JESSE: Oh for chrissake, Sis…why should I explain this to anyone? Its just something that snuck up on me - it just…. Okay, I'll tell you if you keep your mouth shut ‘till I'm done. Promise Chloe? Chloe? Okay.
So. It's last May. I've been shopping and its hot -- so I think I'll just have something cold to drink and before I know it I'm sitting at The Prince & Poppers. Yeah. All alone.
I sip my TnT - yeah I like Gin, Chloe. Do you want to hear this or not?….So I'm sipping my TnT And I see "him." He's just one table away and somebody's told him that drinking martinis and filling the air with the effluvium of burning leaves is the ticket to a woman's bed. For that is certainly his goal. I know it. And the perky little creature with the big eyes sitting across from him knows it. But we're all pretending otherwise. Like you do with Jerry.
He's telling her about his job. Ah, the timeless aphrodisiac – a proud man acting modest about his accomplishments. He's in computers. Don't ask me how, just something about computers. She, of the expensive shoes and purposely-raggy hair, widens her eyes a bit at this. Like mom used to when she'd hear the word "Attorney" or "Doctor." And look where that got us.
I suspect that the cigars and martinis are part of his single man mission to prove that not all men in the computer industry are former geeks. But he's not fooling me. Oh no. Those bleached teeth have seen braces. Underneath that tan in a bottle and muscle from a home gym beats the heart of a skinny, bucktooth boy who fully understands what being at the wrong end of a bully means.
She holds her head down, so she can seem like she's looking up at him. Remember that one? Her smile is fixed to convey that she knows that deep down all men think all women are bitches, but she's the exception. -- I doubt it. Something about those cheekbones says she's got a bitch inside her, just screaming to come out. Her eyes are a bit glazed over as she calculates how generous he might be and if he's husband potential. You know the score - Typical first date thoughts.
Suddenly, as though he's read her mind, he cleverly mentions his recent purchases of a new car, a wide screen TV and...Ah hah, see that? A home gym. I figure we have about 15 minutes before he starts confiding in her that all the women he dates turn out to be money grabbers just out for security and never really "see" him. She's heard it before. She'll know what to do.
He's definitely shopping. And she's for sale. And she's got no interest in who this man really is. She's dated him under other names plenty of time. I'm suddenly struck by a moment of pity for him. Then I see him staring at her breasts and remember myself. What the hell…Quid pro quo, I figure.
And wham! All comes clear-- this is just the ancient dance of courtship. They might as well be in a big circle out on the African Savannah.. Him all feathered up, penis gourd in place, with a big o'l grin on. - His face - not the gourd -- She's watching him and not... all the time undulating her body - which is, of course, clad only in a skirt. The rest of us chanting and pounding sticks suggestively against the hardened rain starved earth.
I'm feeling very anthropological at this point. And, we anthro-pol-og-eye have rules - We can't interfere with the natives' rituals. We can only observe. So I sip my T‘nT and observe, observe, observe.
Then –I hear the signature beat of "I'm the Only One" issue from the sound system. At a nearby table are a bunch of thirty something secretary types – are they still called secretaries these days? Oh well, one whoops and calls to the bartender "Turn it up, bartend!" and she does. I'm seeing more than a few eye rolls from the groups of men who have stopped by for a peaceful beer before heading home.
But the secretaries don't give a damn. One yells "yeah" and all four begin bobbing in their seats – no, not bobbing, more like gyrating. Then they start this sing along. They stumble over the words and laugh and forge on – then they find themselves when they hit that chorus and begin raising their 99 cent Happy Hour Margaritas in a joyful salute.
I look back at my subjects. Her eyes slide toward the secretaries whose faces are animated with a combination of yearning, rage, and determination. She smiles; he grimaces. Under the table one well-arched foot begins to tap to the rhythm of Melissa's pain. The tap begins to effect her leg, then moves up until her pelvis is performing mini thrusts right there on the red leatherette banquette. She's still staring intently into the computer guy's eyes. But she's torn. Should she simply check out a moment and be one with Melissa? Or, should she focus fully on computer guy's self-aggrandizement?
Her mask begins to drop. That carefully composed, symmetrical sweetheart face wakes up. I see that her smile is crooked and her tiny incisors are pointed and that she has little laugh lines around her eyes.
Computer Guy's voice rises in an attempt to compete with Melissa. You fool! I want to cry, you can't compete with we who are willing to walk across fire for the object of our passion. You wouldn't even consider it, would you? You'd send an animated e-mail card or something. You'd pick up a single rose at the 7/11 and feel smug about your spontaneity. A big gesture would be taking her out to dinner to celebrate your promotion.
Oh Baby, why are you up for sale to a man who drinks extra extra dry drinks martinis? Doesn't that strike you as metaphorical? Those petal-like pointy incisors were made to nibble flesh. You want passion. You want a wild ride. You know life is short – he isn't for you – not for long. He couldn't even think words like Melissa is singing.
If a broad sang a song like that to me, let alone wrote a song like that FOR me, I know I'd follow her anywhere. You too, huhn. Yeah. You too. And suddenly…suddenly I want you - you little raggy hair bitch. To hell with the Prime Directive of Anthropological Observation. I'm getting outta this chair and tearing off my shirt. I'm gonna walk over there and beat my chest and challenge Mr. Software to a game of grunt and bash, mano a mano - Then when I've cleared my territory, I'm gonna pick you up in my arms and carry you out of this bar like an Officer and a Gentlewoman – ‘cause someone's in need of saving. And I want to do the saving.
I want to save your inevitable children from crooked teeth and too many toys and from the inevitable nastiness of the inevitable divorce that will occur after you realize he'll never walk across a fire for anything or anyone and you inevitably stop being able to pretend to be fascinated and he inevitably finds someone less tired who says she doesn't mind at all that he smokes cigars in the house.
I want to exploit that crooked little smile and feel those tiny teeth and watch that body dance naked to Melissa, and cheer you on as you thrust that wondrous pelvis and wail "…it's only fear that makes you run". Yesiree bob!
[Silence] but…the music's over. The secretaries cheer and high five each other. The boys with their beers roll their eyes again and head for the free snacks. The computer guy flashes gestures for another round. Raggy Hair slips down in her seat just a bit. Her face, once again, an almost perfectly symmetrical mask.
The moment's over. Done. Finis. They are now safe.
But me --- I now have to live with my epiphanic moment. I now must wrestle with the long dormant fantasies Melissa has awakened in me. …And suddenly - Just like that. Everything makes sense.
Yeah, it was a nasty divorce. He says I'm destroying our child's life before she has a chance at normalcy and keeps calling all our friends to whine about my betrayal and depravity. And that's the story.
Whatsamatter? What did you think? This was all a temporary aberration brought on by a severe case of Suburban Stress Syndrome that could be cured by a good dose of Wellbutrin? [Laughing] You really need to grow up, Sis.
Just relax and drink your damn drink, Chloe. [Toasting] Here's to Melissa… [She drinks] What the hell ever happened to her anyway?