Sunday, January 18, 2015

Lloyd, I'm Ready to Be Heartbroken

I had a job at this magazine for a while.  I worked with these two guys, Lloyd and Matthew.  I dug them both, and we got along well.  Neither picked up on my availability, though.  Probably because I sucked at sexual cues.  So we just hung out together after work.

These dudes hit the booze pretty hard, which was just fine with me.  And there was never a shortage of cocaine.  They were generous, and I was always appreciative.  I loved when a drink at the end of the day lasted all night.  And I couldn't wait to have at it again.

Lloyd had a girlfriend.  Her name was Tamara, and she was a student.  I only met her once.  She wasn't particularly friendly and didn't strike me as anything special, but he was crazy about her.  He kept her photograph in a frame on his desk, where she stood stone-faced in the basket of a hot air balloon.  I found myself staring at that image constantly, wondering what she had that I lacked.  I wished someone cared enough about me to keep my picture nearby like that.  At least, I'd manage a smile. But no one at the time was even the least bit interested in what I had to offer.

Matthew liked this chick in our department, Linda.  She had to know he was into her and seemed to delight in letting him dangle.  It was rough to watch.  He was such a bright young man otherwise, with a big heart and a terrific sense of humor.

Linda and I worked together occasionally on assignments.  I could tell she thought I was half a wheel and my pals were dicks, so she kept her distance socially.  Except if she knew we had blow.  Then she was like a cat, rubbing against everybody's legs.  I didn't like that about her, but I kinda did the same thing sometimes.

We stood at the back door of some bar on Eighth Avenue, doing quick freezes from the gram we bought.  The line waiting on the bathroom was ridiculous.

"As soon as we're done here, I'm gonna ask her out," Matt announced with coke-fueled confidence.

"Don't," Lloyd warned.  "She's gonna say no."

"That one's a man eater," I added.

 "She'll rip you to shreds, brother.  And me and Mary will be sad."

"I cry easy," I told them both.

"She'll say yes," Matt insisted and headed back inside.

Linda draped her hair and arms across several of my co-workers, making certain to help herself to the remainder of our dope.  She ordered specialty margaritas which Matthew gladly paid for.  Then she categorically rejected my friend and pranced into the street with some bald guy she just met.

"I told you, Matty.  She's a bitch, just like her mother." I set our fresh beers down on the table.

"You know her mother?" he asked.


"Then why'd you say that?"

"To prove a point."

"I don't get it.  What's your point?"

"My point is…"  I paused to try and catch up with the last few words that escaped from my mouth.  Luckily, I reached them just in time for me to start talking again. "My point is she's a bitch."

Lloyd backed me up.  "I can't agree more."

"You're not really helping, you know.  Besides, I got a feeling she'll come around."

Matthew smiled like he had a secret and took a long swallow of his draft.  The foam clung to his moustache.  Gosh, he was adorable.

"Did you see the way she danced with me?  She definitely wants the Matty Experience.  She just doesn't realize it yet."  He kept grinning and drained his pint.

Yeah, that's it."  Lloyd nodded, checking his watch.  "She wanted it so bad, she left with Professor X."

"She'll get tired of pushing that motherfucker's wheelchair around.  And when she does, I'm gonna point her right in the direction of my two good legs.  And my cock."

The three of us busted up, laughing.  I wanted to go home with both of them.  And be together forever.

"I gotta split."  Lloyd grabbed his jacket from the back of his chair.  "Tammy made enchiladas."

He leaned over the table to kiss me goodbye.

"Well then, you probably should marry her," Matty joked.

"Not tonight," Lloyd said.  "Someday, maybe."

They shook hands, hugged and stood saying things for an additional fifteen minutes.  Matt and I bought some more drugs and stopped in another dive on the way back to the subway.

"I just don't get it," he said, lifting his head from our operation on the back of a broken toilet tank in the ladies' room.

"Dag, Matty.  Linda's a cunt.  Open your eyes, man."

"Now, that's where you're wrong.  She's everything I'm looking for."

"Then you must be looking for a giant-sized Godzilla monster.  Move," I instructed as we switched positions, and I got my turn with a big, fat line.

"I guess I don't understand women.  How come you think she's like that?"

I thought about his question as best I could.  After several hours with the powder, explaining my thoughts with any measure of clarity was difficult.

"Because you make it easy for her to treat you like shit," I told him.

"Hmm.  Maybe."

Matthew stared into space for a brief moment, considering this detail, perhaps.

"Here's something I do know, Mare.  I love you."

"I love you too, Matt."

"Let's get outta here."

I should have headed home, but my mind still said go.  We rode the train together to his apartment, and he yammered on some more about Linda.  We drank wine and when that ran out, whiskey with soda.  The morning arrived.  That's when most folks reconsider another run.  They know they should be eating breakfast instead of scoring dope.  So I waited to see what my host wanted to do.

"I gotta take a nap," Matt said.

"Yeah.  Me, too."

We laid in his bed and smoked a joint.  I didn't want to be awake any longer but I wasn't tired, just exhausted.  Matt turned toward me on the mattress, leaning on his elbow.

"You're a good girl," he said.

I felt sick, and his words were like medicine.  I touched his face gently.

"Maybe we should fool around," I suggested.  "So we can sleep."

And we did.  It was awkward and empty and terrible.  I wasn't what he wanted, and it ruined our relationship.

Of course, I blamed Linda.  I had no problem taking money from her purse after that.  Until she got fired a few weeks later.  For being a bitch, I'm guessing.

She cried the day they cut her loose.  Matty helped collect her crap from her cubicle and offered to take her to dinner.  Supposedly, she got so drunk, she finally let him fuck her.  He didn't tell me, though.  Lloyd did.

By then, Matty and I weren't really friends anymore.

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