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The Nice Ass, Chapter 1

I woke up to a familiar, yet foreign, buzzing sound, as if the world’s largest housefly was trying to escape through the glass of my bedroom window. Except I wasn’t in my bedroom. I was on the couch in my living room. My brain tried to reconstruct the events of the previous night that led me to sleeping on the couch when I have a perfectly functional bed not two rooms away, but that gigantic housefly made another desperate attempt to break out of my house. The sound was coming from the floor beside me.

For a very brief instant, I imagined some horrific, monster-movie fly making his way to my sleeping form on the couch. I could easily imagine him vomiting up his acidic fly-spittle onto me, and then slurping up my face-goo as I died. But it was only for a very brief instant. My cell phone, set to vibrate, was rattling against the quasi-hardwood floor. I picked it up and pressed the ‘Send’ button without even looking at the screen.

“What?”

“You hung over?” It was Lenny. I remembered that he was part of last night’s expedition.

“Too early to tell. You woke me up.”

“Too early? It’s almost noon, Stuck!” Lenny is short for Linwood. Before he met me, he used to introduce himself as such. I, however, refused to address him as such. I told him I would call him Lenny, and he was amiable enough to agree. He’s a nice enough guy, and often means well, but he’s prone to what I refer to as ‘Lenny-Moments.’ These moments have been countless through the years that we’ve been friends, and each one of them always reminds me of the lovable Lenny from Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, and each of them has found me considering shooting him in the back of the head while I tell him about the farm of our dreams. This was a Lenny-Moment.

“Almost noon means before noon, and you know the rule about calling me before noon on weekends.” I’m not a morning person. Anytime before noon is, technically, still morning in my eyes, and I reserve the right to be grumpy even in the early afternoon. My friends all know that I’m not going to be out of bed before noon on a weekend unless there’s something really cool going on.

“Quit your bitching and get showered. I’ll come pick you up in thirty minutes. We’re going to lunch. We need to talk about your strategy, and what you plan to do with those numbers you got last night.” With that, he hung up before I could respond.

Part of me, a very big part, considered going back to sleep on my warm and comfortable couch. The smaller part, though, knew that Lenny would live up to his promise and that he would be at my door in thirty minutes. With a muttered word or two, which my mother would chastise me for, I stumbled off the couch and toward the bathroom.

The morning shower is a ritual that I cannot live without. I’ve said that I’m not a morning person, and without this shower, I could very well become a criminal. It wouldn’t be on purpose, of course. I would simply be in the store or someplace that required my immediate presence in the morning and prevented me from showering, someone would say ‘Good morning!’ in a too-friendly voice, and I would beat them to death with a box of Raisin Bran or whatever happened to be on hand. So, in order to keep the neighborhood safe, I take my showers in the morning.

The cold water, for I very rarely turn the hot water on in my morning shower, woke me up instantly. There is no feeling in the world like being woken to the pelting rain of frigid water against your bare skin. The initial shock eradicates any thought of sleep, and the continued sensation energizes the body into a state of acute alertness. Fully awake, I washed up, dried off, and went to the bedroom in search of clothes.

As I showered, I had given some thought to the previous night. I had called Lenny to go out with me and play the role of ‘wing-man’ while I worked on a new tactic for meeting girls. Lenny is about as non-threatening a guy as there ever was, and he’s usually more interested in the liquid assets of a bar than the assets of flesh. Truth be told, I’m usually the same way. Lately I’ve just decided that the approach of ignoring women just isn’t working quite as well as I’d like. We’d gone to a bar called ‘Buddies’ and drank a little too much for picking up girls, and I’d written the night off as a drinking night. It was everything after that decision that was foggy.

I slid on the same pair of jeans I’d worn the night before. While some people are disgusted by this behavior, I am a firm believer that one must wear a pair of jeans two times before they are fully comfortable. On the first wearing, jeans are too drier-stiff and too shrunk-up. This leads to much adjusting of certain man-parts. After one night of wearing them, you’ve broken them in for the second night of significantly less man-part adjustments. The shirt, though, was a fresh tee shirt from the closet. I hang my tee shirts up, despite the mocking from my friends and family. I checked the clock. I still had five minutes before Lenny showed up.

I used those five minutes contemplating the last thing that Lenny had said before hanging up. He mentioned numbers that I’d gotten the night before. I picked up my phone and looked through the contacts, searching for any names that weren’t there before. I thumbed through my wallet in case there were any beer receipts or folded napkins with a girl’s handwriting upon it. Then I checked the last place I always look, the back pocket of my jeans. This pocket is the most common place for me to store anything that I happen to acquire in the course of an evening. Usually it contains movie stubs, credit card receipts, and the thick lint of previous stubs and receipts that weren’t discovered prior to laundry day. This day, however, it held four things that were not the forgotten stubs and receipts. I pulled them out and set them on the coffee table.

The first was a drink receipt from Buddies. Upon the back, in red ink and flowery script read the words, “Call me, Kara.” Between the ‘me’ and ‘Kara’ was a cell phone number.

The second was a matchbook, also from Buddies. The inside contained a number and a name: Susan.

The third was a napkin, bearing no insignia to proclaim its business of origin. The words ‘you are too funny! Call me sometime!’ were above another number and the name ‘Mary.’

The fourth was a business card for Diane McCleod, Vice President of Information Technology for a fairly large tech firm in town. Being in the tech industry myself, I might’ve thought I’d done some business networking while intoxicated. The back of the card, though, gave her home number and a message: ‘Thanks for the dance! xxooxx’

I looked at these four clues to my previous night, completely unable to associate a single face with any of them. I was thinking that Lenny would be able to help with that just as I heard his knock on the front door.

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