IF YOU FIND YOURSELF awakened by an eccentric, foul tempered neighbor called el Jefe in the hallway of an apartment building known for it’s vermin, with a thoroughly installed vodka hang over, reeking of pizza-flavored snack treats, be as pleasant as possible. Especially if you are seeking assistance in the forcible entry of your own apartment. Especially if it is Thanksgiving, and you have a diamond ring in your jean pocket.
The Blonde In The Brown Jacket, as I shall refer to her, looks like a movie star, a Saturday matinee gal, and is often mistaken for an Australian actress by both strangers and close acquaintances. Most would argue a redneck like myself would be fortunate to gain the attention of a girl like The Blonde In The Brown Jacket, and I tend to agree, although my conformity with that opinion usually has to do with the hour of the day, the lunar cycle, and the quantity of jubilations my liver is negotiating.
Negotiation has become a crucial term for our relationship. The Blonde In The Brown Jacket is a sparkplug, a firecracker, and cowgirl, all before breakfast. Most importantly, and why the word negotiation is poignant, The Blonde In The Brown Jacket was raised a Blue-Texan, a soft shadow of a young Anne Richards. The Blonde In The Brown Jacket shoots first and inquires whenever. She takes no prisoners. She jumps to conclusions. She also demonstrates a delicate side, dragging me to Lincoln Center to watch Ethan Stiefel, out to Brooklyn to catch Pina Bausch, and on peaceful cab rides up the Westside Highway at night to see the Jersey lights across the Hudson.
The Blonde In The Brown Jacket and I have been together for seven years. But we dispute when and where we met, when and where we started dating, when and where it all came together, if it ever did. I claim I saw her in a line of fresh students at Columbia University, waiting to have her picture snapped for an I.D. She will tell you our first meeting was at a weekend exercise where I insulted the Columbia Theatre faculty with a satirical stab at The Tempest, lampooning our teachers as characters from the Shakespearian comedy. Both are true.
The debate on when we started dating is just as foggy. I will claim we started dating in late April of 2000, at a loud Mexican restaurant called Rio-something on Amsterdam between 81st and 82nd. We had guacamole and margaritas and had to yell at each other just to be heard. She will tell you it was a date located sometime between February and May, when I gave a her a toy raccoon packed in a soup can which I haggled from eight to six dollars off a street vender on the corner of Broadway and 107th. Rocky The Raccoon would ultimately be liberated from his shell with a Swiss Army Knife by a man called The Good Reverend. The Good Reverend would slice his thumb in this act.
But, I insist when and where things came together for us was Thanksgiving, 2000. The Blonde In The Brown Jacket was alone trying to cook herself a meal with no butter, while I was swamped with my roommate’s drunken amigos, most of them mathematicians and French cooks drinking bountiful amounts of Dewar’s, playing poker and wolfing down lamb and yams. The Blonde In The Brown Jacket and I hadn’t spoken in several months. We had disagreements during The Good Reverend’s birthday bash that summer, and I retaliated by dating a nursing student, whom I met at a bookstore until that Halloween.
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Half Pipes & Half Shells:
by Jesse McPhee
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