you always read about in the New York Post. There would be a page one story in The New York Times when this was all over about how the lives of two New Yorks converged in one bloody night in East Harlem. Some 25 year-old chump would write the story I dreamed of writing that would win the Pulitzer. He'd feast off of our wrong turn. Hell, it would probably become a book and then a movie.

On the plus side, everyone who thought they knew me would be blown away at how I went out. Every girl I'd ever been with would suddenly reevaluate every minute we were together to see what signs they had missed. They'd count their blessings and instead of some sarcastic asshole who couldn't be faithful that they'd wasted a few years with, I'd become their cautionary tale. Their brush with danger.

"Did you know he was into all that?," their friends would ask.

"Well, he definitely had an edge to him," the girls all say back.

Yes, I was about to die and this was the kind of shit running through my head. Audrey was on the couch with her head resting on her knees. Jake's eyes were closed and he was talking to himself and holding Audrey's hand. I was still in the kitchen looking at a half-empty beer calling my name. Fuck it, if I was going out I must well have some more beer. I reached out and grabbed the bottle and chugged it down. Victor turned and looked at me and didn't say anything. In fact no one was saying anything. Lucia was passed out or in shock. Tino had wrapped her hand and at least stopped the bleeding. I don't think that finger is getting back on her hand. When Victor looked away from me I slipped the bottle into my pocket.

"Can I have a cigarette," I asked Victor.

"Fuck, I don't care, have your last cigarette," he said.

I reached into my pocket and grabbed a fresh pack and opened it up and lit a smoke. Audrey looked up at me. I shrugged and tossed her the pack. She took one, lit it and handed the pack to Jake. Pretty soon the whole room was smokey. Victor opened up the window, the one I had almost climbed out of earlier for a smoke. The one with the fire escape.

I didn't know what my plan was, but getting that window open was definitely part one. Part two somehow involved the bottle and the knife that I was still carrying and part three would have something to do with that stash of money.

While I was busy fantasizing, Ricky walked over to Hector and whispered in his ear.

"Shit man, I don't care. Do what you want," Hector said.

Ricky then walked over to the couch and grabbed Audrey.

"Get off of me."

"Come on honey, time to have some fun."

"Don't do this," she pleaded.

"Don't fight it," he said.

He pulled her from the couch and dragged her to the bedroom. Audrey grabbed her purse. Jake and I sat there like pussies. To be fair, there wasn't much we could do and honestly, it was now two against two.

I looked over at Jake and tried to make eye contact but he was still in another world.

"Jake, you OK?"

"No, I'm not OK. I'm not OK at all. I don't even know what I'm doing here. I don't even know you. An hour ago I'm sitting in a bar minding my own business and now I'm about to die. I mean, what the fuck?"

"Yeah, it's messed up."

Just then there was noise from down the hall. Audrey was screaming and then there was a loud crash.

"Now shut up already bitch," Ricky said.

I could hear him tearing at her dress. I looked out the window and in the building across the way but no one looked back.

The bed in the other room begun to squeak. Audrey was crying. Ricky was breathing heavy. The bed begin to really crash into the wall. All of a sudden the noise stopped. I looked at Jake and then at Victor and Hector. Then the bed started to move again.
I grabbed another cigarette and had just lit it when Audrey screamed again.

"No, don't please."

There was another crash and Audrey screamed again.

Victor nodded at Hector who went down the hall to see what was going on.

Hector knocked on the door.

"Ricky, what the fuck?," Hector said.

There was no answer.

I could hear Hector start to open the door. Victor also moved towards the hallway. I reached into my pocket and got the bottle out. Tino watched me and nodded his head and grabbed another bottle.

Hector opened the door.

"Ricky? Girl what the fuck did you do. Fuck"

Now it was time for Hector to scream. It was more of a gurgle. He came staggering out of the hall clutching his throat as blood spurted out on the floor and collapsed into the living room

Not wanting to waste a moment and having no idea what the fuck was going on I threw my bottle as hard as I could at Victor and got him in the back. Tino then smashed him in the head with his bottle and shoved him to the ground, grabbed his gun and pumped two bullets into him.

Audrey came out of the bedroom covered in blood.

"Are you OK."

"No, I'm not OK, I'm pretty fucked up. But that mother fucker's dead."

"I think everyone's dead," I said.

"Except us."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

She's Nothing But Trouble XIII

The butt of the gun clipped me on the side of the head. It hurt. At least it wasn't a bullet. Small favors.

If that wasn't bad enough, the impact of the hit sent me flying into the wall and then I hit the ground and landed right on the empty bottle in my jacket, which promptly shattered sending glass fragments into my chest and stomach. Audrey screamed and Jake turned around and ran back to the door. The guy who hit me went after Jake, got him by the back of his jacket and threw him to the ground. Another guy came out of door two with a gun drawn. Audrey's ring was definitely not worth all this.

"Where do you think you're going?," he barked.

"Uh, I was ... "

I rolled over on my back and said, "He was going to put another quarter in the meter."

That got me a swift kick in the ribs which had the dual effect of reminding me about restraint of pen and tongue and driving a few more glass fragments into me.

"You think you're funny?," our host asked. "Who the fuck are you anyway."

Audrey, the public relations expert decided this would be a good time to explain our presence and try out her

"Hi, I'm Audrey. We were here earlier and left something here and came back to get it," she said in her calm voice.

"Oh yeah, what'd you leave?," psycho number one asked.

"I left a ring here," Audrey said. "I'm Audrey, by the way, what's your name."

I was still on the ground and in pain or I would've rolled my eyes.

"I heard you the first time bitch." Then he looked down at me and Jake, who was also still on the ground.

"And who the fuck are these two?"

Audrey introduced us. Shouldn't someone say what a lovely evening and would we like some tea?

"Get up," psycho number one said to me and Jake.

Jake hopped up. Me? I took a little longer. Too long I guess because the next thing I knew psycho number two was grabbing me and pulling me up. Then we were escorted down the hall and into the living room.

Once in there we were greeted by the sight of Lucia and Tino bound and gag to their chairs in the little kitchen and a third psycho standing by them. Lucia and Tino looked at us and each other.

"Who are they?," psycho number one asked Lucia and Tino.

Psycho number three took off Tino's gag.

"They're nobody man. Just customers," Then to us, "Audrey, what the fuck are you doing back here?"

"I came back for my ring," she said.


"Yeah, that one stole my ring."

Tino looked at Lucia who rolled her eyes.

"That's it, they're customers?," said psycho number one.

"Yeah Victor, that's it they don't have anything to do with this shit so let them go."

I resisted the urge to say that sounded like a good plan.

Victor looked us all over and then looked at Audrey.

"Where's this ring you came for?," he asked.

Audrey looked at Lucia and pointed.

"It's on her hand," she said.

Victor looked at the psycho number three.

"Ricky, get this bitch her ring back from that bitch."

Ricky walked over to Lucia and without hesitating pulled out a knife and cutoff her ring finger and tossed it, ring attached at Audrey.

"There's your ring bitch, " Ricky said while blood spurted out of the base of where Lucia's ring finger used to be and she bit through her gag and screamed. Ricky grabbed a beer from the table and poured it onto Lucia's wound.

"That'll keep it clean babe."

"Aren't you going to take your ring Audrey?," Victor asked.

Audrey looked at Lucia's finger on the floor and threw up.

"Whoa, you better not puke on me bitch," Victor said. Then he bent over and picked up the finger and put it in Audrey's face.

"Now take your ring back. You came all this way for it."

Audrey reached out and took the ring off the finger and then started to run down the hall when psycho number three grabbed her.

"Let me go, I'm going to throw up again."

"Let her go Hector, it's OK."

Hector let Audrey go and she ran in the bathroom and we all got to hear her barf into the toilet.

I looked over at Lucia whose eyes were moist and her skin was pale. She was still bleeding profusely and looked like she was going into shock.

I looked at Victor, who was still holding Lucia's finger.

"Can we at least put the finger on ice," I said.

"What?," Victor said.

"It could still be reattached."

"You care about her?," Victor asked me. Then he threw the finger at me, took out his gun, walked over to Lucia and pointed it her head.

I caught the finger and staggered to the kitchen. My head still hurt but I wasn't bleeding. My chest was cut up from the bottle and blood had soaked through my shirt, but I was OK. I opened the freezer and put Lucia's finger on ice.

"Victor, don't," Tino pleaded.

"What? You think you have any say in what happens to her, Tino. You're next you don't give me what I'm after."

"I told you, I don't have it."

The toilet flushed. Audrey came out and walked back towards us.

"You feel better honey?," Victor asked.

Audrey kept silent.

"Hope you at least brushed your teeth. I don't want to be tasting puke later."

Audrey started to back down the hall but Hector grabbed her arms.

"Just stay there," Hector said.

I opened the fridge and grabbed a beer and twisted the cap off.

"What the fuck are you doing?," Victor asked. "You just open up someone's fridge and take what you want? Who the fuck raised you?"

"Sorry, I'm thirsty."

"Put the fucking beer down and get over there and sit down. Hector, put the other two over there."

I sat in a chair at the table by the kitchen while Audrey and Jake were shoved on the couch.

"You're awfully quiet big boy," Hector said to Jake.

Jake sat there. His eyes were tearing up.

"Don't kill me," he said.

"Yeah, it's a little late for that," Victor answered. "You're all dead."

Sunday, October 11, 2009

She's Nothing But Trouble XII

"So Jake, what's your story," I asked our guest.

"Uh, what do you mean," he said.

"I mean, what do you do in our fair city?"

"Oh, I'm an actor and a personal trainer."


Damn. I thought for sure he was some Wall Street douche bag or lawyer. I felt a little guilty about dragging some struggling actor into our little drama to be a backup in a fight he doesn't know he's about to walk into. Oh well. When you're on the way down, you take hostages.

Our cab moved pretty fast. We were already at 105th Street.

"You been in anything I would've seen?" I asked. I don't know why I was so chatty. I hated people.

"I don't know. I've done some commercials and theatre, nothing big."

"Holy shit, I know where I've seen you," Audrey suddenly chimed in.

"Where?," Jake said.

"You were in that commercial for Tratorria's. You're the `try the gnocchi' guy."

Tratorria's was this cheesy restaurant chain that made Olive Garden look like Rao's.

"Yeah, that was me," Jake said excitedly.

"That ad's been on for like, what, three years?," she asked.

"Something like that. I still get a check every now and then."

I finished Jake's beer and handed Audrey the empty.

"What am I supposed to do with this?," she said.

"I don't know, put it in your bag."

"Fuck you," she said, tossing it on my lap. I grabbed it and stuck it inside my pocket.

"Hey, you got any more beers," Jake said. "I barely got any of that one."

"Sure gnocchi guy," Audrey said handing him one.

"What about me?" I asked.

"Suck on the empty," she said.

"I do something wrong," I asked.

"You know what you did," came the response.

"No, I know what I'm doing and I know what I didn't do so I don't see the problem."

"The problem is that it shouldn't have even been an issue in the first place."

Great, I failed the man test without even failing it.

The cab pulled was stopped at 112th. I looked down the street and saw a group of people hanging outside a church having a smoke and drinking coffee. Audrey and Jake watched me watching them.

"What, is it bingo night there or something?" Jake asked.

"Yeah, something like that," I said. Although this was out of my neighborhood, I thought I actually recognized a dude there from my lunch meeting. A crackhead named Edwin who kept going in and out. Looked like he was in tonight.

The light turned and the church disappeared from view. About a minute later we were at 116th. The cab stopped. Audrey paid and we all got out.

"Hey can I get a swig," I said to Jake when we were on the street.

"Sure," he handed me his beer.

I took a sip and handed it back and lit a cigarette and looked up the street at Tino's building. There were still people hanging on the street but the stoop itself was clear.

"We going to call first?," I asked.

"We don't need to," Audrey said. "You know Tino. We can just pop in."

"Great, I'm sure drug dealers love the pop-in as much as us regular folks."

Jake laughed a nervous laugh.

"Don't worry, Jake. He's just being a jerk and anyway, you're a big guy."

"Yeah, Jake you'll be fine. I'm going to get a pack of smokes."

I turned and walked to the corner bodega and bought some Marlboros. I don't know why. I had a pack-and-a-half in my jacket and she had at least a pack.

While I was pulling out my wallet I looked in the mirror above the register and saw four guys in the back just hanging out. They caught my glance and I looked away and when the cashier handed me my change I hustled out of there. I'd made the fatal New York mistake and made eye contact with strangers and I don't know why but those guys gave me a bad vibe. Actually, I did know why. They looked like bad guys. The last thing I needed to be was an appetizer for whatever their big meal was.

"OK, boy and girl ready to roll?," I said when I hit the street.

We crossed the street and headed to Tino's building. Audrey tried the door and it was locked. She started to hit the buzzer.

"I thought the buzzer was broke," I said.

"Maybe you should call," Jake said.

Audrey kept pushing the button when all of a sudden the door buzzed and I grabbed it.

"Well, I guess it got fixed," she said.

We started the climb up the stairs. It was quieter now. I was in the lead with Audrey next to me and Jake behind. It was not the order I would have chosen.

We reached the top of the stairs and I knocked on the door, which was slightly ajar.

"Come on in," a new voice said.

I looked at Audrey and raised my eyebrows a little. Her eyes said "what?" back at me.

I rolled my eyes and pushed the door open and walked in with Audrey and Jake behind me. The long hall was dark as was the living room but there was light coming from the kitchen.

"We're in the kitchen," the voice said again as we proceeded into the hallway. The door had just shut behind us and I was getting ready to say something when I felt a breeze as door number two suddenly swung open I turned quick enough to see the gun, but not quick enough to get out of the way.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Of You

Caught a whiff of you tonight.
Missed the scent and the pain I know so well.
Chased after for a little while.
Then opted for a fresher hell.

Searching for a new wound.
Something else to lay me out.
Some other blood ready to spill.
Some other pain to break my will

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

She's Nothing But Trouble XI

"Can we at least finish our drinks first," I pleaded with Audrey.

She grabbed hers and chugged it and slammed it back down on the bar so loud that even the bartender looked up.

"Done. Let's go."

"Look, we need a plan. We can't just go barging back in there."

"You're right. I'll call, tell him that bitch stole my ring and I need it back and he'll come right down here with it."

"Sounds good, lets do that."

"Look, I'm going up there, you coming or you going to let me go up there by myself."

I love when women whip out that one. She's about to do something stupid and if I don't go along I'm a pussy who won't fight for her honor. I've been there before and when a girl thinks you won't go to the mat for her you're done. Once years ago this guy kept grabbing my date's ass. We were all sitting together and he was drunk. She could've moved her seat but didn't. I, of course, offered to say something and she said no. The point was that I shouldn't have offered, I should've gotten up and punched the guy out.

And she was right. I should've and that was among the five moments in my life I'd like to do over again. I'll tell you the four other ones later although I have a feeling that one of them is about to be replaced.

"Why can't you call Tino and see if he can get the ring back," I asked.

"Hello? Did you not figure it out? She runs the show. He's afraid of her."

"So am I," I said only half-kidding.

"Anyway, I don't think she took it to keep it, she's going to sell it so we need to move."

"What, is it worth that much?"

"It's not worth a ton but she doesn't know that."

"See, I don't think she took to to sell. I think she took it to get at you," I said.

"Fine, I don't really a give a shit why she took it or what her deep psychological reason for it was. I just want my mother fucking ring back. I told you, my dad gave that to me before he died."

That sealed it. Yes, we were going back to 116th Street.

"OK, fine. Let me get one more beer and give me some fuel. If I'm going to get killed I don't want to feel it."

"Fine," Audrey said, reaching into her purse and handing me a pack of a cigarettes. "It's in there."

"Just like I used to do," I said grabbing the pack and heading off to the bathroom.

I walked to the back of the bar and stopped by the jukebox.

Well some say life will beat you down
Break your heart, steal your crown
So I started out for God knows where
But I guess Ill know when I get there

I listened to Petty until the end of the song and when it was followed up with Journey I went into the bathroom. Fuck. There was no lock on the door. I'd have to hit the stall and be quiet. Oh well, I was a pro. I went into the stall just as someone else came into to use the urinal. I waited until I heard a flush and then used the noise as a cover to do a couple of bumps. I got that nice quick jolt and an almost instant drip. I flushed my toilet and walked out of the stall. The other guy was at the sink washing up as I walked up, still sniffing slightly.

"You carrying?," he asked.

"Huh?," I said pretending not to understand what he was saying.

"You got any you can spare. Just say yes or no, but don't pretend man, I could hear your teeth grinding from outside the can. I just need a little hit."

He didn't look like a cop and I had to think that a cop would have something better to do then hangout in some wannabe Irish bar busting Upper East Side douche bags. On the other hand, if I were a cop that's what I'd want to do. Plus if I did get busted it would get me out of going back to East Harlem.

"Sure man, help yourself," I said, handing him the smokes.

"Wow, thanks man, appreciate it. I'm Jake," he said holding out his hand.

I shook it and introduced myself. He went into the stall and got a fix and came back out.

"Thanks again, good shit."

"Yeah, it's fresh. Not cut up with crap," I said.

"You got any you want to sell?"

"I don't, but I know someone who does if you want to take a little trip."

"Where?," he asked.

"116th Street?"

"Uh ..."

"Hey, I know, but it's for real. I'm not trying to rip you off. You found me. My girlfriend's at the bar and we were just going up there on a run so if you want to come feel free. It's safe," I said.

He thought about it for a few minutes and then said, "fuck it, lets do it."

The two of us headed out of the bathroom and I led us over to Audrey who was already by the door.

"Audrey, this is Jake."

Audrey looked at Jake and me and Jake again.

"Uh, hi. You two know each other?"

"Not exactly, but Jake wanted to go with us on our little errand. Seems he needs some supplies. Tino won't mind us coming with some new business, right?" I asked with what for me passes for a wink.

"No, that should be just fine," Audrey said giving Jake a once over.

"Who knows, maybe we'll get a discount for the referral," I said getting a laugh out of her and Jake.

The three of us headed out into the street and started to look for a cab. Jake looked just a tad apprehensive.

"You good?," I asked.

"Yeah, yeah, I'm cool," he said nervously as the cab Audrey flagged pulled up.

"I told you, it's fine. You want a beer? She has some in her bag."

"Sure," he said.

The three of us piled in with Audrey in the middle and I asked her to hand me a beer.

I opened it, took a swig and handed it to Jake. Then I grabbed the magic pack of smokes and tried to make myself feel more indestructible. Audrey grabbed the pack and did some and handed it to Jake who poured some on his hand and snorted it up. Audrey then took his hand and licked the residue off. Maybe she was practicing getting her ring back.

"Sorry, I just didn't want it to go to waste," Audrey said with a wink.

"Uh, yeah OK," Jake said.

I wasn't sure if that move was her being fucked up, a flirt, mad at me or just crazy. But whatever it was, it kind of turned me on.

I grabbed Jake's beer and took a swig as the cab started to race back up First Avenue.

"What I'd tell you man," I said taking out a Marlboro lighting it and rolling down the window.

"Nothing but fun here."

Saturday, October 3, 2009

She's Nothing But Trouble X

So here we all sat in East Harlem. Me, the 40-ish event planner on night one of his relapse. My hot co-worker who I finally had sex with and now wishes I hadn't. Her drug dealer who may actually be sober and his hot friend or boss or partner who definitely wasn't.

Oh, and the mystery behind door number two. Yes, it was turning into quite the Friday night.

You ever have one of those nights where you feel like you are watching a movie of yourself? You know this is not going to turn out well and yet you can't stop. You have to see how it ends rather than walk out now in once piece. That's how I felt. This was not going to turn out well.

Tino sat back down and watched us drink. I suddenly had to get off that couch, at least for a second.

"I have to go to the bathroom, is that all right?," I asked in my best Michael Corleone.

Tino pointed down the hall and said, "sure." I was kind of disappointed that he didn't say, "you gotta go, you gotta go."

I got up from the couch and walked down the hall. The bathroom was in between door number three and door number two. I walked quietly down the hall, went into the bathroom and shut the door as quietly as I could. There was no lock on the door. I put my ear next to the wall but couldn't really hear anything from door number two. I heard a lot of clicking. A video game? Maybe. At least one person in there though. I unzipped my pants and started to take a loud piss. I even grabbed a cup, filled it with water and poured that down the toilet. Then I opened the window, which was too small to climb out of and there was no escape there anyway. There was a tiny ledge.

Then I looked in the medicine cabinet. I saw a bottle of pills. It said Xanax. I grabbed three and put them in my pocket. I'd need them for the come down later. I flushed and jiggled the handle and then, for some reason unbeknownst to me, I opened up the top of the toilet. I don't know what I was expecting to find. I was probably hoping for a gun or a big bag of blow. Every few months you'd read a story in The Post about some homeless guy finding a kilo in an abandoned couch. This was better. Sealed up in plastic bags were stacks of bills. I'm not crazy. As tempting as it was it would take them about seven seconds to figure out where their money went.

I washed up and came back to the living room. Lucia was now sitting next to Audrey looking at her jewelry and Tino was on the other side of Audrey. Great, I was being squeezed out. I took Lucia's chair, picked up the tray and did a line. Then I took a swig and lit a cigarette. I did all this too fast and started to dry heave a little. I was starting to remember why I gave this shit up. The self-loathing. The coughing and puking. The finding yourself in scary apartments with drug dealers. Yeah, good times.

"You OK, sweetie?" Audrey asked.

"Yeah," I said gasping a little. "Just went down the wrong way," I added before taking a swig of beer.

"Really?," Lucia said. "You know how to go down the right way, because I haven't found a boy yet who does."

I swallowed my beer, laughed and said, "I don't get too many complaints."

Lucia turned to Audrey and started stroking her hair.

"What about that honey, does he do you right?"

Audrey's body tensed to Lucia's touch.

"Damn girl, chill. I'm not going to bite you, as much as I want to."

"Sorry," Audrey said, "that's not my thing."

"Don't be sorry," Lucia said. "Night's still early."

Audrey looked at me and grabbed her purse.

"Bathroom's down the hall right?" she asked. Tino nodded. Audrey got up and headed to the bathroom.

"Why you gotta fuck with everyone like that," Tino asked Lucia as Audrey shut the bathroom door.

"Fuck you, that bitch is too uptight," she said, before turning to me, "no offense."

I finished my cigarette and smiled. Lucia grabbed the tray and fueled up and handed it to me. I knew I didn't need anymore but does anyone ever turn it down when it's right in front of you? I did a tiny bit, not wanting a repeat of the heaves.

Then the toilet flushed and a few seconds later Audrey came back into the room.

"Well, we should probably be going," she said, putting her arm on my shoulder and squeezing hard.

I started to get up and grab my jacket.

"Do we have everything," I asked.

"Yes, we're good, " Audrey said.

She walked over to Tino and hugged him good bye then she extended her hand to Lucia, who shook it and then put her other hand on top of Audrey's hand.

"I'm sorry if I freaked you out honey," Lucia said.

"You didn't, but thank you," Audrey said.

"Good," Lucia said before leaning close and whispering something in Audrey's ear before gently biting and kissing it. Then she let her hand go.

"Well, on that note...," I said.

We started to walk down the hall, past door number two and the front door.

"Come back later, if you get bored, Lucia said.

"Sure thing," I said.

"I didn't mean you," she said.

Audrey gave me a slight shove to the door and we exited and made our way back down the stairs and into the street.

"What now," I said.

"I think I want to go to home," Audrey said.

The way she said it made it clear that she meant by herself. I didn't press. I should be grateful. We got out of there in one piece. Audrey did have the baggies though and if we were splitting up then I'd need to get my consolation prize.

"You want company?"

"I want a drink."

We walked up to Second Avenue and flagged a cab.

"85th Street please," Audrey said.

"Hey do you still have those beers in your bag," I asked.

"Yes," she said, reaching in to grab one for me.

I opened it up and took a swig and handed it to her.

"No, I need a whiskey."

The cab pulled up to 85th. We got out. I finished the beer and tossed the bottle into a can and we into a little bar.

"Get me a Jack and Coke," I'll be right back, she said as we entered. The place was packed with preps and Bon Jovi was blasting out of the jukebox. Nothing like hearing frat boys singing "Living on a Prayer."

Audrey walked to the back to the bathroom and I ordered her drink and a beer for myself. A few minutes later she appeared with a definite bounce in her step.

"Feeling better," I said.

"I am now," she said, sniffling a little.

"Well," I said, handing her drink to her, "here's to adventure."

We clinked our glasses together and I took a swig of my beer but Audrey just kept staring at her glass.

"Mother fucker," she said staring at the glass in her hand.


"That fucking cunt."


"My ring. That fucking cunt lifted my ring."

Audrey took a big gulp of her drink and slammed it on the bar.

"That mother fucking cunt." Then she grabbed my hand.

"Let's go."

"Go where?"

"We're going back."


"No," she said not letting me finish. "My father gave me that ring and I'm not going to let some skank dyke rip me off."

Never bang a daddy's girl.