the Table61 blog

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.

Soon…

“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…

“Wiiilll!”

“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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Jessie’s Boys: Chapter 4

by on Oct.17, 2010, under 'The Blog'

“Let’s get this one; it has a giant cock on it.”

Jessie sighed; perhaps Mitch was the wrong person to let choose the wine for the evening. She didn’t have any better recommendations though, so she decided to pick it up. She added the bottle with a big rooster printed on the front to the basket, which already contained a bottle titled “Another !@#%  Merlot (In a Very Cool Bottle)”, a bottle of Little Penguin Chardonnay (because Mitch is a Linux fan), and a large bottle of Verdi, because Gabe had said it was the best.

Neither Jessie nor Mitch knew much about wines; they just decided that would be an appropriate drink for the wedding after party. Jessie was Mitch’s date to Marv’s sister’s wedding. Jessie was going hoping she would find some single guys, and Mitch was looking for single girls. However, when they were told that all of the bridesmaids and groomsmen were married, they took that as a bad sign; they were getting too old. There were informal plans to have a big after party when the reception had ended. Jessie and Mitch were bringing wine, Marv and Ashley (mostly Marv) were bringing Scotch and cigars, and Gabe and Jessica were bringing food and music. There were kegs of Bud Light ordered for the wedding, and the plan was to finish them, staying up as late as needed, get trashed, then they could sleep at the campground at the country club.

They arrived at the club about 3 hours early; they told everyone they had came to help with preparations, but in truth they were hoping to identify any other single attendees as early as possible. It turned out that there wasn’t much help needed, so Mitch pulled out his camera to start taking photos. He took a few obligatory shots of his date before moving on to find his friends. After a few candid shots, he got bored and, not wanting to waste his film, he decided to talk to his friends and sneak a few swallows of Marv’s scotch.

As the ceremony approached, Jessie and Mitch decided it was time to change into their dress clothes, which they hadn’t worn since they had expected to be helping setup the wedding. Mitch was excited that he had an excuse to wear his suit, while Jessie got nervous. Every time she put her good luck charm on, bad things seemed to happen. She went to the bridesmaid’s room and changed. She soon returned to sit with her date wearing her little black dress, size 2.

Soon after sitting down, Marv came over and asked Mitch if he could video tape the ceremony. They had a camera, but they were short on help. Mitch didn’t enjoy standing in front of a group of people trying to be inconspicuous, but decided he had to help out. He found the camera and headed to the front as he tried to learn how to use it. He managed to load the tape and get it recording just as the bride started walking down the aisle; lucky timing. Lacking time to setup a tripod, he then began the struggle to keep the camera steady while moving around to try to get good views. As the ceremony started, he was disappointed to find that the pastor was speaking very quiet; he was only 10 feet away and couldn’t hear him, so he knew the camera couldn’t.

Gabe had never been a fan of wedding ceremonies; he preferred drinking at the receptions, but Jessica had made him attend. He decided he would cause a little mischief. As the ceremony started, it became very quiet. No one in the audience could hear the pastor, but they all remained quiet in hopes that they would. Gabe realized that in this silence, he could really embarrass someone. He looked around and saw Mitch standing in front of everyone, distracted with the video camera; perfect. He decided he would be real evil, and time it during the vows. Soon, Gabe pulled out his phone and began to dial.

Mitch couldn’t make much out, but he could hear the pastor asking the bride “Do you…” so he knew the important moment was coming up. He began his dance around the photographer to get to a good angle. He was slowly walking sideways, steadying the camera with both hands, when he felt his phone vibrate in his pocket. He suddenly panicked; he knew it would vibrate two times before ringing, so he needed to act fast, but without disrupting the camera. The first vibration stopped as he slowly started moving his hand to his pocket. He was subconsciously keeping time and expected the start of the second vibration as his hand reached his pocket. That left him til the end of the vibration followed by a short pause to hit End on the phone. He managed to get the phone in his hand as the last vibration stopped. Mitch started to panic though as he couldn’t determine which way he was holding the phone or where the button was. His mind was visualizing the phone and he managed to find and cancel the ring just as his subconscious timer indicated he was out of time. Mitch breathed a sigh of relief as he turned his attention back to the camera; he thought he had managed to keep it steady too.

“Sometimes he is actually kind of smart,” Gabe thought to himself, assuming that Mitch had his phone on silent. He put his phone away and looked forward to the kiss, which meant he was about done with the formalities. Soon he could lose his jacket and loosen his tie.

As the wedding party cleared the aisle and the ushers started to dismiss people, Mitch hit the stop button on the camera, and dropped his hands to his side. He had spent far to long holding the camera steady in one position, and as he finally let his arms down they burned with fire. Someone came to ask for his help in moving something, but he quickly snapped “No!” before they could even finish their request. For the next ten minutes, he sat with his arms hanging straight down.

Jessie rejoined her date to discuss what they would do in the hour remaining before the reception started. They decided they would hang around with Marv while the formal pictures were taken. Soon, Marv was called into a family picture and he handed his camera to Jessie to take a picture of him with his parents and the bride. She was unsure how to use the camera; it was a big high-end professional looking thing, but she assumed she just had to hit the button. As they were posed, Jessie took a picture while standing next to the photographer. He noticed, and approached her. She suddenly got an uneasy feeling in her stomach; the look on his face combined with the fact that she was wearing her not-so-good-luck-dress made her nervous. He asked her not to take any of his posed pictures, to give him some ‘exclusivity’ since he was the one setting them up. She agreed not to take any more; not a problem since that was the only one she was taking. She felt rather embarrassed standing there in front of everyone, but sucked it up and tried to regain her composure.

They soon went to the reception, a minute’s walk across the country club, and started socializing. Somehow, their group of friends had gathered at a table separated from the rest of the reception. Jessie wasn’t sure if this was planned by their friends, who usually separated themselves, or was planned by the bride, who knew that they should be separated. They were all drinking before supper was served, and they soon gave up on going back to the bar for refills; most of them had their own personal bottle of wine in front of them. Some had a glass of beer as well. Marv had scotch too.

Everyone was having a good time until Jim came over to say hello to them. Everyone suddenly got silent; many of them knew this would be awkward, the rest just were confused as to why everyone else had gotten quiet. Jessie and Jim used to date until they had a bad breakup. For years neither one of them spoke and they avoided each other at any cost. This is the first time they had been around each other in years, and no one knew that they were both over the situation. When it was apparent that they were going to be civil around each other, the conversations resumed.

Mitch was talking to Amber, a girl that all of his friends knew, but somehow he had never met before. He kept flirting with her, even though she had a boyfriend at the other end of the table. She ran out of wine, and she asked him for a refill, for the fourth time. Mitch decided to play the part of an asshole, since girls seem to like that.

“Listen, I like you and all, but you’re too pretty for me.”

Amber had no idea what he meant by this, but patted him on the head and thanked him.

“No, what I mean is I have no chance of hooking up with you,” he explained, “so why should I run around being your little servant. No matter how nice I am, I’m still not going to be good looking enough for you.”

Amber was shocked. She didn’t know how to respond. It’s one of those comments where someone compliments you but makes you look bad at the same time. She was buzzed enough she could just shrug it off, and she turned around to find her boyfriend to make him get the refill. He promptly complied with her request.

A few more bottles of wine made their way to the trash cans, and they hadn’t even noticed the cake was cut until it was served to their table. Everyone had been concerned when Jim had approached while Jessie was around, but no one thought anything when Jen approached. Mitch had had a serious crush on Jen for many years, but everyone had assumed that he was over it. He thought he was too, for the most part. He had seen her as soon as he arrived and he had been discreetly paying attention to her. He tried to keep her off of his mind and pay attention to the other girls around him, who were much more inebriated. She had come to say goodbye to some of the members of the group, and he watched her walk away, wondering how many months or years it would be until he saw her again.

The music started, and most of the girls made their way to the dance floor. Marv found his cigars and scotch, and invited the guys to join him for the “man party”. He was disappointed at how many guys didn’t want any of the scotch, declaring they’d rather stick to their wine. He had never seen such a lack of masculinity. He managed to find a small group guys, most of whom he didn’t know, who joined him to enjoy the whisky. Most of them commented on the smoothness of the drink; apparently they were surprised to find he had filled his flask with Glenfiddich. What did they expect, Cutty Sark?

While Jessie was on the dance floor, the photographer approached her. She got nervous again as he apologized for his comments earlier. She forgave him, explaining that she understood his position and why he did it. He asked for a dance with her to apologize. She excitedly agreed; he was quite a bit older that her, but he was good looking. She learned his name was Doug, but was disappointed to find out that he had a girlfriend. She still had a good time; he was a good dancer.

As people began to leave, the music shifted from the traditional wedding soundtrack to hip-hop and rock. Jessie and Mitch danced together a short while, as dates are expected, before Mitch started dancing with Rachel, a girl he had just met and had introduced himself to with the warning “I bite”. As the reception came to an official close, he invited Rachel to stick around for the after party, but she had work in the morning. He mumbled a curse about responsible people.

The only distinction between the reception and the after party was the departure of the DJ. They had planned to bring a stereo for their own music, but they were content with no music as they tried to finish the rest of the beer in the kegs. Someone soon got the idea to do keg stands. Marv decided he liked the idea of seeing guys in suits doing keg stands, so encouraged it. Jessie decided to partake, and they soon learned it is hard to hold a girl’s dress up while holding her upside down. Jessie was glad she had decided to wear underwear. They also decided they wanted to play beer pong, but everyone was disappointed to find there were no pong balls. Luckily, at the same time, the bride’s father carried in a stack of graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows. Apparently there had been a bonfire with S’mores; not a single person left at the after party had noticed, but at this point, they were happy to have a stack of chocolate to consume. Mitch got the great idea that the marshmallows would be a suitable replacement for pong balls. Thus Beer-Mallows was created.

While waiting for their turn to play a round of Beer-Mallows, Mitch and Jessie were talking alone in a corner. The more she drank, the less reserved she became. At some point, for some reason, she stuck her butt in his face, and Mitch had decided to bite her. This wasn’t out of character for Mitch; however, when he sank his teeth lightly into her dress, the drunken side of him decided to bite as hard as he could. Jessie was shocked, mostly at the fact that he hadn’t lied when she’d heard him introduce himself to Rachel, and hit him, mostly because of the pain he’d inflicted. He promptly apologized and wasn’t sure himself why he had done it, but just wrote it off as part of being drunk.

After the marshmallows were were too wet and slimy for continued play, the party, which was now only four people, moved to one of the campers. They took a few bottles of wine with them, and continued drinking until they were all empty. Mitch and Jessie were forced to sleep in the same bed, as Marv and Gabe refused to sleep with another guy in the tiny beds. Jessie warned Mitch that he’d better not bite again, but really she was happy that one of her ‘dates’ actually ended up with a little cuddle time.

The next morning, Mitch drove Jessie home and dropped her off before beginning his own four hour trip home. Jessie got in the shower, and, when she pulled the shower curtain back to get out, she found her sister anxiously awaiting her.

“You finally didn’t come home from a date. I didn’t know whether to celebrate or call the cops.”

“No, nothing happened.” Jessie explained as she dried herself off. “It was just a date to a wedding. We did cuddle together, but that was the extent of it.”

“If that’s the case, then why’s there a bite mark on your ass?” She showed a sly smile to Jessie before turning around and walking out of the bathroom. Jessie blushed in embarrassment.

On his way home, Mitch couldn’t stop thinking about Jen. He thought he was over her, at least to the point that when he did think about her, he could forget her in five minutes. When he finally arrived home, and she was still on his mind, he knew how his night was going to be spent. He went straight to the kitchen and grabbed his favorite rocks glass.

Late that night, an empty bottle of Johnie Walker Black Label on his counter, Mitch discovered that his printer was out of ink. He went online to compare prices at Best Buy, Staples, and online retailers. He found that Amazon had the best price and ordered a replacement cartridge. When he awoke in the morning and checked his email, he found the confirmation message for the ink cartridge along with confirmations for several other orders. He didn’t remember ordering anything else, and there were only a handful of times in his life he had drank enough to forget the events of the previous evening. The last thing he could remember was getting on Amazon to order the ink cartridge, but the emails were an indication that he had done much after that. He decided not to read the messages and allow himself to be surprised as the packages arrived over the next week. With over a dozen order confirmations in his inbox, he knew it would be entertaining.

— This post brought to you by Rex-Goliath “Giant 47 Pound Cock” Wine.

This story is based on actual events, though some of the names have been changed.

Lindsay, sorry about biting your ass.

And seriously, no hard feelings towards Doug.

So far I’ve received one “drunk gift” from myself. I have no idea how many more are on the way…

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Why…

by on Jun.11, 2010, under Random

The story’s always the same no matter where we meet,

On winter’s chilly nights or days plagued by summer’s heat.

Whether Wednesdays, holidays, or Sunday afternoons,

Early mornings or late nights on walks underneath the moon.

I come to you when I find myself in need of service fast,

But after this experience this time may just be the last.

I’m not much for small talk, my responses all are quick.

In fact most are lies or a psychological trick.

You ask me how I’m doing and I always respond ‘Well’

Even if I’ve had a day come from hell.

I may tell you a story explaining why my voice is hoarse,

Explaining I’ve been yelling at the hearing for my divorce.

I steer the conversation to the reason that I came.

I try to remove myself from this conversational game.

I tell you what I want and you tell me what’s the price

And if our conversation stopped there, it sure would be nice.

But for some unknown reason I’ll never understand why

You always try to sell me a goddamned apple pie.

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