Going out to dinner with Jackie is like sex with your average Boston Gaysian She never knows what she wants and she's always really afuckenpologetic about it.
"I'm sorry." She says for the dozenth time. "I just don't know...well, you know. I don't know."
"Yea. Yea. Yea." We're in Moogy's, a local stoner deli that I used to hang out at with my roommates before Sora and the Slut Across The Street stuttered everything up. We would sit in the corner booth having Connect Four tournaments while the same dozen or so Bob Marley, Jack Johnson, and Dave Matthews Bands would play on repeat. What would I say Mr. Matthews? I don't know, I can't concentrate until you shut your stupid goose hole!
Tonight, instead of my roommates and neighbors I'm about to play Sorry with Jackie and Jim.
"This ought to be fun." Oh, and Paul. Paul is one of my favorite awkward straight guys (and between poetry and comics, I know more awkward straight guys than there are atoms in your average White Dwarf Star). But he's so quiet, I some times forget he's there.
We decide instead of saying "Sorry" when we we're going to send someone back to the beginning of the game, we're going to say "Jim Silverman", in honor of Jim who can't finish a sentence without apologizing.
"I'm sorry. Do I really apologize all the time?"
"Drink!" Jackie says. In addition to changing the name of Sorry, we've also turned Jim into a drinking game. Anytime he apologizes, we drink. Any time he asks for a favor, we drink. Any time he says "Hear me out on this." we drink. Any time he pauses for more than ten seconds, mid-word, we drink. We do a lot of drinking.
We are here under the guise of hanging out and writing. The truth is I've been a bit withdrawn since the whole Sora thing. And my past being a public blog, I'm pretty sure my friends are spending time with me to keep me from regretfully sleeping with half the population of Boston...again.
"Ok." Jim says. "Hear me out on this." drink "Ok? So... Sorry" drink "Adam. Adam. Are you. Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, really. Getting better every time you start talking."
"I'm sorry," drink "what? Oh. Because I know a bunch of gay dudes that would totally let you bone them." He takes a sip of Miller High Life to hide his smirk.
"Jim. I'm fine. Really. Thanks, though. Dick."
"I feel like we haven't gone out together in ages." Jackie says.
"That's because every time we make plans together one of us ends up breaking up. Or getting bones broken. Or killing a kitten."
Jackie's face goes all smeary. "Fair enough."
"So...Adam. I...sorry" drink "I've got to take this." Jim says, putting his phone to his ear and walking outside.
Jackie stands up, sits down in the seat next to me and then punches me while no one is looki...
"Why'd you hit him?" Paul asks.
"Broken bones? Really? Had to go there?" Jackie asks. "Asshole."
"Well, it's true. And you were the only one who went with me to Tuatara's to celebrate Sora's twenty-first birthday, and now we're both single. Every time we get together bad things happen. Now that you live a block away from me, I fear for my life."
"What about Writers' Group nights?" she asks. "Apart from that one time we had to put your kitten to sleep, there hasn't been any drama."
"Are you kidding?" I ask. "The last time you came to Writers' Group, you ended up spending forty-five minutes sitting on a couch next to Deborah crying about your mutual ex-not-quite-boyfriend. It got so estrogenny in the room that Wiz and I started talking about Nascar just to keep our penises from inverting."
"Nascar?" Jim says, sitting in Jackie's former spot.
"Cars." Jackie says. "Driving in circles. It's all a big metaphor for Adam's sex life."
I'd punch her but she's goddamned right, and everybody at the table knows it.
Food comes, and the playlist loops, and we laugh on repeat and say "Jim Silverman" a lot, as we eat our food. And, ultimately, I win both the board game and the drinking game, and Jim, who is the only one of us not drunk, ends up driving us all home, He drops Jackie off on the way. And Paul, right. He also drops off Paul.
"So...Are you sure you're ok?" Jim asks, as we pull up in front of my house.
"Yes. Mr. Skipping CD, I'm sure I'm fine."
"Sorry" dri...right, I'm outside my house without alcohol "I'm just. Hear me out on this. If it were me..." and he, like Jackie, and my roommates, and over-the-phone Celeste, Emily, and even goddamned Ben have their stories about why they hated Sora, and why us breaking up is so friggen great for me and how now blah blah blah.
I won't be lonely over this.
Jim drives off, and I go inside and turn on my computer. Four years ago, when I was desperate to get over Ben, I'd joined an online dating service, and met a really sweet guy who, of course, disappeared into the ether after our third date. Gone so far as to move out of his apartment, stiffing his roommates, and leaving no forwarding address. I'd stayed clear of the site since.
But tonight I don't care about love. it is too early for romance. Too sex o'clock for feelings. I open my profile, update my stats, pictures, and bio, and start cruising around the Boston pages. There are so many pots of brass at the end of The Internet.
I end up mailing four guys, hoping that one of them will e-mail me back soon.
"All of them?" Jackie asks. "You're going to date all four of them?"
"Sure." I say. I have already gone out to dinner with a hot theater twink, and have plans to hang out with an exotic dancer who lives in my neighborhood. There's also a tiny dancer, and a hotel manager.
"All of them?"
"Look." I say. "Between Sora, and Ben, and David, I've spent the last five years pining over exactly the wrong guys. I don't know what I want anymore. So instead of waiting for the same type of guy to drop into my life, I'm going to start sampling a bunch of different guys until I find a new kind of guy. Someone I can be in a healthy, symbiotic relationship with."
"There's a pu pu platter joke in there somewhere."
"Jackie, there's always a pu pu platter joke, if you look hard enough."
"How exactly do you plan on keeping track of who's who? You know you're going to call one of them by the wrong name, right. And I'm not going to be there to wipe their fruity cocktail off your face."
And just like that I get the most wonderful idea.