Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Chapter 15

"So he ends up getting a hand job without even kissing her. "
"How'd he pull that off?"
He looks over at me and shrugs, "I don't know, they were on J date and they hooked up. Didn't even make out. She gave him a hand job then made him banana bread."
"Hell, that was nice of her."
Joelle and Chris are in front of us and they break up laughing. They'd just taken me to my first professional baseball game, and my first professional organized sports event, period. The Cubs against the Astros. The game was tied early at one run, and it went into overtime. They stopped selling beer after the 7th inning, Joelle's whiskey flask is long emptied, and we we're walking up Sheridan to have some drinks and check out the game in the bar. We cross the street and I shoot an apartment building, change my camera setting to night scene. I talk into the camera, "What the fuck is J date?"
He looks at me and nods,
"It's a Jewish dating site."
"Jesus."
Chris looks over his shoulder,
"Wait, she made him banana bread?"
Rich laughs, "Oh, fuck yes. Banana bread and a hand job."
"In reverse." I say.
"Right."
We're in the bar now and Joelle looks across to Rich,
"So who cleaned up?"
"More importantly," I say, "Was there lube involved or was it old school?"
"I'll just text him."

He picks up his phone and texts the guy. Rich reminds me of the smartass best friend in the 80s movies. He's a funny fucker, and cool as shit. I liked him right off. I've been in Chicago for a few hours. I'd spent the day before doing a signing at One World Cafe in Peoria, where I sold some books and met some readers and ended up pounding coffee until midnight, so getting to sleep was a bitch, but I found myself in Chicago on time, at Joelle's place.
She and her husband, Chris, live there with their two kids, Lily and Sam, and Sirius the dog in the Albany Park neighborhood. Joelle's off for the summer from her teaching job, Sam's at camp and Lily's staying with a friend until the night after tomorrow, and I am drunk with them in the bar while Rich's text alert rings. He looks over at us,
"He said it was New Jersey style. No lube, no spit, nothing."
I look across the table to Chris,
"Nice."
Rich nods to Joelle, "And he said there was no clean up. He said his boxers took care of it."
She cringes, "Ahhh, fuck."
Rich tilts his beer toward us,
"It gets better. After she gets him off she says,'Woooooow, you did a good job.'"
"Come on."
"I'm totally fucking serious, dude."
He imitated her again, and again it's a perfect, nasal sounding, nagging Jewish woman accent. It's an expert imitation. Chris shakes his head into his beer, "So I take it he's not going to see her again."
"Oh, no. He's seeing her again this weekend. She's coming back over."
I look around the bar and outside. It's good to be here. I've never hung around this part of Chicago. I noticed that almost everybody I've seen in this city is good looking. And it feels good to be in a big city again. The game is on the tube and into the 13th or 14th inning. I was glad we'd left the stadium, but it was nice to be in the stadium, and I can safely say watching a baseball game in person is better than watching it on the screen. There was a good energy to it sitting there in the seats looking out over the diamond and watching the seagulls fly around the lights and waiting for the batter to hit one out. We hear a loud roar from down the street then look over to the screen to see that the Cubs had hit a grand slam. The whole street cheered. We order a few more and drop Rich off. Back at the house I pass out almost instantly.

In the morning, Joelle and I are walking through the North Park Campus on the way to get breakfast at her favorite neighborhood cafe. She tells me the hash is incredible there. We order an extra side with our eggs and toast. She's right, it's fucking incredible. We eat and drink coffee and talk about the drug of traveling. It's a beautiful day in Chicago. The sun is high and warm but not hot, and the food is perfect. Something about the neighborhood is good, also. It's busy and diverse and it pulses along easily. I watch a bird walk across the concrete by where we sit. I go to toss it a crumb but it sees something else and takes off.






I hadn't seen my sister, Denise, or the kids since 2004. My nieces, Quinn and Jessica had grown tall since I'd last seen them. Quinn is already writing a book. She and I had started writing a story together via email, but I got swept away with work and stress and other such bullshit. Doug and I sat on the porch and drank beer and coffee then he made some burgers, which were fucking awesome. We hung out for a few hours, caught up and I had to get back to Chicago as I couldn't stay the night because of Rufus, who is without a doubt one of the funnest dogs alive, a light-yellowish French Bulldog, so he's small and compact and lovable as they get, but introduce a dog into his environment and he's pure hell. Joelle and Chris had Meg and Chico back at their house, and I was supposed to meet up with them and hang out on the deck with Rich and the famous receiver of the New Jersey Hand Job. It had been on my mind that day. Not the hand job, but the fact that he got one without any type of foreplay.


Rich was already tired when I got back. Traffic in Chicago is almost always a fucker, and tonight was no exception. Except Rich's buddy isn't going to make it. Chris opens the garage and we stare at his '68 MG on blocks. It's become his project/part-time obsession. Three of Lily's friends show up, and the night becomes a crash course on the Jonas Brothers. It's a good night there, a good time and the kids are still alright. Rich cuts out and the kids go home and I'm again in the guest room passed out. I'm dreaming about my father. He's dead as Dillinger, but in my dream he and I are sitting at a table drinking tea while he smokes his Marbs and talks about being dead, makes jokes about the people he knows now. I hear Suspicious Minds playing on the radio sitting on top of the refrigerator behind him, and I realize that I'm 8 years old again, and he's smoking at the table getting ready to go to work, to roof houses in Phoenix. I look out the window over our pool and I see the sky is clear blue and and it's moving off beat with the radio. Behind me is the old living room, and beyond that is the Arizona Canal, and beyond that and splayed out in reflective blood are 30 years forward. The old man nods over my shoulder. I turn around and I'm awake in the bed, Sirius is out in the living room barking at something, and I sit up and let my dogs out. Joelle makes a mean cup of coffee that brings me back from the edge of the dream. It's on the tip of my tongue to tell her about it at the table, but it leaves my mind. We coffee and talk about what we're doing with the rest of the summer. Driving back to Peoria, it occurs to me that I've totally lost all concept of seasons and vacations and work weeks. My whole life now revolves around books and writing, which is fine with me. I have to get back to Peoria, pack up and get some sleep and start toward the East Coast in the morning.






















































































































































































2 comments:

  1. Another good one, brother!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dude, I can totally see you as a baseball fan. A loud one, with no shirt holding a teddy bear with a "CUBS" shirt and a beer. You're yelling obscenities, red-faced with a wet spot on your crotch. Joe is next to you.
    ~J

    ReplyDelete