For Pauly, Al, Carson and Riggstad.
"You always know right before they come around! It's that uuuuuhhh, scent." Riggs said as the first of many made their way up into our private little EH-fternoon shift sanctuary. While AL, Riggstad, Brudder Carson and I all strategically picked our seating locations for what we'd hoped to be the EH-Procedure leading up to the game that night. Riggs was funnily enough to me, the one that looked out of place. Picking the worst spot possible as far as the action and probably even worse, the bar! Riggs had found a temporary home for the EH-fternoon and loved it. Al on the other hand, proved to be the seasoned veteran and ensured himself the best seat in the house. Bar within reach and stage within view. Carson was next. Being one of the most intelligent person's I know on this planet, (ignore what he does at the tables! That's the 'other' Carson that comes out in him) Carson chose the seat immediately to Al's left. The 'almost' best seat in the house. I on the other hand, decided that the best of all three worlds was required. A seat that had the flexibility to not only reach the bar, but to get the attention of the lovely bar-maid at the drop of a G-string, while still having full contact with the EH-fternoon shift up on stage. I also wanted to make sure that I was not wasting a single minute of conversation with my fellow procedurites, that EH-fternoon. Despite Al's obvious talent for selection, I picked the best seat in the house. The best of all three worlds was mine with a bonus. I had the Riggs entertainment factor. Seconds before one of the EH-fternoon shift girls plopped herself high up on Riggs lap, he leaned forward and said to me, "You always know right before they come around! It's that uuuuuhhh, scent." This all came back to me today, upon my return home from the business trip from hell. 19 customers in Montreal, in a whirlwind total of 70 hours.
The trip home from one of these phenomenal ordeals is an oxy-moron paralleled only possibly by, Government Worker. I mean, on one hand you are so elated to be headed in the right direction. But on the other, it's still travel and it's still a pain in the ass. You know that it's a great thing for sure, but you also are fully cognisant that whatever can go wrong probably will. I was fortunate this particular trip home. I had made it all the way to my seat on the plane and was comfortably tilting my head for the little drift off that I could feel heading my way. I don't know what it is about air travel? If I'm lucky on a regular night, I'll put in a solid 2 or 3 hours sleep and be totally satisfied that I did my best. Get me on a plane however, and I seem to be able to get to sleep before it's fully boarded and I manage to awaken just before touchdown. It doesn't usually matter if the flight is 40 minutes or 4 hours. I seem to be capable of crashing for the exact right amount of time. This flight seemed to be right on track, but then I could hear my buddy Riggs. "You always know right before they come around! It's that uuuuuhhh, scent."
The bag hit the chair beside me first. And by "hit" I mean, it was one of the "carry-ons" that had no chance in hell of fitting into two of those size checking units they put right out in front of the boarding area, let alone one. "Sorry, could I ask for some help here?" came from beside me in a clearly New England, (if not Bostonian) Eastern Seaboard kind of way. I got up and helped make room for the luggage in the overhead cabinet. Taking my seat as I brushed ever so lightly beside my new seat companion, I could here old Riggstad again, "You always know right before they come around! It's that uuuuuhhh, scent." It certainly was "the" scent I was familiar with! That Avon and Mary Kay discover that Armani meets baby-powder kinda smell of confusion and sex, all at the same time. Probably different for everyone I'm sure, but that is how it comes across to me.
"Gay or too successful?" was how my new companion chose to introduce herself. I sat back for a second or two, trying to fathom how any of either applied to my helping her with her luggage. "No ring!" she she barked, before I could compose the right response. I gazed down at my left hand, as if I needed to re-affirm that there was indeed no ring present. Before I could look back in her direction, "It's ok if you're gay to me you know. I'm Bi. I can never make up my damn mind anymore. One day it's the guy I'm with, the next day some bitch will light a fire under my ass, that makes me positive, that I'll never switch sides again." I smiled in her general direction and fained acknowledgment of what I'd just taken in. "Really?" was what apparently wanted to come out of my mouth at the time. "So which one hun?" she asked abruptly. "Gay or successful?" I had to ask her why there were only two options. It just seemed so restrictive to someone in my situation.
"Hun, you're hot. I know because I was so happy to be sitting beside you, I got a little damp if you know what I mean. But then I saw no ring and thought shit! Why are they all gay? she said with a completely straight face while staring directly into my eyes.
"I can assure you my dear, I am definitely not gay. I have a lovely wife at home, and women will always be the flavour of choice for yours truly." I said, making sure to stare right back into those uniquely too close, but awfully bright blue eyes of hers.
Here is the remainder of the conversation that took place, before we even left the ground.
"Listen. You ever been a member of the mile high club uh, what's your name hun?"
"Mark and I can't tell you that! You could be FAA, heh!"
"Wanna join it with me? Only $300."
"Great offer, but no thanks."
"Come on. I could use a little something you know? I've been working Montreal for a month and all the guy's were a drag. OK, $200."
"Why didn't you switch to the girls?"
"Oh I did honey and they were great! But now I need a little outey not an inney, you follow? OK.... $150.)
"So the girls were good huh? You like red-heads, blondes or brunettes?"
"Buddy! Sorry, Mark. Let's get this going. I could use the fun."
"I figure after a month of working in Montreal, you shouldn't need the cash!"
"Well it's my daughter see. She's a deaf mute that needs a lot of care because she's been beaten by her father. She's not really retarded, but she is a little slow. I strip to pay for her to get better. That's the only reason..... I sware."
"You strip in Montreal, to take care of your daughter in Boston is it?"
"Who's taking care of her now? Hopefully not her father!"
"A friend. My mother would do it for sure if she was here. But, I need some cash to bring her over from Senegal. She's in a bad way over there. Bringing her here would make a world of difference, in both our lives. All three of ours actually!"
"I guess so. I hope that works out for you all."
"You ain't gonna let me do it to you are you?"
"Let's just say I don't think so darlin'. Not this time."
"Why didn't you just say you were gay! Then I could'a been workin' someone else that would pay for it you bastard!"
"That would have been a lie. Don't you like honest guy's?"
"I like guy's that pay me. Then I like'em just fine. Don't talk to me anymore."
And with that, my eyes closed and I drifted off into the wonderment that is air-travel sleep. Well, right after I switched my wallet over to my left front pocket of course! But it was a funny dream I had during that flight. All I can remember from it was, a field full of rabbits and that smell that I'd been warned about on a cool but sunny Saturday EH-fternoon. Two things seem to remain constant as time slips away into eternity.
"You always know right before they come around! It's that uuuuuhhh, scent." and, there's always an ulterior motive related to a mother or child, for every single one of them out there.
God bless the EH-fternoon shift!
My sincerest thanks for dropping by....