Situation Normal. Atmosphere Breathable. Brainstem Injected. Dialogue Engaged.
Saturday, April 10, 2010

Fat Girls and Crossword Puzzles

Setting: Albany Park, Chicago, a few years ago...

When they all started to giggle and look sideways at me, my daydream faded. I awoke to reality. Once again I was was back in the restaurant, seated at the employee table in the corner, surrounded by fellow barmen and waitresses. I suddenly realized I'd become the center of attention.


"Is it true? Scotty said you picked up a fat girl at Grealy's last night. He said you just disappeared for two hours. So?"

"Wow. Didn't expect that to be public knowledge. Um..."

The giggles intensified.

"Fine. Yes I did. So what?"

"Nothing, nothing. I just..."

More laughter. At first, I felt a tingle of shame. Then, indignation.

"You wanna know what happened? Fine. I'll tell you. I went to meet Scotty and Brian at a bar near their flat in Albany Park last night. It's an anonymous little faux Irish joint called Grealy's.

"I sat at the end of the bar, and as the place filled up and began to crowd, this girl named Anna walked in. Yes, she's a big girl. She sat next to me. I was focused on working over the Sun-Times crossword, waiting for my friends. When I got stuck, I began calling out questions to nobody in particular, you know, just out loud to my general vicinity.

"'Nine letter word for historical French fracture, fifth letter is P. Anybody?' The answer came from the stool beside me.


I halted my reminisce to take stock of my audience. The group assembled before me stood, blinking, antsy. I was beginning to lose them. They wanted to hear about me fucking a fat girl. Time to get to the point.

"Right, so anyways, we talked for a few minutes until she blushed and blurted out 'Wanna see my apartment? It's one block away.' I said yes. We left. Fucking happened. So there you go."

They all started talking at once.

"Was it good?"
"Was it gross?"
"Are you mad at Brian and Scotty for telling everyone?"
"That's nasty."
"Nice one, chubby chaser!"

I cut them off.

"Quiet! Jesus! Okay listen. I enjoyed myself a lot, thank you very much, and so did she, I like to think. For the record, I found her very attractive, so no, it wasn't gross, and no, I'm not embarrassed. Ever heard the old proverb 'There's no such thing as an ugly woman?' How about 'Every woman has her charm?' Because both are true. There's something to like about each and every one, tall ones, skinny ones, short ones, fat ones. I don't care what conventional wisdom says about it. I'm not afraid to be attracted to someone because society says I shouldn't. Fat chicks can be hot, too.

"Yeah, I said that. Got a problem with it? Didn't think so. Fuck your shame. When I say I got lucky last night, I mean it."

They had stopped babbling.

"You wanna know what I think is the most attractive quality in a woman?"

They stood, rapt and riveted, silent, awaiting my answer.

"That she wants to have sex with ME."
2:09 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Saturday, April 03, 2010

Protracted Bildungsroman


She turned me down.

I laid it all out there tonight. I rang her bell at 2am. Invited inside, I witnessed her friends snorting coke and fucking one another indiscriminately. Casual orgies polluted my peripheral vision, but I remained focused on her. She and I ignored the drug/fuck fiends.

She had more important issues on her mind. She was depressed. (She always is.) I praised her virtues, tried to give practical advice, or inspiration, or whatever qualifies for those categories. I tried to be good for her.

They all left.

She put on magnificent stockings and pranced around, working her Swedish ancestry for all it was worth. Great legs. We talked for hours. I know everything she won't tell anyone else. I know her better than anyone. Maybe we're too honest with one another. Entirely possible. So I told her the truth. She looked at me sideways.

I chased her before, a year ago. She said no. I should've stopped there.

After that, I wanted to give her the cold shoulder to protect myself, but every time she rang my bell, I opened my door.

Eventually she chased me back, half-heartedly. Things happened, but I was just an intermission. I got attached. She cut that off. I was naive, baffled. I sequestered myself.

One day, she showed up, ready, hands on. I was skeptical. Skittish. I said no. (I wouldn't accept her all drugged up and desperate and emotionally bare, no matter how much I wanted her) I wouldn't fuck her cheaply, even if it was her birthday.

Tonight was the last chance. We really connected. (in my pathetic mind) I'll be moving away at the end of the month. Time to put up or shut up. So I said it. All of it. She had this look on her face, like she'd just shit her pants. Not what I was hoping for. Turns out I'm just an also ran, no matter how much (I think) we connect.


Okay. Bye. I've always stood alone before, so it's no big departure now. I'm not gonna bleed. I know better than that.

I'll miss her. Maybe one day we'll cross paths again, but I hope not.

During the short walk home I saw Klieg* lights behind a neighbor's front yard fence. Two Colombia College students had a blue tarp covering the little front yard. Upon interrogation, I learned they were filming a student project, a short film about a frustrated granddaughter and her Alzheimer's stricken granddad. I exclaimed jealously, wishing I had a role in their early AM activity, but alas, I did not. I continued down the last twenty steps of the sidewalk until I reached home, alone, primed for one last whiskey.

Here I am, one man, a keyboard, and a penchant for confession.

I'm bewildered. I think I'll just never get it.

When I left, she looked heartbroken to see me walk away. I just don't understand anything.

<*Klieg is an exaggeration>
6:43 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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