CD Number: 10
Track Number 30
Song: “Set Fire to the Third Bar” by Snow Patrol from Eyes Open
(Picture taken from http://blogs.menshealth.com/mh-feminist/files/2011/02/danceclub.jpg)
The plan was simple. They’d start out with their respective friends and meet up somewhere in the middle. What could go wrong?
Apparently, quite a bit.
First there was the subway malfunction that left Roger and his friends stuck in a car for 35 minutes. Then it was back up the street level for a ride with a cabbie who insisted, yes, he knew exactly where The Olive was. Fifty-five minutes later, they demanded he admit defeat and got out.
By that point, Cheryl had long since left and the next rendezvous locale was set. The plan was back on!
Except it turns out that, oddly enough, there are two…three actually…places in town called Bar. Roger choose the two wrong ones first before getting it right. About 15 minutes too late.
After that it was Pyre which was evacuated due to, you guessed it, a trashcan fire. Roger and Cheryl could not find each other in the chaos that ensued. Fred’s was not allowing any more guys in. The Rockopolis was not allowing any more ladies. Bruised Hearts was so full that even though Cheryl and Roger were there at the same time, they had no chance at actually meeting up.
Finally, it was Rascals. Last chance of the evening. Alas, it was closed down a week earlier due to health code violations.
“That’s it, guys. It’s over,” Roger announced.
“Come on, man,” Stu began. “We can still—”
“Nope. I know when the universe has beaten me. This is that time. Doug, call us that car service you are always on about. I’m just going to lie here on this…what is this?
“Divider?” Stu suggested.
“Literally, yes. But I think they call ones like that, with greenery and stuff…I think they call them islands,” Paul rebutted.
“Good. Fine. Island it is. I will lie here on this island and wait for our chariot to arrive and pray…just pray that this night is but a dream.”
Doug offered, “We could pinch you…”
“Go,” Roger waved him off, “Call, minion. Call and get us wheels to take us away from this hellish place.”
Roger crumbled on the ground without pride. He was spent. All he wanted to do was spend a half-hour, an hour, talking to Cheryl. Reconnect with her. Do something to make a deeper impression. He had only just reconnected with her. Eight years after high school, they ended up in the same city at the same time. He convinced himself it was kismet, a sign that there seven weeks of casual dating that summer between high school and college was no accident. It was just a prologue. But now? Now he knew, he was never going to be with the woman of his dreams. After a night like tonight, it was best to accept one’s defeat and start the search for second best.
Nearby, Doug related the full story of the night to the car company in excruciating detail. Roger grimaced. He should have had Stu call. Stu understood economy of language. Doug…Doug could not physically answer a yes/no question, it was like some odd kind of birth defect. You ask him if he wants pizza or burgers for dinner and he tells you not just what he wants, but why, when the last time was he had each food item, and where the best place he ever ate each item was. He was verbose.
Roger dozed in and out waiting for the car to arrive. In his haze, he vaguely recognized that someone had lowered themselves onto the grass next to him.
“You know, this is a pretty dumb place to grab a nap. All this place has going for it is…well, there is actually very little litter considering. So, there’s that,” a feminine voice teased.
Roger rolled his eyes. The last thing he wanted was a chatty driver.
“Look,” he started, shaking the tendrils of slumber away from him, “I’ve had a really rotten night. There was this woman who I’ve wan—Cheryl?”
And sure enough it was.
“Doug called me first, told me the whole thing. I’m impressed, Mr. Cormier, I’ll tell you that. I can’t remember the last time a guy stalked the city for a little time with me. But I interrupted. What were you saying about that woman?”
“Umm…not important, really. Just talking. Trying to…umm….ah…get a lonely heart’s discount?” he haltingly tried to evade the query lest he suffer further embarrassment.
“Suuuuuuuuuuuure,” she said, smiling widely at him now, “I tell you what, Roger. Any man who did what you did tonight deserves to sleep in something a little more comfortable than a dirty divider.
“Anyway, as I was saying, anyone who suffered as you did, for my affections no less, should have a comfy bed for the night. And I have it on good authority that mine is one of the more comfortable. It even has a duvet.”
“Indeed. So what do you say? Let me put you up for the night?”
“Well…I suppose I could agree to that.”
She smiled again, that broad, bright thing, and took his hand. The night began to look up.
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