Thanksgiving Tradition – 2016

The lady at the counter says, “I hope you’re not eating that for Thanksgiving!” I coolly replied, “Oh, no. My daughter loves these things. I always keep them in for her.” (a bold-faced lie)

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My family has always celebrated Thanksgiving, but Christmas was always our big holiday. I’m always welcome at my older sister Janice’s house every year. She has a big house and we refer to her place as Holiday Headquarters. There was one year many years ago when I was invited to go to my other sister Gabrielle’s house all the way down in North Wildwood, New Jersey. Back then I was newly divorced, and I just didn’t feel like making the drive all the way down there. My daughter was little then and with her Mom and that side of the family for Thanksgiving. I was just happy that my ex-wife was out of the house and out of my life for that matter. I was looking forward to a day of listening to music, watching movies and eating and drinking. I like to be alone. I’m a very social animal, and I get my energy from those around me, but I just wanted a day of sweet nothing and solitude.

I lived in Woodbury, NJ back then. I drove over to the local convenient store and picked up a box of frozen Ellio’s Pizza. It’s a cheap and tasty treat I have loved since I was a lad. The lady at the counter says, “I hope you’re not eating that for Thanksgiving!” I coolly replied, “Oh, no. My daughter loves these things. I always keep them in for her.” (a bold-faced lie)

That night I happily sat on my sofa watching some cool movies, drinking Ketel One vodka and tonics, and eating my delicious Ellio’s Pizza. I had a nice, quiet Thanksgiving. I was grateful to have a family that cared about me and most of all that little Lorelei was in the world.

So I joked around with my sisters about that day, and of course they felt bad for me. They didn’t want me eating frozen pizza and drinking liquor by myself on Thanksgiving, but that’s what I really wanted to do that day. So it’s sort of become a family joke every year for Thanksgiving. It came up again this year, when I declined my sister’s invitation. It’s not that I didn’t want to see her, but I’ve seen her a lot lately, and my parents have passed, so what’s the point? Once the main anchors of a family die, usually the children retreat to their own little families. She understood and we’ll all get together at her annual holiday party in December at Holiday Headquarters.

I went to the Midtown Diner and had a huge breakfast at the counter. Scrambled eggs, bacon and french toast. It’s too much food, but I crushed it all and it was delicious. I went back to my house and did some writing. Lorelei escaped the clutches of having to spend Thanksgiving with her mother. She went to her boyfriend’s mother’s house. She’s a hard-core vegan and made some really creative dishes. I’m glad she’s happy and I’m sure they were glad to have her there for the holiday.

I finished a chapter, and wanted to get something to eat around 4:30. I left the house and walked down to South street. Everything was closed, but I didn’t feel like going into Walgreens where I’d have to get something to heat up or bake in the oven. Then I looked to the left and remembered there was a new 7-Eleven a block away.

I stopped in and was surprised at all of the people in there buying stuff. Maybe I could start a little Thanksgiving club with them. They could come over with a load of 7-Eleven food and I’d supply the booze. I picked up some things and headed back to the house.

The city was deserted. Dark and eerily quiet because everybody was off doing their family things. I got home, went to my desk and fired up an old episode of Columbo on Netflix. I poured myself a vodka and club soda. I don’t drink Ketel One anymore at home. Too expensive. I only have it out now in a martini, straight up with a twist. My current brand is Platinum X7 by Sazerac. A 1.75 bottle is $20. My favorite thing to mix it with is Polar club soda with lemon that I buy by the liter at Walgreens. I tore open the small bag of Lay’s potato chips. Then opened the box that contained the quarter pound 7-Eleven hot dog, and spread mustard along its length.

Changed it up this year! Wanted to send a pic to all of my sisters but decided against it.

A man who can sit in a room alone and be satisfied is a man that has found inner peace.” – My Dad

 

 

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Antonia – 2012 – Possibly a Mob Front?

“The square shaped balding man burst through the kitchen door with two glasses of water for us, and in a very loud and deep voice, he explained that it was his birthday, and we would eat what he felt like making us.”

Well, this one time I took my friend Antonia to dinner at (what seemed to be) a front for some type of illicit activity.

She had just moved to a new area, and we wanted to check out the local shops and restaurants. While we were wandering, we stumbled into a tiny Italian place. Back home, the small hole-in-the-wall restaurants always have the best food, so we were excited to give it a shot. Big curtains were covering the entry windows, so we had no idea what was inside until we trudged through the door.

Inside, we were met with emptiness and silence. We both immediately thought the place was closed, and I spun around and searched for the store hours posted somewhere on the door. While I was looking, we heard a heavy THUD as a young woman barked “I’ll be right with you!”

She appeared, greeted us confusingly, and asked us ‘what she could do for us’. Which, looking back, is probably a red flag. But we were naive and hungry, so we said we were there for dinner. She looked puzzled but motioned us to follow her to a booth right by the entrance.

She then disappeared into the back, and we heard a muffled conversation between our hostess and a man. The consensus was basically they were not prepared for us or didn’t know how to proceed. I asked my date if she wanted to split, but she insisted we stay for the story.

The square shaped balding man burst through the kitchen door with two glasses of water for us, and in a very loud and deep voice, he explained that it was his birthday, and we would eat what he felt like making us. We whole-heartedly agreed.

We waited around thirty minutes, and he again returned with three large bowls of spaghetti and meat sauce. He placed two bowls in front of us, and one next to me for himself. He sat with us and ate. We had light and awkward conversation with him during, and he kept asking us jokingly if we were cops or with the health board. He was incredibly nervous about us, so my date kept cracking corny puns or awful jokes because he would forcibly laugh at anything designed with humor. We talked about our lives, the cities we’ve lived in, our pets (he had a teacup Chihuahua named Princess) and his wife.

He decided we were good people and didn’t charge us for the meal. We wished him a happy birthday, he hugged us, and we went on our way. Easily the best spaghetti I’ve ever had in my life. The restaurant, unfortunately, no longer exists.

 

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Kylie – 2012 to 2015 – Broken Wing – Part II – Disconnected Rebound

Another tale of one man’s journey navigating his way through the dating scene in Philadelphia.

I was in a vulnerable state. Still having random drunk hookups with Annabelle, and hanging out with Kylie. (See: Annabelle – 2013 to 2014 – Nice to Meet You) It’s sad what was happening. I think Annabelle just strung me along until she found someone to replace me.

Live and learn.

On the other hand I was spending more time with Kylie. The more time I spent with her, the crazier and damaged I could see Kylie was.

She was in her early thirties now, and still barely eking out a living doing photography. This was a poor soul that had been kicked around by the world, and somehow survived. During that time I always said; “I don’t think Kylie is going to live long.”

She invited me up to her apartment one night early on. We talked about her artwork. She painted as well as did photography. All of her work is really good, but it’s just hard to make a living in this city as an artist. (Or any city for that matter)

She’s one of these people who talks a lot. They tell you all the crazy stuff in their lives that you’d be better off not knowing. I know people like her, and too much information given to people makes them realize you really don’t have much going on in your life now, and have made some bad decisions.

She tells me she was in this really destructive relationship with this older man. He was some really smart professor type that was a narcissist sicko. He totally controlled her and would make her strip naked everyday and he would weigh her to make sure she stayed the same. Insane.

I think one day they were drunk together and he beat her up. She ended up going downstairs or next door and these guys took her in but then one of them raped her.

This is really heard to write.

For some reason she ends up not pressing charges, and they get away with it and she has to move away. The story is a little fuzzy because I have literally blocked it out until this writing.

She ends up seeking refuge with her married business partner, that older guy who owned the studio. She tells him what happened and he tells her she should be with a nice guy. A gentleman. Someone who knows how to treat a lady.

Then he ends up having sex with her. It was a total ruse because he had wanted to hit that for a long time. So she gets used again.

That guy recently died of cancer so there’s some karma out there.

Then she starts telling me about this guy she’s seeing. He’s like 20 years older than she is, and is a biker. I think he’s married or lives with a woman. He appears to be a pimp or something. Just a bad dude. She’s completely in love with this guy and he doesn’t give two shits about her. He just rolls over to her place late night and gives her the high hard one. He doesn’t do anything else with her.

I actually met him one night at a bar and she was there. I wanted to make it clear I was just a friend, and knew the score. He was actually really nice to me, but I was happy to get out of there.

I would meet up with her sometimes, and get coffee and walk around. She didn’t know what was going on with biker dude, because he was always letting her down or not even showing up. She was constantly talking about him, and it was almost as if Kylie and I were a little co-dependent at the time. I gave her the emotional support and empathy that biker dude, lacked, and she replaced the attractive, leggy ex-girlfriend for me.

With biker fading and my ex popping in and out at random times, Kylie and I spent some time together. I had fun with her sometimes. One night we were at some music event and she was hitting the gin pretty hard and me the vodka. We were having a great time. I walked her home and we sat on her stoop to smoke a cig and chatted.

Then she invited me up.

I was surprised because I didn’t think she was that into me, but I guess whatever I had been to her she wanted to thank me.

But here’s where it gets weird. When we were beginning to get into it, she started talking in like a kid’s voice. It was very unsettling. I sopped and asked her if she wanted to go through with what we were about to do, and she said she did. She didn’t say much else but that behavior stayed with me.

The next morning it was like nothing had happened. But she was now comfortable sitting in her robe and chatting with me when she got out of the shower. I asked her how she felt about last night, and she said, “Yea it was great. I needed that.”

She ordered up some breakfast sandwiches and we happily munched them.

Later she wanted to take me out to the woods for a walk on some trails. She loves nature and is a runner, so she does this quite a bit. To me the Great Outdoors is where you keep the car. Roughing it, is a hotel without room service, and the wilderness is Walmart.

So I’m not going to like it out there. She has a Mini Cooper and she drives to endanger. I’m a good driver. I obey the posted limits, know how to drive defensively, and understand how to merge and the rules of the road.

Kylie just speeds and takes the turns at high-speed. I’m not a good rider, so I was terrified.

I nearly got down and kissed the dirt when we pulled into the lot at the park in one piece.

The area is nice and there’s a creek. There were people on horseback, couples and families. So it was a nice day.

But here’s the thing. She’s dressed to be there. She’s also accustomed to the terrain and the hills and trails. I’m not. I’m also not accustomed to trudging up and down hills through the woods in a blazer and semi dress shoes. So for the most part the entire beginning of this little trip is awful. She shouldn’t have taken me out here, but she likes it and I guess likes me well enough to sleep with me so I put up with it all.

We had sex a few more times after that, and it was usually when we were both half in the bag. I’m so gun-shy from my divorce from my ex-wife, I always use a condom. Always. I also always take it with me. I am too paranoid to leave a tied off prophylactic in some chick’s trash can. I’m like the Marines when it comes to my sperm. No man left behind. I take it with me and discard it elsewhere.

And while we’re on the subject, if you’re not wearing a condom and you’re getting close there is a primal urge to stay in. Homo sapiens have an imperative to reproduce. In that moment you need to summon up the evolved part of your brain and say the words: Pregnant. Child Support. Lawyers. Wage garnishment.

Anyway, I had some fun times with Kylie. But it just wasn’t a match. She’s kind of crazy. We’ve had a few skirmishes, and she’d cut me off over some stupid misunderstanding, but she would always drift back. I give people a lot of chances. But not so much anymore. Kylie has definitely burned all her bridges with me.

I run into her every once in a while and it’s civil, but always a bit awkward. So I’ll end it here.

“You always want to be the good key that can open many locks, not the shitty lock that can be opened my many keys.” 

 

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

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Trish – 2012 to Present – The She Wolf Meets Her Childhood Hero

“He’s always a funny approachable guy. I want to be like him. A funny approachable woman. Not to take yourself too seriously. I’m gonna meet him. That’s on a Do Before you Die Bucket List. I have had an opportunity to see his work and I must do it because he has changed my life.”

Trish is my hot neighbor. (See: Trish – 2011 to Present – The She Wolf) She’s an artist, graphic designer and even pulls a few shifts at the tanning salon. I’m a big fan. She has a heart of gold. Trish is always rooting for the underdog.  She cares for the weak, the small or the forgotten. I love that about her.

She’s even thinking of starting her own blog as a spin-off series from phicklephilly.(Which would be awesome!)

She’s also a very articulate writer that has a really natural flow with her thoughts and ideas. If you’ve ever seen her artwork, she has a wonderful ability to transfer what’s in her mind elegantly to the canvas.

She stops by my apartment the other day and hands me a 1.75 bottle of vodka for covering her 7 hour shift last Saturday. That’s a grateful neighbor and co-worker. I’ll work every Saturday for her if that’s what she wants to give me as thanks!

We chat about a few things and then get into what’s been going on in our lives.

On the Saturday I worked for her she went to Chinatown and took a Mega Bus to Manhattan. It was only $11 bucks! How do they stay afloat charging $11?

 

Trish rolled into the city and disembarked from the bus at 4:50pm. She gets her metro card refilled. She checked into the Chelsea Inn Hotel which cost her $80 bucks. Still cheap for a hotel room in New York City. She loved the room. Big TV. King sized bed. The works. Trish travels on a budget, but arrives in style.

 

She heads over to the Alchemist Kitchen to get some supplements. The Gramercy is 15 blocks away from her hotel. She’s been really looking forward to seeing this act and this is why she made the trek to Manhattan.

She walked there alone and sober. They’re all waiting like cattle to see him. She’s sad she has no weed. She’s tired of talking to people, and  cant wait to see her childhood hero and to hopefully meet her childhood hero.

“I know I’m going to meet my hero Mulder from the X Files TV show.”

Trish loves the X Files. This great hero of her life and she’s going to meet him. Trish is determined.

And when Trish is on a mission, stay out of her way.

She enters the Gramercy to see David Duchovney  perform with his band.

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Duchovny

I thought David was only an actor and author, but apparently he’s a man of many talents. I’m a big fan of his work in the cable TV series, Californication.

The Gramercy where he’s only 10 blocks away from where David grew up!

Doors opened at 7pm that night. Some violin quartet from Ireland were the warm up act before Duchovny’s band.

People are moving to get drinks. Tectonic plates are shifting. She will make it to the front. You wiggle your way to the front. Like the slow shift of the world. Like a river. Before he comes out she’s in an euphoric state. Normally she’s super annoyed, but she’s dealing with all of the idiots because Mulder is coming.

She’s waited here two hours for this moment.

When the quartet is done their set. The lights come up and David comes onstage.

“It feels like it’s not my life.” She told me when she saw the man live for the very first time.

“I was 2nd row so I could see my guy!”

She lost her shit when Mulder hits the stage. She’s 12 years old again. She’s blown away. Trish is giggling like it’s Beatlemania.  She is screaming her love her for her TV idol. She is excited beyond words.

On scale of 1 to 10 it is beyond the scale. Trish is so filled with joy.

“It was more about this magical creature and to meet him and be in the same room with the man I love.”

Trish was such a super nerd fan of the show. “I was obsessed with the series itself. The novels based on the show and the action figures. I feel the decency of who Fox Mulder was helped me build my own character.”

“He was who we should all be.” she says.

“He’s always a funny approachable guy. I want to be like him. A funny approachable woman. Not to take yourself too seriously. I’m gonna meet him. That’s on a Do Before you Die Bucket List. I have had an opportunity to see his work and I must do it because he has changed my life.”

After the show she waits another two hours and he finally comes outside the venue. She approaches him. Her childhood idol. She digs her hand into her pocket and produces a small Fox Mulder action figure she played with as a child. She places the toy and a silver sharpie marker in his hands.

He autographs her little guy.

It was so fast she had almost no time with him. But she looked into his eyes. “He’s real!”

 

Trish has an uncanny sense at picking up on all of the emotions of those around her. It gives her great empathy for the human race. She has such a good heart. She could feel through the crush of the fans that David just wanted to go home.

“He is genuinely a great guy. I felt so calm to be near him. Life is short, and it was great to meet him.  I also loved being by herself. Just me on my own self adventure.”

Trish doesn’t care to be attached to anything. She’s fine with being on her own and would like to be on her own.

“I just wanted him to go home safe.”

“They treated him like an animal.” she said regarding the pushing fans.

“All they wanted was their shit signed by him. But I really felt something.”

“It was so nice. It was like a dream but I was wide awake.”

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish Monday through Friday at 8am EST.

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Sun Stories: Haley – 2016 to Present – Lightning in a Bottle

“Now with what I’m describing you’d think that this young lady is a perfect little angel.

Quite the contrary.”

I got a text from Achilles (See: Sun Stories: Achilles, 2016 to Present – The Bronze God) He asked if I could work open to close today. That’s 10am to 8pm, on your feet, running around the salon for 10 hours. I agreed, because I have a flexible schedule at my other job, and I think he may have come down with a cold. On top of that it’s been thunder storming all day, and he probably doesn’t want to come out in this mess.

So I’m at the salon, and it’s a pretty quiet day. You’d think more people would come out to tan on a rainy day, but it’s the other way around. They come when it’s warm and sunny out.

I’m just standing behind the counter writing my blog on the computer. When in walks this cute 19-year-old girl. Raven hair, blue eyes and fair skin. She says my name, and I do a double take.

“Don’t you recognize me because I’m not tan?”

“Oh my god! Haley!”

I come from around the counter and she goes in for a big hug.

“I missed you!”

From mid April until the end of August is our busy season at the salon. We can’t provide the level of service that our customers deserve with only one person on shift at night. So Achilles usually will bring on a second person at night to ease the flow of clients. Haley had been working every summer at the salon since she was 16 years old.

Haley has a sister Elisa that’s a year younger that she is. She comes into tan but never worked here. Elisa’s cute, but Haley’s beautiful. There’s a difference.

Haley was also a straight A student last year in her senior year. Beauty and brains. A deadly combination. She wants to eventually go to medical school to become a doctor!

So Achilles brought her back again last summer to help out at night. I wondered how that was going to go. Me, a middle-aged man working with a senior in high school.

Well I’ll tell you how it went. It went fantastic! Working with Haley from day one was glorious. She’d been doing the job for two years prior, so she knew everything about the salon. We ran the place like a well oiled machine. I’m driving in the sales. Haley picks up on how I ask every customer if they need lotion or protective eyewear. She starts pitching it to every client thereafter. She’s like lightning when she works. Super fast and really efficient. She knows exactly when to put the laundry in the washer and stays on top of the time when to get it into the dryer. (I love her South Philly accent. Instead of saying “towels”, she pronounces it “tales”. It is to adorable!

“I’m so sick of these tales! I hate the color and they’re too hard to fold and they don’t fit under the counter right!” she would say.

Working with Haley was a total riot. We would take care of the clients but had a lot of fun working together.

On time this weirdo douchebag guy comes in to tan. Haley asks him what kind of bed he wants to tan in. (Stand up unit, or lay down)

He says: “How about a four-poster.”

Haley is silent but I look at him with a hard eye and say: “Dick. She’s in High School.”

Shut that fucker right down.

I see Haley like a daughter or a niece. Gotta protect the young ladies around us.

I told Achilles about the incident and he also gave them his own personal warning to the guy. I don’t know what he said or did, but we never had a problem with this asshole again.

One day told her that out of everyone I knew, she and my daughter Lorelei, are the only people I know who don’t use profanity, which I find very refreshing. Haley responded by saying that she doesn’t curse around parents. (Apparently this is the same story with my kid.) I like that!

Speaking of her parents, she said her dad is a bit of a curmudgeon, but her mom is a total sweetheart. Her mother would always drive up to the salon at closing in her truck with their dog and pick up little Haley. Her mom is kind of hot. But I love that she would always come and get Haley and make sure her daughter got home safe!

Haley went down the shore after graduating from high school with honors and went to work as a server at Mack’s Pizza in Wildwood, NJ for the summer. She told me they originally want her to work a bunch of hours but she told them she was down the shore to have fun, relax and enjoy her summer. She was still making around $800 a week slinging slices to the hungry tourists.

“It’s the most money I ever made at a job in my life!” she squealed to me today.

Currently she is in college and working part time at an Italian restaurant in South Philly.

Now with what I’m describing you’d think that this young lady is a perfect little angel.

Quite the contrary.

Sure, she’s a great student and is a really well-behaved kid. But technology is much better than when I was a teenager. She has a fake ID that looks exactly like a DMV issued drivers license that says she’s 21. She showed it to me and it looks better than anything I’ve ever seen. That’s so she can get served and go into bars and nightclubs.

She’s a good girl and has a nice guy she is seeing, and she behaves herself. They play it cool and are careful when she and her friends go out. They mostly just like to hang out somewhere and drink beer like teenagers have done for decades.

I love the paradox of the brilliant, beautiful student that has a touch of. I can trust that in a woman.

I remember she would bring her laptop into work and do her homework sometimes. The customers didn’t know what she was doing, and could care less. They just want to hop into an available bed and get their tanning session, and get on with their day. But I know Achilles doesn’t like any of his employees focusing on anything but the clients and what’s going on in the salon. I get it. It’s his business and the salon is his livelihood. But Haley is such a good student with high aspirations, and I never said anything because she’d been working there off and on for three years. So I didn’t care what she was doing because at the time I didn’t know what his arrangement was with Haley after all of that time.

Besides she was always all business when it came to being on point in the salon every night. She made my life easier and I absolutely loved working with this lovely, lively girl. She’s so full of life and apparently I’m good at making her laugh.

When she worked the Saturday shift, (Which is from 11am to 6pm) sometimes her  classmate, Lia would come in and hang on the couch and keep her company. I get it. It’s a 7 hour shift and teenagers get bored easily. She’s a pretty black girl and she’d sit on the sofa and hang with Haley, bring her coffee and snacks to pass the time because weekends are slower than nights during the week. I mean, I’ve had friends come and hang at the salon and chat with me while I’m working. On any given night, Church will swing in and hang for an hour until we go to the bar after I close up shop. (See: Church – 2012 to Present – Brand Ambassador)

But Achilles found out this black girl was hanging out on Saturdays and wasn’t happy with it. Again… it’s a business and his livelihood and didn’t want a bunch of kids hanging around in his salon not doing anything. I get it. He’s right, but I went in once on a Saturday to make sure everything was cool, and to tan. (I like to tan on days I don’t work. It just feels better) I had the pleasure of meeting Lia. She’s a lovely young woman who has been accepted to Yale!

Yes. I said Yale. You don’t get into Yale being a crazy reckless youth. This girl is going to go on to do great things in her life. She’s sweet, charming, and obviously very intelligent and focused on her future.

So my girl Haley surrounds herself with great people and I’m really proud of her. She gives me hope for the future youth of America!

Oh, and she has the exact same birthday as my daughter, Lorelei! Haley is 11/17/97 and Lor is 11/17/96. Two  Scorpios. Don’t mess with my girls or you’ll get stung!

I was so happy to see my former co-worker today. It made my 10 hour shift on my feet running around on a very rainy day just a bit sunnier. Haley is a ray of light that I am happy to have had the opportunity to work with and have in my life.

Oh… one more thing. Haley isn’t on ANY social media. Just doesn’t see the point of it. Hope!

Seeing her today inspired me to write about her, and I am now going to publish another piece about our adventures at the tanning salon. I’ll give you a little hint: While we were working together we came up with official rules for the salon, based on some of the stuff Achilles would lay on me about how to run the salon. We also created lists of clients we loved and hated. But the funniest list we made was the “Things that Annoy Us.” You may not get all of them, and I will explain what they mean in this future post. But if you’ve worked in retail or the service industry, you should be able to relate.

I love Haley, and didn’t realize how much I missed her smile and laughter until today!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 8am EST.

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Sun Stories – Lara – 2016 to Present- Tinderella

How did I match up with a 19-year-old girl?

Here’s a little tale about a hot baby that comes into the salon. She’s got long raven hair, light eyes, and a slamming little body on her. She’s 19 years of age and goes to Temple University. She always wears black, but it just makes her look darker and more mysterious.

She comes in pretty regularly before Spring Break. She wants to get her base tan built up so when she goes away she won’t burn.

She’s attractive and sweet, and sometimes looks a little stoned when she comes in, but that somehow makes her lovely eyes more limpid. I chat with her regularly, and last year I saw her quite often.

But one day she comes in and we’re chatting, and I feel like I know her from somewhere else. But I can’t quite figure out where. Facebook? Instagram? Maybe. We’re not friends, and don’t have any friends in common so that’s not a thing.

I search my memory to try to remember where I know her or have seen her before, but I can’t think of anything. Maybe I’m just in love with her soft beauty and I’m creating all of this in my mind.

That weekend, I’m lying in bed, looking at all of my past contacts on Tinder to see if I can resurrect a lost connection and get a date. Then I suddenly come upon a woman I matched with named Lara. Oh God, It’s her! How did I match up with a 19-year-old girl? Why would she swipe right? I’m obviously too old for her. She’s younger than my daughter! On Tinder she says she’s 22. It doesn’t make sense. I swipe right on everybody that comes up, just for the sheer numbers and stories.

The next time Lara comes in I decide to take a chance. One of our rules is no dating the customers. I will never break that rule, and there is no way Lara wants me. I mean, she may be looking for a sugar daddy, and for that I would almost pay to sleep with her, but I digress.

But I have to find out.

When she comes out from the room, she comes by the counter and asks if she has any tans left. I tell her she’s out. Lara’s fine with that because she tells me she’s going on Spring Break anyway Friday. I whip out my phone and pull up Tinder and start swiping through her pictures.

“Now we’ve all made mistakes, and swiped right when we obviously should have swiped left. I’ve done it myself, Lara. But is that you?”

I turn the phone to her and swipe through her pics on Tinder.

She’s alarmed but not upset. (Probably too stoned)

“Don’t be embarrassed, we all make mistakes, Lara.”

“I have a weird thing. Age doesn’t matter to me.”

Her words shocked me, and I thought she has to be a sugar baby and worlds are colliding right now.

“Don’t worry about it, Lara.”

I don’t know why I just didn’t ask her if she made “arrangements.” She had to go and before she left, she asked, “What’s your name again?”

I told her. I’m sure she wants to go look for my profile on Tinder to see what’s up. She’ll probably unmatch and delete me out of sheer embarrassment.

Later I go into Tinder and text her the following message: “Hello, Lara. Please don’t be embarrassed, it’s (my name) from the salon. If you’d like to chat, that would be fine. No expectations.”

Crickets.

————————————————————-

So a year goes by and it’s March and Spring Break is once again upon us. We’ve moved the salon and people are beginning to trickle in. But, because we just got here, there are only 3 beds currently operating. One stand up unit, and the two premium beds.

When sweet baby Lara comes in and wants to tan, I remember her name of course and chat with her a bit. I thank her for returning to us for her tan. She is surprised I remember her name after all of this time, but I tell her she must have made a favorable impression on me.

“That and we have a little history.” she says.

I know she’s eluding to the Tinder match! So exciting!

“And we share the same birthday, Lara. August 9th!” (NOT a bold-faced lie for once!)

Of course her birth year is ’97 and mine is ’62.

“Oh my god, we’re both Leos! I can’t believe it.” she exclaims.

She doesn’t know that we’re putting everybody in any bed available just to maintain a level of service. No matter if they have the basic, all access, or premium package, we’re just tanning them in anything we can. So when I put Lara in the best unit in the house, she thinks I’m doing something special for her because I like her.

I do like her but she doesn’t need to know that everybody’s getting what she’s getting. She doesn’t know where to throw her little towel that we’ve provided so she just hands it to me. But before she does, she wipes her nose with it. I don’t say anything and simply toss it into the small hamper behind me.

She thanks me for the best tanning experience and off she goes.

——————————————————————

The next time she came in was the day before she was to fly to Florida for Spring Break. She was literally my last client of the night. But when I go to send her into a bed to tan I see that her package has run out. She’s out of tanning sessions!

Lara gets upset and asks how much it is for one tan. I tell her $17 and she’s shocked. She then asks if there is anything I can do.

Now at this point I know that some of you may be thinking and this story will take a dark turn.

“How much cash do you have?”

Digs through her purse. “Seven bucks.”

I make a face.

“I’ll give you two cigarettes.”

“Four.”

“Okay, Four. Here. Now can I tan?”

“Yes. Go back to room 6.”

I watch her as she strolls back to the tanning booth and closes the door behind her. I put the four cigarettes into my pack. I then pull out my wallet, and grab a ten-dollar bill and ring up the $17.00 single session. I put the money in the drawer. Legitimate sale completed. (You didn’t think I was going to barter a tan for sex did you?)

Then I hear her call my name.

“Yes Lara?”

“My phone is nearly dead. Can I hand it out to you so you can charge it for me, please?”

“Sure. Put it into airplane mode so it’ll charge twice as fast, Lara.”

I walk back to the room and she opens the door. She has her forearm and hand across her bare breasts covering herself. She looks me right in the eyes. Then with her other hand she passed the phone and charger out to me. She smiles and closes the door. That little minx!

So a nice little glimpse that I’m sure was an additional little tip for my service. My heart is pounding as I walk back to the counter and plug-in her phone. I grab a little cloth and wipe off the phone and clean it up nice for her.

When her tanning session is complete, she emerges from the room looking radiant.

“Thank you sooo much for everything you’ve done for me!”

I give her the phone and we even laugh about the Tinder incident.

“I’m not embarrassed about anything” she says.

She seems high. She hands me her sweaty towel like last time instead of dropping it in the hamper.

“Oh… sorry. Is that gross?” she says looking at the spent towel in my hand.

“No, Lara. It’s not gross. What’s gross is when you first wiped your nose off with it before handing it to me last time.”

She looks mortified. “Oh my god. Did I do that? I’m so sorry.”

“I’m just kidding, Lara. That didn’t happen.”

She cracks up and we have a nice laugh about it.

“Okay, well I’m headed to Florida tomorrow. I’ll see you in a couple of weeks.”

She leans in and gives me a hug and a kiss, I hug her back and somehow my lips end up kissing her hair. She smells lovely and I’m feeling giddy.

She heads downstairs, and I watch as she disappears out the door into the night.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish Monday through Friday at 8am EST.

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Annabelle – 2013 to 2014 – Chapter 12 -Emotional Bankruptcy

I don’t think Annabelle ever really loved me because she doesn’t have the capacity to truly love at all.

There were some good times. We exchanged the phrase “I love you”. She once told me that she didn’t even “like” her former boyfriends. You can see how dysfunctional her mind is. That’s a person who can’t differentiate from like, love, or sex. That’s fucked up.

The time we went to the zoo. The time we went to the Academy of Natural Sciences. Now you would think someone who lived in Philly for so many years would have gone to these places a dozen times by now, but Annabelle had never been to either.

But she was still swamped with managing her photography business, working on a weird musical about Andy Warhol and working on some other play about a Russian all female musical group. It was all just so grinding and boring to me.

She was sometimes dragging me to these really awful performance pieces that I would rather have driven knitting needles into my eyes than see this crap.

She loved art and the theater. I remember she went to see my daughter Lorelei in The Sound of Music at her high school play. The kids were all really good. But my daughter played the part of Mother Abbess. That’s the lead soprano role. Lorelei is a four octave soprano. She has natural ability and has an absolutely deadly singing voice. I’m not saying that because I’m her father. I’m saying that because I know what good music sounds like, and Lorelei is really fucking good.

I literally had tears running down my face because she sounded so beautiful, and I was so proud of her performance that I couldn’t help but cry. I couldn’t believe this lovely songbird came to this Earth through me.

But when the play was over. (It was wonderful!) I noticed Annabelle seemed down on the train ride home. She said she had a headache. (She always pulled the headache thing when she wanted to get out of something) But I knew what it was. She resented how talented all of these kids were. She resented the fact that they were little twinkling stars on that little stage in their senior year of high school. About to begin their lives in college or work or wherever. Full of hope and ambition.

I’m sure Annabelle once felt the same way. And after 4 years of attending the University for the Performing Arts at a cost of $100,000 out of her parents wallet, she had nothing to show for it. Just working her ass off slinging beers at a shitty hotel bar and eking out a living doing headshots for her other shitty failed actor friends. If that’s what she could call them. They’re all clinging to each other, but if any one of them have any measure of success off they go never to be heard from again.

She was at a party once and there was some horseplay, (Juvenile. Civilized adults don’t engage in horseplay at gatherings) and she broke her foot. She said no one ever came to visit her in the hospital.

Her “good” friend Amber in NYC is a fat failed actress. She’s fucked over Annabelle over on several occasions. But Annabelle remains friends with this failure and continues to let her use her.

Several years ago, Annabelle was in a destructive relationship. The guy was some piece of shit musician. He used to knock her around when he was angry or frustrated with her. I’m glad I don’t know this pile of breathing garbage. Because any guy that raises his hand to a woman, deserves to get backed over, after you hit him with your car.

And the worst part? She’s still friends with steaming pile of feces!

So being the result of a distant father, never being in a real relationship, maintaining the grinding sadness of failure, Annabelle is a pretty fucked up girl.

It’s hard for a level minded person to be in a relationship with someone like that. But I give people a lot of chances, and I think I’m in love with her. I say “think” because at that time I thought I was in love with her, but I now realize in hindsight that I was in love with the feeling of being in love. So I guess I was a bit fucked up back then as well.

I enjoyed making love to her, cooking her dinner, and going out and doing things together, but beyond that we really had nothing but our common attraction to each other, and I think that was waning. Well, I know it was waning, because we really had nothing in common, had different interests, and had totally different sets of friends. Me: Business people. Her: Weirdo actor carny types.

I had started eating more carbs and she noticed I had put a little weight back on. I remember being in her shitty little cramped apartment, and saying that it was just a little bit of weight and was she calling me fat?

She said she thought that I was a man who cared about his health and was into being fit. I immediately lost all the weight. But I think back on that now, and it was such bullshit. Here’s a chick who never really ate healthy, and here she was telling me how to live. But the drug of love does strange to your mind and I would do whatever she wanted.

None of the above makes for a healthy sustainable relationship. One night I was waiting for her to finish up whatever nonsense she was working on. I wanted to cook her dinner I had bought for us. I just got sick of her being so wrapped up in her work. I started huffing and puffing, and she got pissed off. She told me I could leave if I was unhappy. So I did. I didn’t answer any of her texts for 24 hours. Which is juvenile. But I was 51 and hooked on the drug of love and I was dealing with a 27-year-old woman who had the mind of a teenage girl. If you’ve never worked in commerce and never done the 9 to 5 you never develop the coping and negotiating skills needed to act accordingly around other people.

We made up a day or so later. She apologized and I did as well. It got a little better for a while after that. But I don’t think Annabelle ever really loved me because she doesn’t have the capacity to truly love at all.

I feel bad writing these chapters. I know Annabelle can’t help what she is. I’m going to blame shitty parenting.

 

 

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