True Story

This time was different. Usually, I’m the one that instigates these sorts of things. So I started steering the conversation plane somewhere safe to land. And here was Alexis, flapping her gums, but I couldn’t hear the words. So I grabbed her skinny-ass arms with my Hebrew National-sized fingers. “You can’t do this” I said, “You can’t do this to me. Not today.”

“Sure I can,” she said, pulling back as if my bulging digits had stung her something putrid. She even rubbed those skinny-ass arms as if she were allergic to my touch. This was a terrifying side of Alexis I’d never seen before. But I was also getting a boner from thinking about her skinny-ass arms. Birds were singing.

Alexis and I were standing in my backyard, but we weren’t looking at each other. I was looking at the abandoned loaders and excavators past my property. Nothing would be built past the fence until next summer but the local construction companies would leave their equipment.

She was looking at her feet. They were nice feet if nothing to write home for. She must have been thinking about the last week. I was, too. It had been a week of fighting over the phone. We were fighting because we should have broken up months– nay, years– before she moved to Lake Tahoe. So she made the drive down to Orange County to do the deed.

“Not today. You can’t do this today,” I reiterated, clenching my right leg to keep my half-chub from going full mast. Clenching a leg will re-purpose the blood in your body to avoid public boners, by the way. Works wonders in family court.

“Why not, Chuck?” Alexis said, crossing her arms as if my excuse was going to be complete bullshit.

“Tomorrow is 9/11,” I said. “It’s a national holiday. You should know that.”

“No it’s not, Chuck. It’s the 10th. Tomorrow’s the 10th of September.”

“Denying 9/11 like a true terrorist. So fucking typical.”

“I don’t even think 9/11 is a National Holiday.”

“Sure it is,” I retorted. “It’s like Christmas.”

Alexis uncrossed her arms and waved them in the air like a monkey. “What does that have to do with anything?” she hooted. “That has nothing to do with any of this,” she hollered. She was also hopping around, scratching her armpits if it helps your imagination any bit.

“Everything has to do with 9/11. Everything around us is because of that terrible day. That’s the way the world works. Don’t you understand or are you a terrorist?” I said. This break-up could have gone better. This relationship could have gone better. She pointed out what seemed obvious:

“This isn’t work–” she started.

“How dare you,” I interrupted. “This is work. And this isn’t working out.”

“I was trying to say that Charlie. You wouldn’t let me finish.”

“Oh so now you care about finishing?” This was an attack on our sex life. She never finished when it came to sex, and I always did. So if anybody should have been complaining about bad sex, it was her. But here we were, arguing about sex and terrorism like true Americans.

Tears started welling in Alexis’ stupid, beautiful eyes. Alexis would cry for anything. “There you go, crying. You cry for anything,” I said out loud. “You cry on birthdays, during break-ups, weddings…the list goes on.” Her breathing started getting heavier. Full blown water-works were on their way.

“We’ve never been to a wedding together,” she sniffled.

“And now we’ll never have one together because you’re breaking up with me.”

Kelly– I mean, Alexis— buried her beautiful face into her hideous gorilla hands and turned toward her car.

“You can’t keep casually denying our country’s legacy like this!” I yelped.

“You’re an asshole!” she called back– without looking back. I was hoping she would look back. If she had looked back right there– right at this crucial moment– we would have had break-up sex. It wouldn’t have been very good break-up sex because our normal sex wasn’t, but at least it would have been sex. I miss sex. Are you still reading this? Does anybody read this shit?

Alexis had made it to her bullshit Yaris. I needed to get in the last word before it was too late and she was lost in the ether.

“What do you know? You don’t even remember 9/11!” I picked up some gravel and threw it in her general direction.

“I was three years old, Charlie!” she called out, before ducking into her bullshit Yaris.

“Yeah, that’s the story. You were three. Or maybe you weren’t. Maybe you were on one of those goddamn planes,” I screamed. But she didn’t respond. She slammed the door, backed out of the driveway, and went where all my ex-girlfriends go: somewhere else.

This was written at a third-grade level.

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San Juan

I’d been driving around for at least an hour– and this place was only supposed to be 20 minutes away. Where was this girl? What was her name again? God, how could I forget, this was only yesterday.

First left after Figeuroa. Second right after Thomas St. Go to the end of the road and make a left, “My place is on the left”.

That’s what she said. But there’s no home to be found. Why don’t…why haven’t I called her again? My phone was sitting in the passenger seat with two frozen Hot Pockets and four boxes of Top Ramen. Radio reception was bad down here so I had long since given up on listening to any music– that’s right, there wasn’t a CD to be found in the car. These were terrible times.

Oh, yes– now I remember: I know why I don’t have her phone number. It’s because I’m a pussy. That definitely makes sense.

Ever since the end of the musical, Melissa and I made friends online. Her myspace had her AIM screenname on it, so I figured it was fair game to message her on my account. Of course, it had been a while since I had been on the account. Opening the ancient program proved to be a trip down memory lane: it was a treasure trove of disaster-like conversations I had had with the various women I never ever dated.

At some point, you know, you have have to assume that if your favorite place to talk to your future girlfriend is in a cemetery filled with all your other future girlfriends, you’re doing something wrong.

Finally I refuse to pull over but I still grab my phone off the passenger seat and sign on to AIM and message my friend Jay. “Can you do me a favor? Sign onto my AIM account. Here’s the password:” I told him what to do off the bat because if you want to get somebody to do something for you you just tell them what to do instead of just asking them to do a favor without giving them the first step. So Jay never had to choose whether or not he wanted to do me a favor– the first step was the hook that got him in.

So I text Jay and he says he’s in my AIM account. I text him again: “MSG the sn Doublemey and ask her to give me her address one more time because I can’t find the place. Thank her when she does it”. This whole dialogue took nearly 3 messages to get out because I think I swore more than I have presented for you here today.

And, as calculated, Jay did it for me. What a bro, right? He sent me the address: 1161 King Ct. Shit, man, I must have passed that 15 times by now. I was coming up again on King Court so I thanked Jay again (without pulling over) and prepared myself for something I’d failed to notice. Failing to notice things is a big thing for me: literally. One time I didn’t know that my ex-girlfriend had a penis. Longest relationship I’ve been in, too.

Pulling up I saw what I’d seen time and time before: A couple of trailers, some mailboxes, and trash everywhere. So I drove to the end of the block, seeing the same picture time and time again: All of it just a bunch of trailers, mailboxes, and trash. And then it hit me: Melissa lived– lives– in a trailer.

Oh my God.

I pulled over back at her place and we had some good times– ate a couple Hot Pockets, talked shit on people we knew, and went on a walk. But she lives in a trailer. There won’t be a second date.

An Angel Disappears

“Is this a date?” she said. And I wasn’t prepared for this question. I’ve got no lies in the chamber, ready to fire. So I told her the truth.

“Yes—” And I should have stopped there, but I didn’t. “Yes,” I said, “at least it is for me.”

“Okay,” she— the Angel— said. That’s all she said: Okay. She looked at her wasabi as if it would have given her another talking point or at least some sort of out.

I decided to break the silence. “Have you ever smoked crack before?” I asked.

“What?” she said.

“Crack-cocaine. Have you ever smoked it?”

“No. God no.”

“Me neither.”

That was a lie, but it made me comfortable having told a lie; I smoked crack cocaine out of an apple once. It was a one time thing— the apple part, I mean. I used to have a crack pipe. Stilldo, actually.

My thoughts of crack-smoking filled the silence currently enveloping our little table. The Angel must have gotten over it when she asked me what I was thinking about.

“Did you think this was a date?” I responded.

“Well I thought it was clear that I’m a lesbian.”

“What?”

“I’m a lesbian, Charlie,” she reiterated.

Good Christ. What have I gotten myself into. I had no idea.

“I had no idea,” I said.

“I’ve only dated women the past three years,” she said.

“Yeah but…that still means you had 15 years of men before that. The statistics are still in my favor.”

“Not really.”

“Statistically: yes, they are.

“What, do you want me to give men another chance?”

“No. I want you to give me my first chance.” Back to silence and wasabi-staring. Great. After about a minute, the Angel started again.

“I’m going to go now.” She stood up from the table and grabbed her purse.

“Aren’t you going to pay?” I said.

“This— you said it was a date. It’s on you.”

“But it’s clearly not a date. You should pay your share.”

“You said this was a date.”

“For me. But it isn’t— wasn’t— for you. So I think you should pay.”

The Angel sat back down and gave me a hard look. “Here’s the deal,” she said, “you tell me my name and I’ll pay for my half. Hell, I’ll pay for the whole meal.”

“That’s ridiculous,” I said

“What’s ridiculous is the fact you don’t know my name yet here I am on a date with you.”

“So now it’s a date?”

“Tell me my name.”

“I know your name,” I said.

“Then what is it?” she asked.

She really got me there. Would she think it’s cute if I called her “the Angel”— like how you got to know her? I wracked my brain for the most popular female names I knew. All I could remember from the list I found on the internet in 2009 were the numbers 863 and 997— Keith and Robert, respectively.

“Robert,” I said. Best to just fail this one out the gate, I thought.

“Robert?” she raised her voice. People were now staring. “You don’t actually think my name is Robert, come on Charlie.” Okay, time to think fast: You’ve got this, Charlie.

Roberta. Your name is Roberta.”

“No fucking way,” she said. “You actually don’t know my name?” She got back up and headed for the door, but not without stopping to look back at me and say one more thing.

“One more thing,” she called out, “You’ve got some serious self-esteem issues. I wouldn’t doubt for a second that you are gay, Charlie Brown.”

“I’m not gay!” I yelled back.

“I think you are, and honestly, I think that’s the only thing we have in common.” And with that final stab, she left the sushi place. People were clapping and cheering. Somebody was waving a foam finger that said “Number 1”.

I paid the bill and left and now I don’t eat sushi anymore.