Saturday, April 20, 2024

I Went Out on a Friday Night

When I woke up this morning, there was a brand new BMW in my driveway.  WTF?  Oh. . . yea.  I went out on a Friday night.  Shit.  

As I told you yesterday, that was not my intention.  A quiet night home--that's what I wanted.  The day began poorly enough.  I don't think I ever did clear my head.  I tried going to the gym.  The crew was there.  Nobody felt good, but I don't think they were feeling as off as I.  

"We need Pediolyte," I said as I went through the motions, kind of.  Everyone agreed, though, that it had been a good time.  "I'm getting too old for this shit," I moaned.  

"Drinking or the gym?"


Tennessee said he needed to clean his boat.  "It's a mess, man.  I left the cover off it for most of the year.  I've been gone and haven't used it at all.  $150,000 boat.  My wife is going to kill me."

Since he keeps saying he's going to come over and fix some things around my house and apartment, I thought it was only right to offer.

"I'll come over and help you."

He didn't turn down the offer.  

His boat is on a big lake docked at a condo complex that is a collection of white buildings that lead to the water.  It is 1950s Miami cool architecture.  Once an apartment complex, the places have been bought up and renovated.  When I was getting divorced oh-so-many years ago, I thought about moving there if I lost the house.  They were cheap then.  They are not cheap anymore.  There are always young women lying out at the pool overlooking the lake.  They paddle around on paddle boards and sit out at the dock with cocktails as the sun goes down.  

"Aren't there any men who live here?" I asked Tennessee once.  

"Not so many."

He rents his to a young yoga instructor in her twenties but he keeps the boat dock for himself.  

When I pulled into the parking lot, he called.  

"I just got here."

"What?  Shit.  I wanted you to swing by my place and get the shop vac.  Some fucker stole the one out of the boat.  I've got everything torn apart and laying on the dock.  I can't leave it like this. . . ."

"O.K.  I'll go back and get it.  But I have to get something to eat.  Man. . . I'm fading."

I thought I was getting the better end of this deal.  It was the hottest day of the year so far, somewhere in the nineties.  I was glad to avoid scrubbing a dirty boat as much as I could.  I needed to eat, but I needed to make it quick.  In my muddled state, I made a decision.  I pulled into a McDonalds.  

Big Mac, fries, and a coke.  I hadn't been to a McDonalds in at least thirty years.  They had the calorie count on the order board.  What in the world was I doing?  I was eating about 2,000 calories. . . but my oh my. . . it went down easily.  

"It's o.k." I told myself.  "You needed that."

Nobody needs that. 

By the time I got back to the boat, an hour had passed.  There were mats and boat cushions lining the dock.  Tennessee stood pressure washing the empty hull, music blaring from the big speakers mounted on the crossbar.  

"Turn that shit down, cracker," I yelled.  

"What a fucking mess," he said.  

"What do you want me to do?'

"I've sprayed the cushions.  Just start pressure washing them."  He handed the hose to me.  I started on the cushions, but nothing seemed to be coming off.  

"Get the nozzle closer," he said jumping off the boat to show me.  

"O.K." I said and began again.  Of course, I'm about as handy as a three petered goat as my uncle used to say.  After a few minutes he noticed that I was ripping the vinyl with the jet stream.  Not ripping, really, just removing the top layer.  


The music plays.  I sit on the wooden steps leading down to the water.  They are hot.  I'd be sweating like a drunk if I had any fluids in me.  

"Are we going to eat tonight?" he asks me.  


"You'd better get over to see your mother then."

"What time is it."


I'm glad for the excuse to go.  

"I'll finish up here and call you." 

Driving to my mother's, the phone rings.  The screen shows a number but not a name, so I don't answer.  Then I get a text.  At the light, I read it.  It is from Detective Decker.  He wants me to do something.  When I get to my mother's, I call him back.  He needs me to clarify some details on the written report about the cameras.  It is important, he says.  He is going to start things in motion on Monday.  Well, hell, I think.  O.K. 

My mother sits rather listlessly.  It is not a good day for her, she says.  Fuck.  I feel bad, feel myself a bad son going out and carousing.  We talk for awhile, then I get a text from Tennessee.  He's hungry.  He's on his way to the Italian place.  

"I gotta go, mom.  Do you need anything?"

Rhetorical.  I'm feeling bad about leaving.  I want to tell her I promise not to enjoy myself.  I kiss her goodbye and slowly shuffle to the car.  

When I get to the restaurant, I don't see Tennessee.  He had called and said the bar was full, so I said get us an outside table. I look around.  I walk to the other side.  He is sitting at a table away from the street against a blank wall.  

"What the fuck. . . did they put you in time out?"

He looks at the hostess.  "I told you."  Then to me, "This is Miranda's section.  I thought you'd like that."

Miranda is the pretty barmaid we like, the Jersey girl who just took her Bar exam.  

"She passed,' he tells me.  

"No shit?" 

When she comes to the table, she smiles a far away smile.  I look at her.  "So you passed the Bar?"


"What are you going to do?"

"I've got a couple offers."

One is working for an insurance firm.  Another is from a law firm.  She's not sure.  

"I lived with an attorney for awhile.  It looked like she was writing term papers every night.  They'll work you to death," I said.  

"I know.  I'm not sure what I want to do yet."

She was a little slow, had a far away look in her eye.  

"Are you O.K.?"

"I don't know.  I'm sweating.  I shouldn't have eaten that donut."

I realized she was high.  

"Did you eat a gummy?"

"Noooooo," she said.  But she had smoked it up a bit just before her shift.  

"You're in for a long night," I said.  

"I know."  

When she walked away, Tennessee's phone rang.  Just then I saw an old buddy walk in that I haven't seen in many years.  He didn't like my girl at the time and so I chose the girl.  No hard feelings.  I just didn't contact him after that.  But I didn't have the girl anymore and we had been friends for thirty years, so I got up and caught him at the door.  

"Come have a drink with us," I said.  

We sat down and I made introductions.  It was awkward for a few minutes, but that awkwardness faded soon enough.  Miranda came back to the table.  My buddy knew her well.  Food was ordered.  The night was cooling off.  My buddy and Tennessee got on O.K.  Tennessee was interested in our common history, especially all the outdoor adventure stuff we had done together.  But the conversation turned to why we hadn't seen one another for so long, and my buddy spilled some information that I hadn't heard before, something that was quite disturbing.  It's going to take me awhile to digest it.  Things were, perhaps, not what they seemed to be.  

He had ordered a meal to go, and when Maddison brought it to the table, he said his goodbyes.  

"He's a good guy," I said.  

"Yea. . . I can tell."

More wine.  Salads, then meals. 

Miranda comes over.  Tennessee is good at chatting her up.  

"Where'd you go to college before law school?"

Turns out she went to Country Club.  Hmm.  She has the look, the manner, of a Country Club girl.  She was a soccer player.  Tennessee asks her to come to run with his running group.  He hands her his phone and she punches in her number.  WTF?  The girls love him.  It REALLY pisses me off.  

She asks me if I am coming.  

"I can't run anymore."

Tennessee has told her I am a shaman, that I have things at the house."

"O.K." she says. "We'll run then come over to your place and smoke a J." 

When she leaves the table, I just look at T. and shake my head.  

"Where do you want to go now?" 

"Nowhere.  I'm going to sit on my porch and have a scotch."

"O.K.  Let's go there."

The black sheep of a good family calls.  T hands the phone to me, but I shake my head.  

"What are you doing, homie?"

"We're going over to sit on C.S.'s porch and drink."

Oh, fuck no.  No, no. . . . 

Black Sheep is at the racquet club for a members and guests event.  He's been there all day, drinking.

"O.K.  I'll come over."

"Fuck you guys.  No!" I say, but T is laughing.  This is not what I wanted.  

We're sitting on the deck when Black Sheep comes squealing down the street.  He sits in front of the house revving his engine.  He wants tequila.  Once we're all settled, a police car drives slowly by.  We all look and he flashes his lights.  

"What the fuck was that?"

"They're probably looking for him," I say pointing my thumb at Black Sheep.  

That's whose beamer is in my driveway this morning.  He was too drunk to drive, so Tennessee took him home.  Not without an argument, though.  T was trying to leave him here with me.  He thought that was funny.  

"I'm starting not to like you," I told him.  

Just before eight this morning, I get a call.  It is Tennessee.  He's going to meet his running group.  The biology prof from our group has started running triathlons and is already there.  

"Who's on the phone?"

"It's C.S.  He's drinking coffee and watching porn."

I hear the laughter in the background.  

"Fuck you.  You're a child."

He wants me to go to the Earth Day rock concert with him and the car guy tonight.  Uh-uh, I say.  You have fun.  

"Ah, man. . . you gotta go."

"Nope.  Not happening." 

It is 4/20.  It is weed day.  

The day has broken now, hot and bright.  I'm slow.  I hate that I can't run.  I need to run this shit out of me.  I need to run with Miranda.  I've gotten fat and consequently lazy.  Things need to change.  I should quit drinking and go on a diet.  I should. . . I should. . . I should. . . . 

What I need to do is get out of here before Black Sheep comes for his car.  I don't want him knocking on my door.  

I'm still chewing on what my old friend told me last night.  It seems I might have been getting a dirty deal.  

Whatever.  I just got a text from someone who used to like me.  Well, now. . . that's a more pleasant way to start the day.  And so. . . onward.  

I think there is shaved ice in my future!

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