Her Daddy’s Money was the hottest rock club in the Parkland; filled with Technicolor brilliance; a kaleidoscope of lights pulsing to the beat of primal music that penetrated and inundated the senses as it changed the milky white skin of young, long-haired, scantily clad women into varying hues of amber, blue and then scarlet red—the color of sin and decadence. I hastily inhaled the bubble gum scented smoke from fog machines mingled with the burning tobacco and the steady stream of alcohol flowing through the air—the unmistakable scent of a promiscuous nocturnal existence, doing light speed in the fast lane of life. A surreal fantasia; a modern Saturnalia; where you set aside all of your troubles and ride the carousel of inebriation.
As I rambled, stoned immaculate glowing radioactive in the dark, through the black lights leading out to the mezzanine where the tables were, I sensed how all of the lights acted like filters on a photographer's lens; distorting reality, filtering out the lines on your face, the minor imperfections that gave away your mortality; the small gray hairs that were beginning to rear their ugly heads; the love handles that began to accumulate as the years flickered by; the tiny crow's feet that were beginning to grow around the eyes, demonstrating that time waits for no man, reminding you that not even the pyramids of Egypt were eternal. The lights, the fog, the booze, the music; they were all filters, hiding those imperfections, insecurities, incongruities and inconsolable emotions. At Her Daddy’s Money, we were all gods, each of us immortal, celebrating that immortality in a land of terminal bliss where all humans want to go and none of us seem to get there.
We found a table over by the wall and soon, a beautiful waitress dressed in a black mini-skirt and tight, white pullover with her areola borealis pushing through the thin fabric asked if we needed anything to drink. Roscoe, A.J. and John all got beers, but I wanted to be daring in this filtered wonderland and ordered a Long Island Iced Tea, a marvel of modern toxicology. I never understood how you could pour every kind of liquor in the kitchen sink into a tall glass, cap it off with a squirt of Coke, stick in a lemon and magically make it taste just like Lipton Lemon Tea. This magical elixir was invented by a real David Copperfield of the cocktail glass and its sole purpose was to take the libation bearer into the atmosphere – to make you so fuckin’ high that you’d have to climb a flight of stairs to scratch your balls.
Most of us lived the greater part of our lives submerged – we were submerged in the superficial reality of our own consciousness – snared by the chains of our making – entombed in the iron cages of personal prisons that we construct ourselves. I didn’t drink alcohol as a social act and I never drank in moderation. I drank to get rid of the chains, to wake myself up, to move beyond the realms of my superficial consciousness. It seemed that the unconsciousness of being really fuckin’ drunk was a real liberating experience for me. I was stoned and wanted to cap off my buzz with as much alcohol that I could take in. I wanted to be efficient in my substance abuse and despite the fact that I had been somewhat depressed before, I was determined to finish off my evening in Dionysian fashion. “Let the madness begin,” I thought as the waitress returned with a tray of drinks.
“Did you see that girl's ass,” Roscoe exclaimed, as the waitress walked away. I looked up and saw the firm round cheeks of her cupcake ass carefully framed by a pair of black panties with the very short length skirt gently resting on her sculptured flesh. “Her cheeks wiggle around like two wildcats wrestling in a burlap sack,” he continued.
Briefly I thought about the waitress with the wildcat ass. Maybe if I could get inside that mini-skirt and feel that shrine of her perfect flesh up close and personal, then I would forget all about losing Cassidy. Soon, I came to my senses and reminded myself that nobody picked up waitresses except for people who worked in the club and the guys in the bands that played there. These vampires of the barroom weren't usually off work until three o'clock in the morning and the bar closed at one, so it was prohibitive to even try to pick them up. They were a part of the lights, the music, the fog and the liquor; they were illusions that just helped you to buy into the fantasy.
"Would you like to buy a rose," another hot looking chick asked, holding up a whole orchard full of long-stemmed roses neatly wrapped up in pretty paper.
"No thanks, I already ate,” I responded and then gave her a sly smile. She looked back at me like she was studying me and I could tell that she obviously didn't care much for the subject.
Love…lust…infatuation…baredickin'…it's all a lot like the roses that they walk around selling in the barroom–some guy springs for a rose, gives it to a chick and takes her home. She puts that same rose in some water and tries to nurture it, but it's already dead. Slowly it begins to fade and finally withers away into nothingness and so does the love, lust, infatuation and baredickin. All the leaves of the spring that are green turn to brown in the fall and wither away, crumbling in the wind. Your passions burn to ashes. You spend your whole life looking for love and all you ever get is pussy. I guess that's not so bad though–when life gives you a lemon and some girl comes along and squeezes it for you, you gotta make some lemonade.
As I watched the flower girl walk away, I took careful note of the outline of her figure that poked through the tights she was wearing. All of the girls who worked at Her Daddy’s Money were some real hotties. I suppose that was a prerequisite to getting the job: If you couldn't be one of the beautiful people, at least you could be pampered and waited on by them. As the flower girl continued strolling around the tables, peddling her tokens of love, I wondered if she was in love with someone, or if she had ever been.
Quickly, I dismissed that thought. Bartenders, waitresses, dancers, and nearly all of the creatures of the night weren't allowed to fall in love. It was some kind of unspoken or unwritten rule. If they did fall in love, then their careers were pretty much over. Their appeal lied in their patron's belief that he or she could get in their pants. As soon as the creature of the night became attached, then they became untouchable and as soon as they became untouchable, they lost their appeal and then lost their livelihood as a result. Love is a luxury they can't afford. I soon came to the realization that I was a creature of the night as well and I couldn't afford to love anyone either. The best I could hope for would be several strings of midnight rendezvous–an endless road of lust winding on into eternity, leading nowhere. At first, the thought of this seemed pretty depressing, but then, I thought that it was very liberating as well. Creatures of the night never had to worry about getting their hearts broken. There would be no more Cassidy’s letting down the toilet seat of my dreams.
Roscoe and I were the first ones to finish our drinks and decided to walk up to the bar to get another round. Although the waitress was beautiful and I would have liked to watch that wildcat ass of hers walk away at least one more time, she was pretty overwhelmed with the crowd she had on her hands and we drank much faster than she waited. While I was waiting for my second Long Island Iced Tea, Roscoe ran into Zero at the bar. He and Zero were talking about leaving the bar to go road hunting so I left him there and walked back over to the table where John and A.J. were sizing up the crowd and talking about this new song by a band called Collective Soul that the DJ was playing. As I got back to the table, I thought to myself, "John will be up in the DJ booth hanging out with Crystal before too much longer.”
Although John was married, he was a terrible flirt and I think hanging out with Crystal stroked his ego a little bit. Sure enough, John ran off to the DJ booth and A.J. ran off to the men's room to take a piss and powder his nose with some booger sugar, leaving me sitting at the table trying not to think about the "c" word and looking around at all of these women who could possibly help "salve over my wound," so to speak. Before I had the opportunity to fully explore all of my options, John came back from the DJ booth and started jumping my ass about appearing depressed.
"You better cheer up, mother fucker," he started, "There's more skanky bitches where Cassidy came from."
"John," I pleaded, "Just get off it. I’m just chillin’ out with my tea and takin’ in the scenery."
"I'm serious man–if you don't start being your drunken happy self, I'm going to go up to the DJ booth and have Crystal embarrass you in front of all of these people." he threatened.
"Go ahead and do whatever you want," I replied.
"Fine, I will," he said, walking away toward the DJ booth.
I didn't think there was anything that John could do, so I just sat back in the chair and enjoyed the monstrous buzz that I had going on. The next few minutes seemed to race by like a thoroughbred horse at Louisiana Downs as I began to feel my teeth getting numb from all the chemicals I had put in my body. Just as I starting riding this killer buzz, a spotlight hit me right in the face, nearly blinding me and Crystal’s loud voice came echoing through the PA system —
"Ladies–what we have here is a broken pathetic man,” Crystal said as she shined the light on me.
"This man was supposed to be getting married this afternoon, but the girl that he has been dating for the last seven years stood him up at the altar–John, here, was supposed to be the best man at the wedding and he says he'll pay any of you ladies a dollar just to dance with this poor jilted groom and maybe Billy can get past it all."
I could have killed him. That cocksucker really did it this time. All I really wanted to do was sit in the corner, feel my teeth getting numb and ride out this kick ass buzz I had going and he had to go and mess it up for me–the mother fucker even used my real name! Now what was I going to do?
No sooner than she had made the announcement, this chick with the biggest titties I had ever seen walked over to me and asked me to dance as Crystal blasted "Far Behind" by Candlebox from behind the DJ booth. I thought that “Far behind” was a good choice given the imaginary circumstances and would have complimented her on her excellent choice of music if I hadn't been swept away by the giant rack that was attached to the girl I was dancing with. She smiled at me and it was obvious that she was in dire need of some dental work–she could eat a peanut butter sandwich through a set of Venetian blinds. By that time, I was too far gone to care about her teeth (as long as she didn't bite) and wanted to make a good show of the whole masquerade so that John wouldn't have felt like he had gotten over on me with his practical joke.
The song ended and the girl and I kept dancing while I played along with the charade, laying it on thicker and heavier as the music played on. With her light blue and somewhat bloodshot eyes, she gazed directly into the heart of the deception that my comic soul had been weaving. We kept looking at each other and smiling. For a moment, I felt as if I could fall down inside of her eyes, but then realized that I was just really drunk and could probably fall down just about anywhere.
I soon discovered that she was at least as drunk, if not drunker than I was. Picking her up seemed a whole lot like shooting fish in a barrel. When things seemed easy like that, I had more confidence than Don Juan scaling the walls of a nunnery and consequently, got the same kind of results. It didn't surprise me at all when I offered to take her out to the van and get her stoned that she accepted. I knew I had it made after that. I always believed that if I could get a girl stoned or make her laugh, I could do almost anything to her. I had already got this chick to laugh a lot so I was sure that anything short of sticking my dick up her ass was fine with her.
You know, most of the time, I thought of myself as being a pretty good guy. Usually, I wasn't so devious about picking up women and didn't resort to elaborate schemes such as that one, but the elaborate scheme seemed to be working and so I just decided to say, "There but before the grace of God go I," and roll with it. One of life's little ironies was that if you really wanted to be a good guy (and I believed that I did), then you had to be able to think like a bad guy because although girls want to be with a good guy, they are somehow attracted to bad ones. That's why at your twenty-year high school reunion, you find out that the prom queen is still married to the high school quarterback who is still beating her up when he gets drunk on Friday nights and is still working at the IGA or selling insurance.
As the girl and I walked out the back door and headed toward the van, the music…the lights…the fog…the filters…all seemed to be stripped away and faded into the sultry silence of the Midwest midnight. Despite her snaggletooth smile, the night seemed almost becoming of the girl. Either that or the Long Island Iced Tea's had kicked in and clouded my vision in the fog of inebriation. Either way, it didn't really matter.
A.J. had left a joint stashed in a compartment in the back of the bandwagon that used to be where the paramedics kept some gauze or something. We sparked up the joint, huffed, puffed, and blew our brains out. Soon, I was feeling up the iron works inside of her dress. She was wearing one of those skin tight, spandex kind of things that looked more like a raincoat than a dress. This all weather fuck suit was so tight that it held everything in – her waist, her hips, and her ass… all of it. For a minute, I was reticent to unhinge the thing. I was scared that if I was crazy enough to unwrap her, there would be this huge sound and I’d suddenly have a life raft on my hands, but then decided that I had just smoked too much pot and was paranoid. I unleashed the beasts that she had hiding in her blouse and was amazed at how big they really were. Titties always seemed to look bigger up close and personal–unless the chick tried to trick you by wearing some kind of push up bra or stuffing or something. Bitches like that were evil. It was false advertising and they deserved nothing better than to wind up picking up some schmuck with a sock shoved down his pants.
Her body felt unexpectedly good. Before too long, we were going at it all hot and heavy while Otis Redding sang "Try A Little Tenderness" on the stereo. About half way through "These Arms of Mine," I heard the door begin to open, but couldn't answer it because I was in the middle of something–actually, it was more like somebody–the girl that I had been dancing with–and yeah, I knew her name–even though I was wasted, but I couldn't tell you that–something about protecting the innocent or trying to preserve the dignity of the guilty–actually, it's more like who gives a shit: life was just a carnival; she was just another ride and I was just another squirrel trying to get a nut so what does it really matter anyway? Well, since gossiping drama queens from Whitetrashistan need something to talk about and you can't call her "Oh, God" when you're not pounding her pee hole, let's just call her Melinda.
"You see, Billy gets really drunk and then comes out to the van and falls asleep–It never fails. The funny thing is," he paused with laughter, "he curls up in the fetal position and looks just like a little baby–watch," John said as he opened the door to the van and much to his surprise, found me banging Melinda. Most people would have shut the door and let it go, but John didn't fit the definition of what most people would call most people and social nuances like not interrupting your buddy while he's trying to knock off a piece of ass were never his strong point. Even if John had been born of noble blood and had possessed the traits of a gentleman, I was his best friend and the temptation of busting me banging someone in the bandwagon on top of the pecker track blanket would have been too much of a temptation for him anyway.
With Melinda and me stuck together and shivering like a couple of dogs shitting peach seeds as the cold wind rushed in the open door and pounded our bodies, John acted like nothing was happening and reached in the side door grabbing several beers from the cooler. He then passed them out to his entourage and smiled mischievously as he sparked up a joint that he had stashed in his pocket. I wasn't sure if Melinda didn't notice what was going on or if she was just too far gone to give a shit, so I just pretended like nothing in the world existed but the uglies we were banging together and kept pounding her as the madness went on around us.
When Roscoe started singing a verse to "She'll be coming round the mountain when she comes." the jig was up; Melinda discovered our audience and she tried to kick me off her with the ferocity of a farm animal. "She'll be riding six white horses when she comes…" and then I did, whipped it out and erupted all over those enormous titties. After I snowcapped her Rockies, I got really self-conscious about being naked in the back of the band truck. Although I didn't really mind the spectators when I was wearing her–after all, what could they see — bare ass in the moonlight; I didn't like the feeling of being some sort of side show attraction and grabbed the pecker track blanket to cover myself up with, leaving her with only a crew sock to try and stretch across her enormous tits. The crew sock didn't do much good and I soon realized what an evil thing gravity could be if you were a girl. Either that or I was beginning to sober up a little bit and saw her in the light with all of her human foibles because those barroom filters were wearing off.
John and our entire entourage were standing out in front of the band truck, laughing, drinking beer and smoking as I struggled to put my pants back on. Melinda was holed up in the back corner of the band truck trying to get dressed when I got out of the van and slipped on my shoes. When I climbed out of the bandwagon, I noticed that A.J. had walked away from the whole scene and was standing at the rear of the van and felt obligated to comment on his noble behavior.
"You guys are a bunch of Cretins–At least A.J. had the good breeding to walk over to the rear of the van," I said as John continued to laugh hysterically about the situation that Melinda and I had found ourselves in. The truth was that we were all a bunch of Cretins. There were centuries of peasant blood and peasant culture coursing through us. If there was anything noble about our bloodline, it likely would have been thinned by the generations of us who had surrendered our lives for the illusory gains that we had received over the years – illusory gains that didn’t amount to enough to keep us subsequent generations from being bottom feeders as well.
"A.J.'s got nothing on you two," John said in between his hysterical laughter, "There was some pretty good breeding going on right here in the back of the van.”
Roscoe grabbed a notebook out of the front seat of the van, wrote something on it and then held it up like he was showing us a chart or a graph and, appropriated his best Dick Clark American Bandstand impression, said, “I give it a five. It has a pretty good melody line, but you really can’t dance to it.”
William Matthew McCarter is a writer and a college professor from Southeast Missouri. After completing the PhD at The University of Texas-Arlington, he has been busy writing and publishing work that brings attention to rural America. McCarter has recently published academic work in The Atrium: A Journal of Academic Voices, Teaching American Literature: A Journal of Theory and Practice and Fastcapitalism. He has also published critical work in The Ascentos Review and in The Steel Toe Review. McCarter published a short story, “On the Road in ’94,” in A Few Lines and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His most recent creative publications have been in Stellaria and Midwestern Gothic. McCarter has also published book reviews in Wilderness House Literary Review and in Southern Historian. In addition, his first academic book, Homo Redneckus: On Being Not Qwhite in America was published in March of 2012.