Swedish Metal Fiasco – Ghost – Part 3

Ghost is a Swedish heavy metal band that was formed in Linköping in 2006. In 2010, they released a 3-track demo followed by a 7″ vinyl titled “Elizabeth”, and later their debut full-length album Opus Eponymous. The Grammis-nominated album was widely praised and significantly increased their popularity. Their second album and major label debut Infestissumam was released in 2013, debuted at number one in Sweden, and won the Grammis Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Album. The band released their third studio album, Meliora, in 2015, to much critical acclaim and high record sales, reaching number one in their home country of Sweden, and number eight in the United States. Its lead single, “Cirice”, earned them the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance.

Ghost is easily recognizable owing greatly to its eccentric on-stage presence. Five of the group’s six members, its ‘Nameless Ghouls,’  wear virtually identical, face-concealing costumes. The most distinguishable member is its vocalist, called ‘Papa Emeritus’, who wears a prosthetic mask of skull face paint and appears as what can be described as a “demonic anti-Pope.”  Each album cycle has brought about a change in the band’s appearance. Though the vocalist is always portrayed as roughly the same archetypal character, there are slight appearance changes, and even altered personality traits from former versions.

All of the band members’ true identities were kept anonymous until 2017, when five former members revealed themselves, four of whom filed a lawsuit against the lead singer Tobias Forge, marking the confirmation of his true identity.

Church and I get to the venue around 8:45pm. It’s hot as hell this summer. They check our ID’s at the door and stamp our hands. We go through security like it’s a fucking airport. I have to take out my keys and show them to the nice lady who is patting me down and I just pretend she’s fondling me for a second.

Then I see my adorable young friend Emily! (See: Emily – 2015 to Present – Super Baby Sister) I forgot she works here at the Fillmore. I love little Emily. I give her a hug and I feel all of the rage that I had bottled up for the last four days simply drain out of me. I’ll have to bear that in mind on the next occasion I’m angry. Simply hug a cute girl.

Church and I hit the bar. He gets a coke because he’s not drinking. But buys me a vodka and tonic. Free drinks always make me feel better. We walk around and check out the venue. He’s never been here before. The Fillmore is one of my favorite places to see a show. It’s an old refinery that’s been converted to a concert hall. So it’s very spacious. They have a big open lobby area, then there is a bar called the Foundry as you get inside. To the left is the main concert area. And again, that’s very spacious as well. There’s a huge long bar in there as well. It’s just the perfect place to see shows. This is a general admission show so there is no seating. Church tells me the show is sold out, and the place is packed. But not the bar area. So I’m happy to just sip my drink and I’ll watch from the back.

The show starts and the band comes out and hits it. Ghost is the antithesis of Catholicism where they worship the devil. They are lead by Papa Emeritus whose costume is similar to that of the Pope. Ghost had been to Philly before opening for Avenged Sevenfold in 2013. That lineup consisted of Papa Emeritus II who has since been replaced with Papa Emeritus III.

Ghost’s tour to the smaller venues is an amazing show as their light show is one of the best I have seen. The lights enhance their songs perfectly. They stay with the Catholicism theme using a thurible during one of their songs. Giving sacrament by using two ladies from the audience to give communion wafers and wine. Ghost has really reinvented their sound with Papa Emeritus III. The older songs do sound better with the new Papa. Hearing “Cirice” live reinforced the Grammy Award as it a perfect song. The Nameless Ghouls wore masks that would represent Moloch as well.

Like I said before, I don’t know anything about this band, but they rocked out and the guitar work was solid. I didn’t know any of the songs but near the end I was swaying and tapping to the music. If Duncan were here he’d be head thrashing. I always wonder why most people I see at concerts just stand there. I always move with the music. Maybe because I’m a musician.

All in all I had a good night and didn’t spend a bunch of money. So by the end of the night I was happy again, and making plans to see Emily one of these days for a Sugar Baby night of drinks.

But like I said in the last chapter of this trilogy. Never again will I get roped into someone else’s plans. NEVER AGAIN!

Church wants me to go to Las Vegas to see Billy Idol at the Hard Rock casino in October to celebrate his 9 months of sobriety. Never happening. I love Billy Idol, but that dude is sixty and I don’t gamble and why would I spend that kind of money to go to something I have no interest in? Church needs to pull himself together and do whatever he needs to do, but my life is magical enough without going to Vegas.

I’m happy with my life the way it is. I’ve done so much and lived so much. I continue to live in the now and feel life’s energy. I get my energy from people and I love that. I am full, and they keep pouring it on.

I’m fine. Daughter is fine and we’re hitting on all cylinders. She gets it and of course so do I. I’m surrounded by some empty lost souls. I’ll help them but that shit gets tiring. Let go of the bars of your prison and walk the fuck out.

 

 

 

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Swedish Metal Fiasco – Church – Part 2

I tell Church about how Duncan bailed on the show. He thinks that’s fucked up but is all amped to go see Ghost at the Fillmore.

I on the other hand I’ve been working my ass off at my job, the salon and getting the fitness center off the ground. I don’t even feel like going now that Duncan isn’t coming up. But Church bought a ticket and now I have to go. I swear, if he wasn’t so amped to go, I wouldn’t even have opened the email from Duncan with the tickets in it. I would have just finished my shift at the salon, and  went home.

I find I have had such a big busy life and have enjoyed the people and events and places in this city, I’m like a seasoned New Yorker now. People that have lived in Manhattan for years usually don’t go out much. I’m like that now.

I especially don’t like getting dragged into something I’m not interested in. I don’t know who the hell Ghost is, and I have no interest in seeing them live. My life is plenty exciting enough. I don’t need to truck up to the Fillmore in 100 degree weather, and go through a pat down, and then pay $8 for a vodka and tonic plus tip. I don’t like crowds and metal shows are always crowded with a bunch of scruffy ruffians.

I hardly even listen to metal anymore. I’m literally having anxiety about going to this show. I even thought on several occasions of emailing the tickets I have to Church and telling him I’m sick and he can take two other people. I just really don’t want to do this.

I’m even more pissed off at Duncan for setting up this whole shit show and then bailing three days before the show. What a dick. All because of the money aspect. He’s rich! What the hell?

Once he bailed on this show, I told Achilles I could work that night, because I figured, Doors open at 7pm. Warm up act goes on at 8pm. Headliner goes on sometime after 9pm. That’s how most bands and venues roll. I finish work at 8pm so after some final clean up I close the doors around 8:30. I don’t give a shit about the warm up act so I’ll get there when I get there.

I’m miserable about this. Church told me earlier that day he was driving down from Lancaster (Who knows why) and will meet me at the venue. I’m thinking, great. I can focus on the salon, no distractions during closing, and get an UBER to the Fillmore around 8:30-8:45.

I plan on ordering dinner. I can eat in peace, get my drinking armor on for the show and I’ll be fine.

Don’t I get a text around 7pm that fucking Church is now going to come pick me up. He’s been to the salon dozens of times. He must be familiar with when I normally get out of there. I’m like fuck! I have to order my food now because I want to eat in private. I really don’t want him to come here because it’s going to turn stressful.

He gets there around 8pm. Why couldn’t he have just cruised by at 8:30 and I could have just hopped in and off we go? No. He has to go park, and come up to the salon. I’m barely civil when he arrives. But behind him in comes my food delivery guy and I’m delighted to see him.

Now the fucking pressure is on. Fucking Church is talking about his parking and worrying about his mirror. He wants to help with folding the towels. I’m rage eating my food.

“You’re inhaling that!” he says.

Why couldn’t he have just gone to the fucking Fillmore and I could have met him there? Because he’s never been to the Fillmore and he didn’t want to go there alone. You’re a grown fucking man! Sack up and act like one! You were in the military! Where’s your nuts?

Then I have to go to the bathroom.  Church is actually concerned that I’m going to defecate rather than urinate because of the time factor. This is ridiculous. It’s all a waste of time.

I am so fucking angry at Duncan and now Church. We finally get out of the salon. I need a cigarette. Church lets me smoke in his car, thank God. He drives like a maniac through the streets pf Philly and I’m genuinely frightened and feeling a headache coming on.

We finally get to the venue and Church is practically running to get in there. He’s creating this whole stress level that shouldn’t even be here. I just tell him I’ll catch up and get there when I get in there and he slows down.

We get into the venue and the warm up act is done, and nothing is happening. So all of that pressure, and stress and speeding to the venue was all for naught. I knew it would play out this way. I just need to get some alcohol into me so I can chill out.

I vow tonight that I am never letting any of this happen to me ever again. I’m not going to any event I don’t really want to go to ever. My life is better than it’s ever been, and I’m not going to let anyone fuck up my smooth glide anymore.

So if you’re reading this do the right thing. Don’t ask me again!

(I see during final edit that whatever shitty Ghost video I posted on here is now unavailable. I’m not even going to bother replacing it. Because I don’t give a shit!)

 

 

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Sun Stories – Colleen – Fudge-O-Rama – Part Three

I couldn’t think of a fudge pun for part 3 of this little trilogy. If any of you reading this can think up a better title for this entry, please let me know and I’ll change the title!

The weekend grinds by. I work Friday night. I had to go see my sister at the shore house on Saturday and settle some estate stuff, which really didn’t feel like a day off. We’re trying to get this gym open and I’ve been working two jobs and this one for the las thirty days straight. My friends and all of the ladies in my life thinks I’ve left the living.

But I’m here. Just building a business in Rittenhouse. We will be successful but I’ve never worked this much physically but I love what we’re doing, so it in no way resembles the crushing feeling of busting your ass for some shitty corporation and having your talent squandered by morons everyday. Here at the salon, we rule. It’s a lovely place to work and I never want to go back to a cubicle agin.

Tuesday rolls around and I stop by the salon early because Achilles wants to talk business and vision. We both voted that our new fitness manager guy should go to Popeye’s chicken and get us lunch.

I really respect what he’s doing for us but I love that Achilles is clear on the pecking order in this company and having him go get us some fried chicken is a brash show of who is who in this business. I didn’t care, I just hate standing in line over there and it’s hard carrying all of those boxes and drinks back down to Walnut street.

It’s a subtle compliment from him to let me know that he and I are the main partners here. It’s Me and Achilles all day long, but we need him to manage, organize and run the gym. But we’re the loyal money partners in this business. I love the clarity and arrogance in that.

Later, we all munch our chicken and it’s good, but I think Popeye’s gives me tummy troubles, but a free lunch is what it is so that eases the pain.

Achilles leaves and I’m on shift doing what I do.

It was a quiet Tuesday and I expected that. But after 6pm we started to get a little rush. Some of my favorites were coming in and I love that. Pretty girls with lovely faces and legs to match. My dear friend Alice even stopped in to tan! (See: Alice – 2012 to Present – The Cute Recruiter)I loved seeing her and the lobby was alive with attractive chatty ladies.

Then during the melee Colleen arrived.

I was sending ladies to stand up units and lay downs left and right but I wanted her to know I saw her.

“Hey Col.”

I could she was carrying a large plastic bag. It was on. The deal was about to be closed. I could feel the juicy chocolate energy flowing through this facility.

Once I cleared the other girls from the room I turned my attention to lovely Colleen.

“Hello, dear. It’s so great to see you!” (she kept her word and came to the salon exactly when she said she would. We respect that here at the salon.)

“Here you go.”

There it is. The real deal. Two pounds of delicious freshly made fudge from The Original Fudge Kitchen in Cape May NJ!

Colleen has kept her word and this babydoll has just earned herself a month of All Access tanning for $35 buck! Well played!

Colleen is so amazing she even through in a bag of salt water taffy absolutely free. ( I love that she sweetened the deal)

She also gave me a little box of fudge as a thank you for brokering this complex tanning/candy deal.

Oh’ the benefits of being King!

Wow. That really captures my existence. Delicious candy. Cigarettes. A Chardonnay on the rocks, a shot of vodka in a Boston Red Sox glass, two pictures of my daughter Lorelei with the Father’s Day card she gave me, some pens, my glasses on a Rock Trivia book. I think I just smiled…

“Don’t refrigerate the fudge okay? Write Achilles a note about that. It’s important.”

At this point I’m so joyful, I’ll do whatever she says.

I write Achilles a note on the computer in the section where I let him know what’s going on in the salon on a daily basis. This is good fudge. Apparently you can freeze it, but you can’t refrigerate it. I don’t know.

I happilly take the pic above of the two pounds of delish and text it to Achilles and wait for a response…”

 

 

I show this to Colleen and she leaps into action….

 

We crack this pic off immediately as to not spoil the fruit of our rich bounty today. Sweet Colleen is instrumental in this communication.

Achilles response?

“Ok”

My response: ” I can’t believe you didn’t even notice my new manicure.”

Ten minute later…

“That’s also very nice, thank you for pointing it out to me.”

 

I’ll see him and the salon and the gym tomorrow and it’ll be business as usual as we continue to all work and build our model. But after working 30 days in a row because it’s what’s needed to be done to run a business there is always space for love, laughter and fudge!

Thank you, Colleen!

XOXO

 

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Sun Stories – Colleen – You Better Pack My Fudge – Part Two

“Does he like peanut butter?

“I guess. I don’t know. Keep it pretty traditional. We’ll all be safer that way.”

Colleen comes in around 7pm. It’s raining here in Philly. Summer storms are passing through to quell the humidity. She’s dressed in a black bodysuit and looks lovely. We’re chatting and she is absolutely charming as always. She wants to go to the huge windows that overlook Walnut Street to watch as the populace run from the storm. Standing with her in the dark overlooking the night street is lovely. The music from the salon sets the soundtrack as we giggle as umbrellas blow out and couples find shelter. I want to kiss her in this moment. Not as a romantic gesture, but because she seems so present and real. Like an old friend.

We get back to counter and she gives me $35 cash. She promises profusely that she will fulfill the remaining aspect of this unique deal.

“I’m a woman of my word. You know that. What kind of flavors does he like? I’ll do whatever’s necessary.”

Achilles tastes are simple. Keep it to vanilla and chocolate for now. I don’t him weirded out by any exotic flavors.”

“Does he like peanut butter?

“I guess. I don’t know. Keep it pretty traditional. We’ll all be safer that way.”

“Okay. I’ve been at this a long time. I’ll make him up a nice couple of batches.”

“You wanna tan?”

“I’d love to tan.”

“Well based on your word, and the $35 cash I just dropped in the safe I think we should let you tan. But… because you’ve been so wonderful and I like you, I’m going to have to tan you under the house account tonight because technically your account hasn’t been loaded yet. So I’m taking a risk here without any fudge and I’ll let you tan tonight.”

“Yes! Thank you so much! I have to go to Jersey this weekend, and then I’ll be at the Fudge Kitchen on Monday and I’ll deliver on Tuesday.”

“I trust you. Colleen, you’ve tanned for years in shitty little 15 minute beds that really are inefficient and take forever to give you the bronze glow you so rightfully deserve. Since you’ve been so wonderful, I’m going to tan you under the house account. Although this deal will secure that you’ll have the All Access plan, I’m going to do something a little extra for you tonight because I can.”

“I don’t even know what these other beds will do.”

“They’ll tan you faster and better than those old clams you’ve been lying in for the past three years. But tonight, you get a little something special just to ensure that you know we’ve taken your offer very seriously.”

“Wha…”

“Come with me Colleen.”

I take her to room number one. That’s where the Megasun Alpha 6800 lives. It’s a premium bed held exclusively for premium members. This is a state of the art tanning unit.

I call it the Tropical Starship.

600 watts of UV in the face tanners. (More A than B) 180 watts in the tubes. P2 vitamin D lamps throughout that glow pink. A plug so you can hook up your phone and listen to your music in there. Air conditioning, including vents that blow toward your face to keep you cool. Three levels of tanning. Basic, Mediterranean, and Caribbean. Dark, darker and darkest. And the best part of all? Aqua misters that spray you with mist every three minutes to keep you feeling cool and sexy through the entire journey. The Alpha is THE experience.

New, this bed costs $35,000. More than your fucking car.

I walk her through what this baby will do and Colleen is nearly orgasmic. She promises again and again to keep her word on the fudge.

“See that you do.” I send her into her session.

Let’s see if she keeps up her end of the bargain.

 

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Sun Stories – Colleen – Oh Fudge! – Part One

“I think you should let her pay $35 and the rest in fresh fudge.”

“Fuck no. It’s $65 a month. Wait…did you say fudge?”

The game is afoot.

This pretty Irish girl came into the salon the other day. I sort of remembered from our previous location. I looked her up in the system and the memory came back to me.

“I remember you Colleen! We had some great conversations at the old place.”

“Yea, the new place looks great! I was wondering what happened to you guys and then I went online and saw your new address.”

“I haven’t seen you since last year. I know you were living in Jersey.”

“I got a job here in the city and bought a house in South Philly.”

“Congrats! Good for you!”

Shannon is a lovely, tall girl. There has a certain confidence and honor in her personality. Just old fasshioned goodness. I find that very attractive. She has a very social personality and a hard work ethic. Somebody like my sister April. Strong. A leader.

“Yea, so I want to tan and I know you are the only salon in the city that had the basic beds because I’m cash poor because I just bought a house.”

“Oooh… We didn’t bring the basic beds with us down here.”

“What?”

“Yea, we just didn’t have room for them.”

“It was like $35 for a month of tanning wasn’t it?”

“It was a great deal. I’m sorry.”

“What do you have now that’s a monthly package?”

“The All Access for $64.95.”

“65 bucks? You’re killing me. I really want to tan, but I’m just not in a position to lay out $65 a month right now.”

“I feel like you’re going to leave and I’m not going to see you again.”

“I just can’t right now.”

“Do you still work part-time at the Fudge Kitchen in Cape May?”

“I do. Best employee they’ve ever had. Why?”

“My partner, Achilles loves to eat. But his weakness is sweets. I literally can’t leave any candy here because he’ll eat it all like a piranha.”

“So what are you proposing?”

I take a risk here. “What if I ask him if you can pay your old rate of $35 a month but you get the All Access package that goes for $65 but you make up the difference in delicious fresh fudge?”

“I can do that. If you can make that deal with your partner, I swear to god I will bring you $35 tomorrow and I can get you the fudge by Tuesday.”

“Let me see what I can do.”

Shannon leaves and I promise to keep in touch with her. If this doesn’t fly, I know I’ll probably never see her again, and I really like her.

______________________________________________________________________________________

I decide to have a conversation with my partner, Achilles.

“So this girl Colleen came in the other night. She’s come here for years and has always tanned in the basic beds. But we don’t have them anymore. She recently moved to the city and got a great job at a law office and bought a house.”

“Is there a point to this story W?” (Achilles calls me by the first letter of my last name. He also doesn’t like long-winded stories or small talk. He’s a ‘get to the fucking point’ kind of guy)

“I think you should let her pay $35 and the rest in fresh fudge.”

“Fuck no. It’s $65 a month.     Wait…did you say fudge?”

The game is afoot.

“Yea, she’s doing well now but cash poor because of her new house, but she’s worked at the Fudge Kitchen in Cape May, NJ since she was a kid and keeps her hand in there to pick up a couple of bucks here and there when she can. She says she can make up the rest of the payment in delicious fresh fudge.”

He looks at me. He’s working it out. I watch his eyes.

“Thirty five cash money and two pounds of fudge.”

“Excellent! I’ll call her and tell her! Thank you! She’ll be so happy, and we’ll have retained a client! You can eat the fudge or share it or even give it away if you want!”

“Don’t be fucking giving away my fudge already W! That shit’s mine.”

“Okay…okay… I’ll broker the deal.”

“Worst case senario, she pays $35 cash and doesn’t come through with the fudge… No tanning package and I’m $35 richer. The dye is cast.”

Ruthless motherfucker, but that’s why I love him.

This is beautiful. I’ve been a million dollar producer in the banking industry and in advertising for the last twenty-five years and now I’m retaining clients using nothing but sumptuous treats.

I call Colleen from the house phone and leave a message.

“Hi Col, it’s Charles from the salon. I have some good news. Give me a call back.”

I’m working and tanning the ladies like I always do when the phone rings. I give her the details.

“Really? He went for it? I’ll be in tonight!”

Let’s see if Colleen holds up her end of this extraordinary bargain…

 

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Vampirella #12 – July 1971 – Part 1

Vampirella is a fictional character, a comic book vampire superheroine created by Forrest J Ackerman and comic book artist Trina Robbins in Warren Publishing’s black-and-white horror comics magazine Vampirella #1 (September 1969). Writer-editor Archie Goodwin later developed the character from horror-story hostess, in which capacity she remained through issue #8 (November 1970), to a horror-drama leading character. Vampirella was ranked 35th in Comics Buyer’s Guide’s “100 Sexiest Women in Comics” list.

Vampirella initially appeared in Warren Publishing’s black-and-white horror-comics magazine Vampirella #1 (Sept. 1969), running to issue #112 (March 1983). The title was a sister magazine of Warren’s horror anthologies Creepy and Eerie. Like those magazines’ respective mascots, Uncle Creepy and Cousin Eerie, Vampirella hosted horror stories, though unlike them, she would also star in her own story, which would headline each issue. Vampirella was initially edited by Bill Parente. It would later be edited by Archie Goodwin (issues #7–12, 34–35), Billy Graham (#13–16), Bill DuBay (#21–50, 87–95, 101–102) and Louise Jones (#51–86).

As comics historian Richard J. Arndt describes, “Forrest Ackerman created, or at least had a strong hand in creating, Vampirella and he clearly had a major influence in shaping the lighthearted bad-girl story style of this issue as well.” Her costume and hair style were designed by comics artist Trina Robbins. The character’s first story artist was Tom Sutton. Artist Frank Frazetta’s first-issue cover “was a substitute for the original cover by European artist Aslan.”

José González became the character’s primary artist starting with issue #12. Other artists who would draw Vampirella during her magazine’s original run included Gonzalo Mayo, Leopold Sanchez, Esteban Maroto, José Ortiz, Escolano, Rudy Nebres, Ramon Torrents, Pablo Marcos, Jim Janes, John Lakey, Val Lakey, and Louis Small, Jr.

Jose Gonzalez is the greatest Vampirella artist in my opinion. He just really captured the beauty and sensuality of this character.

This image is my favorite and was available in the early 70’s as a six foot tall poster. As a leg man it’s a wonderful painting. I own one of the original prints of this masterpiece and it formerly hung on the back of my bedroom for many years. Vamiprella is simply spectacular to me and you’ll soon find out why.

Backup features appearing in Vampirella included “Tomb of the Gods”, “Pantha” and “Fleur”. Vampirella herself also appeared in a story with fellow Warren characters Pantha and the Rook in Eerie #94–95, and with most of the Warren characters in a company crossover special in Eerie #130. The final issue of the original Vampirella was cover-dated March 1983.

Read the conclusion tomorrow!

 

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Erica – Loose Ends

“He told them I had a gun.”

“I met a nice girl who said she was new in town. After talking for a few days over IM and email, I offered to take her out to a movie. We hang out and chat for awhile before, nothing odd. About halfway through the movie, my phone starts going off (vibrate), I check the number, don’t recognize it. So I ignore it. It doesn’t stop going off for 10 solid minutes. So I excuse myself to take the call, thinking it must be important.

“‘Hello?’ –

“‘GIVE THE PHONE TO ERICA M***********.’

“‘Excuse me? Who are you?’

“‘I’M JESUS FUCKING CHRIST AND I WILL END YOUR SHIT IF YOU DON’T GIVE HER THE PHONE.’

“‘Seriously, who are you?’

“BUNCH OF LOUD CURSING THAT I DON’T REMEMBER.”

“So I decided then to see if this girl knew who the hell was on the phone. I go back and get her from the theater. I hand her the phone and she gets really quiet and takes a few steps away just looking at the floor and saying “mhmm, mhmm.” After a few minutes, she hangs up and tells me she has to go. I’m actually pretty amused by the whole thing. I say goodbye, and finish the movie.

“The next day I get an email with an apology, and the request to go out again. She explains that it was her ex-boyfriend from a few states away, and that he didn’t take the break up and move well. And I guess he went through all her emails, got my number, and found out we were seeing a movie together.

“He called all the theaters in the area and gave them my description from pictures he found online of me. He told them I had a gun. Either he didn’t call the one where we were, or they didn’t take him seriously. I replied to her saying that I don’t know if we can go out again, if this guy is going to do stuff like this. I mean, she needs to either make him back off, or call the cops. I get a reply email, not from her, but from him. He was intercepting her email. Basically the same ‘BACK OFF, SHE’S MINE, BITCH! So I called her, told her she needed to get this guy out of her life if she wants to date people. She didn’t think it was that bad, so I told her that I wasn’t comfortable going out again.

 

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