Sun Stories – Lara – 2016 to Present- Tinderella

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But I have to find out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Don’t worry about it, Lara.”

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

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

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

Crickets.

————————————————————-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

——————————————————————

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

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

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

“How much cash do you have?”

Digs through her purse. “Seven bucks.”

I make a face.

“I’ll give you two cigarettes.”

“Four.”

“Okay, Four. Here. Now can I tan?”

“Yes. Go back to room 6.”

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

Then I hear her call my name.

“Yes Lara?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly

 

Annabelle – Chapter 12 -Emotional Bankruptcy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Instagram: @phicklephilly Facebook: phicklephilly

 

Johnny R. – 2009 to Present – Needle in the Groove – Part 2

I remember in the past we used to call the Gold club “The Death Star.” Johnny and I would be out at happy hour and we’d be walking around trying to figure out where to go next. After a few rounds we could start to feel the pull of the club. It was like a tractor beam that would just start pulling our little drunken rebel alliance feet over towards 15th and Chancellor. If you know anything about Star Wars, that’s what the Death Star did to the Millennium Falcon.

After our hilarious experience at Locust Rendevous, we headed over to our favorite dive bar McGlinchey’s on 15th street. McGlinchey’s has cheap drinks and you can smoke in there. I’ve written about it before. (See: Johnny R. – 2009 to Present – Dive Bar Blues) It’s a den of scum and villainy. But we love the place. The surly staff, the crashing bottles as they are thrown into the trash, and the filthy bathrooms all add to it’s bygone era charm.

We get there and we look for a pair of seats. (Just writing about this place makes me want to have a cig right now) Normally when it’s cold there are a few empty seats near the door. We’re in luck and we’re not too close to the door. We walk up to the bar chairs, and they’re empty but there’s all these bags and clothes and one crutch lying on the bar rail. (Nothing surprises me at McGlinchey’s)

We ask the guys to our left if it’s their stuff and they say no. We ask the bartender if anybody is sitting here, and he says no. Then he turns to some old coger that’s sitting around the corner of the bar and tells him to move his stuff. Why the old guy dropped all his stuff over here and then went and sat over there, I’ll never know.

So he comes and hauls it over to his area and we sit down. We look over to our right and there’s an attractive brunette sitting by herself at the bar. That’s rare for a dump like this. She’s obviously doing what most people do nowadays. They have their faces in their phones. Of course some other old guy starts chatting her up. He seems harmless enough.

“You can see that girl is visibly uncomfortable.” says Johnny.

“Agreed.”

I order my usual. Their shitty house white wine with a side of ice, and Johnny gets a bud bottle. He grabs a few singles off the bar and heads to the jukebox. He always has a good sense of what to play, and soon the music is overtaken by eighties and nineties rock. He usually spends a solid fifteen minutes over there picking songs, so I start chatting with the bartender. He’s a tired looking middle-aged guy wearing a Star Wars t-shirt. I compliment him on his wardrobe choice. We start to discuss about how we both saw the original film in the theater back in 1977.

I started to write about that experience in detail but decided because it was so epic, that I’ll give it its own space in the future. It’s a great story, but this post is about today with Johnny, so it’ll have to wait. The bartender complains about all the stuff wrong with him now that he’s old, like arthritis and what not. I thankfully have none of those problems and I’m only one year younger that him! It’s probably because I have suffered so much emotional, mental and romantic pain in my life, maybe that was enough.

Johnny and I are chatting about our usual stuff. What’s going on with life and work, how he’s annoyed by his girlfriend, music, what shows we’re watching, etc. But one thing that he tells me has struck a chord. He tells me he has started writing his blog again! I really wanted him to do it, and he says he’s written three things so far, and wants to call it Tales from the Gutter. Which I think is a brilliant title. He’s just going to write about his life experiences and things that piss him off. I love it, and I can’t wait to read and be his first follower!

He asks about my blog and I tell him what’s been going on with it. He’s amazed that I’ve completed all of my Monday through Wednesday posts for the next five months.

“What? So, if you dropped dead today, your blog would continue to publish for the next five months?

“Exactly. It’s a written and scheduled.”

“You’re a prolific motherfucker.”

“That I am Johnny. Now let’s get over to the World Famous Gold Club and do what we came out here to do today.”

Eighties hair metal band, Ratt is playing on the jukebox as we walk out the door. We walk north on 15th Street until we get to Chancellor Street and bang a right. On the corner is an Applebee’s that no one I know ever goes to. I once picked up an order of chicken fingers for one of the strippers at the Gold Club. That’s what the Gold Club is; a gentleman’s club. Funny how they call strip joints gentleman’s clubs now. I have rarely seen any gentlemen in strip clubs. It’s usually a bunch of frat boys, douchebags, sad married guys, or creepy sad old men. There is a thrill to going on occasion. I never go alone. I actually don’t really care for such places. I know Johnny digs vice and I wanted the third time I included him in my blog to be interesting. But he knows that.

This side of Chancellor doesn’t even look like a street. It’s just the side of Applebee’s and then you walk a few more steps and at the end of what resembles a filthy alley lined with dumpsters you come upon the entrance to the little strip club. If you kept walking past it you would literally enter the parking garage of the Park Hyatt.

I remember in the past we used to call the club “The Death Star.” Johnny and I would be out at happy hour and we’d be walking around trying to figure out where to go next. After a few rounds we could start to feel the pull of the club. It was like a tractor beam that would just start pulling our little drunken rebel alliance feet over towards 15th and Chancellor. If you know anything about Star Wars, that’s what the Death Star did to the Millennium Falcon.

We enter and the place is pretty dead. It’s dark, but I like that. It’s like you step out of the sunlight of the outside and suddenly enter this other world of booze and flesh. Colored lights dance about the room, and the joint smells of stale beer, cheap perfume, and shame. On the stage is some fat white chick writhing around on the floor. Johnny likes a curvy gal, so he sort of digs her. We take a seat at the back-end of the bar against the wall. If I have to sit at the bar, this is my favorite spot. I can lean against the wall and watch the dancers from the side of the stage.

I order a cheap glass of chardonnay with a side of ice, and Johnny get his usual. The bartender is a cute little black girl that looks like she’s in a really shitty mood. I mean like: “Just kidnapped and put on Le Amistad, shitty mood.”

“Day shift is looking a little rough there Johnny.”

The curvy gal approaches for tips for her dance. I always give a dollar. I don’t need to stuff it between their breasts or in their G-string. I just put it in their hand. I’m sure they get groped and felt up enough. She’s actually very sweet and friendly. Most of the girls usually are. But that’s part of their sales pitch. Their sole duty is to separate the patrons from their cash. But I believe this girl is genuinely sweet. She’s chatting with Johnny and  I glance down at her pale thigh and see that she is, or was a cutter. There is a set of  four short scars just bellow her bikini line.

Check it out here: http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/cutting-self-harm-signs-treatment#1

I’d write about cutting, but I don’t know much about it. Apparently it’s more common in girls than boys and they cut themselves to ease the pain of some sort of mental anguish. It’s really sad. Most of the women I’ve met that are or were cutters, suffered from anxiety and depression. So it stands to reason, if you’re an overweight girl who has had the misfortune to end up taking your clothes of in a club for money in front of dirty old men, there’s certainly something that drove you into this vocation.

I’m sure it wasn’t anything pleasant.

And you thought me and Johnny going to a strip joint was going to be fun and erotic. Well, I write what I see and what I feel.

There’s now an attractive Latina girl onstage. She’s kind of hot. After her song she comes over to us. That’s another reason to be at this end of the bar. We get them as soon as they come off stage. I actually find it sexy if an attractive girl is a little sweaty. Latina comes over to me and says hello. We do the fake name exchange. They obviously don’t use their real names.

Incidentally, in this blog all the names have been changed, and the photos are just stock pics I’ve gotten from the internet. Obviously to protect the identities of the people I write about. I tried to find attractive ones that resemble what they look like in real life. But why I’m saying all of this is, the reason I call my friend Johnny R. is because when we would be in the Gold Club he would always introduce himself as Johnny Rivers. Like the singer, who is probably best known for the song, Secret Agent Man. (Which I love! I always used it as my intro music when I used to do stand up.) There were other times he’d be hopped up on coke and Adderall and he would just yell out: “I’m Johnny Rivers!” really loudly in the bar. I always enjoyed that.

So we’re chatting with lovely Latina. Curvy Girl has gone off to make the rounds for more singles and possibly give a lap dance to some hapless gent. Latina has a good body and a nice face. I give her a dollar for her dance and so does Johnny. Both of her nipples are pierced. I suppose some people like this but I really don’t like piercings or tattoos. Does it look kind of hot on a stripper? I guess so, but it’s not my cup of tea. What are nipples for? Right. Where do nipples go? Right. I don’t want to feel any metal in my mouth at anytime. I wore fucking braces for three years. The only metal I want in my body is Heavy Metal! And that goes in my ears and into my heart! I don’t want to put my lips to some girls pert nipple and feel the click of cold steel against my central incisors.

So I guess we’re all clear that I’m not a fan of body modification in any form. Evolution made you beautiful. Leave it alone!

Johnny looks at her breasts. “Did that hurt?”

“No.” is Latina’s reply.

How can driving a sharp piece of metal through a part of your body that’s loaded with nerve endings and blood vessels not hurt?

Okay. No more metal nipple talk.

She goes on her way to make her rounds. Johnny decides he wants to get a lap dance from Curvy Girl. He feels that he can talk her into having sex with him or at least getting her to give him oral sex.

If you know anything about strip clubs, for the most part there is a huge “hands off” policy in place. If you touch any of the girls, you’ll usually be ejected. But not at the World Famous Gold Club! Johnny has had sex with like five different strippers from there over the years. It hasn’t happened in the last few years, but he hasn’t been in the city as much as he used to be.

That, and the place was raided a year or so ago for that very thing. Prostitution. But that’s the charm of this dirt hole. I never have to worry about that sort of thing because I don’t get lap dances. What’s the point of paying $20 per song while some hot nubile girl wiggles around on you and gets you all worked up for no payoff. Well, that’s true for most fellas but apparently not if your name is Mr. Johnny Rivers! He’s never paid for sex ant a strip club.

So he goes off with Curvy Girl to the back room. I’ll be interested to hear how that all goes in a little while. I look over at the stage and there is a really fit black girl sliding around the pole like a lovely ebony serpent. Her body, a lean vessel of sinew and muscle. Already she’s my favorite girl in the place. I know what I just said about lap dances, but I’m a leg man, and her legs are killer. She’s smoking hot.

She comes off the stage and right towards me. I love her! “Hi.” she says in a low sexy voice. Her body is absolutely slammin’. She looks me in eye, takes my hand, and places it on her left breast. Her nipple is like a rubber bullet pressing against my palm. (Just writing this is making me want to stop in there and see if she’s working tonight. Vice!) I gently squeeze her breast and she smiles. Then I release her.

“You’re beautiful! I’m a leg man, and man…if your legs aren’t spectacular.”

“Thank you.”

Johnny returns. “Oh, and what bit of ebony delish is this?” She says hello and gives us her stage name.

“You can touch my legs if you want to.”

I am smitten by this dark temptress. I couldn’t resist. I reach down and just run my hand up the back of her leg. Exquisite. I hand her a few more bucks.

“Do you want to get a private dance with me?”

“You’re the prettiest girl in here. Do you mind if I catch up with my friend, and think about it for a bit?”

“Sure thing. But if you get a dance with me I’ll make your dick hard.”

She slinks away with feline grace. I want that ass, but I don’t do lap dances. I think it’s just a waste of money and gets you nothing in the end. I guess I could make this example: I like to drink. You buy a bottle of something for about $12 and drink it. Over the next few hours of doing whatever you’re doing, you get a buzz, relax, feel good, socialize, or just chill out and let go. So for $12 you can have a great night.

If I go to a casino, I spend $20 because I’m not a gambler and never have been. I burn through that $20 in under 15 minutes, and I’m done. I don’t get off. I don’t feel good, and I’m out $20. Now I know it doesn’t work that way for real gamblers. They get high on the action, not the winning or the losing. Just the action. You see, I need some sort of payoff. I need the reward and with booze I get it, and with gambling I don’t.”

I love women and sex. I have been addicted to the feeling of love, and not really been in love. I didn’t know it at the time, but that’s how it worked. You meet a woman, there is the spark of romance, and if there is chemistry the payoff is hot love and sex. Huge payoff. I think love is the best drug in the world. If we could have sex all the time and feel loved, we’d probably have a lot less problems. I think the greatest feeling one can have, it to love and be loved.

But hey, I digress. That’s why I can’t invest the $20 in the lap dance. I get the action and zero payoff. Now I’m sure Johnny has a whole different view on this issue. Because he likes to gamble, and as we know in the past he’s paid the $20 for the lapper, and gotten a blow job out of it or straight up banged the stripper bareback. Yea…bareback. Like I said. Johnny’s a gambler.

Let’s see if his little foray with curvy girl paid off.

“So, what happened back there with her?”

“I don’t know what’s going on. The last few times I’ve been here, the girls won’t do anything sexual.”

“Think you’re losing your touch?”

“No, it’s probably because the place has been busted so many times. Do you think I’m starting to look like a cop?”

“Well you are Irish Catholic and approaching middle age, sir.”

“Really? I’m not even forty yet, asshole.”

“Wanna blow this place?”

“That’s a lot of dudes. I think they’re here for the ladies, not to get sucked off by you.”

“Let’s go. I’ll call you an UBER.”

 

 

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.

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly

 

Sariah – 2017 to Present -Unveiled

“The editor represents the needs of the company to an author, and the author’s needs to the company, while lying to each about the good intentions of the other.”

I was sitting in my favorite bar Square 1682 on a Monday night. I had just hung out with a friend who had to go, and I figured I’d have one more glass of wine. This attractive Dominican lady came up and asked if the seat next to me was taken.

“Only by you.” I  said.

We start chatting and she says she’s a book editor. Of course this gets my immediate attention because I’d love to turn Phicklephilly into a book and then a TV series. Sort of Sex in the City from the perspective of a gentleman.

The bulk of her industry experience was gathered as an editor at Simon & Schuster and, most recently, a senior editor at Other Press.  Her training began with internships at Penguin and Avalon Books, followed by the Vigliano Literary Agency and Kensington Books.  She’s acquired and edited literary and genre fiction, narrative nonfiction, and books in translation, many of which have become national and international bestsellers and critically acclaimed award winners.  She taught the Editorial Process course for the City College of New York’s Publishing Certificate Program and Simon & Schuster’s Publishing 101 Lecture Series. She has a B.A. and M.F.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and is bilingual in English and Spanish.

I’m impressed and start to tell her about this blog. Her eyes light up as I tell her a few of the experiences I’ve had and she tells me she’d love to read it. I promise to send her the link and we continue to talk.

Sariah is passionate about books. You have to be if you decide on a career in publishing. She’s not doing what she’s doing for the often joked about low salaries. Her story is the same across the board: She comes to publishing with a love of reading, a love of stories and their power to change people’s minds and, through this, (hopefully) the world.  People in the industry are idealists. But her idealist heart eventually beat up against the reality that publishing is a business, and then she has to learn to live in the intersection of art and commerce. Like everything else in life, that intersection can sometimes be unpretty and other times it’s absolutely beautiful.  She spent twelve years in that place and has seen publishing take many twists and turns.

When she was an editorial assistant at Kensington, one the best bosses she’d ever had, the late Kate Duffy, Editorial Director of the Brava imprint, described, somewhat jokingly, an editor’s role as the following:  “The editor represents the needs of the company to an author, and the author’s needs to the company, while lying to each about the good intentions of the other.”  Kate told me there were two ways of going about the job. You’re either a company’s editor or a writer’s editor, and God help you if you’re a writer’s editor. Editors love their books and strive to keep the peace, but the fact that they are salaried employees is never far from their thoughts. She already knew that Sariah would be a writer’s editor.

This leads her to why she became an editor in the first place. Her parents came to New York from the Dominican Republic many years ago, and she is a born and bred New Yorker. She learned Spanish first and spoke it exclusively at home and learned English in school.  In the conclave of Washington Heights, her parents never really learned to speak English, and in many ways she became their eyes, ears, and mouths. She translated everything for them. As an editor, she is responsible for helping writers say what they really need and want to say. She helps authors translate their thoughts for the reading world and she does this by respectfully prodding and questioning, with the understanding that she is temporarily inhabiting someone else’s world. And even though she has an emotional connection to a story, she does her best to remain objective in her comments. Her job is to help refine the writer’s voice, to help the writer clearly and effectively express his or her ideas. The relationship between an editor and a writer cannot be described as purely professional. How could it be? It starts off with Sariah falling in love with a manuscript and knowing she can make it even better.  As many authors will attest, their editors often become their friends, staying in touch long after the books are finished.

After more than twelve years working for publishers, She created her own company because she’d rather work for the writer. My simple truth is that helping people say what they need to say makes me happy. So whether your goal is to be published by a company or to self-publish, she can promise she will do for you what she’s been doing for a long time–Sariah will help you tell your story.

So I’m really excited I met this lovely lady. She may help get me published! I also got a vibe that she was kind of into me. She said she was going to Underground Arts with a friend and maybe I should join them. I was tired and really didn’t feel like going at that point. Being home watching Netflix and smoking a cig sounded like a better idea to me. I felt it better if I emailed her the link to this blog and take it from there.

Who knows? Maybe this could be a serendipity step to publication.

 

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

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly

Burden in my Hand

“If you want to make a delicious omelet, you’re going to have to break some eggs.”

I’ve been working a lot lately. Frankly I’m feeling a little burned out. But I love to work and get my energy from those around me. I get bored if I’m not doing something productive with my days.

I enjoy my down time though. I love my alone time. My daughter Lorelei is in and out. Normally she’s working and hanging our with friends or spending time with her boyfriend. After work I like nothing more than to come home, sit in my chair, sip some wine and watch my shows on Netflix.

Last night I was just chilling and I look over at my phone and there’s a text on my Facebook messenger.

It’s from Annabelle! (See: Annabelle: 2013 to 2014)

I wrote her series last year. It’s been done and in the can for a long time. It was difficult to write. Writing about my other ex Michelle was a pleasure. (See: Michelle – 2007 to Present – A Brand New Day) But I found that you can live something, you can think about it and talk about it with your friends and family, but until you write it out, you never really resolve your feelings.

Once I wrote about Annabelle, I finally forgave her and let her go.

I haven’t seen her in over 3 years, and the only contact she’s had with me was a happy birthday on Facebook messenger last year. I’m so over Facebook, Instagram and social media in general. I just use it to promote phicklephilly now. I no longer care to show the world what I’m doing, nor do I care what anyone else is doing. The people in my life call me, text me and spend time with me. Real world stuff. Who gives a shit what you’re eating for dinner, or what vacation you’re on. I don’t give a shit about your kids. I don’t want to see your baby. That child who doesn’t even realize that his privacy as an individual citizen has been stolen by you so you can show off.

Get a life and go live it privately.

So I’m chilling at home last night watching my show, and I look over at my phone and there is the message. First of all Annabelle has my phone number she could have simply called me or texted me directly if she wanted to talk to me. But here I get a test on Facebook Messenger.

Apparently she’s been reading phicklephilly and realized that Annabelle is about her. First of all, please follow my blog properly Annabelle. I need followers! You can also “like” and comment if you want to.

Here’s what the text said: (I’ve corrected all of the grammatical errors)

“I hope that your hatred and your venom doesn’t completely fill your memory of me. There was a long time when things were good. Also don’t call my family white trash. The artists that you wrote about in your last account are some of the most successful culture makers in Philadelphia, and mark my words, spend more on one project than you make in a year. And God bless them for the difficult road they have taken. You sound like an asshole, and every time you call yourself a gentleman and make another generalization about women, you reveal your falseness.”

Bitter? Table for one?

I have no hatred or venom for anyone in this world. If there’s one person I should have it for it would be my ex-wife, not for the way she behaved in my life but for the way she treated and hurt my daughter. (I do like that Annabelle used the word “Venom”) I have nothing but good will towards Annabelle. She goes on to say that there was a long time when things were good in our relationship.

I have to disagree. Sorry for the spoiler, but we only dated for around 9 months. The first month or so was courtship and then she was my girlfriend for maybe 7 months after that. Much of the time she was absent even when we were in the same room together. The best parts of the relationship were few and far between for me. I was frustrated, annoyed, and disappointed most of the time. But I still felt love for Annabelle, but I’ve been over it for years. Rarely does she ever cross my mind anymore.

She doesn’t like that I referred to her family as white trash. I suppose that was a bit harsh. But stereotypes are earned by those that get them. You can have a bunch of money and still behave like a hillbilly.

The only way I know anything about her family is because she would never let me meet them. I wanted to but she said that I wasn’t ready to meet her family. I remember her actually saying that she even didn’t like her family very much.

Of course that all changed when they kicked in a fortune for her to live in a newly constructed house.

In regard to these “culture makers” she’s referring to, I just don’t see it. Performing silly, poorly written performance pieces does nothing to contribute to the art culture here in Philly. The Walnut Street Theater, Ballet X, (Love!) The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Annenberg, and so many more. Who cares how long they spend on a project. Why spend a year of your life making trash? It’s just not any good. I’ve seen several of their shows and it’s just silly cabaret that feels forced and tragically outdated. I think they need God’s blessing for the foolish and wasteful path they’ve all chosen in their poverty-stricken lives. Just the grinding sadness of approaching middle age and never to have held down a real job or ever learned a prosperous vocation.

She says I sound like an asshole. I’ve gotten this before about the blog from these “raging feminist types.” Someone calling me an asshole or a misogynist either don’t know me or are too dumb to understand what they’re reading on my blog. 80% of my followers are women and they are the most loyal and outspoken on phicklephilly. I am proud to have a strong female following of bright, sharp women that can think for themselves and understand what’s real in the world and what’s truly important in their lives. I’ve recently added a female author to my blog. She owns every Saturday for the next year!

Annabelle also says that every time I call myself a gentleman and make generalizations about women I reveal my falseness. (Does anybody even use the word “falseness?” It sound like something she read somewhere.

Here’s the thing. If anybody should know what a gentleman I am, it should be Annabelle. All of the romantic gestures I showered her with, standing up from my chair when she left or entered a room, opening the door, pulling out her chair for her, putting on her coat for her, all the dinners I cooked for her, the surprises, the gifts, etc. Annabelle had never, EVER been treated as well as I treated her. She still communicates and is friends with a former lover that used to knock her around when he was angry. Who’s the asshole now? I’ve never raised my voice or my hand to a woman, EVER. I have 3 beautiful sisters and a daughter that know I am one of the last true gentlemen alive in the world. But how could Annabelle realize that even now? She had the best and she squandered it. My dear friend Robert refers to her as “The Selfish Loser.”

But, I like how Annabelle has crept out of the shadows to secretly read phicklephilly. I LOVE that my art has inspired her to attack me on social media. Because good art makes you feel something. Shitty art is dismissed and forgotten.

In closing, I really don’t want to hurt Annabelle. It’s just a bunch of words on a blog. I have to tell these stories. Writing her series really cleared up a lot of things for me, because as you’ll read in the coming chapters she really did a number on me. She didn’t willfully do it, she just isn’t mature enough to know how bad her behavior is and how it affects those around her. Adults just don’t do that to each other.

There are a few more chapters of Annabelle left and they’re pretty interesting. Thanks to everyone who supports phicklephilly and most of all to Annabelle for inspiring this bonus post!

 

 

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

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly

Duncan – Concentrated Dosage – Part 2 – Saturday

“We keep getting older, but they stay the same age.”

I wake up on Saturday morning, and after a day of drinking and activities on Friday, I’m a little banged up. Duncan and I were supposed to go to breakfast at 10am but that wasn’t going to happen.

I rolled over to the Ritz Carlton around 11am Saturday. Duncan was chilling in the lobby. We decided to head down to the movie theater. It was a little cold, but not too bad. Duncan was freezing because he lives in a warm climate and can’t take the cold winters of the Northeast anymore. (Fuckin’ wimp!)

Philly is an incredibly walkable city and we decide to walk all the way down to Columbus Blvd. to the movie theater. It’s right on the Delaware river. (Hence the name, Riverview Stadium) It probably took us about forty minutes to walk down there. The nice thing about walking around Philly is, it gives you time to look at all of the sights and just talk.

I love my time with Duncan this weekend. We’ve really reconnected as friends and as men. He’s been in my life for twenty years and I want to keep him there.

We get to the theater and there’s a line for tickets, but people are in line for everything playing and there. I decide to leave Duncan in line and try the kiosk, because there’s always that person that’s in front of you that is making it their life’s work just to by a couple of tickets to see a movie. That goes for everywhere I go in life. I’m always behind that person that is digging through a coin purse at Rite Aid, or making international transactions at an ATM, or just basically doesn’t ever have their shit together when it comes to doing anything in regard to a retail transaction. I’m sure we’ve all experienced this.

So I hit the ticket kiosk and swipe my card for two tickets to see Rouge One: A Star Wars Story, and I get them! I pull him out of line and we go in. Duncan’s happy that I came through in the clutch because we’re cutting showtime pretty close. The tickets were twenty something by I don’t care. I know what’s going to happen next, and I’m all set.

The theater is huge, and we take the escalator upstairs. We hit the snack bar and Duncan is on the case. He orders a bucket of popcorn. Mistake. No one can eat that much fucking popcorn. Then he gets our drinks. The girl upsells him to the large size because she says we can get free refills. Mistake. No one can drink that much fucking soda. Maybe a couple of dudes that just walked of the face of the Sun, but no human can hold that much liquid in their bodies in one sitting, but I admire her upsell. He gets a box of M&M peanuts for himself and I take the popcorn over to that machine that literally drenches the bucket in butter. It’s probably not even butter, but who cares, it’s delicious. I tell him I want a tray of soft pretzel bites with the spicy cheese sauce and we’re all set. The snacks came to somewhere around thirty-five dollars, and I’ve won. Duncan just bought me a deliciously gross breakfast and the tickets I bought were less that what he paid to feed our sorry hung over asses.

We get into the theater and there aren’t that many people in there. I like that. We take a pair of seats in the back and get situated. We watch a bunch of previews which I love. I’m starving and start ripping into my pretzel bites and the popcorn. The sodas are so enormous I feel like the sheer weight of them will pull the chairs over. My fingers are soaked with butter and I can’t even get a grip on the barrel sized cup in the built-in holder, so like a little kid, I have to go to the straw, rather than pick up the tankard of diet coke. As silly as this is, there is something nostalgic about being a kid at the movies and having all of these treats. It’s breakfast for a couple of men, who are about to watch a new Star Wars movie. We’ve loved them since their inception in 1977.  I’m happy, and I don’t even care that like always, I have dribbled the spicy cheese whiz down the front of me.

We watch the film and it’s glorious. Better than I expected. I’m a film guy, so I won’t reveal a thing, and you’ve all probably seen it. It’s a story that takes place before the original Star Wars movie. It’s a little slow in the beginning but way better than the ones made by George Lucas before this. So if I had to rate the Star Wars pictures I would rate them as follows:

Star Wars: Episode 4 – A New Hope

Star Wars: Episode 5 – The Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars: Episode 7 – The Force Awakens

Star Wars: Episode 6 – Return of the Jedi

Star Wars: Rogue One

I have left off the first 3 prequels Lucas made, because they basically suck. Here’s a classic example of an artist losing sight of his art and original vision. It’s fine. I don’t care. This happens over and over in music, film and art in general. I know the fans are screaming and go wild over the failure of the creators making sub par art and letting them down. It happens. You have to embrace and enjoy how their art made you feel in that moment when you first fell in love with what they did. If you expect the artist to keep making the same art and making you feel that initial rush again at the level you first felt it, it’s just not going to happen.

Look at the band Aerosmith. I LOVED Aerosmith in the seventies when I was growing up. My sister, Janice brought their first record home, because she was hanging out with a band that did their song Dream On. She wasn’t that into Aerosmith, but liked the band that was covering their work. I on the other hand as a fledgling rock guitarist fell in LOVE with Aersmith. It was 1975 and the song “Walk this Way” was playing on the radio from their third record, “Toys in the Attic”.  Their first album is great because like any band, they had their whole lives to write it. But then the studio pushes them for another record and it’s just not as good. The band is great, but the material just isn’t there. They work hard and tour and have a special talent so then they make ‘Toys in the Attic” and it’s a great record. They’re all poor and touring their asses off and doing shitloads of drugs. The lifestyle is changing them and killing them.

People love the song Walk this Way (A nearly perfect FM rock song) and a lot of people buy the “Toys in the Attic”

Then in 1976, Aerosmith puts out a record entitled “Rocks.” A black cover with just the name of the band and the word ‘Rocks’ and picture of five diamonds. It is absolutely one of the most perfect hard rock albums of the seventies. Every song is magnificent.

I love Aerosimth. I wore out the Rocks album. I listened to it everyday and learned how to play every song on that album on guitar. I wanted to be Joe Perry and Steven Tyler rolled into one skinny blonde kid with a guitar.

But you can’t expect them to keep making Toys in the Attic and Rocks every year so you can get your rocks off. Things happen in an artist’s life to change, alter, grow, or fail in some way. So you have Lucas trying his best to make something but the fire and hunger just isn’t there anymore. The heavy metal band Metallica are all wildly rich men. Do you think they can make the powerful angry music they once made? No way. Neither can Aerosmith or George Lucas. Just wrap yourself up in the memory that their art gave you in the beautiful moment of your life and leave it at that. Other people will rise up and take the helm and get you off in a different way.

I’m guilty of this too. Maybe my problem is I keep trying to go back and get that love rush I did when I was younger and I keep dating younger women. It always ends badly, because they want to go forward and get married and have kids and I’ve already done that. Maybe I just need to wrap myself up in my beautiful memories and be done with it.

But Disney has Star Wars now. I don’t listen to Aerosmith anymore except for the old stuff. Marvel Comics is making great films and Star Wars is definitely on the upswing creatively, because someone else is doing it. So for now, I’m going to stick with what Matthew Macoughy said in the film Dazed and Confused, “We keep getting older, but they stay the same age.”

I know it’s wrong, but I want to date a girl that makes me feel like the original Star Wars movie again.

Tune in tomorrow for the thrilling conclusion…

 

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.

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly

Annabelle – Chapter 8 – What’s Cookin’ Good Lookin’?

“It’s not the kill. It’s the thrill of the chase.”

So I was scheduled to go over to Annabelle’s house to read her my screenplay. I remember her saying: “Bring your appetite because baby’s cooking!” This made me happy because:

  1. She’s cooking me dinner which makes this some next level shit.
  2. She referred to herself as ‘baby’ which makes me feel like she’s sort of my girl already.

I was at work and came up with the idea to bring a few things. It was August and very humid here in Philly. I stopped at the liquor store and picked up some wine and then decided to go to the florist around the corner. I picked up a bouquet of flowers. I hailed a cab and was on my way to her neighborhood in Northern Liberties. The cab ride was hot. I rarely take a cab now because of UBER and Lyft. Someday maybe even taxis will be a nostalgia service. We get to her building and I clamber out of the car with my stuff.

I go into the lobby and just as I’m coming in a couple is coming out. They see a gentleman with a bouquet of flowers and decide I’m not a menace and hold the door for me. Now that I have bypassed the security system I can surprise her at her door. I pop into the elevator and I’m on my way. It’s a big old building that appears to have once been some sort of factory that’s been converted into lofts. I walk down the hallway and get to her door. My heart is beating fast, and I can’t believe this is happening. I may actually be dating this girl and we are falling for each other.

I knock on her door, I have the bag with the wine and the screenplay in the left hand and the flowers in my right hand off to the side. Annabelle opens the door, and I say: “I brought the wine and the screenplay, oh and these are for you!” and whip out the bouquet of flowers from behind the door. She’s very surprised and happy.

“These flowers are beautiful! No one’s ever given me flowers before!”

I find that hard to believe, but I suppose anything’s possible. I really don’t know much about this girl. I ask for a pair of scissors and a vase. I cut the end of the stems on an angle and put them in the vase. They look awesome. I love giving girls flowers. It’s such a classic romantic gesture.

Her apartment is sparse and looks more like a photographer’s studio than a residence. I sit in a chair while she continues to prepare dinner. She’s wearing a pair of silky looking shorts that almost appear to be like lingerie. I admire her long slender legs.

A Siamese cat pads out of her bedroom and walks toward me. I don’t remember his name but she says he doesn’t like most people. He walks right up to me and rubs his snout on me. I reach down and gently pet him. Seems friendly enough to me. Animals can sense who’s good and who’s not. Their instincts have been honed over thousands of years to sniff out the differences between the assholes and the cool people.  Annabelle tells me he is very old and she has to give him an injection everyday to keep him alive. I’ve never heard of this before. How could you give a cat a needle without him wanting to tear you apart every day? He must realize that it’s the only thing that makes him feel better. Funny thing about cats, once they reach adulthood, they pretty much look the same their whole lives. How great would that be for humans? This cat is fifteen years old. That’s ancient for a cat. He looks great. Can you imagine being seventy years old and looking like you’re in your twenties? Who wouldn’t love that? If I could still perform I could date women in their twenties until the day I die!

But I digress.

She’s cooking up something, but I can’t tell what it is yet. It looks like some sort of vegan dish. I’m sure I’m not going to like it, but I like her so it doesn’t matter. She’s says she’s never cooked for anyone before, and can’t really cook. But it smells good, and I like that she’s making the effort.

We end up sitting on her sofa and dining on a large ottoman that she has in front of it. This seems very untraditional to me, but like I said, happy to be here.

She doesn’t really have much stuff. There is a desk with a computer over in the corner of the room, there is this sofa, the ottoman, a small table off to the right, and not much else. This girl is a former actress and now a photographer. It appears she lives a very bohemian lifestyle. No TV. No stereo. Just some books on a long bookshelf. I get the feeling she has collected them but not read them, but maybe that’s just me.

The food was fine, and I appreciate her efforts. I devour it as best I can, even though it’s not really something I would ever eat or even make. But she’s beautiful to me, and I am already hooked on the drug of love.

After dinner we clean up and return to the couch. I have two copies of my screenplay and tell her that I’ll read all of the male parts and she can read all of the female parts. She agrees and we begin. Every page of a script is equal to a minute of film, so my work is 118 pages so we should be able to blow through this in about two hours.

It goes well and I was happy to revisit my story. She is fascinated by the work, and asks how I was able to conceive of something like that and organize all of my thoughts and characters. I told her it was originally a book that was 541 pages long! The book, Angel with a Broken Wing, has so much more in it that the screenplay. More characters, sex and violence. She hears this and tells me she wants to read it, but I know that’s not going to happen.  Maybe someday I can publish it as a weekly blog. People always say; ‘the book is always better than the movie.’ I would agree with that but for the exception of porn!

When we finish reading the script, I lean in for an awkward kiss. Did you ever notice when you first kiss someone romantically on the lips, it just feels weird? Not every time, but there is that period of adjusting to each other’s lip configuration and facial structure. Did you also ever notice how you instinctively tilt you head to the right? That’s a human thing, right?

I’m just happy that I’m kissing her and she’s okay with it.

So after that I see it’s getting late and I should be going. I thank her for the dinner and the time, and I hug her goodnight.

I get outside and realize it’s pretty late and the area is pretty deserted. I start walking west and sort of don’t know wear I’m going. I have a great sense of direction, but I don’t get to Northern Liberties much let alone at night and on foot. I don’t know why I didn’t call and UBER, but after walking about two block I see a taxi. I wave him down and hop in.

The driver is really nice and I’m telling him about my date, because I’m giddy with joy. It’s a good ride home, and I’m happy that things are moving forward with Annabelle. It’s been a slow ride, but it’s not the kill. It’s the thrill of the chase.

 

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.

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly