“I am one with the truth!”
For the love of everything that’s not beer, I still don’t understand how I let myself get caught up in this situation. If the guy that shouted that declaration hadn’t subsequently kissed the floor, I might’ve had a brother in arms in this mahogany laden, vanity simulator.
A faint haze of vape smoke and arrogance stuck to the ceiling of the bar that was pumping a trance remix of “Big Pimpin” by Jay-Z. I didn’t know how to feel. Mainly because my one and only ice cube in this scotch cocktail was starting to round out on its corners. The only thing I ever nurse is a bruised ego from time to time, so I knew I wasn’t having fun. I wouldn’t say I was dressed to the nines, but considering the legions of grudge-era fashionistas hovering around, I’m sure I stood out. The instigator — or friend, depending on the time of day — of this scenario finally came wobbling over.
“Dog, have you seen these women?! Bro, it’s like a bag of Jolly Ranchers in this bitch. You got apple, watermelon, blueberry, cherry, god damn!” he said, struggling to balance his drink on the edge of the table. I continued to watch my ice cube have a minor heat stroke.
“What about the grape flavor?” I knew what I was getting into with this question.
“Nigga, you know damn well don’t nobody like the fuckin’ grape flavor. I mean ‘haha, hehe, black people like grape’, but come on son. If I wanted Dimetapp, I woulda just made some lean and handed out my mixtape like ever other fuckwit rapper on Instagram.”
“Technically you are a part of that group. Did you not just DM that one DJ for a spot at Jonny Hit’s club?”
He snatched his cranberry vodka tonic off the worn wooden table, “See, I’m different though. I actually have talent bro. I don’t need to autotune my balls off to sound like I have bars. These fuckin’ mumble rappin’ ass niggas man, I’m telling you. Fuckin’ disgrace. And people eat that shit up! Like, what kinda shit is that?”
While he wasn’t wrong on that front, but he was definitely wrong for dragging me from my tea and take-out session with me, myself, and I. As fun as it was busting his balls about his pipe-dream of a rap career, I was over this whole thing. Being single was my choice, not my circumstance.
After taking a swig, he sets his drink back on the worn spot on the table. We make eye contact and there’s a glint in his eye he gets when he’s excited.
“But fuck all that fam. Look, the point of tonight is to get you some pussy and I see a god damn cat farm in this bar bro. You looking all spiffy too. You better style on these fuckboys and hipsters. You a real nigga, act like it. Let these hoes know what the deal is,” he said, pushing away from the table. For someone that was barely 5′ 7″, he had a 6′ 7″ disposition. I got up and shuffled toward the dance floor from the torn leather chair.
“I don’t know man, I been out the game for almost three years now. I’m really not feeling any of this,” I said, staring at the ocean of gyrating bodies and strobe lights. It was a wave I was not ready to ride, by any means.
Sighing, my friend says, “Look man, do what the fuck you gon’ do. I’m tryna get my dick wet tonight. On some real shit.”
He dove into the sea of sweaty someones and inebriated everybodys. I had thought he drowned until he resurface with a petite, brown-skinned girl with one really long braid and a dress much too short to wear on the street. This was his element, this was his world. But to me, this was something foreign; something alien; something unsettling.
Had he not drove, I probably would have left. No, that’s a lie. In my defeat, I slunk back to our original war room, only to find a pale-skinned red-head with bright blue lipstick and an all black sun-dress sitting in my seat with my jacket hanging on the back. Not the worst of surprises I suppose.
In my attempt to play-off my entry into her space, we made eye contact. I played with many kaleidoscopes in my childhood and when our gazes locked, I froze. She had subtle blue eyes with striations, zigzags, and deep lines I never knew were possible for the human eye. Or maybe that scotch was stronger than I thought. She smiled coyly.
“Hi…uh, I just came to get my jacket. You’re kinda sitting on it,” I said, tugging on my coat to demonstrate I was totally innocent.
“Oh, I’m sorry! Here, let me get up,” she said stepping out from the table. Her pale, supple legs seemed to go on for miles, even with her heels indicating otherwise.
“It’s all good. Probably shouldn’t have assumed somebody wouldn’t sit here.” I tossed on my coat and checked that my keys were still present. They were.
She sat back down, facing me with one elbow on the table, brushing some crimson strands aside. “Yeah, you kinda fucked up. Assumptions get people in a lot of trouble these days, you know.”
I was slightly taken aback at her candidness. “Yeah, no shit. It’s a rough life when you live through assumptions.” I shifted back a little in anticipation of making our parting the least awkward it could be.
“Exactly. Like how you’re assuming that I sat here randomly,” she said, leaning towards me. She smelled of lilac and a faint hint of bourbon. My kind of woman…if that was my mission. You always find something you’re not looking for, that’s the troll of life.
Intrigued, I said, “Oh, word? So this was planned? I do like me a crafty woman, but isn’t that an assumption of my assumption though?” I pulled up a chair and sat next to her. My height gave me a perfect vantage point for premium cleavage viewing. Thank you genetics.
“Isn’t everything? Well I guess that’s a loaded question. For the sake of our encounter though, yes. I saw you from across the bar and liked that you didn’t look like another hipster clone. So, what are we drinking?” she said, lifting my glass. The ice cube had pulled a Houdini and lightened the scotch significantly.
“Well that was one of the scotch cocktails from the menu. But I’m open to expanding my horizons. What do you want?” I said, patting my left pocket for my wallet. It was there. As I was getting up from the table, she grabbed my hand. Each of her digits felt like a candle to my lukewarm palm.
“It’s 2018, allow me,” she said. Still holding my hand, she stood up and motioned for me to follow.
Oh, those lovely assumptions.