Monday, December 15, 2014

The Best Laid Plans (Of Mice and Men)

It was one o'clock in the morning and there were two things on the table in front of me; a slice of Lemon Pound cake and a white Apple bag containing a small gift. I couldn't really tell which one was pissing me off more, the Apple bag I was certain, was mocking me like a heartless kid in the Second Grade pointing out the one damn thing that I didn't want to hear. But the pound cake might have been worse. At least I knew why the Apple bag was upsetting me, the pound cake I couldn't quite figure out. We had always been cool, it was my favorite, in fact. Whenever I felt down I'd stop by and after a few bites it was guaranteed to cheer me up. But not this time. This time it was just sitting there uneaten on the plate, the upper edge of it curling like a savage half-smile or maybe it was just the way that the whole thing was shaped like an open mouth, a mouth that was laughing hysterically at my silly ass. Not that I maybe didn't deserve to be laughed at, but still. I was sitting there, shooting laser beams out of my eyes at the two of them. I had been there this way at least 15 minutes, which is a World Record for me to sit and not eat something sweet, especially if that something was the Lemon Pound cake at Bread and Butter in the Borgata Casino. Which is where I was sitting, boiling, boiling mad like a pot of water forgotten over a high flame for way too long. I was so incensed I had actually lost track of time, so furious I didn't even see my boy JS walk up and slide into the seat across the table from me.
"Yo Pitt, you alright?" he asked.
"I walked by here twice and you're just sitting here like this. I don't think I've ever seen you this mad in ten years."
"What happened?" he asked "You lose a big pot in the Poker Room?
"Something like that." I said.
"It must have been a really, really big pot for you to be this pissed." he said.
"Something like that." I said.
"Nah", he said," I seen you lose a hundred pots for big time money, it's got to be more that that."
"Something like that." I said.
He started chuckling, "Wait a minute, this is about that chick, isn't it?"
"Something like that." I said.
"You just don't learn, do you? He asked.
I sighed "Something like that."
"Of course!" he said, "What else could it be?"
He looked down at the table, at the Apple bag and the pound cake.
"What's this?"
He reached for the bag, opened it and removed the contents. It was a small gift about the size of a paperback book, wrapped with ribbons, a bow and a card with a woman's name handwritten on it taped to the bottom.
"Damn!' he said, "Look at us getting all fancy, ribbons and bows and shit."
"This is wrapped really nice." he said, "No way you did this yourself."
"I didn't." I said, "I got it done at Hamilton Mall."
"Hamilton Mall??" he asked "You rode the bus all the way out there just to get this wrapped? Or did you buy it out there and get it wrapped afterwards?"
"I just went there to get it wrapped.' I said.
He looked at me, "Either you're crazy or this must have been super important."
"Probably a little of both." I said.
"It's a little early for Christmas gifts, isn't it?" he asked.
"Yeah," I said, "It was for her birthday."
"She's working right now" he said "Why don't you go give it to her?"
"I tried." I said "She wouldn't accept it."
"Really?" he asked.
"Yeah." I said "I kept trying but she flat out refused and the worst part about it was she did that whole "beautiful woman trying to let a guy down easy thing" like I'm some kind of a moron who wouldn't know what was happening."
"Well . . . " he said "What would you prefer she say?"
"Do you want her to say "Leave me alone you crazy obsessed Stalker?"
"If she really thought that, then yeah, that would actually be preferable." I said. "At least that would be honest. I hate it when people try to bullshit me."
He looked at me like I had three noses. "You'd prefer that to what she said?"
"Of course I would.' I said "You can't have a real relationship with someone without honesty."
"You got to start somewhere, right?" I asked.
He shook his head a few times. "Let me ask you a question."
"Whatever", I said.
"What would it take for you to just leave her alone, like what would she have to say to you?"
"If she told me she was in a long term loving relationship, that would do it." I replied.
"Bullshit!!" he said. "You wouldn't give up then, that would just make it worse."
Now, I was even more pissed, something I hadn't thought was possible.
"Remember a few years ago when she started going with dude?" I asked.
"And she was floating around here, giggling like a schoolgirl who had discovered true love."
"Yeah" He said, "I remember that."
"OK", I said, "What did I do then?"
He thought about it for a second. "You told her you were happy for her."
"Do you think I was lying?" I asked?
"No." he said, "Stupid maybe, but not lying."
"Did I keep trying to talk to her?" I asked.
"No." he said " You backed off, I guess you got a point, but I can't imagine caring about somebody THAT much."
He picked up the gift and turned it over in his hands.
"If I know you" he said "This is some kind of book."
"Of course." I said.
"You and those books" he said.
"Must be one hell of a book, what is it, a Bestseller or something?"
"No," I said "Nothing like that. It's not what you think it is, this whole situation isn't really"
"Well' he asked "Why is it such a big deal? Why not just return it or give it to someone else?"
"I can't return it" I said, "It's signed to her personally with a note from the author."
"Really?" he asked "You went through all that, getting it signed and shit?"
"Yeah." I said.
"Silly Rabbit, Trix are for kids." he said chuckling.
He turned it over again and looked at it. "You gotta let me see this book, it must really be something."
He reached for the ribbon as if to untie it, I snatched it from his hands.
"Whoa Dude, chill!' he said.
"You can't open it." I insisted.
"What difference does it make?" he asked, "She doesn't want it anyway."
"Is it some kind of secret?" he was grinning.
"No" I said, ""Nothing like that. It's not at all what you think it is"
"Well what book is it? He asked.
"Hand me your iPhone." I said.
He put it on the table, I picked it up, typed the Book and Author's name into Google, then hit the first result and handed it back to him. He read the entry silently, slowly moving his lips, then began scrolling down. All around us slot machines were making their merry C Major rings and chimes, and the voices of the other people in the cafĂ© became audible to me for the first time. he scrolled down to the bottom, double tapped his phone, then re-read the entire entry. He then looked up and scratched his head.
"I don't get it." he said, "What dude buys this book for a chick?" "It doesn't make any sense."
"I mean of all the books you could buy her, why this one? Is it that well written?"
"I don't get it." he looked at the screen again "What's the big deal?"
"I mean is this the right book? This is the book you bought her?"
He turned the phone towards me so I could read the screen. I nodded yes.
"Really?" he asked again. he turned it back towards himself and slowly read aloud.
"A Question of Freedom: A Memoir . . ."
"That's it" I said, "That's the right book."
"By Reginald Dewayne Betts" he finished.
"Wait a minute, I've seen this name before in your Facebook comments, you know this dude."
"Yeah." I said "He's a good friend."
"So you wrote him and asked him to sign it and everything?" he asked.
I nodded yes.
He laughed.
"Seem like an awful lot to go through for somebody who doesn't really appear to care about you." he said.
"I mean, you say yourself that she doesn't know how to be loved. So what's the point?"
"Because reasons." I said.
"What's that song by Cuba Gooding's dad?" He was laughing again..
"Everybody Plays the Fool Sometime" I sang badly.
"Exactly." he said.
"But it's like a poker hand." I continued "You always try get your money in with the odds in your favor, but sometimes the other guy gets lucky and you don't win. That doesn't mean you don't bet." I said
"I don't know." he said "Seems like a longshot to me."
"Look," I said "If you care about somebody then you care about them, it's not like you can just hit a button and quit caring."
"I know" he said "But it's been years and things are still the same."
"Yeah" I said "But if you believe in somebody, then you believe in them, just because they don't know something now doesn't mean they can't learn it eventually."
"You got a lot of patience." he said "Definitely more patience than sense."
"So what happens now?" he asked "What's Plan B, you just gonna sit here and be mad forever?"
"Not forever" I said "The Buddha said that walking around angry at somebody is like grabbing a hot coal to throw at them, you just end up burning yourself."
"Good thing you're sitting." he joked.
"It is what it is." I said
" I don't know yet." I paused, "I'll think of something eventually."
"Well" he asked "While you're thinking, are you going to eat this slice of pound cake? It's making me hungry . . ."

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Tuesday Tidbits 3 DEC 14

And until next we meet, may all your potatoes be sweet (and dusted with cinnamon.)