Where do I even begin?
When I fuck up, I fuck up.
* * * *
Last Saturday, I awoke to my first weekend sunrise back in Oxford Fucking Ohio.
Fresh from vacation, rested, feeling like my old, youthful self - cockhard reckless, in fact - the way I used to feel before the librarian days.
The first thing I noticed, opening my eyes, was the four-alarm hangover. And then came the fuzzy memory, the conscious awareness of cottonmouth and the lingering taste of jello shots 'til Last Call.
It's been a while since I just let loose on the ol' college town, in any one-horse town for that matter, east of the Mississippi. Out west, despite ending a relationship, I realized that, well, I'm still under 30, still in my prime, and, well, I really need to just let work stay at work, chill out a bit.
Almost all of my furniture shipped off to the new apartment, everything save for the bed and a lamp and a desk, the lack of any kind of window covering lit up my bedroom like a thousand fireworks. The room glowed yellow and hot, the sounds of High Street traffic and bustling car show attendees echoing off the bare walls and the freshly puttied nail holes.
Despite the slight headache, there seemed to be no harm done. The world had still spun on its axis, the sun still ready and willing to bitchslap the drunkenness right out of me.
And then I stretched.
As soon as I felt the naked body in bed next to me, I knew I'd done something very, very stupid.
A quick lift of a sheet, a hand slid carefully along the mattress, confirmed the sex part.
That, and the three polyurethane condoms hanging off the lamp.
* * * *
A quick pick of the alcohol-impaired brain revealed that there were four possible suspects.
No. 1 , a woman I'd been sorta seeing before I'd gotten ill, a woman who'd just broken up with the guy she'd been seeing after I went AWOL. I remembered that I'd spent four or five hours hanging out with her, taking shots, and chatting it up.
But she probably knows better. And, nope, no latex allergy.
Suspect No. 2, a waitress from a restaurant I frequent for lunch. I'd run into her on my way to a bar, gave her my number. Once, she and I almost had an oops experience, the time I gave her a ride back to her apartment and we sorta started slow dancing. Every time she went through a nasty break-up, she turned extra flirty, laid it on so thick that Ray Charles could spot her interest from outer space.
Checked the cell phone. No random text messages, no Dayton area code in the recent calls list. So... No. 2 became a long shot.
No. 3? A recent high school graduate who, while taking a smoke break from the non-smoking pubs, gave me a hug, one of those drunken gropes that many younger women think conveys some sort of sexuality. I used to tutor her best friend, and she, like so many 18-year-olds right before college, was both heavily intoxicated and overly flirtatious.
Hell, there's not enough booze in the world for me to accidentally go home with someone that young and inexperienced. I may be a bastard, at times, but I'm not a total fucking bastard. Seriously. I'm too old to fake an orgasm while worrying about permanently scarring some fragile, naive ego.
The fourth candidate, a dead-ringer for Suspect No. 1, physically, was a stretch. I almost laughed out loud for even considering it. At some point, well past legal and physical sobriety limits, I thought I'd run into a sorta ex of mine from nearby Hamilton, a woman with a kid, an ex-con boyfriend, and more than a few problems with Adderall and... er ... sanity.
"Pfft. Nah. I'm not that stupid."
My imagination had gone apeshit, too, because I remembered talking to her, outside of my apartment, inviting her in to keep her histrionics out of plain view of the old neighbors and...
"Tequila's playing tricks on ya, Dude. "Chase" lives in Kentucky. It's been more than a year.
"And she's, like, married now."
I finally gave up on the guessing game, rolled over, gingerly, to try to find some answers. I carefully lifted the arm draped across me, untangled my legs from hers, eased my thigh from beneath her hips.
* * * *
Mystery Woman had scored both pillows, thus explaining at least the physical pain in my neck. Her face was partially wedged between the two, raven hair obscuring the remainder of her exposed face.
The list of suspects was, however, cut in half.
No teenagers and no waitress. A wonderful relief.
Gingerly, I parted the hair on the woman's face, hoping that I'd find some unknown variable, some fifth candidate.
I checked for ink. Both remaining suspects sport visible tattoos of the same type of reptile, but only one has matching artwork, by the same skin artist, on her lower back.
"Oh fuck. I know that tramp stamp."
With one peak beneath the sheets, my heart collapsed, an emotional aneurysm tearing through my gut, drunken one-night shame making the whole thing a ménage à trois.
Nothing screams a Grade-A Fuck-Up quite like waking up next to a psychotic (meds and all) woman, almost two years between conversations, recently married to the ex-con father of her child.
The only relief?
As I slowly pieced together the remnants of the previous night, I remembered a conversation about their open marriage, the fact that their relationship was Jerry Springer perfect in its layers of all sorts of deviancy.
At least I won't have to worry about going toe-to-toe with a guy with five years of prison under his belt.
* * * *
I knew returning to Ohio would be difficult. I knew I'd be depressed for a week or so, bummed out by the fact that my family's on the other side of the country, the whole "Tonya" thing ending, even the lack of, well, diversified scenery.
I even knew getting back into the grind at work would help feed into my self-wallowing, the lingering demons that haunt the back of my brain, voices that whisper sweet nothings about my need to, possibly, get the fuck out of Oxford Fucking Ohio.
I knew I'd, sure, go on a bender, drink a bit more than usual, enjoy the last vestiges of undergrad-free summer in this college town. I figured I'd slip up, maybe end up accidentally going home with a female friend one night, figured the sense of loneliness and isolation would drive me, momentarily, into the arms of some local 20-something, home for the summer, or some grad student, or possibly even some female faculty member.
But I never, ever thought I'd fuck up like this.
I haven't done something this damned stupid in at least 10 years, since I proposed to my ex-fiancee, the cokehead stripper, while on a bender in 1997.
As soon as I realized who I was sleeping beside me, I quietly slipped out of my own bed, tip-toed across my near-empty bedroom, and puked into a landlord-ready sink.
And jello shots ain't pretty at nine in the morning. There was some hint of Jager in there, too.
* * * *
Rather than link to the half-dozen or so posts I wrote in 2005 and 2006 about my experiences with one of Hamilton Fucking Ohio's Finest, I figure I'll just sum my previous experiences with "Chase" in a few lines:
I hung out with Chase's brother a while back, my last attempt to regain my punker chops, to form a hardcore band. I liked Chase. Chase liked me.
Chase neglected to tell me, well, that she sorta had a kid and the baby's daddy (her new groom) was in jail. She also sorta, kinda forgot to tell me that her Suicide Girl thing wasn't an act (she's on five doctor-prescribed medications) or that she had just a tiny substance abuse problem (Speed and Pot. Great combo.)
Boy tries breaking it off gently. Boy gets blamed for girl's problems by mutual friends. Boy remembers why he quit playing in hardcore bands. Girl then, well, quasi-stalks boy, because boy used to date adult video performer and girl wants to jump her. Boy dodges girl for more than a year, even quits shopping in Hamilton when girl follows boy into store, forgetting her toddler in her car in the middle of summer...
Honestly, I don't know what else to write. I could go on, but I'd probably just have to puke again...
* * * *
After vomiting, I cooked up my first post-hookup escape in almost a decade, an escape from my own apartment, the librarian on the run from the psychotic aspiring writer/part-time college student/full-time stripper from Kentucky.
My plan was simple. Keep on moving out of the old apartment, and pray that she'd leave before while I was over at the new place unpacking. Simple, clean, efficient.
I don't think I've loaded so many boxes of clothes, dishes, toiletries, or anything else, so quickly and quietly in my entire life. Almost every remaining box in my old apartment's living room was out the door and into the back of the truck in under an hour.
I left a note on the bed, right next to her, explaining that I had to be out of my apartment by the end of the day (a lie), would be back late that night, (a bold-faced lie) and that I enjoyed seeing her again (holy hell, I used to be so good at this when I was 19.)
Unloaded the boxes slowly, went for coffee, even checked out every vegetable stand alongside every road in Oxford.
Two hours. In two hours' time, she should've been gone, out the door, back towards the ex-con hubby and the Kentucky border.
* * * *
I waited an extra hour.
As opened the door to my apartment, I caught the silhouette of a woman, pulling on her tight skinny jeans.
"Chase" had waited. She wanted to talk.
She wanted me to know that the night before had been a huge mistake.
That was true.
She also claimed that, somehow, my lifeforce had drawn her up to a friend's bachelorette party, that I seduced her at the Circle K with black magic, and that I'd taken advantage of her accidental Xanax overdose, told her how much like Winona Ryder she looked to get in her pants, and that I'd somehow used tarot cards to bewitch her.
Aside from the fact that, well, she's addicted to Xanax and does, indeed, look exactly like Beetle Juice era Winona, the rest is completely batshit.
She even pointed out how disgusted she was with herself, not for going home with an almost-blacked-out drunk dude who'd once threatened her with a restraining order, but for having sex with a guy who has also slept with fuckin' Mexicans and black bitches.
Let me say, for the record, that I plan on shooting myself in the face if I ever get so drunk, so stupid, as to go home with a psychotic White Supremacist Wiccan Winona Clone ever again.
Ironically, the numerous jello shots that led to such a revelation were made by a Mexican-American bartender buddy of mine.
* * * *
Despite my supposed unwanted seduction, my alluring chi or whatever else she could could pin on me, "Chase" wanted to go to breakfast. More accurately, she wanted me to take her to breakfast, to pick up the tab, payment for my sins.
And we talked about all sorts of things, important things, like the latest issue of Cosmo and her breast implants, how her husband was almost off the probationary phase of his sentence, how her mother was nailed for dealing meth, how she didn't regret having sex with me because I've had sex with famous people before and...
Did I mention that I plan to go all Ernest Hemingway, plan to suck on buckshot, should I ever, ever do something this stupid again???
... And she even mentioned that we wouldn't be able to hang out anymore once she moved to Nevada to become a famous showgirl.
As "Chase" chattered away on the benches outside Bagel and Deli, knee tucked under her chin, staring off into space, I only paid attention to one phrase.
Moving to Nevada.
Thank you, all that is Holy in the Goddamn Universe.
- # # # -
NOTE - For some reason, I missed an edit earlier. "Chase" is moving to Nevada, not Florida. Male library colleagues in the Sunshine State can breathe easy. Clark County? Sorry. You're fucked.