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TUESDAY, JULY 12, 2016



Creative Writing

It’s the dark corner of the bar and I’m sitting on a black sofa across from my girlfriend Sylvia who’s on the other black sofa, texting somebody, probably Brandon, who hasn’t called her in a week and she’s pissed. We’re trying to stay hidden because the guys in here are all creeps tonight. She finishes her message then picks up her empty Heineken bottle and frowns at me. I wiggle my empty bottle back at her and she mouths through the deafening music, “I’ll go get more.”

As Sylvia gets up I flip open my cellphone, momentarily blinded by the LCD glare. I missed a call, which depresses me. I listen to the message, from Cass, who says she’ll be here in ten minutes, but that was a half hour ago so she should be here by now, but she isn’t.

I close my eyes, thinking of Patrick, who I regret breaking up with and remember the last time we made love, in his bed, at his apartment, before he moved away. I let my hand fall to my breast, let it linger there, feel myself getting wet, and, because I can, sit here and arouse myself to nearly the point of orgasm, with nobody noticing, thinking of the way Patrick used to kiss my breasts.

I realize that if I were a guy I wouldn’t have this luxury. A guy has to fear his own physical arousal in public. Funny. A guy can’t stand up with giving it away. He has to beware his own erection. Not so for girls. Guys have it too good as it is. At least we have this.

I open my eyes and see a guy at a table staring at me. Fuck. Unfortunately I make eye contact with him and out of reflex I smile, and so he gets up and walks towards me. On the way over I notice that he’s got a bit of an erection, so maybe he was watching me, letting himself get aroused and didn’t care. Or maybe he’s got a unnaturally large bulge. Or maybe he’s got a sock in there.

As he gets closer I can also see that his t-shirt is lined with little skulls, just like mine is.

Towering above me he says, “Hey,” in a deep, confident but playful voice, a big hand reaching for mine. “I’m Brad. What’s your name, dollface?”

“Angelina,” I say, smiling, but no teeth, trying, and failing, to let him know I don’t want him here. He sits down next to me.

“That’s a nice name,” he says. Then, “Hey, we could be another Brad-gelina.”

I take a swig from my empty beer bottle, get a drop, and just say, “Yep,” thinking, ‘It’s Bran-jelina, you idiot.’

He tries to recover, and asks, “Can I call you Angel?”

“Um,” I say, trying to look confused and not pleased, “If you want to.”

He goes on. “So what do you do, Angel?”

“I work at a clothing store downtown,” I say.

“Oh yeah,” he feigns interest. “My ex used to work at a clothing store.”

“Oh yeah,” I say plainly.

There’s a pause so he decides to fill it with, “You know, you have really beautiful eyes, Angel.”

I already knew that. I get that from guys like five times a day.

“Thanks,” I say, instead of ‘Fuck off.’

“Why don’t you and your girlfriend come sit with me and my buddies?” He looks at me really strange when he says this.

“No,” I say, “that’s okay.” He pouts like a little fucking kid. “We’re just about to leave, anyway,” I lie.

Just then Sylvia shows up with our beers, hands me one, and Brad says, “Oh, just about to leave, eh?”

“We’re leaving after these,” I say without looking at him.

Sylvia sits down, looks at Brad, then at me, then at Brad again, who’s got his arm around me, sort of, leaning on the back of the sofa. Before I can signal for help she says, “I’ll leave you two alone,” and gets up, stranding me. She disappears into the crowd.

I look over at Brad, who’s smiling like a jack-ass, like he’s just won something.

“So,” he says.

So,” I echo.

The music’s been turned down, but I wish it hadn’t. That way I could plausibly ignore this guy. I try my best, though, closing my eyes and leaning back, but when my head falls on his arm I spring back up, open my eyes, and see his stupid grin. Then he winks at me. He actually winks at me. I manage not to burst out laughing and just smile, which, of course, he takes as a good sign.

Slowly, trying to be sexy about it, this Brad guy leans in and starts kissing my neck, breathing uncomfortably hot, moist air on my skin. I laugh now, but again he takes it as a good sign and says, “You like that?” and puts his hand on my knee. What a dork.

I’m praying for the lights to turn on, for the bar to close, because that’s my only out. I’d tell him to stop but I don’t want to be a bitch. His necking is getting sloppier and louder. He starts to moan. Does he really think this is attractive?

I suddenly clue in to the fact that I’m really drunk and that I’ve been at this bar for far too long already.

Finally Brad stops slurping the back of my neck, looks at me, and smiles. I take a swig of beer and he takes a swig of his. He lifts my chin with his beer-hand and kisses me. It’s the first even-close-to-sexy thing he’s done. I take another swig of beer and he looks around, maybe to see if anyone has noticed his score. He probably feels very proud.

We talk for a little while about mundane crap and he keeping mentioning his nameless “buddies” and “bros”, how hard he and them work at their construction jobs, the raises he keeps getting, and the cars he used to own. He asks me what clothing store I work at and as I’m answering he looks around distractedly, then turns back towards me and starts slurping my neck again and moves his hand higher up my thigh. What is with guys? Fucking clueless.

Suddenly, he reaches up my skirt, like I wouldn’t notice or something, and starts to rub the outside of my underwear, like that’ll get me off. Then he fiddles with my panties, trying to get crotch part out of the way so he can finger me, presumably. He inadvertently tugs at my pubic hair so I say, “Watch it,” and he laughs, as if to say, “Oh, you’re a feisty one.” No (I think but don’t say), I just don’t like getting my pubes pulled out.

I squirm a bit and spread my legs, trying to help the poor bastard out (he doesn’t have a clue) and he keeps whispering, “It’s alright, it’s okay,” like my dog died and I’m eight or something.

He finally gets the panties out of the way and slides a finger in me easily, probably thinking that it was him that got me wet and not Patrick. He pokes away into the side of my vagina, doing nothing for me, his curled knuckles grinding into my thigh, feeling like it’s bruising. He whispers an “Oh yeah” into my ear.

I take the beer out of his hand, the one over my shoulder, and pull it over my breast, but he just lets it lie there, limp, like a disturbingly weak handshake, and eventually he moves it away. I guess he can’t do two things at once. He’s pretty focused on rubbing the one side of my pussy. I sigh, disappointed, which he mistakes it as a sign of approval, and moans, “Oh yeah,” again, adding, “you like that, eh?”

His monotonous poking goes on, and I think he’s forgotten that I’m here, which is actually a relief. I reach for my beer and chug the rest. He doesn’t seem to notice, or care. He’s slouched over me with his bottom lip stuck on the back of my neck, dried there. Only his hand up my skirt is moving.

Sylvia, thank god, finally reappears. She sits back down on the black sofa across from me and gives me a funny look. I roll my eyes and she taps her wrist and I nod. It’s time to go.

I push Brad off me and he withdraws his hand from my skirt, snapping out of his stupor like he just woke up. Without looking at me he says, “Where’s my beer?” so I pass it to him without saying anything and he chugs the rest and pulls out his cellphone from its belt pouch, flips it open, reads a text message, laughs. Sylvia and I stare at him, amazed at his caveman-like awareness, then look at each other and shake our heads.

We get up and grab our purses. I adjust my skirt and Brad looks up at me. The lights turn on and the music shuts off completely. Straight-faced and obviously insincere, I say, “See ya, Brad. It was nice meeting you,” as I sling my purse over my shoulder. He flashes back a big, dopey, douchebag smile.

We walk out of the bar and Sylvia finally asks, “Who was that guy who was fingering you?”

“Just some creep,” I say.

“Ugh, what is with guys?” she wonders aloud.

“I know,” I add rhetorically.

We light a couple smokes outside the bar and walk down the street, saying nothing, the clicks of our heels in sync. After a while she asks, “Where are all the nice guys?”

I take a long, deep pull on my cigarette and answer, definitively, “There are no nice guys.”



Is the point that the woman was a party to creating the situation?

I feel bad for Brad



Well, the story wasn't meant to be "realistic", and I don't think either of the main characters - Brad and Angelina - were very sympathetic to the reader, at least they weren't intended that way. So no, Jackson, the point isn't exactly that the woman was a party to the situation. She was a party to it, but that doesn't make her any more dispicable than Brad. He's clearly a caveman, as Angelina suggests, so I'm surprised a philosopher like yourself would feel for him (though, as the type of "guy" you are, maybe I shouldn't be so surprised...).

I guess my point was - if there is a "point" to it - that this is the sort of thing (greatly exaggerated, of course: as Oscar Wilde said, "Art itself is really a form of exaggeration; and selection, which is the very spirit of art, is nothing more than an intensified mode of over-emphasis") that happens at a typical bar. It's just a slice of life, you know? No big moral issue, just a description, a depiction. Girls, I've observed, have to put up a lot from stupid guys, and lots of girls put up with way too much shit from guys. Angela is one such girl, so desensitized to her own sense of personal space that she treats a hand up her skirt as if it were a hand on her knee.

But I shouldn't explain away the piece anymore. Don't feel sorry for Brad. Feel sorry for everyone that goes to bars and acts this way (albeit in a less exaggerated way, mostly), guy or girl.

Thanks for the comment, Jackson.

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