Michelle – Chapter 10 – Night & Day

A week went by after the Friends of Rittenhouse Ball crashing incident. I figured that we got away with it without incident.

Michelle: “We’re going to get fired.”

Me: “No we’re not. My numbers are good, so are yours and everybody loves you. We’re in the clear.”

But within a few days we were called into the President’s office. He ripped us new ones. Then they sent us over to human resources and we were written up. Those fuckers. I hate them all. As a matter of fact none of them are at that company any longer. The Prez eventually left, our manager the crazy Russian was fired, and the lady from HR left a year ago. So we’re all equal now. We didn’t even care that we got written up. We were both prepared to go work in a restaurant somewhere together if they had really fired us.

Ain’t love grand?

The whole thing blew over and we were all none the worse for any of it. Funny thing was, if anything it emboldened us even more to pull stuff. We were high on love and life and we just wanted to have fun. People would overhear our conversations and buy us drinks. We were a little surprised by that but loved getting free drinks. We were out almost every night. We’d hang out at Twenty Manning and spend our last $20 on wine on Sunday afternoons. Michelle even went as far as taking out a $1000 loan from our credit union just to maintain our lavish lifestyle. We didn’t buy a bunch of things, we just went out and drank and ate all the time. We’d be hungover and go to The Continental Midtown for lunch and our favorite bartender Mike G would hook us up with cool free drinks. He made us these cool drinks called Kate Moss. I think it was champagne, a shot of booze and a sugar cube which represented a lump of cocaine. We’d hang out at Chris’ Jazz Cafe and close the place. It would be two o’ clock in the morning and we’d be sitting at the bar drinking and smoking cigarettes. Speaking of which. I quit smoking cigarettes ten years before when my daughter was born. But sometimes Michelle had trouble lighting her Parliaments in the wind, so I’d do it for her. Next thing you know I would take a little puff. She was worried I’d get re-addicted to tobacco. I told her I’d only be hooked if I started buying them.

I started buying them again. God damn it.

We’d supposed to be out making sales calls and we’d be napping on a blanket in Rittenhouse Park. We’d also pack wine and snacks and go to Concerts in the Park every Wednesday night. We’d go to Devon and destroy an assorted seafood platter. We drank oceans of martinis. We’d be banged up after a crappy day of meetings and sales, and head right over to Mantra (Which is now where Dandelion is located on 18th Street) We would run out of money drinking martinis and the awesome bartender Kevin would just keep bringing them to us. I would always go back the next day and give him money.

Her bitch faced roommate traveled a lot and we’d go to Michelle’s apartment and drink her roommate’s wine. She always drank Clos du Bois chardonnay and we would drink the whole thing. We used to have to keep going to the liquor store to buy replacements for her. She never found out, but we must have replaced her wine at least five times. I still had an apartment in Pennsauken, New Jersey but I was hardly ever there. I practically lived in Michelle’s room. It was insane. We would work all day together, and then hang out every night and sleep together and then do it all over again the next day.

We were out of control and loving every minute of it. One night I just lifted up Michelle’s skirt out front of the Philadelphia Public Library and went down on her right there. Her sitting on the wall and me just going to town on her. Right on the street.

One day while out on four-legged calls, we crashed a private event for Deaf Children at the Rittenhouse Hotel. We drank their booze, and ate their food. Grabbed a couple of gift bags and left. I remember us dumping out the contents on the ground and just grabbing what we wanted. I took the DVD of North by Northwest, Michelle grabbed up the make up. I know all of this is wrong but we just didn’t care. Nobody probably heard us leave anyway.

Hanging out in Alma de Cuba, going anywhere we wanted. Michelle would take me to bars and I wouldn’t even remember having gone there we were so drunk most of the time. Once we decided to go see a psychic. Michelle believed it that stuff back then. I know it’s just a parlor trick, but it’s sometimes fun to do. But the night we went, this woman started bring up all of this stuff about my life and it was freaking me out. I started crying during the reading. Bizarre!

Oh here’s one… One of the local sales reps had just signed a new client. It was the G Lounge. I called it the D Lounge because only a bunch of douchebags went there. But he was all happy about getting them. It was a thirty thousand dollar ad campaign. Somebody came up with the brilliant idea to make a promotional video for them. But they would use Michelle and our boss, (the crazy Russian) as romantic interests in the video. That is wrong on so many levels. They went and shot the video and of course Michelle looked amazing, but after that everyone was drinking and our boss tried to kiss Michelle! Awful!

Michelle always said: “I have so much fun with you, that when the day is over, I wish we could do it all again.”

Oh, and here is the crazy irony of it all. After shooting the video and running it on their website, running banner ads, email blasts and newsletter insertions, G Lounge never paid the thirty thousand dollar bill. Never. Then they went out of business. There is now a place called 1925 in that space. It is equally awful.

 

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Rebecca – Chapter 6 – Cypress and the Oak

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

In our last episode we left our hero right here:

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

I’m blown away by her words. Normally the work is being done and the results just come. They never realize until later. But she seems to feel it in the moment. I have not encountered a girl like this before. She’s so mature. I am captivated by her beauty and honesty. Just when you think you can’t feel that magic again, you do. The key, I think is not to look for it. Just let it happen. It is happening. She wants to see me again and is sure about that. But deeds are stronger than words. Young people get distracted. It’s so easy now. I am already prepared for disappointment. I am just happy that tonight happened even if I never see her again. This one is different. But I can’t put my finger on it. I actually like that. The unexpected is so exciting. That is my favorite part of the game.

We sit for a moment at 20th and Market. “I love Philly in the Fall.” she says.

She looks down Market street. Billy Penn has his back to the city at Broad street. “Why is his back to the city?”

“He’s not turning his back on Philly. He’s welcoming the world to come here, Rebecca.”

When I came here 8 years ago I was clueless about the city but now I am a pro at all things Philly.

There is this moment where we are just sitting there. I’ve just had this incredible night with my future second ex-wife. (kidding!) The city is moving all around us. The lights, the cabs, the people, the energy and the night. There is a moment when we are just sitting there silently looking into each others eyes. My God she is exquisite. What curse is this that has been cast upon me? Where I fall in love with this lovely maiden only to be shattered again. I’m not afraid. I love the drug. I hear the hiss of her stockings as she crosses her legs. We kiss again. I am once again 18. It is new and magical. The city vanishes behind her lips.

“Ok. So movies or something?” She says in her hopeful girlish voice. And as corny as this sounds I said: “Yes! A thousand times yes!” Rebecca giggled and said: “I’m going to call and UBER.”

“Already done.” I replied. The black Lincoln pulled up to the curb, and stopped. She looked at me. “What?”

“Safe passage, dear.” I smiled.

She attacked me once again time like a Northern Pike hitting the bait. Her arms suddenly around me. Her breasts pressed against my chest like flowers in a memory book. Those full lips against mine. Her tongue swirling with mine. Me…grateful I had popped a piece of Dentyne Ice Peppermint before we left the bar.

“Take her home. She’s precious cargo. I’ve seen your face, Santos,” I joked to the driver.

Rebecca giggled as she got in the car. Her skirt riding up on her thighs. “I’ll text you when I get home safe! Thank you! Movie date!”

I smile and wave. I’m in love. The sedan pulls away. I turn and make my way back to Rittenhouse to the bat cave. I’m feeling sparkling, crackling euphoria. I get a text. “I feel so special you sending me home in a car.”

“Because you are special.”

I am happy, but I wince slightly knowing I have lived a similar scenario like this once before that ended badly. Well they all end badly. What relationship ends well?  It’s super rare. You either get married and have kids or you break up. That’s it. Rarely do people ever find a happy medium. Most of humanity is just predisposed to fall into a couple of buckets of what is right to ensure happiness, and it’s all a lie. These are old laws that were put in place to bring order to the tribes and the colonies. You can’t bang your sister, or your cousin, oh and stay away from your neighbor’s wife or you’ll go to Hell.

That’s the only choices we have as a society. Do they really work? I contemplate this as I walk home, taking a long drag on a glorious cigarette. It feels so good. I’m not going to smoke around this exquisite baby. She’ll never kiss me then. We don’t have many choices here. If you love somebody and it is electric, then you should get married. Live together. get a mortgage. Buy a $1000 dress you’ll wear once. Get piles of gifts and money. Pay $20,000 for a party to make you too guilty to get divorced for at least 5 years. Go on a big expensive vacation. Why? None of it makes any sense. I’ve done it and it’s all just a waste of time. It’s all been created by corporations to make money. The greatest things in life can’t be seen and can only be felt, and are absolutely free. I don’t believe in God, But I swear to God It’s true. Everything else you think you have to do is bullshit. All there is, is your health, your family, (if you choose, unless their assholes, then fuck them) and your own life. All you need is stuff to do, some cool people around you and some stuff to look forward to. But without your health your are totally fucked. So that one erases everything else. Look at that asshole Steve Jobs. That motherfucker was rich as fuck and that cunt never recognized his own daughter. He was super rich and cancer came and took his ass. Almost seems like justice for being a dick, but I digress.

It doesn’t matter what happens after this date with Rebecca. She’s a doll and I like her. I hope to go out with her again. And odds are I will based on this writing. But even if I never see her again, I’ll at least know we shared some great moments. I only have about 20 summers left in me according to Keith Richards. So as Jim Morrison said: “I’m gonna get my kicks before the whole shit house goes up in flames.” Sure the Doors, suck and the Stones rock but you get the point.

I make my way back to Rittenhouse down 20th street. I draw deep on my Parliament 100. It feels good. I’m clear. I walk past the 7 Eleven and Twenty Manning. I get to my door and work the key into the lock. My building is old. 120 years old. But it has character. I like it because it’s like me and it’s where I belong. I’m done. I strip down to my home uniform; T-shirt and shorts. Nothing else. I fix myself a vodka and club soda and flop in my chair. I drop my cell on the table next to me and search Netflix for something short and sweet. 30 Rock works. I take a sip and light another cig. It all tastes good and satisfying because of the nights events. Oh, and that Liz Lemon has fantastic legs.

My phone pings.

“Home safe. Had an amazing night with you. Thank you for everything. Let me know when you’re available to see me again. Looking forward to it! – Rebecca XOXO”

I text her back that I’m home and confirm our amazingness. I tell her I’ll text her tomorrow.

I take a sip from my drink and a drag from my cig. Tonight I welcome the sound of the crickets singing outside my window.

 

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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Michelle – Chapter 4 – Two Coins in the Fountain

The company  is going to move the entire online department to a high-rise in center city. It was all new, beautiful and modern. About a week before we were to move there I was in my apartment in Jersey and I got a call from my boss, Herbert. He said he had been fired. He was crying on the phone. There is no crying at work. That’s what your apartment is for. When he told me, I knew he was probably the most sad because he wouldn’t be able to see Michelle anymore.

They brought in this 6’7″ goon from somewhere to replace him. We’ll call him the Russian. At first he seemed really cool, but they all do in the beginning. This is important. If you ever get hired by one guy, and then they bring in another guy to replace him it’s never the same. He never has the same investment in any of you because he didn’t choose you. He simply inherited you. So watch out. When they seem cool and fun in the beginning they usually turn out to be insecure weak middle management types that won’t last. But right up to the moment they leave they will make your life a living hell. Believe me. I’ve seen this over and over again in my career. But the only thing you have going for you is that he doesn’t know you. So if you endear him early on, life can be sustainable for at least 6 months before it all turns to rage and grinding resentment.

The Russian trusted me and knew I had talent as a sales guy, so he asked that I take Michelle out on some four-legged calls to help acclimate her to selling advertising. I was way more than happy to do so. We would go out on calls around the city.  One day we ended up at Nineteen at the Bellevue. It’s this cool bar/restaurant at the top of the Bellvue Stratford. My dad used to hang there in the 70’s. How could I go wrong? Follow in dad’s footsteps. You can sit out on these little balconies. I didn’t even know it existed, but she did. She knew many cool spots around the city back then. I was happy to spend time with this beauty, and happy to learn more about the city. We ended up sitting out on one of those balconies looking over the city and sipping martinis.

This was so much better than scuttling down the hallway after her to the billing department like when I was first hired.

One time we were out on calls at the King of Prussia Mall, I wanted to pick up cologne and she wanted to get some perfume. But when they ran our cards we were both were declined for lack of funds. We were poor back then. Maybe we just spent too much money. I think I had my paycheck on me, and I ended up going to a check cashing place so we could go drink after work. I did that and it worked.

Michelle’s desk was near mine so we could always converse and see each other during work. We started leaving at the same time. I would walk her home. We would stop at the Whole Foods out in Fairmount and get some food. I would order salmon and broccoli rabe. I wanted to eat healthier so that I would lose weight. (I was heavier back then) I also wanted to show her I was trying to eat healthier. I don’t know why, I would get the food and heat it up in a microwave they had there. The salmon was okay, but I fucking hated eating that broccoli rabe. It was just chewy grossness. But I was happy just to spend time with Michelle.

Sometimes on a Friday, we’d stop and have drinks somewhere. Maybe at Tir na Nog. We would sit outside along the sidewalk on 16th street. The thing was, that was the route for many of our co-workers. They would walk back to the old building to the parking garage. So they’d walk by, and say hello, but I think they started to suspect that maybe there was something between us. I didn’t give a shit. We were just in the moment, drinking and having great conversations.

Sometimes we’d have lunch with the team, and other times just the two of us. There were times we’d have opportunities to go to things, and we’d stop somewhere for a drink and just end up blowing off the event entirely. Like networking events or even Philllies games. We didn’t care. We just liked being together and feeling the city.

I had even told her about a screenplay I was working on and sent her the first few scenes to read. I had based the female lead on her. Maybe she was to be my new muse. I just figured she’d never read it, but I emailed it to her anyway. I wanted to impress her that I was a sensitive artist. I wanted to let her know I was different than all of the ilk that just wanted to sleep with her. I really liked her as a person.

I started walking her home more and more after work. We’d stop at some cool spots, have a few drinks and then head back to Fairmount. Like I said, we’d stop and get something to eat and then I’d head back to the parking garage and go back to Jersey. I was spending a lot of time with her at work and out at night as well. However, I was growing a little annoyed when her phone would ring and it would be Delaware Dave. She broke up with him some time ago, and they were trying to give it another go. I noticed she would have to go to Delaware to visit him on the weekends. I didn’t like his control over her.

Why did he never come to the city? It seemed like she was making all of the sacrifices. I was having strong feelings for her and I was present. He would just call out of the blue at night when we were out and she always had to take the call. It was so annoying. Life would just stop, and she’d be arguing with him on the phone about who knows what. This happened on several occasions. Actually it happened a lot.

Once at the Ritz Carlton it happened and we had problems. I remember being angry with her due to her indecision. Another time we were out at McCrossin’s, a bar near her apartment. I would just have to sit and wait for her to get done dealing with him. I was here. He was there. I was with her. He was sitting home bitching on the phone. Who is more important? I remember when she got off the phone she said “I just feel like throwing this phone across the street.”  Funny, how this would all play out in some form in the future. Like some black prophecy.

I even wrote her a little verse. I don’t know if she ever kept it, but I gave it to her one night sitting on the stoop outside her building. I was so in love with her.

But for the most part, our times together were lovely.  One night I was walking her home, and we’d had a few drinks. We were listening to her music from her ipod. We had come upon a fountain.  The Swann Memorial Fountain (also known as the Fountain of the Three Rivers) is a fountain sculpture located in the center of Logan Circle. It represents the three major streams in the area. The Delaware, Schuykill and Wissahickon creek. The fountain, by Alexander Stirling Calder designed with Architect Wilson Eyre memorializes Dr. Wilson Cary Swann, founder of the  Philadelphia Fountain Society. The Society had been planning a memorial fountain in honor of its late president and founder. After agreeing that the fountain would become city property, the society was granted the site in the center of Logan Circle.

It’s a beautiful fountain. Sometimes during the summer months, you’ll find many children playing in it to cool off. Michelle and I stopped to relax and chat. She stuck her feet into the water, and before I knew it she was listening to her music and dancing gently in the fountain. She was walking all around in it, avoiding the spouts all around her. It was enchanting to see this woman I loved dance in the illuminated fountain at night. Like I was witnessing a beautiful blonde mermaid that had just gotten her legs and was celebrating her new life on Earth.

So despite my growing frustration with her indecision in regard to her romantic life, I was still having a wonderful time with Michelle when things were good.

Michelle always said: “I have so much fun with you that when the day is over, I wish we could do it all over again.”

 

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

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

Johnny R. – One Vice at a Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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