I have officially TIED my all time blogging record. Congratulations to me!
Another boring day slips into night and I have nothing new to report. More working, some corrections, and much uploading of files. The kind of stuff that makes for a real blogging page turner. I guess I will have to instead find some previously written fine booch literature to put in place of real life events.
Okay... I found something in my FOLDER OF A THOUSAND UNFINISHED WRITINGS. This one had no name and was supposed to be the first chapter of what I can only assume was to be a novel. I wrote it in June of 2001 (except for the derek jeter reference which I just added as I was reading it) and have no idea where I was going with it. So instead of trying to solve the mystery of why the hell I bothered to write this I will just put it out there as a short story called...
THE BIRTHDAY INCIDENT
Nick turned forty the other day and nobody noticed. He didn’t get any cards. No phone calls.
Not a single person on the planet uttered so much as a word to him about his birthday. No one in his family had called or even bothered to send a measly card his way. It didn’t matter to him that no one in his family knew where he was and probably thought he was dead by now. Hell, often times he thought he was dead so he could hardly blame his estranged family for making assumptions. And even if they hadn’t abandoned him five years earlier and knew how to contact him, they still wouldn’t have wished him a happy birthday. But that was okay, he thought. He gave them up a long time ago, scratching them from his memory. Getting snubbed came as no surprise, and was no big deal he said over and over to himself until it became truth.
The only truth that mattered was that he was the only one who knew it was his birthday. He had no family or friends, and barely a handful of acquaintances. There was no one to who even had his phone number, let alone knew it was his birthday. Nick was as solitary as they come. A tried and true loner, that was more than happy to be alone. Except on his birthday. He tried to tell himself that it didn’t matter that no one cared enough to wish him a “Happy Birthday”.
But it did.
It really bothered him. It bothered him so much that when he went to celebrate at his regular haunt, THE XXX STAR CLUB, he didn’t tell any of the strippers. He didn’t mention it to Janay, Honesty, Amber, Nikki, or even Felicia. Nick was a regular, and was on a first fake-name basis with most of the girls. He liked them, and they liked his money and found him a tolerable customer who didn’t smell THAT badly. So, armed with a fresh bottle of Derek Jeter’s cologne, DRIVEN, he knew that they would lavish him with birthday wishes. That had to since he always forked over good money for them to pay attention to him.
Yet, he was conflicted. The closer he got to his first lap dance of the night, the more he realized that he didn’t want that. He could handle women rubbing themselves on him for money, but he damn sure wasn’t going to pay for a goddamm birthday wish. That was just too pitiful to endure. Besides, Nick was a complete-ist and almost liked the idea that no one acknowledged his birthday. The martyr in him would have lost considerable steam if he were forced to modify his “no one” with an “almost”, “just about”, or “darn near”.
He didn’t tell a soul. That way he could happily embrace his misery one more time. But, who could blame him? He wore misery so well: like a comfortable old college sweater that is too tight and full of holes, but still your first choice. His misery felt just right. It was comfortable. Besides, he couldn’t remember a time when he wasn’t miserable, and the thought of being anything else flat out scared him. At least he knew miserable. He understood it. It was familiar. It made him happy in a miserable sort of way.
He didn’t tell anyone about his birthday. Instead he denied it to himself, pretending it never happened. His trip to the Star Club was NOT for any special occasion. It was just something to do on a Tuesday night. There was nothing special about the day, or his motive for going. Yet, when he almost told Felicia, his favorite dancer, he justified it to himself that he was just trying to get a little extra action on his lap dance. It was strictly a business decision.
“Do you know what today is?” he asked as she stood over him in the little black cubicle. “Do you know it’s a special occasion?”
“Is it your birthday?” she countered, flaunting her absurdly round, surgically enhanced breasts in his face. “Is it?” He almost said yes, but stopped himself at the last moment. He couldn’t do it. He wasn’t that much of a loser that he had to get his birthday wishes from a fucking stripper with fake tits.
He left it at that. Even when she tried to guess again, he ignored her. He acted like she wasn’t speaking to him, a defense mechanism he developed a long time ago. It worked, as usual. Eventually she wrote it off as the antics of a weirdo, and continued her lap dance. She dropped the subject all right, but he noticed she was different after that. She wasn’t the giving person she normally was. It was as though she was now just going through the motions, and didn’t actually enjoy rubbing herself on Nick’s crotch. In times past, she would place his hands on her ass and let him feel her up. Most of the girls did, he was a good, generous customer. But not this time. Even though he was a regular, on a first fake-name basis with her, she still didn’t. Even though it was his birthday of all days.
This hurt Nick. It hurt him so much that he had to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. He accepted two more nonchalant offers for lap dances, and was punished with the same passionless thirty-dollar performance each time.
This was too much to bear. It felt worse than a marriage on the rocks, having fallen prey to cold indifference. A hypothetical marriage, considering he had never even had a steady girlfriend, let alone a full-on wife. The closest he had ever come to a relationship was his “thing” with Felicia. But now the bond they shared was gone, replaced with “going through the motions”. Well, he wasn’t going to stick around for the Dear John letter, telling him she met someone else. It was over between them. Nick was as finished with Felicia, as she was with him.
As he left the club, feeling injured, he couldn’t help but consider the fact that her name probably wasn’t even Felicia. On the drive home, he cursed himself for ever trusting Felicia, or whatever her name was. A relationship built on lies and the exchange of money for groping privileges was hardly the stuff that made for a solid foundation.
He cursed himself for even going to the strip club. The incident ruined his birthday. It would be a long time, if ever, before he would return to the Star Strip. They would miss him, he thought. Good customers like he don’t come around very often.