Free Meals Have Strings Attached

Upon my entrance in a local tavern around two years ago, a guy bellowed to his friends, "This is the woman I told you guys about! You know, that wild date I had last year?"

With utmost calm, head held high, I smiled, skirted their table and walked up to the bar. There, the bartender handed over a diet soft drink. That guy sidled up to me and said, "I'm sorry I never called you after."

I shrugged. "No need to worry. It's ok."

He continued, "That was some night, though. The wildest date I ever had."

"I wish I could say the same."

We met three years' prior at the tavern. Or rather, I spoke to a woman on the veranda of the tavern, unaware of the guy standing behind me. The following afternoon I received an email through FB.

"Who the hell is this guy?" I didn't recall any conversations with anyone outside of the woman on the veranda. He described how he eavesdropped on my conversation. "I'd love to take you out to dinner," he wrote and provided several telephone numbers.

We exchanged FB emails for a while. He was in my age group and quite successful in his recent career.  Slightly reassured he wasn't a serial murderer, I gave him my phone number. In seconds, he called, "Would you like to go out for dinner tomorrow night?"

"Sure." I'm always game for a free meal. It's my culinary mercenary attitude. I'd do ANYTHING not to eat my own cooking. Well, mostly anything. I had NO memory whatsoever of the guy. Staring at his photo on FB, I still had no idea who he was.

Win (thought I'd give him a name for this post) picked me up at 7 prompt. I stared at him. I never saw this man in my life and wondered why I willingly gave him my address, let alone entered his car. A freebee meal was in the cards, that was why. "Let's eat at my favorite restaurant, The Back Haven," he suggested while he turned the ignition key.

I groaned. Monkey Boy worked at The Back Haven. To new followers of my blog, Monkey Boy was my on and off lover from a few years' ago. I referred to him as "Golden Cock." He was a marvelous lover, but a total dud as a human being. At the time of this date with Win, Monkey Boy and I were newly permanently over. He wasn't pleased with my decision. Not at all. The former elusive lover changed on a dime. Now he direly needed to catch a glimpse of me on a daily basis and used every mode of transportation available: car, bike and boat. Those fleeting chance encounters left me cold.

It's true when I say "I'm done." Those words are magic: when I'm done with a guy, I am. Nothing can persuade me to change my mind. I also use those two words when dealing with lunatics and anything that touches them.

"Do we have to eat there?" I asked. Monkey Boy's a perverse, mercurial monster. I knew he'd either spit on my food or worse, poison me. I didn't cotton to being victimized.

Win glanced over at me while backing out of my driveway. "It's the finest restaurant up here. I love it."

With dread, I put on a forced smile. In seconds, we arrived. Upon entering the quaint and small restaurant, the waitress guided us to our seats. Win smiled. "I love this place."

The place was packed with upscale local denizens. Win and I knew every person in that room. We nodded and smiled and clasped hands with other diners. It's funny to think we never met before.

"I haven't been here for five years." I stopped eating there the moment the proprietor brought in Monkey Boy. For some reason, he introduced us. I got a weird feeling when we shook hands. And totally forgot about our introduction until the second I sat across the table from Win who made the following announcement to all the other patrons:

"We're on a first date!"

I groaned once more. It's very hard to humiliate me as I've thick skin. Well, Win managed to find my soft spot. Boy, did he press it! In moments, the waitress sped right over. "Aw, you're on a first date?"

I rolled my eyes and squirmed.

"How'd you guys meet?" she prevailed, inquisitive to each detail.

"At the local tavern. Do you have menus?" I said, quick to cut this line of questioning short.

She got my message and switched gears by handing us menus. "What would you like to drink?"

Win said with pride, "I don't drink."

"At all?" I asked.

"No. I've never had a drink. I'm quite proud of that."

In deference to him, I ordered a club soda.

After the waitress walked away, Win looked deep in my eyes and said, "I've always suffered from bouts of depression."

I turned around and yelled, "Waitress! I want a Bloody Mary and heavy on the vodka!"

In a loud voice, Win moaned and complained about his state of mind, his hard life including unsuccessful stabs at meeting online women. And his inability to connect with them in real life. From time to time he'd interrupt himself to make brief announcements to the other diners: "We're on a first date! That's why we've so much to say to each other!"

I grimaced, winced and shot back my third Bloody Mary. "Waitress, another please!" For some reason, I couldn't get drunk even on an empty stomach. For such a small restaurant, it took an inordinate amount of time to get served. The waitress finally came over and took our orders. This had to be the longest meal of my life. The conversation on his part was dismal. Since I'm not a therapist and had no interest whatsoever in his mental state and negative view of the world, I changed topics. This 'getting to know you' stuff was way too intimate even for me. And I'm privy to a lot of shit that people love to tell me. But not on a first date! However, upon reflection, it was ideal in that I knew I never wanted to see this one again. I wove a long tale involving medieval architecture and some tidbit in French history to distract Win from plumbing the depths of his psyche. At this point, I considered stripping a la Gypsy Rose Lee to keep that man's devils from emerging deep where they belong.

In mid-sentence, I looked up to see Monkey Boy skittering out from the kitchen behind Win's back. Momentarily stunned, I stumbled in my conversation, but proceeded on while Monkey Boy pantomimed a gorilla in rage. I gathered he heard about my date. Hell, anyone within a five mile radius heard about my date!

Livid, eyes bulging out of his head, he appeared on the verge of attacking Win from behind when suddenly another guy from the kitchen slipped out behind Monkey Boy. He was a junior chef and twice as tall as Monkey Boy.

While Monkey Boy pounded his chest, exposing his teeth, hair raised in shackles, the junior chef imitated him to a T. It was an expert choreography and I wondered whether they did this before. Right at that moment, I was struck by the ridiculousness of the situation. Here I was with Debbie Downer who interrupted our conversation to make periodic announcements to the other diners of the status of our date, my ex-lover jumping up and down behind him with a giant human shadow imitating his every move and NO ONE in the restaurant batted an eye!

That's when I experienced one of the weirdest sensations in my life: a mixture of incredulity, hysteria and shock. It was a very uncomfortable situation. I felt as if I would explode or implode. My first inclination was to flee and go somewhere where I could gather my thoughts. I tossed back the rest of my drink.

Just as rapidly as Monkey Boy slid out of the kitchen, he slid right back in, junior chef in tow. Within moments, the waitress served us our meals. Totally composed, I stared at my grilled tuna and couldn't bring myself to eat a morsel. Inspired, I asked Win, "Wanna taste?"

"Sure," he said and dug in. I figured if Monkey Boy added poison, Win would fall off the chair to the ground in a stupor, more than likely with foam coming out of his mouth. I waited five minutes. He didn't falter in devouring his meal. I wanted to wait longer, yet he said, "Aren't you eating? I thought you were hungry."

He didn't look like he was foaming at the mouth so I ate a piece. After the debacle with Monkey Boy, his junior chef, my insane dinner date and five Bloody Marys, for some reason I no longer had an appetite. "Why don't you eat some more?" and gave Win the rest of the meal.

After he settled the account, it was 9:30pm. I got back into his car and said, "Wanna stop off at a local tavern for a nightcap?" To even make that suggestion, I realized the drinks kicked in.

"I don't drink," he stated with pride. Then, he added, "Nor do I smoke pot."

I'm not much of a drinker. As I admitted in earlier posts, it gives me gas. Also, I weaned off of drinking after I ditched Monkey Boy. For some reason, I needed to be drunk to consort with that idiot. Insofar as pot, I prefer to keep my feet grounded.

Then he gave me a leer and said, "Can I hang out at your house?"

"Sure," I said, thinking, let's put him to the test. After that evening hearing about his issues and acting like an idiot, it was time for some payback. "We'll sit on the deck."

We walked down the path and onto the deck. While there, I said, "Hey, I've got some amazing vodka from overseas that you can't get here. You MUST DRINK IT!"

I went into the kitchen and poured large shots in two glasses. I brought them out and handed one over to him.

"This is a first," he said. I watched him down the shot. Then, I said, "Say, wanna smoke pot?"

"I don't smoke pot."

"Now you do!" I went back inside and got the little bud someone left at my house from a year earlier. I pulled out the small pipe he also left and brought them outside with a lighter. I tapped the pot into the pipe and lit it up, passing it over to Win. He took a few tokes, choked and then smoked the entire thing with my strong encouragement.

I'm making a giant intuitive leap here, but I thought he drank and smoked pot in anticipation that by doing so I would fuck him. That was the furthest thought from my mind. In fact, I had no idea why this stranger sat on my deck.

We sat side by side staring at the trees. He attempted to touch my hand. "Please, I'm not that sort of person," I demurred. "You're really a stranger."

Who the hell was I kidding? I was PRECISELY that sort of person. But this guy turned me off. I really don't like public displays of humiliation at the hands of someone else. I am a bit of a control freak - if I want to be humiliated in public, I do a good job alone. Besides, I like my men young with good bodies.

"I haven't gotten this far with a woman for a long while," he slurred. Great, I thought. That wasn't exactly an endorsement. I watched his eyes cross. He leant forward and tried to kiss me although he veered a huge left and kissed the air. As tacit as possible, I told him, "I'm not interested in pursuing this any further. Thank you for the meal. Let's get you back into your car."

I walked him up part way to the driveway. He tried to kiss me once more, but I pushed him back. "I'll give you a call," he said. "Would you like to go out to dinner again?"

"Certainly," I said. Did I happen to mention I love dining out? And then he took off.

At the tavern, his friends joined us at the bar.

"You're the one who got him drunk and stoned!" they crowed. "We've been trying for years!"

Little did they understand the power of potential pussy.


PS: I bumped into him recently and asked, "Are you still telling people that story?"

For those of you who heard his perspective, now you know mine.

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This blog and all its posts are a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

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