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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Phicklephilly – 24 Hours Off From Everything And My Survival

“I hear the sweet hiss of the cold bottle of ginger ale open and take a sweet sip. After you’ve been as sick as I’ve been for the last 11 hours the taste is exquisite. It is as if I’ve returned from a horrendous bloody battle in a desert of puke and shit and now I have the honor to sup ginger ale from the breasts of Aphrodite herself.

Disclosure: I know plenty of people who can’t handle anything that has to deal with bodily functions especially when it has to do with waste disposal associated with illness. My family has always referred to this as toilet humor and sadly it normally comes up at mealtime.  Like everything else here, this is a true story. I can’t make this stuff up.

You’ve been warned.

I woke up the other day like any other day. It was warm outside and I was looking forward to doing some work, and then going to visit my friend, Prova at her bar. (Prova – 2015 to Present – Glow of the Sun) I just wanted to sip a beer and have some snacks with her and my buddy Church. I’d be happy to see her lovely face and chat with them both.

I have a deadly immune system, and rarely ever get the common cold that everybody gets every year. My vessel is an inhospitable place for disease. I suppose you could call it one of my “superpowers.” Another one of my “superpowers” is having the ability of turning alcohol into regret. (But you  will read those superhero stories in other posts on this blog)

I’ve suffered with stomach disorders ever since I was a kid. It’s not a big deal. It’s just my biology. So, I wake up on a Monday, and just chill for a bit. I post a pic for Phicklephilly on Instagram to let everybody know what’s story is publishing that day.  I have a bottle of water next to the bed on the night stand. I take a few swigs from it like I do everyday.

After a bit I feel the urge that I have to go. That’s pretty normal for most people. Start your day with a movement. Hop in the shower and start your day with an empty colon. But this suddenly feels different. I have some cramping that has appeared out of nowhere. It’s as if whatever is about to happen, or whatever evil spirit that has taken up residence in my body has been awakened along with me.

I head into my bathroom and take a seat.  There is a sudden rush of diarrhea. Now this doesn’t make me panic. Because it could be just my biology that I’ve had for the last half a century, or whatever the hell I ate and drank last night at the bar. As we all know that if you mix Mexican food with beer and tequila, you realize you’ve discovered the formula for rocket fuel.

But I didn’t do that last night. I had dinner with Church (See: Church – 2012 to present –  Brand Ambassador) and 2 beers. I finish and go back to my bed for a few minutes just to contemplate the day. I’m a morning man, (ask the ladies) and I like to get up early and start my day with plenty of time to plan.

Now I’m feeling some cramping that is occurring not in my intestines but in my stomach. I feel the uneasiness of this because 30 minutes ago I felt fine.

But the beast has awakened.

I head back into the bathroom and again take a seat. Maybe I wasn’t done. Maybe it’s just middle age. But I soon realize as another rush of yellow tide bursts through the dam of my ass into the bowl, something is wrong. Very wrong.

I feel hot and cold. I’m starting to sweat. My breath comes in short gasps of ragged illness. I feel a wave of nausea wash over me. My ass is on fire. My mind is racing. Is this food poisoning?

I open the medicine cabinet and look for some sort of anti diarrheal and finally find a bottle of kaopectate. It says to take 30ml of it to stop diarrhea and make you less nauseous. Cool. I shake the bottle and crack open the crusty lid and do a good shot of it. It said it was peppermint flavored but I didn’t get that flavor in the finish.

I sit back down and more of the same foul brown water spraying from my dirt chute happens. I’m suddenly feeling worse instead of better and I look again at the bottle of kaopectate I just did a shot from. I see the expiration date… 4/2014.

Oh fuck. I just drank some 3-year-old expired shit. Oh nooooo….

With no time to stand, wipe or even turn around, I catapult off the bowl to the tub. My chest hits the cold porcelain and a Technicolor yawn gushes from my mouth like a river of evil.  I didn’t realize I had drunk so much water this morning, because my stomach should have been empty since last night. But there was more that came forth.

Everybody hates the feeling of throwing up. But the worst part is right before it happens when you don’t want it to happen.  Once it hits it’s awful because stuff is supposed to go in that orifice that tastes good or belongs to someone you love.  Not blast out in a foul-smelling geyser of filth. As it’s happening, there is the retch. That’s the trigger to open the flood gates. You have to gauge your breathing so it doesn’t go through your nose. Because once that hell train leaves the station, there’s no stopping it. So there I am on my knees with my shorts around my ankles, a foul yellow liquid running down my leg, and me blasting a second burst into the tub of all places. I’m retching and seeing the contents of my stomach pour forth. I reach to the left and grasp the cold water faucet and turn it on. I take some cold water in my hand and rub it on my face. I read once that cool water on the face calms you down. Apparently it works on everyone.

I give one last heave and I can feel that I’m done. I see these orange chunks in the mess that look like bits of carrots. I’m thinking, when the fuck did I have carrots? The I realize they are bits of sweet potato fries that I ate last night at the Wrap Shack with Church. I pull the shower control upwards and the shower comes on to wash away the dinner that I’ve have the horror of revisiting.

The cool porcelain feels good on my chest. Have you ever noticed that? That cool stone feels good against your sad sick face. I get to my feet and grab some toilet paper and wipe my soaked ass and legs. I pull my drawers up and stumble back to my bed and get under the covers. I check the time. Whenever you have a virus like this you should always check when and how often you get the Hershey squirts and when you get to drive the porcelain bus.

I am sick. I need some sort of comfort, but I can’t eat or drink anything for fear of purging it all up again. So I start watching my favorite show on Netflix on my phone in my bed. Some old episodes of Mystery Science Theater are in order. The nostalgia and laughs will get me through this.

I was back and forth to the bathroom every 20 minutes for number 2. I felt like I was a flesh water balloon that was just emptying the contents of my entire ascending, traversing, and descending colon. I couldn’t imagine where that much liquid was coming from. It was if I was just being completely emptied out.

Each time it would be as if I was an attachment to some backyard hose and the liquid would just shoot out of me like it was a giant urethra. It was if I had become a human bilge pump for a day. Just awful.

The shits intermittently happened every 20 minutes to a half hour. This went on for a few hours. Whatever the hell was in these foul anal waters was burning my ass. I mean not a burning sensation on the way out. Then it was just a rush of yellowish fluid.  but once you touched the toilet paper to your sweet star fruit, there was this searing pain that would literally make me cry out in pain. It didn’t feel like the pillow soft joy of cottonelle. It felt like someone had set some sandpaper on fire and then swabbed out my tender balloon knot with that flaming nightmare.  Wiping my nether regions was worse than the constant shitting and the throwing up combined.

I hoped I wouldn’t puke again. I had put out so much glorious regurgitation I couldn’t imagine there could be anymore. But 1:35pm rolls around and I can feel the familiar, fear and hot and cold sweats the come with the return of the puke alien. I’m in bed, and I’m like, oh fuck…not again. How can I give anymore after I’ve already painted the bowl so many times with my flaming brown mosaic.

I head back in to the bathroom. I’ve hit the bowl so many times the seat is still warm. I take a seat and let go of another hose down of the potty. While this is happening I go back to and old accupressure move I know.  If you are having stomach pains you take the index finger and the thumb and press on the web of your hand between your left index finger and thumb. It’s supposed to work and you go from one to the other. Did it work?

Without having time to even wipe, I rocket back to the tub and blast another sidewalk pizza into the tub. This one is as fierce as the first, and I can feel my stomach muscles getting pulled with the force. It’s usually the initial blast, that looks smaller that the first one I did before but there are usually three good shots in the chamber. I know I need to exorcise these demons from my soul so I go hard. It’s so awful. I again go for the cold water and just run the shower over my head. I wipe the cold water on my face and head and neck. The water washes away the filth and off of me. When that short painful ordeal is over I get to my feet once agin. I wipe my ruined anus and wince in the sheer agony as the soft paper sets my back hole into what feels now like an exit wound.

I go back to bed and set the time. I watch MST3K and stay curled up under the covers. My only comfort is the guys on the show. I’m so sick.

A few more regular trips to the bathroom and I’m hoping this ordeal will end soon. Or maybe I’ll just die and that’ll be it.

I’m counting the time between shits and pukes. It’s now 3pm and I’m thinking that maybe I won’t chunder anymore.

3:25pm. That familiar feeling. I start on the hopper and end up with my sorry head in the tub. This time it is only painful retching and a foul-smelling brownish-yellow bile that comes from my rasping gullet. This has to be the end. Please, God… no more. I get to my feet. Sandpaper on the bunghole brings tears to my eyes because the pain is so agonizing. I’m thinking am I going to die of ass cancer like my 1970’s pin-up idol Farrah Fawcett? Yea, this is how my mind works.

However, somehow I did start to feel slightly better after this bile blast.

I’m dehydrated and weak. I stumble to the kitchen and grab a bowl from the cupboard. I grab a few ice cubes from the freezer and toss them in the bowl. I head back to bed and suck one cube at a time while watching my show under the covers. I can’t take a chance with anything else.

I didn’t have to work at the salon that night, but Trish is on. (See: Trish -The She Wolf – 2012 to Present) I text her and ask her if she can bring be some ginger ale, Gatorade and some saltine crackers. I tell her I’m dying and if she doesn’t want the blood of her neighbor and co-worker on her hands she’ll do it. I’ll pay any price. She tells me she’ll be home around 8:30pm.

I watch my show. Joel, Crow, and Tom Servo carry me through my miserable plight. All I do for the next 2 and a half hours is suck ice cubes and blast ass fire into the bowl every half hour.

But 5:30pm comes and I don’t toss my cookies. It’s surpassed the 2 hour mark and that’s a good thing. The longer I can go with out becoming suddenly overcome with nausea the better. I keep sucking ice and watching my show and the clock.

I’m still spraying foul ass water into the bowl every half hour or so and my sphincter feels like it’s been cut with razor blades and doused with alcohol and salt every time I wipe, but I haven’t blown chunks in over 4 hours. I’m suddenly filled with melancholy joy.

I don’t know if I passed out a few times in the last few hours but I may have for 20 minute intermittent periods.

It’s now 7:30pm and I have sucked my way through 2 ice trays and sipped a little water. There is a glimmer of hope when I look at the clock and I’m actually counting the minutes when I will get that text from Trish to make delivery on the crackers and ginger ale. So that’s a solid sign I may be finding my way out of this black day of horror.

I think of Prova and how I told her I’d see her today at 3pm with Church. I told him hours ago I was dying and wouldn’t be coming out today. He wished me well and would have brought me anything I needed, but when I told him it was still early in this ordeal and I was in no shape to do anything but empty the contents of my digestive tract.

That day I had felt as if I was a broken tube of toothpaste. Ripped open at both ends and just squeezed at the middle by the ragged clawed hand of Mephistopheles himself.

8:30 I get the magic text from Trish. She says she just got home and will bring me what I so desperately need. I asked her how much, and she says $8.68. I grab $10 and head for the front door. I look like some sad, scruffy Dr. Seuss character that’s been hit by a bus and tossed in a dumpster outside the Gold Club Strip joint.

She hands me the bag. I hand her the $10 and then thank her profusely. I go back to my room and can’t wait to dine. I’ve still got the shits but I’ve grown accustomed to the squirts and the pain. At one point my anus was so raw I just sat on the edge of the tub and splashed cold water into my crack to clean myself because I couldn’t take the pain in my fire hole anymore.

I rip open the crackers and gently start to eat a few. They taste delicious, these plain lightly salted crackers. I haven’t eaten anything in over 24 hours. I hear the sweet hiss of the cold bottle of ginger ale open and take a sweet sip. After you’ve been as sick as I’ve been for the last 11 hours the taste is exquisite. It is as if I’ve returned from a horrendous bloody battle in a desert of puke and shit and now I have the honor to sup ginger ale  from the breasts of Aphrodite herself.

It’s that good when you’ve been this sick.

I’m feeling a bit better and even the butt sprays are becoming less. I eat some more crackers and finish the bottle of ginger ale.

I’m going to survive.

A lady friend of mine who has been texting me to check on me, says she wishes she were there to be my nurse and take care of me. I ask would she wear the sexy nurse outfit with the white stockings and short skirt. She says of course and knows I’m on the mend.

I may be sick, but it would take a lot more than a stomach flu or food poisoning to kill my libido.

I’m afraid to sleep for some reason, but I’m on the other side of this shit and puke demon possession. I still make a few trips to the bathroom. I’m feeling much better, but still weak.

I finally fall asleep.

 

The next morning, I awaken early, wondering if I’m really going to be okay today. Have I won?

A few squirts but now it’s mostly gas, because my entire digestive tract has been emptied of its contents. Nothing but air left in me. I can actually pass gas without fear of shitting the bed. I guess that’s a good thing and my ass hurts slightly less. I eat some more crackers and finish the bottle Gatorade. It too is delicious and quenching.

Rain is falling outside. I can hear it hitting hard and soft on my window sill intermittently. There are some small storms coming through. I’m snuggled down and it’s comforting. I’m safe. I’m back. I escaped the clutches of sickness and won.

I leave my bed around 11am and head to the bathroom. I turn on a hot shower and brush my teeth. I get into the shower. The water feels good on my body. I lather up and feel that the storm has really passed. I grab a fresh razor and shave off the 2 days of scruff from my face. Shampooing my hair feels good. I’m getting my filthy self all cleaned up.

I survived.

It feels good to throw everything I wore yesterday into the hamper and put on all clean clothes and comb my hair. I finish dressing and am feeling better. It was like I was kidnapped and held hostage in my own house for an entire day. It was awful.

I grab some cash and head outside. The day is beautiful. It’s not cold and the rain has stopped for a bit. The sun’s out. I’m alive. I feel great. Everything looks more beautiful to me. The people, my street, the fresh air. I’m so grateful for my health and everything in my life at that moment.

If you have your health you have so much. My immune system is working just fine and I spanked my demons and made them pay. Because here I am headed to Rittenhouse Square good as new.

I stop in Manhattan Bagels at 18th and Sansom. I grab a diet Snapple and order a bacon egg and cheese on a toasted rye bagel. I walk to the counter and happily greet the cashier, picking up a ripe banana and adding it to my order. I pay and take a seat at the window, appreciating life again outside my sickness exile of the past 24 hours. I crack the Snapple and take a sip of that quenching tea. Glorious. The banana tastes better than any I’ve ever eaten. I savor the firm softness in the fruit as the potassium goes to work to repair me. I can’t get enough of that banana. I’m like a gay man who just discovered what a glory hole is.

The girl brings me my breakfast. It’s perfect. Delicious. I’m back. Everything is new and I’m so grateful. That night I’m at the salon running around and taking care of our clients. All is right in the universe again.

Your health is everything.

So, like I said at the beginning of this tome, I have a deadly immune system. It’s scary when you get violently ill and especially when you don’t see it coming. But I have suffered with tummy troubles my whole life, so I’m well equipped to take what comes for me.

I rarely get the common cold that the world suffers with every season. I have no allergies. Nothing. But… when I do on occasion get the common cold I absolutely hate it. Here’s why. It starts out with you not feeling right. Just a bit off and you don’t know why. Maybe it’s an imbalance or that feeling around your eyes. You think you’re fine. Then the sore throat starts. Maybe on one side of your throat. Maybe it’s nothing. But then, why are the glands in my neck under my jaw line swollen and tender? My throat is now sore on both sides now. I start sneezing. Then coughing. My nose is stuffed up. Maybe one side is so stuffed I can only breath out of one nostril and it switches sides. Tricky! I’m starting to feel body aches. Maybe hot and cold flashes. I feel dopey. There are tons of discharge from my nose and lungs as my white blood cells go in for battle once again. They have honed these skills over millions of years of evolution. It’s what they do. But there’s always some new hybrid motherfucker that wants to come in and take their shit. But Homo Sapiens are a tough lot, and you don’t get to be number one on this planet by losing. Our species is a scrappy bunch.  Go ahead, bring your best. Some of us that survived beat the Black Plague, lived on to build new civilizations and thrive as a stronger species.

Sure medicine helps, but the immune system you were born with and those that built it that came before you is there for a reason. You don’t need to run to the doctor every time you get the sniffles. The world is on drugs of every kind. You’ve been sold an idea that every thing is dirty and you need a pill for everything. You don’t. That’s what your immune system is for. Your child needs to get sick and know what it feels like to feel like shit… and then get well by eating right and drinking lots of fluids and letting the body rest so the pros inside your body can go fight the battle and win again.

You can see tomorrow with a smile and be grateful that life is fleeting and fragile. Your health is everything. If you wake up tomorrow and feel okay. Then you’re way ahead. Make the most of the day, because you don’t know what tomorrow brings.

  1. Health.
  2. To love and be loved.
  3. Family.
  4. Good people around you.
  5. Something to look forward to.
  6. Fun stuff to do.
  7. Good work that you can do today.

That’s kind of it people. All the big houses, money, cars, and fancy handbags is all bullshit.

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I will make a final footnote here. If you made it this far through this disgusting, graphic story, I thank you. It was just gross but I wanted it to be real. But if you’ll notice, I tried to use every vulgar slang word that I could think of to describe what was happening. Even in darkness, I have to bring forth a little light and humor.

” Because that light at the end of the tunnel, may be you.” – Steven Tyler

 

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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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.

 

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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Johnny R. – 2009 to Present – Needle in the Groove – Part 1

Another fun day with my friend who loves vice.

I love this day. I finally get to write about Johnny R. with a little vice because I planned it that way. Art imitates life.

I sleep in on Saturday, because it’s the only day I  am technically off from my two jobs. The real day off. That’s plenty of time for me, because I like to work.

Johnny texts me that he will roll into Suburban Station around 1pm. I have to get out of this bed. I am drifting in and out of the arms of Morpheus and listening to NPR. I have to go out and be with my dear friend.

His train is coming in and I am walking towards the station. He says he is busting for a piss and is going to Tir Na Nog. That’s the closest bar to the train station, and a beloved spot for him because they have a satellite dish and play all of the liverpool soccer games that he loves all the time. I don’t get it because I’m not a sports guy but he loves it. I know when Johnny says he’s heading to Tir to take a piss that means he’s going to be drinking 5 minutes after that, so I need to get there sooner than later.

I arrive and he looks great and we’re happy to see each other. Tir Na Nog is obviously an Irish bar on 16th street near Arch. It’s a good spot but normally is a sausage bar. Lot’s of dudes and sports fans. Never my cup of tea. I prefer hotel bars with pretty nubile waitresses eager to please me.

Johnny is sucking on a bud bottle and seems surly. He says he has no coke or adderall so he’s probably going to behave but be tired later on. I don’t mind. As long as I can spend time with my friend and we get our kicks, I know we’ll all be better for it and his wallet won’t hurt tomorrow. (Nor will his soul)

He tells me he hates the raven haired Irish female bartender that’s currently on shift. I love his rage about everything. I ask him why, and he tells me that he sat here with an empty bottle and she ignored him and went to talk to her friends at the end of the bar. Normally I would hate this too but I have a little surprise that I didn’t see coming for my friend Johnny.

Johhny: “I fuckin’ hate her. Shitty service.”

Me: “Hello Sheila! I haven’t seen you in a while. How you been?”

Sheila: ” Hey, great man, I’ll come by the new salon soon!”

Johnny looks at me incredulously.

Sheila: “Hey, this round is on me.”

Johnny: “How?”

Me: ” She tans at the salon so she doesn’t look so pale when she goes back to Ireland every year.”

Johnny: “Wow. Thank you.”

Me: (I point to me and then him) “Honey… vinegar. It’s all good dude.”

That was a huge savings and an elegant meeting spot for me and Johnny. It had history, soccer and free drinks in it!

We head down to Locust Rendezvous for some food, because all I’ve had in the way of food today was beer. We get there and the place is chill. We sit in our usual seats at the end of the bar and I order a Yards Pale and some chicken fingers. Johnny goes for the plain grilled and I of course go for the buffalo.

Locust Rendezvous is a clean little dive down at 15th and Locust. Local crowd. The food is good and cheap. The staff is consistent and sweet. They have a fantastic $5 burger lunch special there. Check it out if you’re ever in Philly. Worth it! We’re chatting and sipping our beers. Johnny with his Bud bottle as always. The food comes out and it looks great. Johnny complains that his chicken is tough but he bitches about everything. It’s actually endearing and one of the reasons I love him. It’s like hanging out with comedian Bill Burr.

Our day is unfolding beautifully, until he gets a piece of chicken lodged not in his throat but in his esophagus. He has a thing. It’s not serious but you know how deadly chicken and it’s bones can be to humans and dogs.

Johnny pauses. I turn. “Are you okay, dude?”

“I’m fine. Just a piece of chicken that needs to keep going to my stomach.”

“Is there anything I can do?” I’m getting worried about my friend.

“”No. I just need to go to the bathroom.”

I’m concerned, but it’s his thing and he knows how to deal with it. Chicken is dense and you gotta take little bites.

I continue to drink my beer and rip into my delicious “moist” buffalo chicken fingers. After a few minutes he comes back and he’s fine. I’m relieved and he’s still pissed about his dry chicken. But that’s just Johnny. It didn’t kill you, so eat it brother.

I finish my meal and I know what’s going to happen. Since all I’ve consumed has been beers and buffalo chicken today and that has been breakfast and lunch, I need to go. It’s called middle age. You put something in your body and the system turns on and things start moving. I tell him I’ll be right back and I walk to the back of the bar to the men’s room. It’s funny because the bathrooms are labeled. “Nuts” and “No Nuts” and they have pictures of a boy and a girl squirrel. It’s pretty obvious what bathroom has been appointed to which sex, but I just wonder why they went with that theme here. It has nothing to do with the bar.

I really have to go. The machine is running and I need to deal with this. Forgive me readers for going here. Some of you may hate anything bathroom related, but I promise if you stay with this scene, you’ll enjoy it.

I go into the “Nuts” bathroom because I have a pair, and I tie my button down dress shirt in a knot at the bottom so it’s away from all of the action. Every time I do this I always think of Rod Stewart tying the bottom of his shirt and looking gay. Nothing against the gay community or Rod, (No pun intended) I love gay people but this move always makes me feel a little gay.

I drop my drawers and have a seat. It’s a tiny bathroom. Just one commode, a sink and that’s it. Just me, my phone and my thoughts. I’m cool. I’m having a good day with my pal who’s at the front of the bar probably sipping his beer and playing with his phone.

I finish and life is good. I feel relieved and I’m having a great day with my dear friend. Hopefully there’s more fun and deviltry to come. So I’m ready to get up and I look around. First casually, then frantically. There’s no toilet paper in the men’s room. Not a stitch. Not a square. Nothing! There is a little soggy wad next to the toilet on the floor in the corner. I’m not touching that!

What the fuck am I going to do? I can’t wipe!

I’m panicking now. I’m trapped in the Nuts room and I can’t leave.

Wait! I brought my phone in with me. I’ll call Johnny and tell him my situation and he’ll tell the bartender and someone will run back a roll to save me!

I pride myself in knowing where all of the liquor stores and clean bathrooms are in this fine city. I’ve done this my entire life. Sometimes I get tummy troubles and a man need to know where to get a clean restroom. This comes in really handy with the fairer sex. But I’m being held hostage by my dirty ass right now and I have failed myself as a good bathroom vigil.

I grab my phone and call him. You can’t text your friend at the bar when you are trapped in the bathroom. You have to call! He’ll pick up. I’m with him right now. I dial his number.

Ringing…

“Pick up…”

“Pick up…”

“Pick up Johnny….”

“Pick up you fucking asshole!”

(voicemail) “You have reached (phone number) Johnny is not available…”

“Are you fucking kidding me???”

How is everybody chained to their phones and you are literally sitting at the bar with me in the same bar and you are on your phone and I am calling you and you are not picking up you fucking asshole???

He never picks up.

I’m stranded in this bathroom. I want to kill him. I really want to kill him. I’m going to kill my friend next time I see him.

Necessity is the mother of invention. I have been in worst situations so I need to get creative and do what is necessary. I get up off the seat with my pants around my ankles and turn my butt toward the sink. I hop towards it and get to the sink. I grab the porcelain and hoist my ass up onto the sink. Apparently the sinks in Locust Rendezvous are strong enough to support the full weight of a grown man. I reach back behind me and turn the spigot on. The water is running now. Is it the hot water or the cold? Should I turn them both on?

I feel like a little kid now. Sitting on a another toilet with my little legs dangling in the air a foot of the ground because I’m small. I reach back to check the temperature of the water with my hand. The water feels ok, so I realize the inevitable. I lean forward and get my ass as close the water stream as close as possible to my sweet star fruit. I reach back and literally scrub my asshole with my bare hand under the fresh stream of water from the faucet.

How do they even open their bar on a Saturday and not even check the bathroom situation? At the beginning of my shift at the salon I run patrol on the whole place. Well I suppose this is how you earn the title, “Dive Bar.”

So I scrub my asshole clean until it squeaks. There isn’t even a way to dry my butt because they have an air dryer for your hands in there. And I am not going to be able to do the gymnastic to do a head stand on the sink and get my balloon knot up under that blower to dry off my turd cutter. (Yea, I’m using creative names to make it even funnier than this sad situation already is.)

I hop down when I’m done and am actually a little proud of myself for my resourcefulness and creativity in a bad situation. Urban survival techniques!

I thoroughly wash my hand with their soap. I use it copiously! Then I get to take advantage of their modern hand air dryer in the bathroom with NO TOILET PAPER! Because if they had any paper hand towels I would have totally ripped them up and wiped my sorry ass with them. If it clogged up the toilet I would have been fine with that because that’s your punishment for not doing your fucking job and checking the bar before your shift! Now you have a REAL mess to clean up, lazy! (I kidding…I wouldn’t really do that)

So I walk out of the bathroom and back to the bar with my super clean, still wet ass and I see Johnny just sitting there sipping his beer.

“You wouldn’t believe what just fucking happened to me in the bathroom!”

“The redhead blew you?”

“Really, dude? No! there was no toilet paper in there and I had to use the sink as a fucking bidet on my butthole!”

“(Nonchalantly) Oh…I saw that you called.”

“Why the fuck didn’t you pick up?”

“I just thought you accidentally butt dialed me.”

“Yea! My butt was crying out for help and you left it literally blowing in the wind!”

“Alright. I got lunch. Wanna go to McGlinchey’s?”

“Dude! I needed your hel… You got lunch?”

“Yea.”

“Okay. I’ll buy the first round at McGlinch…”

“I hate when you abbreviate everything.”

“It’s my thing. It’s what I do.”

“We know. Let’s go.”

We step out onto 15th street headed to the foulest bar in the city.

“Why couldn’t you have choked on that piece of chicken.”

“What?

“Love you….”

 

 

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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Ann Marie- 2015 to Present – Rose Among Thorns

“Oh come on Jimmy, we all know why you always sit at the very end of the bar. Just so you can check out Ann Marie!”

I did some work in the morning, and then was to meet up with Church for lunch. We met at one of my favorite Monday lunch spots in Rittenhouse. Can’t beat a $5 cheesesteak and fries or tots to kick off your week at Cavanaugh’s.  I get there and of course my girl Ann Marie says hello and immediately delivers to my table a water and diet coke. She always uses my name and provides outstanding hospitality. I always get the same thing when I go there on Mondays and she knows exactly what I want. It’s a little slow in this sports bar, so Ann Marie hops up in the chair across from me and we start chatting.

I ask her how her trip to California was with her Mother. Ann Marie is getting married in October so she and her mom and sister went out there to pick up a special Vietnamese wedding dress.

While traditional clothes of Vietnam have always been very diverse depending on the era and occasion, after the Nguyen Dynasty women began to wear elaborate Ao dai for their weddings. These dresses were modeled after the Áo mệnh phụ (royal Áo dài) of Nguyễn Dynasty court ladies. The style of the Nguyễn Dynasty has remained popular and is still used in current-day Vietnamese wedding attire. The difference between the Áo mệnh phụ and the typical Áo dài is the elaborateness of its design. The former is usually embroidered with imperial symbols such as the phoenix and includes an extravagant outer cloak. This gown is preferably in red or pink, and the bride usually wears a khan dong headdress. The groom wears a simpler male equivalent of the dress, often in the color blue.

Apparently she’s having a Vietnamese wedding and then a Catholic wedding after that. Then there is the reception of course. So basically Ann Marie’s wedding day is going to last from 11am till the last person stumbles out of the reception.

An engagement ceremony usually occurs half a year or so before the wedding. In the past, most marraiges were arranged by the parents or extended family, and while children were sometimes consulted, it was nearly always the parents’ final decision. It was not unusual for the bride and groom to meet for the first time at the day of their engagement. However, in the last few decades, Vietnamese women and men marry based on love rather than arranged marriages.

Preparation for the traditional Vietnamese wedding begins with choosing a date and time for the marriage ceremony. This is decided by a Buddhist monk, Spiritual leader, or fortune teller due to the spiritual nature of the occasion. This tradition may change if the family is Catholic. (Which our westernized Ann Marie is)

The wedding consists of an extensive set of ceremonies: asking permission to receive the bride, receiving the bride at her house, and bringing the bride to the groom’s house. Both Vietnamese and oversea-Vietnamese who desire to have a hybrid traditional Vietnamese and Western-style wedding will often incorporate the last two ceremonies with the Western-style wedding.

And then obviously at the end of the ceremonies, there is one reception for the two families and guests. Sounds like it’s going to be a big day for our girl.

“I told my bridesmaids to just keep me hydrated and energized to make it through a very long day!”

I’ve known Ann Marie for a few years now. We never hang out, I just know her from the sports bar. There are a million sports bars out there, but your staff is really what makes the difference. That goes for any business. There are bars I go to and I love the guy that works every Monday night, but I wouldn’t set foot in that place on a Wednesday if he’s not working.

Ann Marie’s great. It also doesn’t hurt that she’s really cute and fit. There’s a group of construction workers that come in and drink some afternoons and they only come in when Ann Marie is working. They love her like we do. There were days I would be sitting at my table in the back and I would be working on my laptop. I’d pop out for a smoke and one of the guys would be out there and we’d be chatting. Next thing you know he’s sending me a drink back to my table. Just good hard-working fellas.

I remember another time I was sitting at the bar and I was eating my sandwich. That same group of guys were there and they were drinking, laughing and busting on each other. The one guy says something like, “Oh come on Jimmy, we all know why you always sit at the very end of the bar. Just so you can check out Ann Marie!” Of course the guy laughs but doesn’t disagree with them.

I think to myself… “Fuck! That’s why I always used to sit at the end of the bar in the Spring and Summer, so I can check out Ann Marie’s legs. If you’ve been following this blog, you know I’m a leg man. Ann Marie may be petite but she has well turned legs.

Church arrives and we order our food. We go with the special. He goes with fries and I choose tots. This way, everybody wins. The place gets busier and Ann Marie is running around taking orders and serving at the bar.

Church and I are chatting after lunch and Ann Marie cruises by. “Can we get the check? I thought you were keeping me here.”

“I’m going to keep you here forever, dear.” She says with a wry smile.

That’s what I’m talking about. You come for the $5 cheesesteaks, you stay for that kind of hospitality and charm.

Update: Ann Marie has since left her post at Cavanaugh’s to pursue a career in Marketing. Oh well, hopefully her replacement can live up to the high bar set by Ann Marie. Oh, and if you’re reading this dear, You’re going to be a beautiful bride to a lucky gentleman.

 

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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Sun Stories – Sugar (Grand) Daddy

“I can’t find my card. I must have left it on the table when I paid the cable bill.”

I’m working at the tanning salon, and it’s a quiet Tuesday night. This older gentleman, well into his sixties, strolls in with a twenty something on his arm. She looks to be of some eastern European decent. Dark hair and eyes, and dark brown hair. Petite, and cute. I don’t think this chick is his daughter.

She fills out the necessary paperwork. (Her handwriting is atrocious. It looks like that of an eight year old) The older gentleman stands beside her as she decides what kind of tanning package she wants. She settles on a one month all access. (That’s a mid-sized bed deal that runs sixty-five dollars) I ask her cash or card, and she starts digging in her purse.

She’s rifling around in it for a while. “I can’t find my card. I must have left it on the table when I paid the cable bill.”

The old man just steps up and places his credit card down on the marble counter. He nods and I run his card. I thank him, but I notice she doesn’t. She tells me she wants to do a stand up tan.

You can lie in the beds or you can stand up is certain ones. It looks like a big time machine. Big silver cylinder shaped booth. Inside you’re surrounded by fifty-two ultraviolet flourescent tubes that are all two hundred and thirty watts. Each session only lasts a maximum time of nine minutes. You can do less if you want. (I do less!) We put a five-minute timer for you to get ready and do whatever it is you want to do before your session. (Undress, apply lotion, etc.) Once the five minutes is up, the booth lights.

So while she’s in there I figure I can talk to this guy and find out what the deal is with them. He tells me he met her on the internet. So I’m assuming a dating site. I gotta hand it to pops, good job using the internet. He said his wife died twenty-five years ago. I don’t know what he’s been doing for the last quarter century, but he hasn’t met anyone that stuck around. He met Sandy and they started dating. She lives down here in Chinatown. He lives about thirty-five minutes east of here over in New Jersey.

He says she works as a wedding planner. (Not buying it. Not that he’s lying. I think she’s lying to him. Her with that horrible handwriting.) So if she’s downtown, and he’s over in another state, she can pretty much live her life when he’s not around.

He tells me when he started dating her, after a few dates he asked her if she was really sure if she wanted to be with him. “Are you really, really sure?” he said. “Because I don’t want you to simply change your mind about me in a few months from now.”

This poor old guy is in love with her. He’s just a lonely old man. He says when he walks down the street, they sometimes get looks, but he doesn’t care. He feels proud to have her with him.

I totally get it. Having a young beautiful woman on your arm makes older men feel cooler than getting out of an exotic sports car. I’m not getting any younger because I love it too.

But I feel bad for this guy. She’s a good actress. There’s no way she’s into this guy. I mean, he sounds like a really kind gentleman, but I don’t see it. I think it was when she came to a tanning salon to buy a luxury item, and conveniently ‘left her card on the table while paying the cable bill.’

I think this gal is either and escort or a professional sugarbaby. There are certainly plenty of girls here in Philly that are sugarbabies.

She probably uses the ‘wedding planner’ lie to let him know that she’s always busy meeting with clients. I’m thinking those ‘clients’ are other johns. Think about it, she could have several versions of that guy that she’s dating to get meals, money, gifts, and who knows what else?

I just hope this guy is getting to have sex with her, because if he has the money and she makes him happy and provides the GFE,  (girlfriend experience) then more power to him. Sex you pay for is always cheaper than free sex. But in this case she’s costing him quite a bit. I mean, he probably fed her before they came here, there’s the drinks he paid for too. He had to pay for parking down here, and now he just bought her a tanning package. That’s easily a three hundred-dollar night for this guy.

But like I said, if it makes him happy, and she doesn’t break the poor old guy’s heart, then who am I to judge? I never saw the guy again after that first night, but I’ll tell you what I did see.

She continued to come in and tan on a pretty regular basis. She’d roll in on her own. But one time she came in on a Saturday, and I just happened to be at the salon chatting with Trish. (See Trish – 2012 to Present – The She Wolf)

Sandy comes in with two kids! A little boy nine, and a little girl, six. She goes into the stand up unit to tan. She always goes into the stand up unit in room two. That’s the only bed she ever goes to. So leaves the kids sitting on the sofa in the waiting area. Her daughter is adorable. Like a mini version of her mom. She’s also a little chatterbox. She’s chatting and charming some of the other clients that are sitting in the waiting room. The son on the other hand seems like a bit of a weirdo. I don’t know. Something’s off.

At one point he just looks right at me and says: “Do you believe in Jesus Christ?” What do say to a fucking nine-year old kid when he asks you that? Of course, I told him that I did, because you don’t want to go down that path with someone else’s kid. You never want to be the guy that was the one that made a little boy question his christian faith. It just felt weird when he said it about of the blue. I should have said, ‘Speaking of Jesus, your mommy reminds me a lot of Mary Magdelene.’

It was just a little creepy. I hope he doesn’t grow up and say it again to somebody before he pulls the trigger…

I wonder if the grandpa that she’s dating knows she has two little kids? Come to think of it, he said he was nine years old… on Sandy’s profile it says she’s twenty-six. That would mean she had him when she was eighteen and knocked up at seventeen! Teen mom!

 

Another time she came in and after she was finished tanning, I go into the room. I have a spray gun full of sanitizer. I spray and wipe down the unit, clear any detritus left behind by the client, and place a fresh towel in the room. This time I find a Victoria’s Secret sales tag that says 32b on it. It’s from a bra.

On another occasion when cleaning up the room after she was in it I find another Victoria Secret tag. This one is for a pair of panties, size small. What is she doing?

Then I remember that there is Victoria’s Secret boutique across the street in Two Liberty. She’s either stealing underwear and then bringing it over here and ripping the tags off, or she has to change her undies between, “clients.”

The final find was one of the last times she was here. I cleaned the booth and then saw what appeared to be what I thought was some sort of black and white headband in the little basket in the room. I picked up and discovered it was a soiled pair of panties.

Eww. Straight to the trash!

Once the monthly package that Gramps had bought her expired, we never saw her again.

 

 

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Duncan – 1997 to Present – Concentrated Dosage – Part 3 – Saturday Night

Me: “What would happen if you didn’t inject your medicine every week, Duncan?”

Duncan: ” I would turn into a chair.

We walk all the way from the river back to the hotel. I loved the film. Go see it. We stop at the bar and have a couple of drinks. Duncan does his rum driven white russians, and I go with Manhattans and old fashions. Duncan says all the drinks are on his room, so all of this has fixed the missing bottle of Grey Goose he promised me. (See: Phicklephilly – The case of the Missing Bottle of Vodka)

I’ll get my hands on that sometime soon. I have a really nice bottle of rare South African rum for him that I can offer up for trade if I have to!

We decide we’re both hungry and can’t sustain ourselves on popcorn and sugar. I decide to take him over to Tavern on Broad because I have drink tickets. We get there and the vibe just isn’t working. We leave and I have an idea. We go to the place my friend Prova works, and is owned by the Uncle of my partner at the tanning salon, Achilles. (Prova – 2016 to Present – Glow of the Sun and Achilles – 2016 to Present – The Bronze God)

We head over there and it’s choice. We get a table and Prova is there and so is the owner, Achilles, uncle. It’s all good. We have a glorious dinner and the service is great. He’s drinking his usual and I’m having a Manhattan. It’s a great place and the vibe is good.

Lovely Prova comes over to the table to chat near the end and I introduce her to Duncan. He agrees she’s smoking hot and sweet and we’re having a great day. We split the check and it’s time to go see the German heavy metal band UDO at the Trocadero in Chinatown.

Time is tight and we need to grab an UBER to get there on time for the show. Duncan planned this gig eight months ago so I need to be on point for my pal. It’s his weekend and his night. I can’t fuck this up. I want him to be happy and not miss any of it. We step onto Sansom street and the car is on its way. The driver can’t get it together and ends up a block away from us. I think more taxi drivers in this city are packing it in on being taxi drivers and going for UBER and Lyft because there is more money in it and it’s the future. But they’re struggling with it.

Fuck it. We’re in the car, and I’m paying for it with my $600 in UBER credits from my previous job. Thank you ME, deadly sales guy and my previous employer.

We get to the venue and the opening act is on. They’re a tight metal band and we like them, but we immediately identify that the singer sucks and needs to go. That happens with metal heads. We want quality and can identify it instantly. Priest. Maiden. come on. You can have the hair and the moves but if you can’t sing amazing for your band… you’re out. But we’re happy to be there because UDO is coming for Duncan. He’s going to do a bunch of songs from his former band Accept and that’s why Duncan flew up here this weekend and planned this trip eight months ago.

They finish and some time passes, and UDO comes out. Now to refresh, this is a Duncan band. I have turned this clown onto some of the greatest rock and metal on the Earth and I am here now about to see a band where I only know one of their songs from the eighties.

Nothing else. Let’s see how this unfolds.

UDO hits the stage and he is a very rotund German gentleman. Duncan says he’s fatter than he remembers. He’s a sixty something, fat, bald dude that’s ready to rock. He has a Finnish and a Russian guitar player at his side. Both of these guys are deadly musicians that are hot and smile while they shred through the songs of Accept. These guys are amazing. I rock out to the unfamiliar songs like they’ve been written by AC/DC. This band is fantastic.

UDO sings like Bon Scott, the long dead lead singer from AC/DC and the band is tighter than a crab’s ass. (that’s water tight!) I love his band. The guitarists are amazing musicians and elegant showman. I can see the show is choreographed, but I love it. They are sooo good. Their personalities are coming through in the show. I love it.

Just like Aerosmith.

Just like me. What I wanted to do in music, and what I do in my everyday life. Push the energy outward into the people around you, and it will all come back to you so bright and wonderful so you can give it again.

That’s how I felt that night with Duncan.

The show was long. He played for two and a half hours! It was magnificent but I could see that Duncan was getting tired. This was his night but even he was folding. I loved this band, but at our age after the first finale, and one encore, we’re done.

They finally leave the stage and so do we. Duncan always does this thing when we go to shows. He always gets the set list and as much info on the show as possible. I’m not into presents or holidays or birthdays, but I like to be surprised by art. Men don’t like to be surprised, but we like to be delighted. But I feel like Duncan takes the mystery out of the musical acts we see, because he knows what they are going to play. I prefer to just show up at your concert, art gallery or movie and just light me up. But Duncan always knows what they are going to go play before hand. He’s always been this way. I never understood this. Part of seeing live music performed by the guys you love was about the surprise. What will these guy play next? Oh I love that. But Duncan always knows the playlist.

Duncan: What did you think of the show?

Me: That was the greatest rock show you’ve ever taken me to where I only know one song by the band. I LOVED it!

We leave the venue and are walking back to the Ritz Carlton. It’s like we’re in our thirties again. Maybe even our twenties. Duncan has rheumatoid arthritis and has to deal with that every day. He’s always been fit and been working out, and this is a disease that wants him. My mother got RA in her late forties and it was with her until her death.

Duncan has this and it kills me. My Mom had this and I watched her suffer. Here is my friend with the same health issue.

Me: “What would happen if you didn’t inject your medicine every week, Duncan?”

Duncan: ” I would turn into a chair.

We leave Chinatown and walk towards Broad street. Duncan and I cross Broad street. A famous street in Philly. A block from the foot of Billy Penn. We’ve had a glorious couple of days, and I didn’t have to have this fucker at my house for two days.

This has been wonderful and peaceful with my old friend. Drinks, food, games, movies and metal. No strippers or vice. We’re good. We don’t need that. Our connection and our history is our glue. I love Duncan.  I’m happy that we’ve reconnected and sustained our friendship.

We arrive back at the Ritz, and take a seat at the bar. Duncan closes with his signature Rum Russian, I lean into the Manhattan.

In an hour we hug and promise to hang again before memorial day. I step out onto Broad street, (Avenue of the Arts) and make my way home.

I’ve had amazing weekend with an old friend. Duncan and I are connected and there’s no breaking that bond.

 

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