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Lindsey’s City: Chapter 4

by on Jun.14, 2017, under 'The Blog'

“Why shouldn’t you write with a broken pencil?”

Had anyone been looking, they would have seen Mitch facepalm, but they weren’t, they were all focused on Will.

Mitch turned around to Lindsey.

“So, I’ve been wondering, maybe… would you want to… to go to prom with me?”

“Umm… you realize how old we are, right?”

“No! Not like prom prom. It’s this charity bar crawl my cousin is organizing called Tacky Prom. You dress up swanky, have a few drinks, and dance to crappy music. Actually, it’s not really like prom at all, though they do crown a King and Queen.” Rubbing his sweaty palms, he realized it somehow retained the awkwardness of high school.

“Sure, let’s do it, when and where?”

“Next Saturday, in Fort Worth. But let’s make a whole weekend out of it, maybe go a few other places too.”

“Wait, are you asking me to prom, or on a roadtrip?”, she asked with a big smile.

“Well… I guess both.”

As Mitch turned back to Will and his new group of friends, he saw Lindsey pull out her phone but thought nothing of it.

— Friday Night – Leaving Austin —

“I can’t believe we’re doing this… I haven’t pulled an all-nighter since college.”

Mitch, was already having doubts. He did this several times a year, but wasn’t sure Lindsey would last. It should make for an interesting trip.

“So, when do you think we’ll get to Fort Worth?”

“Probably around 5 PM tomorrow, we’ll swing by Hulen Mall and I can grab a new shirt for this suit, grab some food at Rodeo Goat, check-in to the hotel, then walk down to the prom. But, you know, nothing’s locked in, who knows what may distract us along the way.”

Mitch briefly noticed Lindsey typing on her phone before looking back up to deal with the driver next to him who apparently never learned how to merge onto a highway.

— Sunday Afternoon – Approaching Austin —

Turning off 35, Mitch looked over at Lindsey sleeping and smiled. She’d been a pretty good sport about the entire trip. He knew she was tired; he was too, but couldn’t imagine how this must be for her.

He hoped she’d enjoyed the experience. He’d been to all of these places before, but every one of them had been new for her.

He’d promised her just one of these trips but hoped she’d want to go on more.

As everyone magically does, she awoke as he turned onto her street.

“You must be so tired, do you want to come in and stay here tonight?”

“Oh thank god, I was hoping you’d ask. I’m not sure I have the energy to make it home.”

Granted, in Austin, going across the city takes about as long as the rest of their drive.

— Saturday Morning – Lake Charles, Louisiana —

“Oh my god, you were right. This is the best French Toast I’ve ever had. This is amazing! How did you find this?”

Sitting at Favorites Southern Kitchen, they were enjoying the best French Toast they’d ever had.

“Well, I always have lines out for good French Toast, and this place got a bite.” The bites were good, but Nibbles failed to deliver.

They soon returned to the casino. Having spent the night teaching her various card games and slots, Lindsey managed to come out ahead almost $400. Beginner’s luck… Mitch’s only win seemed to be the free White Russian he was holding.

After cashing out, they found themselves standing on top of the parking garage hand-in-hand watching the tugs on the river. Lindsey definitely wouldn’t have imagined a parking lot being such a wonderful moment, but it was her favorite yet. If the trip ended here, she’d be content with everything so far.

“I think it’s time to try another game… what do you know about horses?”

“Nothing.”

“Great, then you already know everything I do.”

They jumped in the car and headed for Delta Downs. Lindsey answered a chime on her phone, but Mitch was focused on driving out of the garage. Call to the Post was in just under an hour.

— Sunday Noon – West —

“I’ve heard about this place, but this is my first time trying it. I thought it may be overhyped. Definitely not disappointed.”

Sitting outside the Czech Stop, Lindsey was devouring her third kolache. She’d completely forgot about her headache.

“So what I want to know is, how do you know all of these amazing places? It’s like every place we go has better food than the last place.”

“I’d better not say. A man’s got to have a few secrets to keep himself interesting.”

There was no secret. Unlucky at cards, lucky in food…

— Saturday Noon – Vinton, Louisiana —

“So what is a… bowden?”

“Boudin… and I have no idea. I just know it’s good. And their baked beans are excellent too.”

Lindsey was buying lunch at Comeaux’s with her track winnings. She admired the quaint restaurant. Given it’s appearance from the outside, she was skeptical of Mitch’s claims. Looking at the food on her plate, she was even more so.

“This doesn’t look that appetizing. Does all Cajun food look like this?”

“Pretty much, it looks good to me.”

Lindsey took her first bite and all doubts were dismissed. After the boudin, she sampled the crawfish etouffee and the beans.

“We’re definitely coming here again.”

As she grabbed her phone, Mitch dismissed any thoughts but his food, assuming she was Instagram’ing her meal.

— Sunday Morning – Leaving Fort Worth —

“Feeling any better?”

“The pancakes helped, but my head is still aching,” Lindsey said from behind her sunglasses. She took a drink from her second bottle of Gatorade.

Stopping at Ol’ South for breakfast had helped, but they were both feeling the effects from the prior evening.

“Is every trip with you like this? Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a blast going to all of these new places, but I don’t know how much more I could handle. Thank god we got the hotel for the night.”

“Well, if we hadn’t drank so much, we probably wouldn’t have needed the hotel,” he teased. “Don’t worry, once we make it to West, I guarantee you’ll feel 100% again.”

— Saturday Afternoon – Fort Worth —

Lindsey was at the bar getting drinks, and Mitch was confident no one else here would know Will, so he wasn’t worried about stealing his jokes.

“It’s pointless!”

All of his new friends laughed, and for once Mitch didn’t shake his head disapprovingly. Someone tapped him on his shoulder, and he turned around, expecting it to be Lindsey returning with another Shiner.

Mitch froze… and stared, thoroughly shocked. Of the things he could have imagined to see on this trip, this was surely not one of them.

“Surprise!” Lindsey proclaimed.

The surprise stared back, also unsure of what to say.

Mitch’s mind raced into the past, remembering Lindsey’s constant texting, wondering how that hadn’t tipped him off. Maybe not to this, but at least that something was up.

Back in the present, he recognized the little black dress, size 2.

————

Based on French (Toast) Holiday and They All Danced.

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Lindsey’s City: Chapter 3

by on Apr.22, 2017, under 'The Blog'

“What’s orange and sounds like a parrot?”

Ami was visiting from the UK, staying with her friend Kaylee. When they stepped into Fado’s for a drink that Monday night, they had no idea they would meet someone like Will.

Well past 10:00, they had planned to be at home and asleep already. Ami, vacationing in Austin, had nothing to do the next day, but Kaylee started her new job at 7:00 AM. Lindsey felt sorry for her, knowing her day was going to suck. There were six empty glasses between the two girls, and the waiter had already picked up many others. She walked back over to Mitch and saw stacks of glasses among the 20 people there.

“We should find somewhere to go dancing.”

Everyone else agreed, and they asked the waiter for their check.

Walking outside, a suggestion was made to go across the street. About half of their group was from out of town so Will felt compelled to clarify.

“Y’all cool with gay bars?”

Everyone agreed, where better to go dance. Walking in, Lindsey headed straight for the dance floor. Will and Ami went to the side to watch a game of mega-Jenga. They arrived just in time to see the tower collapse, which may have registered on the Richter scale. Mitch walked to the bar.

Most of the group, now 22 people, had only met that night. They were all friends now though, joining in on bar games, dancing, and some really, really bad singing.

— The Friday Before —

Mitch couldn’t think of a better Friday night – going to see Flatland Cavalry play at Cheatham Street Warehouse. He’d been waiting to see them again since he’d first seen them 4 months ago.

It seems like every time he met up with Will at a bar, they made new friends instantly. This night was no exception, and already Chelsea and Tiffany had joined their group. They were teachers at a high school a few hours away, a stark contrast to the mostly college kids at the show.

Chelsea was busy braiding Will’s hair. He didn’t seem to be very enthused, but it didn’t interfere with watching the show so he didn’t protest. Mitch was talking to Tiffany, trying to find out if she had any family from Illinois.

“You look just like this girl I know, Lindsey. Don’t you think Will?”

“Yeah, y’all could be sisters. Are you from – Ouch!” He definitely wasn’t enthused with the braids.

“So, this girl, is she like… attractive?” Mitch could tell she wasn’t sure what to think of this. Before he could answer in the affirmative, Will stepped in to make it weird.

“Oh yeah, she’s hot. Like everyone I know is trying to get with her.”

Mitch and Tiffany just stared, unsure of what to say. Not paying attention to them, Chelsea finally broke the silence by announcing “Done”.

Mitch recognized the chords to his favorite song. Closing his eyes, he started to dance, and thought back 4 months and 1 week ago to that fateful conversation.

After another drink, Mitch joined Lindsey on the dance floor. He was hesitant, being surrounded by some pretty good dancers, and being horrible himself. Lindsey didn’t mind though, and danced along with him.

Their group was getting pretty rowdy, and most of them were dancing along. Jim, a co-worker Mitch had somehow only met an hour before, was up on the tables. It was mildly entertaining, until he walked right off the edge and fell face first on the ground. Then it was horrifying, until a few seconds later he finally got up and continued dancing. That made it legendary.

Kaylee was staying on the edge, not dancing, and struggling just to stay standing. Lindsey was pretty sure she’d be late to work in the morning.

Ami had put back a few more drinks as well and was dancing with Will, an amazing swing dancer. She was having problems keeping up. More than once she tripped over herself and tumbled across the dance floor, once bringing Mitch down with her. Will gave up and introduced himself to some others. “What’s orange and sounds like a parrot?”

Looking around as he danced with Lindsey, Mitch couldn’t understand how they hadn’t been kicked out yet.

“We’re headed to West Sixth, you coming?”

Mitch appraised Will’s group, now grown to include the teachers.

“Nah, I’m gonna stick with my original plan and head to Lake Charles. I didn’t stay sober tonight not to drive to the casino. Y’all have fun on Sixth.”

Tiffany looked intrigued. “Casino? That could be fun!”

“Sorry, I roll alone on these trips. You best stick with these people.”

Mitch decided to stay for the rest of the show. Soon, someone approached him and said, “Great job tonight.”

“Excuse Me?”

“You played in the opening act right?”

“Nope, not me, I’m not much of a musician.”

As the band started their final song, they gave their thanks to the crowd.

“This one is dedicated to all those with a black-X on their hands.”

Mitch noticed almost everyone’s hands go up in the air and saw X’s everywhere. Momentarily confused, he suddenly realized how old he was getting. It had been over 10 years since he’d had one of those X’s. He realized he may be getting too old to go out to college bars.

Grabbing a water at the bar on they way out, another stranger asked, “Hey man, didn’t I see you playing earlier tonight.”

“Nope, why do people keep asking me that?”

They talked a bit more as the bar cleared out. Mitch shared his plans for Lake Charles. A stranger overheard him and interjected.

“You should go to Eagle Pass. It’s only 3 hours away.”

Mitch wasn’t concerned with the distance, but he did like to visit new places.

“Screw it, why not. I’m headed South I guess.”

“24! 24! We’re going to 24!”

Granted, Will was excited about everything in life, but nothing excited him like 24 Diner after a night of drinking. He talked some of the group into joining.

Now 2 AM, they’d just put Ami and Kaylee into a cab to get home. While food probably would have done the girls some good, sleep would help as well. The grabbed another cab and proceeded to the diner.

“So they got Peach Jam and Berry Jam for the biscuits,” Will explained after they sat down to the table. “Don’t even bother with the Berry. Peach is where it is at.” The serious look on his face, and the threatening way he was holding a butter knife, was enough to convince everyone to ask for the Peach.

“Chicken and Waffles, you’re my favorite.” Will was now singing everything he wanted. Being well known here, the staff gladly provided. It helped that he kept them entertained with his jokes as well.

“What’s orange and sounds like a parrot?”

Sitting next to Mitch, Lindsey struggled to stay awake as she laid her head on his shoulder.

After meeting Tiffany, Mitch had thought about Lindsey for the entire drive to the casino. They still hadn’t talked about their kiss five months ago, and even though they often met up, it was never alone. He decided to call her.

“I’ll be back in Austin around Noon, we should go get some lunch. I’m incredibly hungry, and I’ve got to tell someone about the World’s Worst Casino which I just visited.”

Lindsey agreed to meet Mitch at New World Deli, her favorite local spot. Mitch had never tried it, so was of course quick to agree to it.

“World’s Worst, eh?”

“Yeah, right here in Texas, who would have thought?” Mitch took another bite of his chicken salad sandwich, one of the best he’d had. It was a stark contrast in quality to the greasy restaurant where he’d had breakfast and the casino where he couldn’t even get a drink.

He finally decided to broach the subject.

“So, what’d your sister have to say about us and… that?”

“Ha, she was surprised, but not upset or anything. She said I should hang out with you more.”

“So, you’d be cool dating your sister’s ex-boyfriend?”

“Well, cool may not be the word for it. It would be weird, but I wouldn’t say no.”

Mitch didn’t say anything, but smiled.

“Under one condition… you take me on one of these random road trips you keep doing.”

“Just one? I think I can handle that.”

Waking up Tuesday morning at 8 AM, way too early after the night she’d had, Lindsey answered the ringing phone. Her sister wanted to know how things with Mitch had been going. Lindsey filled her in. Before hanging up, she had one last question.

“Hey, I kept missing the punchline to this joke last night. Have you ever heard this before?” She was in luck.

“Yeah”, Jessie exclaimed. “A carrot!”

————

My money is betting that Kaylee is unemployed, and I feel kinda bad about that. Kinda…

Speaking of betting, never again in Eagle Pass.

The Tiphanie Doppelgänger incident did happen, was freaky, and was made extremely awkward.

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Lindsey’s City: Chapter 2

by on Dec.23, 2016, under 'The Blog'

“What’s the difference between the North- and South-Pole?”

Mitch had heard this joke before, but the three girls in front of him hadn’t.

“All the difference in the world.”

Will turned back around to rejoin his group of friends. Mitch noticed the blonde laughed last… kind of a shame, as she was the cute one.

Closing his eyes, he turned back towards the band and continued to dance.

— 3 Hours Ago —

Mitch paused when he picked up his phone. He still wasn’t used to the background, the same image he’d always had on the phone. That is, except for the last 2 weeks that it had been a picture Lindsey had put on there. He’d finally taken the time to change that back, hoping to avoid the momentary pause he always had at seeing a different background. In the end, there’s just no winning…

Having just installed Snapchat, Mitch decided to add some of his friends and try out the app. Almost immediately Will responded, inviting him out to see Flatland Cavalry at Wild West. Rather than every other invite Mitch seemed to get, which was to a show 40 minutes away, this one was just down the road, an easy 2 mile drive. This thing was already paying off…

— 1 Week Ago —

“I can’t believe I drank that much… I NEVER dance in public, and I do remember dancing with you that night. The only time I dance is when I’m home alone and nobody can see me. I’m just glad I apparently didn’t do anything else embarrassing that night.”

Sitting at Mod during lunch, Mitch and Lindsey recapped events from the weekend prior. Neither had a full recollection of the night, but both had pieced together most of it from their friends.

“Well, do you think it was the liquor, or maybe you’re just getting really comfortable around me and that’s why you were dancing?”

“Oh, it was definitely the liquor…”

As soon as he said it, he realized that was the wrong answer. She either ignored it, or didn’t take offense to it, and carried on…

“Well, you can’t think about it. Just close your eyes then nobody can see you, and you can dance all you want just like you’re at home.”

Mitch almost argued, knowing it was never that easy, but took another bite of his Caspian. He didn’t yet know how much he would be dancing in the next week, or that every time he would think of this exact moment…

— 13 days, 12 Hours Ago (12 Hours after 7 Days Before 1 Week Ago) —

Laying in bed after waking up past noon, Lindsey felt miserable. She didn’t really remember the night before, though she was pretty sure what had caused the headache she had. The last thing she recalled was walking into the Hangar Lounge.

Checking the messages on her phone confirmed it all. Her friends had forwarded several pictures of her and Mitch dancing, and in every one she had a drink in her hand.

——

Mitch could have hugged his couch – it was so good to be home again. He still felt like throwing up, and he wouldn’t even try to eat solid food for another day.

Mitch rarely had hangovers, but the previous night was only the third time he’d ever blacked out, so he wasn’t necessarily surprised. He came to the realization that he was probably still drunk from the previous night, and was just thankful to have made it home safely. Somehow he had failed to keep to his cardinal rule when drinking – a glass of water with every drink. He didn’t recall having any…

Looking at his phone again, he tried to remember the night that was still a vague blur. He remembered Lindsey putting her picture as his phone’s background, but he had no context as to why. There was dancing, that much he knew, but he didn’t remember anything past that. His biggest fear was what came after. He didn’t remember leaving the bar, and just hoped he hadn’t embarrassed himself or offended anyone.

He knew the day was shot, and proceeded straight to bed for a long nap.

— 2 Weeks Ago —

The best part of the Christmas season is the company holiday parties, specifically the open bars. Mitch had it all planned out – he’d go to the company party, enjoy a few drinks, then join Will for some bar hopping and for once enjoy getting drunk. He’d already checked into a hotel downtown, and now the Shiner was free for the first couple hours.

Almost immediately, Mitch decided to skip the bar hopping and stay where the drinks were free. Temperatures in the 30s in Austin meant the outside sections of the bar were virtually empty. Mitch kept the bartender company for most of the evening. She was cute, but after a few drinks he didn’t even notice that – she was just the source of more free beer. Her name long forgotten, the only thing he would remember was the Shade of Green of her eyes.

As the company party wound down, he checked his phone, and sure enough, there was a message waiting from Lindsey. She was right across the street with some friends, so he decided he’d join her. He walked into Hangar and proceeded straight to the bar. For the first time that night, he paid for a drink.

According to his credit card statement, it wasn’t the last…

— 3 Weeks, 6 Days, and 23 Hours Ago —

“Oh… shit…”

Laying in bed, replaying the night’s events, Mitch suddenly sat up. It all hit him at once, realizing who Lindsey was and what had just happened.

How had he not recognized her? What would her sister say? What would Will think? Wait, is it really that big of a deal? Yes, it’s a huge deal! How did this happen?

His head spinning from a thousand thoughts at once, he instinctively started rubbing the left side of his head, as if rubbing a pain that was now a distant memory.

— 4 Weeks Ago —

“Wait… WHAT?”

Lindsey repeated herself, then continued.

“Did you know Mitch moved to Austin like right after y’all broke up? Why didn’t you tell me?”

Still processing this information, she skipped right over her sister’s newfound Southern vernacular.

“I didn’t even think about it… but wait, start at the beginning. What happened?”

Lindsey told her the story of the night, being sure to include the details of the massive beard that hid his identity. She didn’t quite expect her sister’s response.

“Did you enjoy it?”

“I… I… don’t know,” she stuttered. She hadn’t had the chance to think about it, still recovering from the shock of realizing who he was.

“Well, I mean, if you did, you should call him and hang out again. I’m long over that, like I would care any. And he was a nice enough guy, and the only ex I don’t hate.”

“Well… maybe I will,” Lindsey pondered. “I think I need to get some sleep and approach this with a fresh mind.”

“Sounds like a plan. Oh, and one pro-tip,” Jessie offered. “Don’t hit him with a frying pan again. He definitely didn’t appreciate that last time…”

————

Ok, so really I’m pretty sure her eyes were brown, but then I’d have missed out on a callback opportunity that probably no one will get anyway…

There’s a really entertaining part between 13 Days 21 Hours ago and 13 Days 18 Hours ago, but after writing it I lost it, and haven’t been able to find it again.

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