Matters Of Little Consequence

The 800lb Gorilla met its inglorious end on August 8th, 2008. Dan said goodbye with a video. Of course.

By then I was writing with the Dame, on her blog. I was trying to provide her with the muse and doing a lousy job of it. Her readers weren’t all that receptive to me either, as evidenced by the dearth of comments. I’d get the occasional “Where’s Dame?”, to which I provided a cursory explanation that the Dame was busy gardening or tending to the kiddos or backpacking in Tibet.

The truth of the matter is, I was sans blog for the first time in years and I didn’t know whether it was a blessing or a curse. What I missed more than anything was the ability to slice something up with four lettered particulars, because my jam wasn’t playing in the Dame’s crib. I was like the new age bistro that replaces the landmark steakhouse; peeps wanted the sizzle she provided and were much less interested in my rap, so to speak.

Still, I loved keeping her seat warm because I knew when she got back to it, she was going to wreak havoc on the somethings and lay waste to the everything elses. And without a blog of my own, I felt plenty fine playing the role of David Carradine from Kung Fu . . wandering the literary stars, plucking ransoms out of the minutiae. It’s just what you do when you’re in love with someone’s pen. You wait by the window, shining that light until they make it home.

October of 2008 was a revelatory caterwaul whose presence I could have done without. But life never speaks to us with permission. And so it was that in October, the shit collided with the proverbial fan when Dan confessed to having an affair with bat shit crazy poet girl from Seattle. Yeah, the same writer the Dame had accused me of messing around with the year before. And when Dame wouldn’t stop shooting at my kneecaps with a smoking gun that wasn’t mine, I had turned up my snark index to ten plus and let her have it with something like Of course I took a flight from Chicago to Seattle . . because I have all the fucking time in the world to travel all over the fucking map banging bloggers! Admittedly, I might have tried tact on for size, seeing as how we ended up burning our relationship to the ground thanks to exchanges such as this.

Almost a year later, I was vindicated. Again. That lovable ape the poet girl would write sonnets to wasn’t me, it was Dan. And it made sense that the guy who whined about having to live vicariously through my social life now that he was married, was the culprit. It explained the vibe I was getting from him and Chris, and it explained all the mysterious shit he would post on the blog; which I was thankful was six feet under now.

I’m not gonna lie. I expected an apology from the Dame. I mean, it didn’t have to be served on fine china or anything like that. But I’d been unfairly accused of something, and I figured now was the time to close up that forgettable chapter with some mea for my affected culpa.

That wasn’t how the Dame ticked, though. Because what I got instead served to tear those sutures plumb off the scab of the previous November. After she got done scorching the patch of earth Dan stood on, she directed the rest of her bottle of Jesus towards me for having the piss poor judgement to be friends with such a cad. Never mind that I wasn’t pals with the fucker on the level of vault stories. Never mind that I was left to roast on a spit as he fucked the blog into the ground. Never mind that the Dame, oh by the way, had been married to a serial womanizer and I wasn’t holding it against her.

Needless to say, I was feeling the tremors as another November moved into focus. All of a sudden, the ground we walked on felt as sturdy as gossamer. But this time would be different, because I was going to be spending Thanksgiving week in Chicago. Which would guarantee that we would make it out of that scarred month intact as a couple. Probably . . .

And this is where the Dame showed herself to be one of the most beautifully complicated individuals I’ve ever known. Because that visit will live with me from the moment I touched down at O’Hare until I take my final breath. It speaks to who we are, as human beings, that I can think back on that time and be as in love with her from right here as I was right there without wanting any of it back, ever again. If you look up the definition of complicated in the dictionary, that’s what it looks like.

The Dame’s family had forged an empire in a small Illinois town once upon a time, before sickness and death claimed the progenitors. Her father’s passing had taken the biggest toll on her, after which she kept an arm’s length relationship with her siblings, but she had always remained close to her kid brother.

As in many prestigious families, excess and intrigue are sewn into the seal, and hers was no different. Her kid brother had been a hot shit equities trader until the bottom fell out thanks to a heroin crush that wouldn’t quit. And so me and the Dame went over to his apartment on Thanksgiving morning to get him, because she was afraid he was going to run.

We found him walking down the street and I got out of the car and let him take the front seat. Before he moved inside the car, I could tell he was higher than the planes that were circling above us waiting for their turn to land at O’Hare. He tried his best to play it straight on the way back her place, but he was a mess and I watched in awe as she kept it all together.

Back at her place, we played catch with her son while the Dame finished up her Thanksgiving feast. And then she got him to wash up and refresh himself, and by that evening when we were playing cards, he was the hot shit kid who’d been going places again. Only, he was much more than that. His smile was infectious and his laugh was original and he could talk on anything and I loved him. Just like that. And it was her, it was all her; holding together the last remaining pieces of a family that had gone away. And it just so happens to be one of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed in my entire life.

I can still taste her smile inside the crisp advent of a winter’s breath that promised snow and far worse things. And maybe I knew we were a mistake by then, but it didn’t matter. Because that moment and that smile thrust me into the places of this universe that do not yet have names. And at least once in your life, you need to feel that kind of Longfellow in your bones.

As if the universe calls only you.

Matters Of Little Consequence

By the time spring started tickling the air with a dusty fever, the eight hundred pound gorilla had lost most of its weight. Dan was writing sporadically, leaving me to pick up the slack. Meanwhile, me and the Dame were figuring it out. And, because there is no such thing as simple math, a great big matzoh ball of a mystery was being played out, the results of which I wouldn’t learn until the blog was six feet under.

Me and the boys convened at McCleary’s Public House- a river town pub whose patrons were a funky soup of factory workers, college peeps and small business owners. It was the weekend and some cover band was pissing on the platinum sage lyrics of Cobain. When you make Lake of Fire sound like a boy band ballad, you should be brought up on charges.

It was my first and only time meeting Richie, and all those first impressions I’d collected were proving correct. He talked higher than his ass, about everything. When Chris and me started riffing about our ideas for the podcast, Richie had to interject his thoughts on the blog. The dude was floating more bells and whistles than a degenerate gambler on safari in Vegas. So far, he’d delivered shit.

We let him go on for a while since he’d sprung for the first round, but things were getting nowhere at the speed of light. It devolved into him talking about some chick from Jersey, and his businesses and his brilliant mind. His hairline was receding faster than the arctic glaciers, his paunch had more keep than a Rockefeller trust fund and his personality was a flailing strike. And somehow, Dan thought this asshole was a good idea for us.

Speaking of Dan, I couldn’t shake the feeling something was going on, to which Dan and Chris were holding tight. It wasn’t unusual to feel like the third wheel around those two, but this was different and I was pretty certain it had to do with the blog. It was doing nothing to assuage my suspicions that Chris and Dan were planning a mutiny. It didn’t matter that I was the only erstwhile scribe the fucking thing had going. By this point, nothing about the blog was making any sense. 

“So what’s this about you writing on that chick’s blog?” Richie asked me out of the blue.

The question felt like a punch to the face once I realized what he was talking about. It took a few moments to put together where this line of questioning could have come from. Dan.

“What in the blessed fuck does that have to do with getting us a website?” I asked.

“She hot?”

“She’s not pregnant or your cousin, so you wouldn’t be interested,” I said. The guys all cracked up after which Dan changed the subject quickly.

I was devoting more of my time to the Dame, sure. But that was because she’d stopped writing on the regular and without that steam vent, things could get menacingly perpendicular for us. My involvement in her writing life was equal parts wondrous fascination and self preservation. And it was nobody’s business but our own. 

At this point, I knew I had to take a breather from this catastrophe of a get together or there was going to be a scene. So I told Dan I was going out to call the Dame and gave him a look as if to say If your asshole friend has any inkling to join me, Imma need bail money. 

I called Dame, who cut our chat short because her oldest daughter was visiting, so I delayed my return inside by talking with Till Tuesday and her new friend- a construction worker who’d done work on Lincoln Financial Field. I was starting to feel the buzz of the shots, the Guinness and the smokes. It’s that peaceful, easy feeling when a certain time of the evening goes plush to necessary solutions. I was having such a good time chatting it up, I almost forgot about the miserable shit that awaited me when I went back inside. And then Dan made the scene.

“What’s wrong with you tonight dude?”

“Me? I’m listening to Richie sell us on ground floor real estate to a blog we built, and that you couldn’t care less about writing on now that we have a podcast with Chris. Never mind that it came about only because of the blog,”

“Sorry . . . It’s just, I’ve been going through it and my mind has been shit for,” Dan confessed.

“What’s going on?”

“Me and Em are fighting. I know it’s not fair to you or the blog . . . and maybe that’s what I need to do, you know? Just fucking write again . . take my mind off everything else?”

I almost felt badly for suspecting him of mutiny. Almost. But the more questions I threw his way, the more he ducked and ran. And while I knew this wasn’t about the blog, I also knew it was adversely affecting it.  So I got to pressing before . . .

“You fellas going to Haydn Zugs?”

Standing directly in front of us was a breathalyzer test’s wet dream and this asshole wasn’t taking no for an answer.

“Sorry man, but if we were going there . . why would we be here?” I asked with a straight face. The irony was lost on him.

“I need a ride there! I got a date!”

“So . . what was the plan exactly? Get drunk here, with no ride to the place where you have a date . . . ” I smiled.

“It’s not your fucking business,” He slurred.

“Incorrect. Because you made it my business when you asked for a ride, Sparky,”

“Fuck you then . . I’ll just slash your tires!”

“Hey fuckhead, get a cab!” Dan bellowed, stepping forward and opening his jacket to reveal his revolver. He had a permit to carry, but I’m pretty sure he still would’ve carried it even without one.

“I’m calling my brother, man . . . he’s a state cop!”

“Call him and tell him you’re drunk and you’re gonna slash some tires . . and then tell him to bring donuts. Chocolate glazed . . .” I laughed.

“I should fucking call him right now . . .”

“Call him . . . ” I said calmly. “Tell him that I prevented you from slashing some tires by kicking your ass. After which my friend here put you down after you reached for his gun when he was trying to pull me off you before I put you in a coma,”

“You guys are fucking nuts!” He shouted as he walked off into the night as me and Dan laughed our asses off whilst popping the top on another pack of smokes.

The episode was a microcosm of the blog: An accident of misbegotten times and places that was blatantly offensive and downright stupid. A bat-shit crazy run on sentence that was destined for nothing good.

Full of bluster and fire until it stumbled off into the night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matters Of Little Consequence

There’s a reason antidepressants were invented, and it’s called winter in Chicago.

Me and Dame made the winter of 2008 bearable seeing as how it was the honeymoon we never got to have. New Years Eve had been a John Hughes script in real time. Written by of all people, the Dame’s hellion of a daughter. The two of them had gone out with friends and when her mom began waxing on about our November breakup, her daughter snatched the phone and put in a call to yours truly. The conversation was brief and decidedly one sided.

“Happy New Years . . . Fuck You!”

It had confused me, since I recognized the number but not the voice. The less than ceremonious salutation and the quick hang up? Yeah . . that was her MO alright. The phone chimed back to life as I was sifting through possibilities and when I picked it up this time, there she was. The Dame.

She apologized, sweetly. Her voice dripping with grace, it was velvet to my senses. And when she directed any little reasonable facsimile of a bouquet in my direction, my knees wobbled. I told her she had no apologies to make, and that her daughter had helped open the lines of communication. And before too long, I realized I was already back in it with her. I was curious, but even more than that I wanted to be close to her again. To hold her in that certain way that Marvin Gaye once wrote into solid gold. To bury my face in her perfumed hair the way Old Blue Eyes taught me how. To speak to her in words that described the constellation we had painted over precious little time, as if standing at the corner of Shakespeare and Jane Austen.

The winter was magical, in spite of the Arctic relocating to the windy city in its annual eight month tour. In spite of her ex husband who wouldn’t quit and my blog which was about to. Because blogs are like houses. If you tend to them regularly, they will provide you with equity. If you lapse or become something less than diligent, your neighbor stops bringing you her prized casserole.

Something had changed with Dan. He was writing infrequently, which in and of itself wasn’t a shocker. But whereas he used to provide me with an excuse, now he would just disappear for days at a time. And when he did write something, it was usually vague nonsense, or just a music video with a cryptic title. I didn’t care by this point, because while the podcast was fun as hell, the blog itself was degenerating into the Bataan Death March. Never mind the fact that we flew past half a million hits and then kept right on going. It was no longer mattering.

When retired New York Giants great George Martin blew us off on a podcast interview, I sensed the end was coming. And when I blew off a well known gossip blogger, I might as well have gotten to writing our obituary. Not that I had a choice, seeing as how her communications with me had gotten a little too cozy for my comfort. After the breakup, I’d grown leery of the Dame’s cross-hairs. So I passed it off to Dan, who passed it off to Chris who passed it off to Richie- who oh by the way, didn’t contribute a fucking thing to the blog. And when the interview didn’t happen, we got shit on.

Dan’s reason for not doing the interview had to do with his new pal- the hippie chick poet I’d turned him onto the year before. The girl had a falling out with gossip chick and Dan didn’t want to appear as if he was taking sides. Dan insisted it was nothing more than friendship and that she had a boyfriend. I figured nothing into the equation, since I no longer read hippie chick poet after the Dame accused me of a cross country affair with her. Something felt off, but by this point Dan spent most of his time hanging with Chris and posting whenever the hell he felt like it so I didn’t really care.

I was more interested in writing to and with and about my girl to give a fuck about a blog partnership that was on its way out. Me and Dame dined in the best steakhouses, grabbed coffee on the regular from Intelligentsia, stuffed our faces with Frangos, sipped on gin martinis in the Water Tower, debated the best deep dish joints, riffed on pop culture and books and movies and cicada sex, chased snowflakes the size of saucers and started writing with each other. We were sick little puppies whose dull moments were thrilling. Everything was possible inside the crazy chances we signed off with on our second lease.

Like the way we’d drift away from each other in a bookstore and when we came upon each other again, we would play out a skit as long lost friends bumping into each other. It would start with Oh my God! How have you been? and within moments lead to us making out furiously and talking about grabbing a hotel room. The looks we fetched were priceless, and we loved it.

That kind of thing makes you believe in forever.

Matters Of Little Consequence

You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit in the wind, and you don’t rekindle a spark that led to a five alarm fire that burned down your whole fucking house. But hey, morbid curiosity happens to be my weakness, and I have a closet full of chips to prove it. It’s not like I can help it. Besides, I had to experience what a second act was going to feel like. I imagined Beethoven coming back to finish his unfinished business. With lots of acrimony, ill gotten meds, screaming passion and obscenely constructed adult beverages tossed into the mix. 

I missed her over those forty six days, yes. But I missed the craziness of it all just as much. When you suffer from depression and you ride up on something that makes you feel differently, you crave more of that drug, because you need to keep that high going.

It wasn’t about being happy inside our time together, because for me it never is. But with her, I was bending the edges of the milky way and cunning the logic out of madness in a plush Al Green spill of narratives and events and twists and turns that perplexed and sometimes even confounded me. When you ain’t gonna find happiness, you become expert at finding an even more potent secondary market fix. And she was it.

I had lied to her in the early going of our first go round. Silly little fabrications that were polymer laden cliches from dollar bin romance novels that would’ve made Hemingway shoot himself in the head all over again. And yet, it felt appropriate to do so for the purpose of our inevitable expedition.

I’d say stuff like how I wanted to sleep in the same bed with someone for more than a night or two. And how I liked Dave Matthews, and movies with sub titles. And gin. These were not awful lies. Let’s just say they were renderings of negligible parody; symmetrical flourishes that helped fortify our connection, and whose obsequious nature would make me seem less contented with bachelorhood than I really was.

Truth is, I loved sleeping alone and I hated Dave Matthews and movies with sub titles. And I wasn’t all that crazy about gin either. But if love teaches you anything, it is to lie with prudence. Never, ever lie about fidelity. But stupid shit? Have at it.

See, searching for the truth and telling the truth are mutually exclusive concepts. We tend to the former as if a prized topiary; we devour self help books and then crash diet on the tenets of stoicism whilst strengthening our unsteady legs with Zen exercises compiled by people with thousand dollar tan lines. It numbs us to any kind of honest perspective to such an extent that telling the truth is forced to take the bus.

I never lied to the Dame about another woman, because fidelity has always been my genuine kitsch. I have done some extraordinarily fucked up shit in my life, but I’ve also never cheated inside of a committed relationship. Even made up committed relationships with married women. Even those. I blame the fact that I was raised on sitcoms with thirty second lead in tunes. And Barbara Streisand.

Our breakup in November was opera, but it was her opera. She was stranded on an island of infidelities forged by her caveman of an ex husband. And so when I came along, of course she filled in those gaps as if she were the post mistress of Tombstone. After which came the accusations she threw at my head like an Aroldis Chapman fastball that was double dating with the grim reaper. She accused me of messing around and she had a laundry list of license plates. And I didn’t take too kindly to being accused of something I wasn’t enjoying, so we had our what’s what moment. And it ended rather abruptly.

So this second time around thing was, to put it mildly, dubious. But so everlastingly worth figuring out just the same. Just because it was so much more worth it than pulling some cheery high note from a website clearinghouse of feel good quotes in order to make Mondays go down a little smoother.

Never mind there was a good chance she was gonna kill me for real the second time around.

I wasn’t holding it against her.

 

 

 

 

 

Matters Of Little Consequence

As far as breakups went, ours was Chernobyl.

I thought I’d navigated every kind of romantic scenario, until the Dame tried breaking out the Estella Havisham playbook on me. She torched my curtains and shotgunned my floorboards, most impressively.

It was a couple days after the breakup when Dan told me she was writing all manner of crazy shit about it on her blog. Her Venti vitriolic provided ironic symmetry to our relationship, seeing as how I’d fallen for her writing inside another rant about another guy. I was shocked, annoyed and pissed. I’d called the whole thing off, after which she provided me with every single good reason as to why I was right to do so.

I had no desire to get into a war of words with someone who was using our relationship as the battering ram for everything that had come before it. I wasn’t fool enough to believe her rantings were all about me. I had simply provided her with the necessary antagonist for her latest act. I knew that before long, she’d expend herself, find someone new and move on. Me? I’d use all that emotional fuel to write like a madman. Which is exactly what I did since passion is a muse, no matter the emotion it gets dressed up in.

To say this was a heartbreaking time in my life would be a lie. The proverbial ‘broken heart’ is how we portray bad shit in heart form. And for the purposes of bacon cheeseburger brevity, I use it interchangeably here. But it wasn’t that, it was more significant than that. What it had done was introduce me to the real me. I was a romantic journeyer, searching for the temporary salvation of another but unwilling to pay sticker price. If things hadn’t gone sideways, would I have spent the rest of my life with her? At the beginning of us, I would have issued a resounding yes. But as time went on, it became a very hard maybe.

After it was over, I stopped reading her. Cold turkey. Curiosity kills more than cats, and peeking on someone you’re no longer involved with always struck me as creepy. Instead, I drank wine, I listened to love songs and yes, I cried a few times. There was no use in letting the toxins fester, I had to loose them.

As for the blog, Dan had returned. Of course. He jumped back in with a vengeance, as if expecting me to kiss his ass for coming back. All it did was remind me how important I had become to this fledgling enterprise. Dame had called our blog a “sparrow shit operation” in one of her last emails to me, and I liked that one a lot, even if her intent had been to knee cap me with it. The moniker fit.

The blog karate kicked its way out of our old dojo. We had been gifted a brand new, interactive theme- by one of Dame’s pals ironically. He did it for us gratis while Richie kept planning some grand design for us from his bachelor pad bunker in Jersey. And now we had a podcast to add to the mix. This is where Chris came in. He was Dan’s pal. We’d gotten off on the wrong foot when I refused to post his stuff on the blog. But shit if his writing wasn’t wooden and predictable.

The podcast brought out his Dr. Jekyll. Chris’s voice was the kind of butter that had the girls swooning, and his delivery was a Greg Maddux diamond studded fastball. I would write up a script for the show and email the guys and then we would broadcast from two different locales- Me from my crib and the fellas from Chris’s place.

I remember being a complete disaster in the early innings of our first show. I had zero timing and none of the heat I possessed on the blog. Chris picked up the slack and made it all work, perfectly. During a commercial break, I scarfed down a cigarette and a couple shots of tequila I didn’t know I had. Beer wasn’t going to do the trick, so I made some haste and got back to it. Provided with a salty launch pad, I settled in and found my rhythm. Dan played better on the podcast as well.

Drinking and smoking became a weekly tradition on the podcasts. We expanded to an hour after a couple shows because we were stretching out the material with all the improvised banter that was happening. As with the blog, no topic was off limits. Well, except for one: I’d issued a moratorium on any talk of the Dame.

As the blog’s popularity bled into the podcast, with listeners and our own interactive chat room during podcasts, things were looking more promising than ever. I kept busy, writing more than ever before. I’d also procured the phone number of a girl who tended bar at the Irish pub we frequented. She was my Till Tuesday insurance policy in that she was too young, too nice and she had two young kids. But she made a strong drink, she had a great smile and we clicked. And besides, there was no crime in keeping my options open. I’d have been ashamed at myself for not taking the chance when presented.

It was New Years Eve when she sent me a text wishing me well, and I shot one back in patent fashion. I decided not to follow it up, instead dropping in on a family get together on my way home. It was a couple minutes after midnight when I received a phone call, after which I started formulating excuses as to why I couldn’t meet Till Tuesday. And then the area code punched me in the face. Chicago.

I should have let it go to voicemail. Or turned my phone off . . changed my number . . burned the fucking thing until it was goop. Any of those options made more sense than the one I was about to choose, but it didn’t matter, because I was doing it anyway.

Just like that.

Matters Of Little Consequence

Into every life, a little rain must fall. So bring some olives . . and vermouth. 

She could write the starch into a martini with the kind of intuitive manipulation of words and space only a born writer comes to know. And for the rest of the summer after my visit to the windy city, I tried to keep up with her wicked divinity as if I had a chance. I’d never tried to match wits with a writer before she came along, but I couldn’t help myself. She was larger than life when she got to hammering away, making copper laced pastries out of the penny for her thoughts and platinum out of tinfoil minutiae. And when she went deep, she was Mary Shelley in knee high boots. I wrote like a maniac but really, I was playing checkers.

She was playing chess.

The Gorilla was an ass kicking mosh pit of a freak show by now. We had t-shirts made up for the local bars, we had a sparring match with some loose change writer who trashed us in a piece for the Philadelphia Inquirer’s website, and we started talking up a podcast. Having the Dame frequent our place mattered more than any of it. For me. Dan didn’t mind in the least since she brought followers. Smart minded peeps who were eager to peek in on the unlikeliest of lovebirds singing their misbegotten songs of love in between rants about parking lot hegemony, Westboro Baptist bumper stickers and Panic at the Disco sex.

As with every love gone wrong song, there were warning signs. Some were post-it-notes while others were banners, and then further along, the shit went full neon. Early on, it was a harmless series of speed bumps that, standing alone, were like zits on a moon beam. Stuff like . . how agitated she became when I took my kids to Disney World shortly after returning from Chicago. And later on, when she used my term- harsh my mellow– rather pointedly, in a post. And how she would call me by my last name whenever she got pissed at me.

The more rodeos you’ve been involved in, the more adept you become at wrangling up the meaning of the most seemingly innocuous circumstance. And it doesn’t hurt one little bit when you’ve been raised by women who taught you the formula. For example: Using my term- harsh my mellow– in an obviously derisive manner was a passive aggressive jab at my super cool (pretend) veneer. See, certain phrases center my room, much the same way that rug did for the Dude in The Big Lebowski. And the last name thing? It’s roll call, Boss Cop stuff. These weren’t warning signs so much as pesky little drips, but for the purpose of context Imma call them the post-it-notes stage. We’d not yet graduated to banners and neon. We were in love, after all.

By the fall, Dan was contemplating taking a break from writing on the blog. Never mind that we were directly inside the eye of a hurricane that hadn’t achieved jack shit yet. My particular opinion was Thank Fucking Christ, since he wasn’t contributing in any kind of meaningful way. Shit, the fucking guy wanted a podcast while we were still burnishing a destination. And he’d started chatting up a brand spanking new look that he and his asshole friend Richie had been working up for the blog.

To that point, me and Dan had navigated the appreciable divide that separated us quite well. We did so by creating a satire hotel, replete with low class amenities whose peculiar renderings both shocked and amazed our visitors to such an extent that we developed a healthy following. But the truth of the matter was, me and Dan weren’t friends in the “I’ll help dig the ditch for your mistake” sense. He was NRA and I was NWA. He was military documentaries and I was a romantic comedy junkie. He was a half ass writer impressed with our numbers while I was a writer impressed with writers who gave a fuck about writing.

I wrote Dan a tongue in cheek come back soon post in early September and then little more than a week later I followed it up with a post celebrating our 300,000th hit. That one was my door, hitting his stupid ass on the way out. I wanted to score another 100 thousand hits before he decided to come back, just to shut him up.

“You do insane numbers,” Dame said to me one night while we were chatting up life’s box scores over Sams on a phone call whilst watching a movie together.

This woman was an IV drip of Carly Simon Kung-Fu Theater. She could turn a simple word into a plum bath, and she was talking to me about numbers that didn’t count for anything. So I told her what I really felt as if I was stepping foot onto Venus, with sandals and a 3-wood.

I told her she was the medulla to my oblongata, the Cher to my Sonny and I told her how I wanted to fly her in a Winnebago all the way to Kathmandu. And okay, so I didn’t say it that very way. But I felt it, more strongly than that. Because the blog and her notorious ex-husband and the distance of seven hundred and eleven miles that separated us didn’t mean a blessed fig newton to me. All that was ever going to matter to me was the smile that launched me into orbit every time it looked my way.

And then the banners made the scene, with the neon glow of something wicked trailing close behind. And then November turned to rain. And that’s just the way it goes sometimes. You get all dressed up in this magic carpet ride of a future, and the next thing you know?

There’s nowhere else to go.