Tales of Rock – David Crosby Rams Car into a Wall While High and Armed

“Why do I keep fuckin’ up?”

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A lot of musicians who came of age during the ’60s exited the decade with serious drug problems, but few were still running wild decades later. David Crosby of the Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash and (sometimes) Young, has proven a noteworthy exception here. In 1982 he went to prison for nine months after being charged with possession of cocaine and heroin. In 1985, while on probation for DUI, he was arrested for driving into a fence with a gun and cocaine in his car. Asked by a reporter why he was armed, he said it was his response to the murder of John Lennon by a crazed fan.

In Crosby’s episode of VH1’s Behind The Music, one of his band mates in Crosby, Stills and Nash complained that he once interrupted a jam session to stop his crack pipe from falling off his amp and breaking. As recently as 2004, Crosby was arrested after leaving his luggage, which apparently contained an ounce of pot and a gun, in a hotel room. The bag was searched and when Crosby returned for it he was arrested. To quote his occasional collaborator Neil Young, Crosby might want to ask himself, “Why do I keep fuckin’ up?”

You really should slow down in middle age. Especially when you’ve already had your liver replaced.

 

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Tales of Rock – Rick James Holds a Woman Hostage and Burns Her with a Crack Pipe

Charlie Murphy terms James “a habitual line stepper.”

Musicians’ drug problems are often rich sources of satire for comedians, but no one has ever been sent up as thoroughly and hysterically as Rick James. A 2004 episode of Chappelle’s Show saw Eddie Murphy’s older brother Charlie describing James’ antics during their long friendship as Dave Chappelle reenacted all this dressed as James. He’s depicted cavorting with loose women, licking their faces and rejecting their breasts; fucking up a couch; and punching and slapping Murphy in the face and in turn getting beat up repeatedly. Murphy terms James “a habitual line stepper,” and all the while the real Rick James appears intermittently to offer little more explanation for his behavior than “cocaine’s a hell of a drug.”

Of course in reality, James’ drug tales were much darker. In 1992, James and his girlfriend were accused of holding a woman hostage for a week, binding her, forcing her to perform sex acts and burning her with a crack pipe. In 1993, while out on bail for all this, the two did the same thing to a female music executive and were arrested again. James was found guilty of both offenses and sentenced to two years in prison; released in 1996. He later lost $2 million in a civil suit related to the case.

The same year the Chappelle’s Show episode dedicated to him aired, James died of heart failure. An autopsy found nine different drugs in his bloodstream when he died; a mixture of prescription and illegal drugs. Cocaine was one of them.

Super Freak.

 

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Johnny R – 2009 to Present – Dive Bar Blues

Johnny came into town recently. I hadn’t heard from him the entire day, and was concerned he would bail. I had just come off an exhausting evening with a lady, and was pretty tired. I had to work at the salon all day and then go meet with him. I wasn’t burned out because I hadn’t drank or smoked anything the night before. She simply wore me out. “Junior achiever, had the old bull by the horns.”(As Steven Tyler would say)

I kind of was hoping he’d bail, but thought it better to text him. It was the end of my shift and he told me he had just arrived at Mcglinchey’s. Being Sunday afternoon, I knew even if we hung out neither of us would last long.

I lock up the salon and headed over. When I get there some seats had opened up at the end of the bar and I beckon him down. I love this place. The staff is surly, the jukebox is good, and the drinks are cheap and you can smoke in this bar.

Perfect.

Johnny’s not happy. So what else is new? He’s always a little disgruntled about something. Currently, he’s pissed that the bartender is hanging all the way at the other end of the bar chatting with her boyfriend.

The bar has somewhat emptied out. There are just small clusters of drinkers at the bar. The jukebox is blasting country music. Which just adds to Johnny’s rage. I don’t care for country music either, but that shit was relentless. He blames the guy that he assumes is the bartender’s boyfriend. She’s not our usual girl, but I can tell she knows us. Johnny is making his faces and doing his hand gestures of disbelief about the poor service.

“Dude, It’s McGlinchey’s!” I tell him. But it does seem way off tonight. It’s not busy enough for us not to be getting the attention that Johnny thinks we so richly deserve. The country hits keep coming and it is getting on my nerves too. I should go over to the jukebox and play a block of Lamb of God, but I don’t know if we’re going to be around long enough to hear any of it.

We have a few rounds and catch up. I tell him what’s going on with work, life and this blog. I even show him in my phone his first chapter. He becomes suddenly giddy and loves that I’ve included him in my story. But, he’s still sore about the poor service and shitty music. “I have an idea. I’m going to hit the head. Be right back.” He says.

I’m still feeling a bit worn out from the previous nights nocturnal exploits. But this always happens. I’ll just go to bed early tonight and be as good as new tomorrow.

Johnny returns from the bathroom with a twinkle in his steel-blue eyes, and a spring in his step.

“Well this is a change in attitude. Did you meet a guy in there?”

“Ha ha. I just did a little bump of coke.”

“Oh nice. Maybe you’ll be in a better fucking mood now.”

“You look a little tired. Want some?”

“I’m good, Johnny, but thanks.”

I like Johnny on either adderall or coke. Stimulants help him focus and actually sober him up a bit. He’s Irish and he loves his Bud bottles. If he has a little something extra, it sustains him at the bar longer. However, things aren’t improving at our beloved McGlinchey’s tonight. I’ve had a couple of $2.60 glasses of wine with ice and he’s throwing back the beer and coke, but the vibe is off due to the music and poor service. Normally this is a bar we’re happy to camp out in for hours on end, but it’s just not happening.

I tell him we should leave and go to one of my favorite spots. He’s fed up as well and agrees. We cash out and hit the trail. The better bar is only about four blocks away. He’s complaining about the cold and doesn’t want to be out in it too long. I assure him he won’t die of frostbite. Plus his nose must already be frozen from the blow.

We get there and take a seat at the bar. Totally different vibe. Warm and happy. The bartender comes over to greet us with an open hand. Roman is one of my favorite bartenders in the city. There are better mixologists with more knowledge in the city, but Roman brings personality and creativity to his bar. He’s part of the experience and makes everyone feel welcome.

Johnny is happy when Roman hands him an ice-cold Bud bottle. It’s a nice upscale place, but there is something for everyone. Roman is letting me test out some new cocktails, and Johnny is feeling much better. After a while I no longer feel as tired as I did earlier. Just good energy flowing from all around.

Johnny’s girlfriend calls him. He thought maybe she’d be picking him up but she says that she’s not. He’s usually in two different places with Rachel. Aggravated or frustrated. They’ve been together for over eight years and that seems to be the way they love. Who am I to judge? Johnny talks about writing a blog again. I tell him, I’m not going to bring it up again. He says he has all of the information in his head. He just needs to let it out. It’s easier than ever to release your thoughts onto the page. The trick is to actually do it. Thinking a lot of great and wild thoughts is cool, but actually bringing them forth is quite another, and no easy task.  I think if Johnny would make the time, and could be on the right cocktail of drugs and alcohol, he would write some fucking great shit. But the only way to do that is to sit down and write.

Write everyday if you can.

After a while, we’re both feeling good, but Johnny needs to get home and feed his cats. He says that maybe the coke will put him in the mood to write. I don’t mind if he never writes a word. I just enjoy having him in my life as a friend. I know you were hoping we’d get into some vice this time, but again, we have behaved ourselves.

Maybe we’re both just getting older.

 

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Church – 2013 to Present -Seizure Salad

I’m sitting in my go to bar with Church. It’s our spot and it’s what we do. He’s sipping a Sailor Jerry and Coke, and I’m having my usual Chardonnay with a side of ice. He orders a salad and I go with the sliders. There is a couple a few seats down from me to my right. I know the guy, his name is Brian, but I don’t know the lady he’s with so I wave but don’t approach. He could be working.

On the left of Church, is a brunette in her thirties and an older gentleman. Looks like a lawyer. We don’t really pay any attention. We’re chatting and doing our thing.

Daphne rolls behind the bar and says hello. She tells me it’s a slow night. Not much happening. She goes back to her hostess stand and it’s just another night in paradise.

Suddenly, the woman who was sitting to Church’s left, goes off the bar stool and hits the floor. Normally, I’d call that Thursday night.  We see so many banged up people around the city losing their shit. But this woman was having a seizure. People within visual range are shocked and the bar goes quiet.

I point to the phone on the wall, because the bartender on duty didn’t see one of her patrons suddenly vanish from the bar. “Liz, call 911.”

She starts dialing. Church, with his cat-like reflexes, springs into action and goes from sitting next to me sipping a drink to all the way around the other side of her on the floor holding her head to keep her steady. I get down there and untangle her leg from the lower rail of his bar stool. I have the legs. Church is focuses on the poor woman’s head. She’s thrashing about, and Church is barking commands to those around him. He’s literally single-handedly coordinating the effort to help save this poor woman, and keeping her from injuring herself further.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but Church was formerly a Corpsmen in the United States Navy.

A Corpsman works in a wide variety of capacities and locations, including shore establishments such as naval hospitals and clinics, aboard ships, and as the primary medical caregivers for sailors while underway. Hospital corpsmen are frequently the only medical caregiver available in many fleet or Marine units on extended deployment. In addition, hospital corpsmen perform duties as assistants in the prevention and treatment of disease and injury and assist health care professionals in providing medical care to sailors and their families.

They may function as clinical or specialty technicians, medical administrative personnel and health care providers at medical treatment facilities. They also serve as battlefield corpsmen with the Marine Corps, rendering emergency medical treatment to include initial treatment in a combat environment. Qualified hospital corpsmen may be assigned the responsibility of independent duty aboard ships and submarines; Fleet Marine Service, SEAL and Seabee units, and at isolated duty stations where no medical officer is available.

Yea, pretty bad ass. That’s the guy you want next to you when somebody takes a header at your favorite bar.

She’s making what almost sounds like barking sounds, and staring wildly about. He’s got a good hold on her. He’s talking to her. But mostly he’s trying to keep her from bashing her face into the wooden wall of the bar. The bartender comes around, and some others have gathered. I grab a cloth napkin and ask if we need to put it in her mouth. I always heard that epileptics could bite or swallow their own tongues. Church says, no. He knows what he’s doing and has the situation well under control.

She seems to be calming down. I look over at the guy who was with her. He’s just standing there staring, and looking uncomfortable. The paramedics come and stabilize her. I feel so bad for her. It’s the holidays, and she’s out for a drinks and this horror befalls her. They get her onto the gurney and roll her out. The police are there and also ask some questions. Church is on point, he gives law enforcement the full report.

They also speak to the guy she came in with. He says he doesn’t know her very well. He met her over at DelFrisco’s steakhouse, and then brought her over here for a drink. That’s a big lawyer hang out. Not my scene. This guy didn’t do anything to help or comfort her when she had the seizure, and he didn’t go to the hospital with her. I don’t care if you just picked up the chick in a bar. Lady falls down, you go to the damn hospital with her. I’m thinking that weasel was married and didn’t want any problems. How would he explain to his wife that he was at the hospital with some other woman? I may be wrong, but I got the vibe something was definitely shady about that guy.

We go back to our seats at the bar and have another drink. Church is pissed because somebody was telling him to turn her head when she was foaming at the mouth and that’s not what you’re supposed to do. Me, I was just glad the lady was okay.

Daphne came over to chat and get a recap. I tell her what I know, and tease her.”You had to say it was a slow night and that nothing was happening, and look what you did, Daph…”

“I know, right? Me and my big mouth.”

Indeed…

 

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Rebecca – Chapter 5 – Cypress and the Oak

Another tale of one man’s journey through the dating scene in Philadelphia, searching for true love.

We headed down Chestnut Street to Mix. I love Mix. It’s just slightly outside of the Rittenhouse bubble. How can you not love a place that has a full bar and serves delicious reasonably priced brick oven pies? Sure Zavino is good down at 13th and Sansom, but I’m not going down there. Too crowded, and too expensive.

We get there and head to the back room. The front of the house looks like a regular pizza place, but you keep walking, and the back is a bar with tables. We grab a high top and look at the menus. It’s clear to me a great weight has been lifted from her shoulders. We order up and sip our beers.

Piping hot delicious pie comes out and all is right with the world.

“What’s better than pizza and beer?” She says, as we tap bottles and take a swig. “Free pizza and beer,” was my reply. She laughs and looks at me while taking a pull from her Corona. “Hey, how come you didn’t ‘Super Like’ me on Tinder?” She quips, smiling.

“What? I don’t ‘Super Like’ anybody.”

“Come on. You must have at least tried it once.”

“Don’t you only get a few of those? You can’t ‘Super Like’ everybody, or people would do it.”

“See? You know about it, so you must have done it at least once.”

“Okay. Maybe once. Now that you mention it, I may have ‘Super Liked’ somebody just to try it.”

“Do you remember who?”

“Maybe it was some really hot little Asian chick.”

“Oh, so you’re into Asian girls.”

“Who isn’t? They’re adorable and smart and nice.”

She laughs. “Did you ever date an Asian girl?”

“I did. When we first got to L.A. I did.”

“I thought you had a steady girlfriend out there?”

“I did. But it was before her. I was 19 years old. Back then the drinking age in New Jersey was 18 and I was legal, but in California it was 21 so I had to get my friend who was 21 to get all of our alcohol. So we were in a bar one night checking out some bands. He got the drinks and brought them to the table and I told him as thanks, I’d bring us some talent to the table.”

“Talent?” she inquired.

“You know what I mean. I went downstairs and met these two sisters. The Yukomatos. One was my buddy’s age and her little sister was my age. I told them we had a table upstairs and asked them to join us and they did. It was easy back then.

” So what happened? Did you guys sleep with the sisters? I think I like this story.”

“No. Well yes. My buddy slept with the older one eventually. I didn’t sleep with the little sister.”

“Why not?”

“She was in love with this older guy that she was banging.”

“Really? I like her already.”

“Oh thanks a lot, you’re happy I didn’t get any loving.”

“No. Think about why I like her…” She gives me that grin and those eyes.

“Ohhh…” I am smiling now. “So how did it all end up?”

“My buddy would ask me to leave our apartment some nights so he could throttle big sister. I remember he used to put a sock on the door knob to let everybody know it was off-limits.”

“Oh my God, that is so college.”

” Well he went to college, I didn’t, so I guess he had a move.”

“You never tried to get baby sister into bed?”

“No, she liked making out with me and stuff, but not much else. Just dating stuff, like going to record stores.”

“So nothing ever?”

“Well, we fooled around some, but she used to like this thing where I stuck my tongue in her ear for periods of time. It used to really drive her nuts. I’ve never met anyone since then that was into that.”

“So her heart belonged to some older guy, huh?”

“Yep. I think she said he was in his thirties or early forties. At the time I just couldn’t understand that. I mean, she had this young, lean rock guitarist, lion cub right in front of her. Me with my long blonde mane of hair and all.”

“Yea, but you were young and inexperienced. Maybe she wanted a man.”

“Well at the time I didn’t understand why she would want that. I was right there.”

“Well, I’m sure he had things that you couldn’t provide.”

“Oh, you mean like expensive dinners, and jewelry and stuff like that?”

” No. Maybe she wanted a gentleman that would take her to the museum, not just to impress her, but could actually appreciate the art, and talk about it. Maybe he took her to the ballet and the symphony. You don’t know. I’m sure she was attracted to you cause you were cute, but maybe she loved him, and that’s why she reserved that part of herself only for him. You might have just been her boy toy.”

“Probably. But I enjoyed being with her because she was cute and nice. I hadn’t ever kissed an Asian girl. I like things that are new and different.”

“Do you see the correlation here?” She says inquisitively.

“I do, Rebecca.”

Were these girls smart?”

“Of course, they were Asian. Their parents worked in pharmaceuticals. They lived out in Washington Hills. That’s a nice area. I’m surprised somebody didn’t call the cops when my 1969 Volkswagen mini bus rolled up, and a German and an Irishman jumped out and went into the house. Their parents were away a lot. Palm Springs and Vegas mostly. They had an intercom in their house. I didn’t even know what that was.”

“Why would someone have that?”

“It was a big house. They had money. I would get on the intercom and pretend to be their father to scare my buddy when he was upstairs in the bedroom fooling around with big sister. I would be like; “Dude! We have to get out of here! Their parents are home! Then I would do an impression of an angry Asian man hollering over the intercom that he was going to kill the dirty Irishman that was deflowering his daughter with his samurai sword.”

Rebecca lost her shit right there. She was laughing so hard she choked on her pizza. It reminded me of when I used to do funny bits at the dinner table with my Mom and sisters. I would actually try to get them to spit out their food, or even better make them laugh so hard they passed something through their noses.

“Oh my God, that is crazy. You’re so funny!” she said.

I have heard that so many times before from women. I would say it is my gift, but it is just the way my mind works. Sometimes people mistake light heartedness as immaturity or simplicity, but they’re all wrong. To be truly funny you have to see the sadness and pain of the world. It’s all time and irony. A mind that can laugh at tragedy. One who can make light of things that are painful or embarrassing is an open mind. One who can laugh at himself. It’s like all great theater. Joy and tragedy. I was so happy to make lovely Rebecca laugh. I haven’t felt this kind of joy since my ex girlfriend Michelle, when we used to talk about everything. And I mean Everything.

Rebecca was ripping into her slices. Baby was happy. She seemed liberated from tonight’s heartbreaking tale. I love to see a lady eat. I hope I can cook for her one day.

“Okay, so what ultimately happened to the Hiroshima twins?”

“Well my buddy went back to Belfast to study law to become a barrister and I kept in touch a little bit with the sisters.”

“That was the end of it?”

“Well one night big sister calls me and says that there is some great band playing at Madam Wong’s East in Chinatown. So I go, and she and baby sister are there and the three of us are hanging out. I’m burning pretty clean that night because I’m driving. Now my buddy has been gone for months. Baby sister isn’t into me at all. I’m fine with that, she’s still with older guy. What if that dude was married the whole time and she’s just his side piece? That would be crazy, but I wouldn’t rule it out. So baby sister ends up leaving and I hang with older sister. She’s a great girl, and ex-girlfriend from one of my best friends in the world. We’re living it up and dancing, and having a great time at the show. I wish I remember who was playing. But if I can’t remember they couldn’t have been that great. I’m happy to be with her and then she tells me something. She says that when we initially met, she was really liking me. She wanted me but settled on my buddy when she saw I was into her hot younger sister. I ended up making out with her that night. There was some grabbing under the table but not much else. I wasn’t that into her but she was a sweet girl. I liked that fact that she was always into me though. We both had a great time and then she went home. I never saw either of them again.”

“It’s still a good story.”

“I guess. One of many. One of the more tame ones.”

“Oh really?”

“Well I was in a band.”

“Ok, rock star, but I still liked the idea that the younger sister was in love with the older gentleman. She knew what she liked.”

“I suppose.”

“Do you go on Tinder a lot?”

“Hardly ever now. I can’t really be bothered with it. It seems so superficial.” (Bold Faced Lie. I’m writing a dating blog!)

“Me either. I’m kinda done with it. You’ve been amazing tonite. Thank you so much for seeing me, and listening to all of my woes.  I feel so much better. I’m glad I let it out. I hope you’re not freaked out by it. I know you didn’t ‘Super Like’ me on Tinder but I’m glad we met just the same.”

“Well for the record, you didn’t ‘Super Like’ me either.” I laughed to make light of this nonsense.

“I know it’s all so silly.”

“Well if it’s any consolation, Rebecca, I’m not afraid to say that I super like you now and hope I can see you again soon. Youre smart and beautiful and I’ve really enjoyed our time together. The museum was amazing because of you, and tonight has been wonderful. I’m just happy to be with you. There. Complete vulnerability, okay?”

“I know we didn’t do the Fringe Festival but  I was just trying t think of stuff to do with you and then I went through my crap. Can we plan something soon?”

My heart is soaring. “Of course. Let’s text and or call. Whatever you want Rebecca. To be honest with you I dated an actress for a while and she liked all that Fringe stuff and I kind of hate it all. It’s fringe for a reason”

“I agree. Maybe we could go to the movies. I don’t care what we see. I trust you’ll pick and it’ll be good. I’m thinking buttery popcorn and candy.”

“I’ll find something good. Maybe I can email you a few previews and we can agree on something.”

“No. You pick. We’re both busy. We’ll make it work. Let’s do a Saturday matinée and then grab drinks afterward so we can chat about the film!”

How great is this? Did I rub a lamp and did this girl come out of it?  We crushed most of the pie. She says how she’s going to be fat from eating so much pizza, but I assure she won’t gain any weight if none of her girlfriends see her do it, so it doesn’t count. Like eating Snickers bars or drinking alone. Oh, wait, that second one is something else.

The bill comes and there is some pie left and we ask for a box. I say to her how it’s funny that the first part of our second date was her story, and then part two was somehow a tale from my past. She says how she would like to hear more of my stories and is fascinated by life and different experiences. She says she would love to travel, but it’s expensive. I tell her I just got my passport for the first time. She says she likes to go to the seashore and I hold back that there is a shore house in my family a block and a half from the beach in North Wildwood. Too early. I like to play some great songs, but don’t play the hits too early. Let’s see where this is going. If it somehow progresses, I’d love to take her to the shore. Just to take a break from the city, and commune with nature by the sea. Oh, who am I kidding? It’ll look like a hooker hotel room in Jersey City in the heat of the night.

I insist on paying. Rebecca giggles and tells me I have to pay because her credit card may be maxed our from her last transaction. “Totally worth it.” She says. It’s late. She has to work tomorrow and save lives. I have to write about this. We walk outside and Philadelphia is surprisingly quiet for once. I’ve had a lovely time with this treasure. The night is clear and the buildings are familiar. I have been on this odyssey for the last ten years and all I can think of is ‘Here we go again’. But I love the euphoria of this moment. The exhilaration of new love. I know that’s what it is. No one has said it. She may not even know what it is. She has had a measure of the pain and searing anguish of love with Derrick, but here it is again. She seems interested in me and may not know what kind of animal she has caught in her snare. But I’m willing to be caught and ready to go.

“I’ve had a wonderful night with you.” She says, taking my hands in hers. She looks up at me. Her eyes are dark and full of light. I don’t question what is happening. “Thank you so much for your time tonight. I can’t thank you enough. I feel like you fixed me. I have been wearing armor my whole life and when I take it off I always get hurt. I feel like I’m safe when I’m with you.” She lifts her hands slowly and gently touches my cheeks and kisses me gently. Her kisses are soft and sincere.

That’s the difference.

There’s no faking that. Ever.

 

Stay tuned for The Return of Rebecca, Part 3 in Two Weeks!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 9am EST.

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Rebecca – Chapter 4 – Cypress and the Oak

Another tale of one man’s journey through the dating scene in Philadelphia, searching for true love.

It had been a while since I had heard from Rebecca. She certainly made an amazing impression upon me on our first date. It didn’t make sense that she “ghosted” me after our very first meeting. It felt like it had been a couple of months, and all I heard was the deafening sound of crickets. I did text her twice in that time to meet up for a drink and just never heard back. This has happened before. I know this other little hottie that is always saying she wants to meet me for drink, but can never pull it together.

But then out of the blue she texted me. “Sooo sorry for being off the grid. Can we meet up for a drink soon?” I told her I could do Monday or Wednesday. She picked Monday. I liked that because it was sooner. I asked her if she had any preference. She said for me to pick the place. I wanted somewhere that was nice, but not some place where we’d stick out like a sore thumb. I had a few days to figure it out. I have to come up with a place where they knew me, but I’d have some privacy. I decide to meet her at 1 Tippling Place at 6:30 the next Monday. “Great! I always wanted to check that place out!” was her reply.

1 Tippling Place is a really cool, living room style cocktail bar. It’s located at 20th and Chestnut streets. The outside is really nondescript. Just a glass and steel door, next to a large window. If you blinked or sneezed while walking by you’d miss it. But inside there is all kinds of neat comfy furniture and coffee tables. The artwork is eclectic and the room as a whole is nicely appointed with interesting artifacts. The cocktails are first-rate. They really don’t serve any food. I mean they have some little hors d’oeuvre, but that’s about it. You go there for the quality drinks and the atmosphere. I also enjoy the snarky attitude of the lead bartender. When you first meet him you think he might be gay. Then in walks his smoking hot girlfriend. It’s one of my favorite bars in the city because it’s an original that has real character.

I arrive early. I always like to get to a place early to scope out the scene and get the lay of the land. I chat with the owner. She’s awesome. Normally she’s in and out during the day, and then leaves around 7pm. We’re pretty tight. I’ve even walked her home on occasion. I normally don’t order off the cocktail menu. I just tell the bartender that I want something dark and spirit forward. They make it and I drink it. It’s always good. I will say that the place is a little expensive. Most of the drinks cost between $12 and $14.

I look at my watch. 6:20. Hope she isn’t late.

Hope she shows up.

Five minutes later the door opens. It was like one of those moments in those 80’s teen comedies, when everything moves in slow motion and they play some cool song. Rebecca enters the bar. I take a deep breath. Her dark hair is up, which always looks so sexy on the right woman. Her ripe lips an exquisite pout. She is wearing a burgundy cocktail dress. It comes to mid-thigh. She is wearing black sheer stockings and elegant black high heels. She looks amazing. I’m blinking my eyes trying to focus on this vision.

I immediately stand to greet her. She hugs me, and I am more intoxicated by her beauty and lovely fragrance than any cocktail that could be crafted at this bar. “Rebecca,” is all I could say. “Shall we get a table?” she replies. I nod, and guide her to a quiet table in the corner so we can chat. “You look lovely. I feel under dressed ” I say. “Well I haven’t seen you in a while and I like to dress up.” she responds.

We order a round of drinks. I have my usual dark power, and she goes with something equally strong. Interesting. That’s either a good thing or a bad thing. Maybe she likes a heady drink or maybe she needs a bit of courage. We chat about what we’ve been up to and she’s telling me about work, and some of the challenges she obviously faces in the medical industry. Then she says, “I suppose you’re wondering why you haven’t heard back from me in a while, and I am sorry about that.” I tell her it’s okay and I’m just happy that she is here tonight.

“Remember how I told you that I went out with that man who was older than me and I didn’t feel any chemistry after four dates?” “Didn’t that guy get married? He didn’t try to…?” “No…no. Nothing like that. I just wanted to preface what I was about to tell you, that it doesn’t feel that way with you.” she says. Now I’m getting a little worried and a little confused. “Do you mean you do feel chemistry with me or you don’t?” I ask, feeling a slight searing heat in my heart. This could go be a short date.  She smiles and takes my hand. “I do like you. It feels different just being around you. You’re not like anybody else I know.” I visually sigh in relief and she reads my expression. I need to be cool. “Don’t worry, I’ve thought a lot about where my life is and it sometimes can be confusing.” I reassure her that whatever she is concerned about I understand, and will listen.

Women don’t want men to solve their problems. Men are all about solutions. They like to fix things. Women are more about their feelings. That’s why men define themselves on what they do, and women define themselves on who they know. The way to a woman’s heart is really quite simple. Don’t tell her what she should do, or how she should do. Just listen. I’m just happy at that moment that I am the one who is present to listen to whatever it is she needs to get off her chest.  I just hope she can’t hear my heart beating.

Rebecca takes a sip from her drink, not breaking her gaze with me. Looking into me with those brilliant emeralds. “Two years ago I met this guy on Tinder named Derrick. He was around my age. As you know guys my age basically suck for the most part. They don’t know what they want or who they are yet. But he ‘Super Liked’ me on Tinder. And… I did the same on his profile so I thought it was kismet. I know now I only did that because he was really cute and not much else. Isn’t that why most people swipe right for the most part anyway?”

“I suppose. But I’d like to think that some of us are more thoughtful when it comes to matters of the heart.” I reply. (Bold faced lie.) She seemed smart in her profile, but I know I swiped right because she was smoking hot.

“I know right?” she exclaims. “Thank you! But I guess I was dumb and just being superficial. So we exchanged numbers. It all happened so fast. We met up, and it was fun. He seemed kind of full of himself and his band. But he was good really good-looking. He invited me to come out and see his band play and we’d hang out after their set. So I get dressed up and go to the bar where their playing. Derrick was the lead singer. I was kind of hoping he’d take me on a proper date, but I thought that would happen after we got to know each other. I suppose it’s not a bad way to meet someone for the first time. You’re in a bar surrounded with people so it’s not like you’re meeting a stranger in some isolated place. I also prepared myself for the fact that he was the singer in the band and usually they are surrounded by willing girls. I mean, you told me you used to play guitar in a band in L.A. Weren’t you always around a bunch of girls?”

“Sure. There were a lot of girls and guys at our shows. We played hard rock, so our audience skewed more male than female. But I had a steady girlfriend at the time. I was committed to my relationship with her.” (Bold faced lie)

“Well you’re one of the rare ones.” (I wonder if she can see the devil horns sticking out of my head?) Anyway, so I’m at the their show. I didn’t want to go to a bar alone, so I took my roommate Amber with me. We had an agreement that if things went well with Derrick she’d either hook up with someone there or UBER it home. I mean it wasn’t a real date so I don’t think there was anything wrong with bringing my friend with me as backup.”

“What kind of music did they play?” I ask, hoping to get insight about the boy through his musical tastes.

“It wasn’t emo, but it sort of sounded like that. I guess it was more post hardcore.”

This guy already sounds like a douche, I thought. She takes another sip and this time her eyes are down. I can see this is hard for her. “Okay. Please go on. I’m listening.”

“So they end their set and we’re hanging out. Me, my friend Amber, Derrick, and his lead guitarist, Simon. We’re drinking and laughing and having a good time. We’re at this table all the way off to the back. I’m sitting next to Derrick and Amber is across from me with Simon in a booth. Amber likes to party. Simon is ordering shots and beers and we’re all getting pretty buzzed. I feel like I’m really liking Derrick. He’s going about how important the music is and all of that stuff, but I don’t care I just think he’s hot. Next thing I know Amber is all over Simon. I look at Derrick and he’s on me. We’re just making out like crazy. Normally I’m not like that but I think it was the drinking that made it easy. Plus I wanted him cause he was so good-looking. It was fun.”

At this point I’m wondering where all of this is going. We order another round.

“So we decide we want to go someplace else. We leave the bar and start walking. Simon pulls out a couple of joints and we’re all smoking. Just smoking weed walking down the street. We didn’t care. We’re all giggling and Derrick has his arm around me. We end up some really dark bar. I don’t even remember where it was. We’re drinking and we’re all pretty messed up. The place is full of people. We’re in the back. Derrick is like, Do you ever go skiing? and I’m like, yea, I have been but I’m not that great at it, but I have good balance. Then he pulls out this little bag with white powder in it. I assume it’s cocaine. I go, Oh… skiing. I had never done coke before, but I know Amber has and she says it’s great. So they look around all paranoid and shit, and literally start spooning it out. Derrick does a hit and then offers me a bump. I just do it. I don’t know why. Amber’s like, “gimme some!” Then she and Simon do some. I couldn’t believe it. Doing coke in a bar? It felt cold in my nose, and I could feel this clear euphoria. It almost felt sobering to do it. But different. Higher. Intense. I can see why people love it so much. You were in a band in California. You must have done it right?”

“I saw what drugs did to my peers. I was more of a beer and whiskey guy. I smoked weed occasionally but never really liked it. A little drugs an alcohol can loosen the mind to create, but I knew people who did loads of drugs and it literally sledgehammered their talent and destroyed them. So no. I steered clear of coke.” (White lie) Get it?

“Oh well that’s good. But anyway, I know I’ve been blabbing on about this. Long story short, these guys come back to our place and we end up fooling around with them. It was crazy. I guess we were all just caught up in the moment. I think we stayed up most of the night. Well, Derrick and I ended up being boyfriend and girlfriend after that. It felt like he really loved me. I loved him.” She takes a sip and a deep breath, looking off into the distance, as if trying to visualize a faded past. An image that vanished in her rearview mirror long ago.

“What happened?” I say, concerned.

“We went out for about a year. It was intense. We moved in with each other. Amber had gone off to school anyway so it was perfect timing. Things were great at first. But they always are in the beginning. We always did things together and went places together and partied together like a really great couple. I know he was focused on his music and really wanting to make it. But there were a lot of times when he wasn’t around. Times I wouldn’t hear from him and couldn’t get in touch with him. A girl starts to wonder what’s going on. I even started spying on him. Going to places they were playing. He wouldn’t see me, but I wanted to know what he was up to. I wanted to trust him, but you know when you get that weird feeling in your gut that something’s wrong. Well, his behavior had become more and more erratic. I know he was doing drugs but I just wasn’t into it like he was. We just weren’t connecting like we did in the beginning. Like maybe he was just tired of me.”

“Sometimes he would even get really mad about things that didn’t make any sense. Well, one night I followed him after he left me to do a show, and I saw him making out with this redhead at a bar. He wasn’t even playing with his band that night.  She was like all emo or whatever with tattoos and shit. I was devastated. I just jumped on the train and went home.”

“I’m sorry I’m telling you all of this.”

I could see that her eyes were wet with the beginnings of tears. “It’s okay. You can tell me. I’m here.” I took her dainty hands in mine. She sniffed and nodded, holding back the tears.

“That night he had the gall to come home and try to do it with me. I pushed him away. He got all mad at me and I told him what I saw. He denied it at first, but I told him I followed him and saw him. He got really mad and started throwing stuff around. He broke this little snow globe he gave me in the beginning. At that moment I didn’t even care about the globe. He had already broken something far more precious than that stupid thing.”

Okay, now I was getting upset. “My God, Rebecca. I’m so sorry.” Tears rolled down her cheeks. She took a healthy sip of her drink. I wiped the tears from her face with my thumb. She hugged me. “It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s not your fault, Rebecca. You didn’t do anything wrong.”

She sniffed and I offered her a cocktail napkin. (Note to self: Start carrying a clean handkerchief in your lapel pocket.) She wiped her face, and her nose. ‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

My bartender showed up at the table. “Is everything okay?” he asked. “Yes…yes. She’s just suffering a loss.” I replied. “I’ll bring you another round, yes?” I glance at her. “She smiles and blinking her eyes, nods in affirmation. He quickly returned. “These are on me guys.”

My man at Tippling is always on point.

“Okay, so that was over a year ago, right?”

“Yes. He took his stuff and left me. I was crushed. Destroyed. I cried for months. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I drank so I could get some sleep. When I would wake up in the morning, I’d  just go to the bathroom and dry heave over the sink.”

I could see she was struggling. “So did something happen recently?”

Heavy sigh. “Yes. He reached out to me on social media. I had blocked him from Facebook and in my phone, but I was on Instagram and he got to me that way. I had a panic attack when I saw his name.”

“Let me guess. This happened sometime after you and I went to the Museum.”

“Yea. I know it’s so stupid. He said how he missed me and how he was wrong and had grown so much. And like the idiot, I unblocked him in my phone. We met up and as crazy as it seems I was actually happy to see him. He looked a little older and a little more haggard, but it was still my Derrick. We were at a bar up in Northern Liberties. Things felt different. Time had passed. Too much time. I had grown and healed. But old habits die-hard. I just wanted to take a look at him. He said he was really sorry for what he had done. He said it hadn’t worked out with the redheaded slut. She actually ended up cheating on him with some drummer in a band that opened for them. I was actually kind of glad to hear that. But I’m sure he didn’t feel the loss that I had experienced. I had scar tissue on my heart from what he did to me. But I couldn’t let him tear open the sutures and open my old wounds. I work in a hospital emergency room. That shit hurts!”

Rebecca actually laughed at that moment. It had been the first time the whole night. That sound was like magic to my ears. I smiled a knowing smile. Because she didn’t know that I have been down that road twice in my life, and it’s a nightmare.

Love is a many splintered thing.

“So yea, that was a two months ago. I told him that I’m glad he was doing well, but I had moved on after a year and that I was in a relationship with a really nice guy in financial services.” She laughed again. “I could see he was disappointed, but I couldn’t let myself go through that shit again. It was a small chapter in my life and I had to draw the curtains on that dead body. He had me, and he squandered it. I think in that moment he realized that it was really over for good. It was hard to do, but I told him I had to get home to Cole, my investment banker boyfriend. He hugged me, and I knew I would never smell him again. it was like pulling the plug on a fatally injured patient.”

“So that was it?” I took a sip of my rye infused medicine.

“Yea. I went home and put on and episode of Stranger Things and ate an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s and had a good cry. So… that’s why I disappeared for a while. I just needed to think about some things and move forward with my life. So, I’m glad you met up with me tonight. I’m sure you never expected our second date to be this confessional. I really appreciate you listening to all of that, but it felt really good to get it out. I was like a little tree blowing back and forth in the wind, but now I feel more calm. Like the storm is finally over and I’m safe.”

“Well, I’m glad you trusted me enough after one date to see me again and confide in me, Rebecca. Like my profile says, I’m a good listener.”

“Yea…Thank you.” Taking my hand again in hers. “You’re like a strong tree. Good roots  with unwavering branches.”

“Yea, and my bark is worse than my bite!” I snapped. She cracked up. Rebecca was back.

“You’re awesome.” she said as she again hugged me tightly. Oh, that lovely slender neck and her fragrance was sobering.

We had our intimate moment and then paused.

“Are you hungry?”

“I’m starving!” she laughed.

“There’s a great bar called Mix that is one block from here that has delicious 12 inch brick oven pizzas.”

“That sounds like the greatest idea I have heard all day! Do you think I’m over dressed or pizza?”

“I’m sure you’ll pass they’re rigid dress code, Rebecca.”

And with that she pulled from her hair the thing that was holding it in place, and those rich ribbons of dark chocolate tumbled over her lovely shoulders.

It’s hard to believe that this story could get any better at this point, but it does. The bill came and my guy placed it on the table. I reached for it to access the catastrophic damage to my bank account that 6 drinks at 1 Tippling Place would cost me… plus tip.

But Rebecca was faster, and she grabbed it first. “Uh uh. This is on me.”

I was in shock. My face, a mask of disbelief and mute protest. “Are you sure?” She looked at the bill. “Yep.” She whipped out her credit card and stuck it in the flap, as she nodded to the bartender.

I instinctively reached for my wallet. “Can I at least help with the tip?”

“Put your wallet way.” She said firmly, giving me a wry smile.

“Will you at least let me buy a lady some pizza?”

She ran her fingers through her hair, fluffing her dark locks. “I’ll think about it.”

The bill returned. She signed it and handed it back. ” Come along, Sir. I’m hungry.”

I liked that she called me Sir. I also like that she took my hand, and led me out of there. When we were outside she locked arms with me. I was in heaven. We’re on our way to eat delicious pizza.

 

Tune in for The Return of Rebecca, Part 2 in Two Weeks!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 9am EST.

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Johnny R. – One Vice at a Time

Your eyes are not deceiving you. That is a dude. Phicklephilly is still for the most part, straight, and still fickle. Originally I was going to just write about the women I have met, dated, romanced, and loved in this city for the last 10 years. But now that I have been writing this for a while, I thought I’d like to make this into a book and possibly a TV series. So I’d like to start to introduce some male characters that I have met here in Philadelphia. I consider them friends, so they should be included in this story. This way when I make reference to them, you’ll know who they are.

I met Johnny, at my first advertising gig when I got back from New York. Same company where I met Michelle. He worked in the finance department. He’s originally from New York himself. Pretty big family. Irish Catholic. Both parents have passed on.

I met Johnny at a bar one night near where we worked. I was having drinks with some of the back office people in my department and the one girl was friends with Johnny. She introduced me and I liked the guy. He had a sharp wit, and sort of an attitude. I knew he was a smart guy.  So every time I was over at that bar he would be there with some of the gang. We sort of became friends from just running into each other at this particular watering hole.

I always said we should meet up for lunch and a beer one day on the weekend or something. I like Johnny. Like I said, he was a funny guy. Plus, we enjoyed and appreciated many of the same music acts, movies and TV shows.  So he decided one Saturday to come to the city to get his hair cut and said we could meet up after. He lives with his girlfriend of nearly 8 years. They share a house up in Mayfair which is part of Northeast Philly. Her family owns a house in Sea Isle City, NJ. She works in jewelry sales.

So he comes down on the train to center city.  I think we got some food together. But for the life of me I can’t remember where. Maybe one of the old mexican restaurants that’s been knocked down and converted into a Target. After lunch, he says he wants to stop and see a friend of his. So we walk through Rittenhouse and head over towards 15th street. He doesn’t mention exactly where his friend is. So we’re walking down 15th street and we’re crossing the street near Chancellor street. I assume his friend works at the Applebee’s on the corner. But he keeps walking down Chancellor. Then I see where his “friend” works. The place is down the end of the block, (Or filthy trash strewn and dumpster alley as I see it) It’s called the World Famous Gold Club. I have never heard of the place. At that point I didn’t know it existed.

Here’s my take of strip clubs or gentleman’s clubs. In all of my experience the majority of men that go to these places are usually all married, and unhappy in their relationships. Every guy I know that goes to these places, is unhappy and dissatisfied with his life. Granted, there are some older gentleman that are just sad and lonely and just want a little attention from some women and will pay to get it. I’m single. I am not currently in a relationship. I could go every night and get lap dances and probably even commit even more foul deeds with some of the harlots at the WFGC. But I have absolutely no interest.

I have nothing against these establishments or the folks that go there, but it’s just not really my scene. Every time I’ve gone to one of these places in the last 10 years, it’s been with some guy that is in some unhappy marriage or relationship. So these places serve a purpose. I’d rather hang out with real women that aren’t being paid to take off their clothes. But occasionally it is fascinating to go for the novelty. But for the most part it’s a big rip off. The girls will try to steal from you, the bartender will over charge you for drinks and you end up with a $200 bill. Even the ATM fee is $6 per transaction. The whole place is designed to separate poor saps from their cash. Many times by the time you’re drunk enough to want to go to a strip club, you are banged up to the point where the decisions you make are not the correct ones and you can be easily manipulated by dark forces.

But Johnny has introduced me to this little dive. It’s early on a Saturday so the place is quiet. Not many girls are working. He introduces me to his friend. She was a bartender there. Pretty face but all tatted up. Not my cup of tea. The whole lifestyle of those places just turns me off. But I had a good time there that day with Johnny and the girls. I don’t do lap dances or anything. I usually just hand the girl a dollar when she asks me to tip her for her onstage performance. I don’t even stuff it in their top or their bottom. That’s normally what’s offered. I just put the buck in her hand. But Johnny on the other hand, gets lap dances in the back. They are obviously more money. But he has been known to actually get sex from the girls in the back room. Most times he doesn’t pay for that extra perk either. I hear he’s well endowed, so maybe that’s the trick.

So Johnny will pop in occasionally in Phicklephilly. He comes down to center city  every other month. We go to dive bars, drink beer, smoke cigarettes, listen to the jukebox and discuss life. If he gets a good drunk on we may partake in some other activities. I’ll tell you this; Johnny has about 5 different vices. I wouldn’t say he has any addictions. He just loves vice. I enjoy a little vice, but as I get older, I need less. But regardless… I love the guy. I consider Johnny a dear friend.

So next time he’s in town I’ll tell you what sort of deviltry we get into.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday at 9am EST.

I publish new Dating content every Monday at 9am EST. I publish Updates and bios and stories about related characters, such as male and female friends and acquaintances on Wednesdays at 9am EST.