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Archive for October, 2016

Lindsey’s City: Chapter 1

by on Oct.27, 2016, under 'The Blog'

“Motherf… shit… sonofa… ass!!!”

On the north side of town, Mitch downshifted into fourth. He didn’t know it yet, but it was the last time he’d hit fifth gear that night. Rounding the curve, he now understood why the car ahead was slowing. A wall of bright red showed stopped traffic. The previous twelve miles had taken thirty minutes. The last one would take twenty.

He briefly noticed the car’s shaking ease as he slowed, the result of the unbalanced tire from a shop visit just days before. He already had an appointment to fix that this weekend. You can’t seem to find a good mechanic in the city.

Already late to his friend’s birthday celebration, he could only speculate how much longer the drive would be. He had been optimistic, planning thirty minutes for the drive that should have been fifteen without traffic. Optimism never paid off on these roads. Mitch had lived in Austin 6 years now, and every one of them brought worse traffic than the previous.

“Hey Girl!”

As she walked into The Dogwood, Will jumped up to hug Lindsey and introduce her to the others. It seemed he knew everyone here, the bartenders and the patrons. She had known it was his favorite drinking spot, but she was just starting to realize how often that must be. It was his birthday though, so she couldn’t judge him for being out this particular Thursday.

Lindsey had met Will at a country dance hall three weeks before. He had walked up to her, asked the guy next to them if he’d hold his beer, and grabbed her for a dance. She didn’t have a chance to resist. After he returned the favor and held the stranger’s beer for the next dance, they left and walked around the town talking. An intriguing guy, she had promised to hang out with him again soon.

After the introductions, Will continued on louder than necessary to be heard above the background music. It sounded as though he’d already had a few drinks.

“My friend Mitch is coming out tonight. He’s the single one I told you about. He should be here anytime.”

For a single guy, Will sure did focus on playing wingman for his friends. She played it off nonchalantly.

“Cool. It will be good to meet some new people.”

Having only moved to the city two months before, she was still expanding her social circles.

For the last twenty minutes, Mitch had been stuck on the Mopac offramp behind an accident scene. He should probably feel concern for the guy whose car was being pulled onto the tow truck, but he instead felt anger continuing to build. He had probably been texting on his cellphone when he rear-ended the truck in front of him. He seemed fine, but the car was toast, the fire department having extinguished the last of the flames.

Now forty minutes late, he could probably see the bar from here if the guardrail wasn’t blocking the view.

Will finished his third vodka-water as another round of Rumple Minze was distributed amongst the group. Lindsey was glad to learn he left his car at home, committing to cabs for the rest of the night. Since Uber had left, his monthly drinking costs had doubled.

Before he downed the shot, he pondered to the group.

“Why do Texans always say y’all?”

Slamming the empty glass down, he answered his own riddle.

“Because OU sucks!”

She hadn’t been in Texas long, but even Lindsey’s chuckle confirmed she understood this sentiment.

Will didn’t stay in one spot long, and was immediately back to making the rounds through the crowd. He stopped at the bar to play wingman for the waitress, who he claimed had been spending a lot of time with one particular customer. She wanted nothing to do with it. He introduced himself to another customer by picking him up and carrying him back to Lindsey and the rest of the group; the guy joined them for a drink. Will then joined a group of girls and talked about how good he looked. He always looked great when he was drinking.

“It’s Thursday. Why the hell are the streets full of drunk people!”

Mitch couldn’t believe he was only blocks away, but was barely making progress. At this point, walking would be faster, so he decided to park in the garage he was passing. He calmed down, realizing it was mere minutes from his first drink. Too bad he had to drive home, so he would limit himself to just two. Given the obligatory round of Will’s “it tastes like Christmas” shots, that left just one Shiner he’d get to enjoy.


“Mitch is from Illinois too. See, I told ya y’all had a lot in common.”

Small world. She shouldn’t be surprised, she had three high school classmates who had also moved to Austin, though she hadn’t talked to a single one of them since graduation. Maybe one day she would run into them – after all, Austin was turning out to be a rather small city.

“Well, Illinois doesn’t have much to bond over. Once we talk about the cornfields and the snow, I don’t think we’ll have much else.”

Will was really pushing this hard. She’d almost feel bad if she didn’t end up liking this guy.

“So what else are you doing for your birthday?”

“Well, later we’re heading to a show down at Threadgill’s. Tomorrow I have to work, but immediately after, I think I’m just going to drink for three days straight.”

Wow, he really thought he would make it to work tomorrow. That must explain all the waters he kept ordering alongside his drinks – at least he was thinking ahead to prevent a hangover.

“Well, I doubt I have the energy in me to do much else after this. I’m not as young as you apparently.”

She giggled saying it, knowing he was seven years older. She couldn’t imagine how intense he would have been himself seven years younger. As she looked over her shoulder, she caught a glimpse of the biggest beard she’d ever seen…


“Dude, where the hell have you been?”

“You don’t even want to know. Nevermind that, I need to get a drink”.

Will returned with The Beard as he hugged the rest of the group. Getting to the end of the table, Will finally introduced them.

“This is Lindsey, the girl I was telling you about I danced with. It turns out she’s also from Illinois. Lindsey, this is Mitch, my coworker.”

“Illinois, huh? I miss the snow.”

“Don’t forget the corn”, Lindsey laughed. Mitch smiled, instantly in on the joke.

Will jovially slapped them both on the back, said something unintelligible, and walked away to join in on the bar games, content with a job well done.

“How long have you been in Texas?”

“Just a couple of months. I heard it’s a great party city, and so far I haven’t been disappointed. I almost joined my sister in New York, but too expensive. Finding a job here was luckily easy. I’m just afraid of how hot the summers will be.”

“They’re not bad, you get used to it real fast. There’s no snow in the winter, which you may find a benefit now, but after 6 years, I’m not so sure. I’m taking a trip next month to the mountains to remember what it’s like. I think a couple days there will hold me over for a few more years.”

“And you?”

“I moved down for a job. It turns out, there’s so many opportunities here, I’m on my fourth one now. This place is insane for the tech industry. It’s pretty fun too.”

Someone placed a shot of clear liquid in front of Mitch, and he walked to the other side of the table to join the others in a toast. She could smell the peppermint from several feet away.

“Walk me to my car?”

Walking out of the bar, Lindsey and Mitch were both calling it a night. She didn’t know if it was luck or if Will knew what he was talking about, but it turns out she really did like this guy.

“Of course.”

Will and his group turned left, while the Illinoisans turned right.

As they approached, Mitch instantly identified her car by the Illinois license plates. It had been a while since he’d seen those.

She opened the door, but hesitated and turned back.

“I had a lot of fun tonight. We should hang out again.”

He was unsure, but the two additional drinks he’d had gave him the courage. He leaned in for a kiss. It wasn’t what she had expected, but she didn’t resist it.

“Definitely”, he replied after, with a smirk.

He glanced down, and a sticker on her car brought back memories. He hadn’t seen that Warrior in years.

“Oh my god, are you from Tuscola? Me too! Class of 2003.”

“Really. I’m 2008. But you must’ve known my…”

She stopped, stunned, suddenly realizing who he was. How did she not recognize him. It had only been six years. It must be the beard.

“I… I’ve got to go. We’ll catch up later though.”

Mitch had never been so confused. What the hell had just happened. As she climbed into her car, he slowly started toward his. He couldn’t drive like this. Best to go grab some pizza and replay what had just occurred.

As she walked into her apartment in Austin, it was approaching midnight in New York. Lindsey didn’t give that any thought though – she had to call her sister now. She picked up on the fourth ring, barely awake.

“Hey Sis. What time is it… Is everything ok.”

Lindsey continued, oblivious to the exhaustion in the voice on her phone.

“I just kissed your ex!”

“Wait… WHAT?”

Jessie was now wide awake, and slightly confused.


This story is based on actual traffic and places. Some of the rest happened, much of it didn’t. And for the record, I’m in agreement – that bartender was totally into that dude.

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