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My First Column!

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May 27, 2003

 
Man, I Had the Greatest Day!
 

Hey! I just had the greatest day! And I bet it's not even over yet, even though I am up in my room in my robe and I have brushed my teeth and stuff. That's how good my day has been, that I would still expect further developments.

You know, I been kinda healthyin' it up lately. Wakin' up kind of early, like while the mail is still bein' delivered, and eatin' up a quick banana and OJ smoothie before a real long walk around the neighborhood. Not goin' anywhere, but totally just straight-up walking. And I have cut way back on smoking and what some people call “daytime drinking.” Now I have like much higher energy all day, which turns out to feel excellent.

After my walk I showered and put on just the smoothest white Fila warm-down suit. It has this black piping that makes me feel like a goddamn sex genius. Then I was feeling so refreshed and benevolent that I took Little Nephew down to the shops in the Underground to get him some new Nikes and even, I was thinkin', a dope Fossil watch. He was so excited that he was just chattin' up a little storm around himself, and all I could do was smile. I remember how important it is to get little treats like that when you're his age and you ain't got no scratch in your pocket.

So anyway before we get shoppin' we pull into that Burger King they got near the entrance and I look at him real stern and say, “Little man, you can order whatever it is on this menu that you want, but if the names of the food items in your order are not preceded with the words 'super-size,' for each item, then you are hella in trouble.” I guess that wasn't the best way to say that information, because he kind of got the idea that I was mad at him, so he just ordered a plain hamburger and a cup of water. I felt pretty bad eatin' my big-ass Italian chicken sandwich with cheese in front of him, plus western barbecue bacon burger, plus fries and rings, so while we were eating I explained what I had meant and sent him back to the counter with a fat ten dollar bill. “Go on now!” I yelled, in a super friendly way. It nearly brought a tear to my eye to see him so relieved and excited. I figured he was gonna get himself a pretty fat spread so I put the bbq sauce and some bacon from my western burger onto his little plain hamburger and ate it while he was ordering. When he got back he noticed that it was missing and I said “Oh my god! A rat took it! I was so scared!” We laughed because I always say that when I eat something of his. It's kind of our thing.

We were pretty jazzed up after that beautiful perfect lunch, so I laid it down that we were gonna pick out a watch for him. Not some plastic kind of thing, but a real man's watch, all shiny metal. I knew he had been eyeing this Fossil brand of watch because he leaves his little magazines by the toilet and they're always open to some kind of Fossil ad lately. So in we go to the Fossil store and the lady there was just fine. Her ass was like ten kinds of round, like some Galileo map of the universe. She was squeezed into these real tight brown pants and this sweater that wasn't actually very tight but showed some...hell, you get the idea. She was just all smilin' and couldn't do enough to help us. I could tell she liked that I was there with a kid, because a guy with a kid seems like someone who has his shit together and can be relied upon.

I thought to myself, “I got an ace in the hole here! When I drop that he ain't actually my kid, and that I'm single, she'll start puttin' two and two together! Best of both worlds!” So anyway Little Nephew is just goin' crazy lookin' at like every watch in the case, which gives us all kinds of opportunities to give each other sort of those knowing, adult smiles, and I am just ten kinds of imagining romance with this lady. Actual romance, you know, not just the Act. I'm talkin' sayin' words like “love” and sharing ideas at a nice little restaurant, but also there bein' an intentional baby between us at some point. Daaamn, that's real.

So finally I help him pick out this watch that was probably way more expensive than I should have bought him (I only let him wear it in his room now), but hell, I didn't want to seem like a tightwad, you know? Then I worked it in: I just said, “Well now, you're gonna look like quite the man in that one, Little Nephew!” and as soon as she heard that word Nephew I could feel both of our hearts just drawin' closer together.

While we're payin' she writes her phone number real discreetly on this slip of paper and staples it to the receipt, making sure I see. That was an old-school move, which drove me crazy. If she had just been all “yo yo yo homeboy gets me on some mad two-way pager, I'm Alisha, aiiight,” the spell would have been broken, but this girl kept it real. I was mad in love and I think I even took a brochure about the Fossil Visa card, completely not thinking clearly.

So then we're pickin' out Nikes at Foot Locker and he's just runnin' all around, tryin' on this and that, pilin' up a big stack of Air Jordans and Micro-Trainers and whatnot. But now I'm so happy I don't even notice his happiness so much (although I am still glad he is having such a nice time), and I get so distracted thinkin' about this girl that I kind of wander back past the Fossil store (except from the other side of the walkway so it's not too obvious what I'm doing). Then I wander into that Williams-Sonoma where they sell all that fancy kitchen equipment and I start puttin' together like a dream kitchen me and my lady could cook in. I'm all daydreamin' about pullin' a succulent crown roast out of this twenty thousand dollar French oven with her, me behind her, my arms wrappin' around as we lift the roast together and set it on the black granite counter. Daaamn. But then my daydream is interrupted when the security guard taps me on the shoulder and asks me if I'm Ray Smuckles. There he is with a cryin' Little Nephew, who apparently was reported as abandoned at the Foot Locker because he'd been there for like over an hour. I felt just terrible about this because I knew I couldn't go back to Foot Locker and get all glared at by the employees while he picked out his shoes again. To make it up to him we went to Florsheim and I got him some cute little tassle loafers that he can wear on school trips and stuff.

After the Foot Locker debacle the mall was kind of ruined for us so we walked on back home and I sent him to play with his things. Some new video games he had ordered were in the mail so he got all cheery and forgot all about being abandoned. And there was a message from Lyle on the machine! The dudes were playing poker at 3, and it was 2:50. I just had time to throw some chilled Asahi into a backpack and beat a trail over to their place. Everyone was just havin' a great time and I went on a tear like I never have before, clearin' like sixty bucks, floppin' full houses and flushes like nobody's business. I think I also caught on some of the dudes' tells, like how Téodor tends to place his cards closer to himself when they're good, and pushes them close to the pot when they're bad, like he's all ready to fold. And I can usually see Pat's hand in these dumb mirrored shades he always wears when we play. By the time it was head to head and I put the burn on Roast Beef with pocket kings that went full, folks were in a pretty good mood and we decided to light the grill back at my place. I had these filet mignons wrapped in bacon, some jumbo prawns all marinated up, and even a couple of those mini-kegs you can get. Téodor whipped up some twice-baked potatoes while we jumped all around in the jacuzzi and pool. I got the perfect buzz goin' from this chianti we cracked, and it was just beautiful.

Between the poker win and the buzz, I had my confidence going on strong. I dug up that phone number of the girl at Fossil, just knowing that I could smooth the hell out of a phone call. Hell, maybe I'd even invite her over.

I grabbed the cordless and headed to the other side of the pool so that people couldn't hear me and heckle me, but close enough to the party that she could hear the fun goin' on. Roast Beef had put on some of the better Steve Miller songs, and there was splashin' and laughin', so I figured that was a good enough backdrop.

Sure enough, she had just gotten off work (her name was Crystal, I think I forgot to mention that) and said she'd grab a swimsuit and come on over. At this point I was on cloud nine. I could not lose. I even said these clever things on the phone that implied that I liked her while also keeping this real sexy distance.

Well, as ladies do, she took like seventeen hours to even show up and by that time the party was just ash. Everyone was gone, bottles were floatin' in the pool, and someone had shaped hamburger meat into the letters C-O-C-K on the grill. By the time she came walkin' around I was just bored and kind of upset and I didn't notice her at first. I guess she read me pretty well because she said she was sorry for bein' so late. One look at her though and I knew it was worth the wait: she was done up all fine in this nice little dress, all makeup on and hair real carefully arranged. She was puttin' her finest foot forward, so I showed her around the pad, made her a Sea-Breeze, and then she noticed this Pretenders CD I keep around. I don't like most people knowin' I dig on The Pretenders...but anyhow, out of like six hundred CDs she spots that one. I pop it on and we just sit right down on the carpet in the living room, talkin' for hours. I didn't even notice the time pass, but next thing I knew it was 2am and she had to get home for work the next day. Just one little kiss at the end of the driveway and that was enough, that was it. Any more would have been wrong. Now I'm gonna see her again on Friday! But we're gonna go out somewhere proper, just the two of us, so I can show her what a gentleman I can be.

Wow, I really wrote a lot today. I think it's like 4am now, and I am pretty beat. But remember how I said at the beginning that I bet it's not over yet? I was right. For the next few minutes until I fall asleep I'm gonna hold onto this scrunchie that Crystal left on the counter—I'm gonna put it around my wrist and smell her sweet perfume. Man, I feel like I'm thirteen again. And it feels damn good.

Oh, crap. I just remembered that I have to take Little Nephew to the dentist at 7:30 this morning. Dammit. I better go see if Roast Beef can take him.

Until then, Gentlemen,
-=Ray=-