XL Magnum PI

Time to jump on the Merry-Go-Round. Swipe, pause, swipe, nanosecond pause, and on and on it goes, until at some point, someone has that special something that catches your attention. Intuitive, perhaps. Instinct, maybe. False advertising, definitely. Look at this one, hmmm, no, next….oooh, look at that one.. I wonder why all of the pics have toilets in the background today? Last week, there were a ton of pets. What if you don’t have a pet? Swipe, swipe, swipe. The options are infinite.  The descriptions and desires, feigned humor, and contrived hilarity. Filters, cliches, and fakes. Hop off the wheel, and take a break. No worries, get back on to find the same familiar faces. Sure, you’ll find a few newbies, but the veterans resurface as well; back to try their luck once again. Round and round they go.

This is why he made the executive decision to be blunt, and just get the the point. He was sick and tired of putting forth effort into crafting a profile, when in reality, he knew what he wanted. He wanted sex. Sex, sex, and more sex. That’s it. It wasn’t easy, seeing as his very public position in the city forbid him to post his face. On his day off, he spent hours creating the perfect new image. One that said everything, without saying anything. He toyed with his badge, carefully polishing it with a microfiber cloth until it sparkled. He then snapped a few pics of it leaning gently against an extra large eggplant. This just wasn’t quite right. It felt like an insult to his P.I. status. Standing in his training uniform, which still fit him like it did on day one as an officer, he glanced in the mirror. Flexing strong biceps while adjusting his broad shoulders, he practiced that intense “sexy stare”.

Next, he tried to take a photo of the badge on his upper body, but it still wasn’t right. He worried that it might even scare potential “shoppers” away. All of a sudden, the glittering golden foil package of Magnum condoms caught his eye. He kept a stack in the bathroom in a clear box on the counter. He had nothing to hide. He was a sex god. God of sex. A private investigator, sure, but his real talent was sex. He needed it, and he needed it a lot.

Removing the badge, he carefully set it on the counter. He proceeded to take off his uniform, watching himself undress in the mirror. God Damn. He still had it. After neatly folding his shirt, he laid the badge on the navy fabric, positioning one shiny gold packet next to it. Adjusting the still life, so that XL size was legible, he grabbed his phone, and snapped a couple of pics. Smiling to himself, he clicked on the dating app, uploaded the new profile pic, and walked out into the bedroom. Sitting on the bed, again, he glanced sideways, admiring the silhouette of his powerful physique reflected from the mirrored closet doors. He was a God. A God Damned God. He fell back onto the bed and started to scroll through the pictures. Swipe, swipe, swipe. Pause, and click. Swipe, swipe, swipe.

Kept

Joey had been living his life as a kept man, and a gigolo on the side. It’s not something he planned on. It just sort of happened. Well, it happened the day he met Delores. She was a bawdy customer at the bar where he worked the closing shift. One night, like so many others, Delores had had one too many martinis, and, while pressing her sweating breasts over the edge of the wooden bar, she beckoned Joey over with a long red laquered talon. “Hey hon, ya think you wanna give me a ride tonite?” Joey, being the consummate professional, assumed she meant that she was too drunk to drive home the few blocks across the flat industrial town. He asked her to wait 10 minutes until the end of his shift.

Exiting the buiding, she held his strong arm, teetering on her stilettos through the parking lot. She pressed a car key into his hand, and he opened the door to her dilapidtated Cadillac. The scent of stale perfume and cigarettes permeated the interior. She told him to get into the drivers seat and take her home. As he fastened his seatbelt, she reached over and grabbed at his crotch. Joey was only 23, and Delores, well, she was definitely older than his mom, and perhaps even his gran.

The first time it happened in that Cadi, they just leant the seats back. Her excitement, triggered his ego, and he was addicted immediately. The scent of well-worn whole grain leather, White Diamonds,  Benson & Hedges and Aquanet intoxicated him. This moment would remain with him for life.

Joey continued seeing Delores, initially in exchange for food, and meager trinkets. Later on he was given a watch, numerous shirts, socks, underwear, and once, an incredible pair of alligator boots. She lavished him with attention and occasionally, he would find a 100 dollar bill tucked into his wallet. He had a key to her house, and he came and went as he pleased. Delores was always available, except for Wednesday nights, for those were her “service” nights. He started to notice odd items around her home. There was an alter at the entryway, filled with embers and small metallic bones. In addition, she had a few strands of ancient looking beads, and unusual amulets strewn about on doorways, and hanging in corners. Now and then, she would burn something, which left a sour note lingering in the air.

One night, as they shared the giant bathtub, full of bubbles and red rose petals, she closed her eyes, leaned her head back. Slowly she opened her eyes to meet his. Staring for a few moments, she said “ It’s time.”…”Time for what?” Joey was confused. “You’re ready. “ Delores mesmerized him with her stare, as she caressed his strong arms. He really didn’t think much of it, because he always went along with her whims. She told him to keep next Wednesday open, and have an all black outfit ready. In fact, she said, she would get him something to wear.

A few days later, he got to her house to find a pair of black pants and black button down silk shirt laid out on the bed, along with shoes to match. He dressed in the outfit, and walked downstairs to the living room where Delores sat in an extravagant black velvet gown. She smiled with approval. “Come here, come baby.” He sat next to her, inhaling the scent of her potent fragrance. She stubbed out her cigarette in the overflowing ashtray. After offering him a drink, she took his hand in hers. Delores had beautiful hands. Long fingers, decorated with cocktail rings, which sparkled in the low light. She looked him in the eyes, “listen baby, this means everything to me, and I want you to know I’m doing it for you.” He smiled a weak smile, not sure what to make of her cryptic message.

The clock in the hallway struck 7 pm, and Delores startled. “Let’s go!” she told him. “We need to be there by 7:30.” He dutifully followed, feeling a bit numb from the drink she had given him.

Somehow they arrived at the service, and shuffled in behind a line of people all dressed in black. Upon closer observation, he realized that all of the people were women! He turned to ask Delores why, but she only stared straight ahead, expressionless. He thought he heard music playing. Either it was muffled, or he was drunk. As they reached the alter, he saw a cloaked priest or priestess, holding up a flask containing a deep red liquid. Further in the distance, he noticed a platform, with a sort of ditch around it, in which there appeared to be dark water flowing. Delores pressed him forward as his body resisted. He felt all eyes on him, and the humming began ever so subtly…a soft hum which gradually became an unbearable crecendo…hands were now touching his body, and massaging his arms and back, he was being pushed forward to the alter. The women swarmed and pressed inward….

Samsara Yoga Retreat

Inhaling the briny air, Sylvia extended her tan sinewy arms toward the balmy tropical skies above. As waves crashed loudly below, a thick mist of sea spray drifted upward, momentarily obscuring from vision the figures huddled together. The air cleared, and a small circle of silhouettes appeared, holding up long white chiffon scarves, which billowed through the air. In the center stood guru Sylvia. She chanted loudly against the wind “Lokah samastha sukhino bhavanthu”……others followed her lead. Their voices carried over the cliffs, onto the sea, fading far away into the distance.

Turning to the group, she bowed gently. Her fluffy blonde hair swirled into a halo around her head, and they bowed in return. The circle of ten individuals all wore white gauze ensembles, and a simple band of blue tied around their foreheads. At the end of the final prayer, she looked up, and slowly turned to meet each one, eye to eye, praising them for their attendance. First there was Gregory, a young man from Minnesota, who had left his life as a ranch hand to become a yogi. Next, Maxwell, a recovering sex addict from Toronto, who just wanted a fresh start. Then Nadine, sufferer of anger issues, looking for management with a spiritual angle. And, so it went. Lastly, she locked eyes with a shrewd looking red-head. She knew those aqua-green eyes immediately. It was Betty. Betty, her old friend. A reformed alcoholic. Betty was here to do a “life cleanse”, and was ready to reach the next level in her yogic training. She was, in fact, looking for her master. Sylvia offered up a weak smile of recognition, and moved on to the next person, Harvey, an ex-marine, looking for peace in his life. She breathed heavily, the group automatically followed her lead with a collective sigh.

The cliff side session was over. As the group dispersed, they wandered off in a daze to go to the hostel for lunch. Betty, however,  waited for Sylvia. After everyone had departed, the two remained on the cliff’s edge. Betty stepped gingerly towards Sylvia, forcing an awkward smile. Sylvia laughed, breaking the ice, and Betty did too. As they hugged in the sea spray, Betty stood back staring into Sylvia’s crystal blue eyes. She apologized for her bad behaviour. She explained that she had gone through major rehab, and was now a completely different person. Sylvia was very calm, took a deep breath and smiled. Betty looked out over the vast sea, and softly said, “You see, now, that the infidelity I had with your husband was nothing. In the infinity of life, it was just a blip on the screen.” Sylvia let out a hearty laugh, and pulled Betty to hug her once more. As they embraced, she took a step forward towards the cliff’s edge, and with a gently push, Betty was falling down into the foamy surf far, far below.

The Kiddie Pool

Mid July in the late 70’s. The family of four stood in the driveway of a run-down looking two family house, as they watched a giant moving truck slowly back out into the street. Tears welled up in the older daughter’s eyes. The younger child grabbed onto to her mother’s long linen skirt. She looked up to see the dark stains spreading beneath the underarms of her mom’s favorite olive shirt. Their father swiftly turned on his heels, walked into the house, letting the loose screen door slam loudly behind him.

The mother and two little girls stood for a few moments, frozen in time at the end of the driveway. They watched as the truck turned the corner, finally passing out of sight.

This was one of a series of moves. For reasons mysterious to the children, just as soon as they got settled in a new town and into a new school, it was time to move again. Usually something to do with their father’s job as a professor. Switching universities, better opportunities, or something of the sort.

This time they were going to move to a another state, but until the next house was ready, they would need to stay in temporary housing, at an apartment complex.

As the kids got into the back seat of the beige Volvo station wagon, they each hugged a teddy bear close, tears dampening the well-worn, faded fur.

Hours passed, and after dark, they arrived at their destination. It was a nondescript place. Dark russet brick, all one level. Basically a Motel 6, minus the sign. The family set up a temporary home here. Simply furnished, it served its purpose well enough.

Over the next few days, the girls ventured outside. It was during an era when kids were allowed to run around wild and free. Nobody really paid much attention, unless it was time to do homework, chores, walk a dog, or eat dinner. As they wandered around the complex, they noticed quite a few other kids around their age. The children seemed friendly enough, and one of the neighbors even had a plastic kiddie pool in front of her unit. It was blue, with bright green turtles and seahorses printed all around the outside. The little girl invited the sisters to play, and of course they were excited to meet a new friend. And, even more excited to be able to cool off in the bright blue plastic pool.

Being that it was summer and there wasn’t much to do, having a new friend with the kiddie pool was a good start. At least they had somewhere to go. They didn’t like to stay inside the dark apartment, since their mother seemed to be unhappy, and the place felt oppressive in the stifling humidity.

One day, not long after moving in, the new friend told them, “hey, it’s time to go to Bobby’s place, his mom is doing her shower.” The girls had no idea what this meant, but of course they were curious. They followed her as she traipsed around the complex. As they followed her, she called out “shower time!” over and over. Gradually, a few other children, hearing the call, joined them in the parade towards Bobby’s place.

Finally, they arrived at the apartment. Number 19. The door was open. An older boy, maybe 9 or 10, poked his head out of the front door. “Hurry up! Mom’s just getting in the shower now!” All of the kids shuffled in through the door, crowding the hallway of the small unit. The sound of a shower could be heard, and a high-pitched voice called out “Hey you guys, wanna see my tits?” The group of kids, mostly boys, swiftly gravitated towards her voice.

The bathroom door was open, an intoxicating scent of strawberry shampoo filled the air, as a cloud of steam poured out. Rock music played on a transistor radio. Behind the sheer plastic French doors into the shower, a messy giant blonde head of hair bobbed up and down. Suddenly, the doors opened and Bobby’s mom leaned out, “see these!” she held up her enormous breasts shaking them at all of the children. The two new girls stood in shock. The older sister grabbed her younger sister by the hand, and dragged her through the cluster of kids, and out the front door in a hurry. They ran all the way back to their apartment, where they fell onto the air mattress in hysterical fits of giggles.

CVS Psychic

Hair dye, nail polish, crazy glue, birthday card and gum. I repeat these words over and over in my head like a song. Don’t want to forget anything. Without a list, I know I’ll wind up with a basket full of makeup I don’t need, along with random things like tiny stuffed teddy bears and jellybeans. Stick to the list. Focus.

Standing in the nail polish aisle, comparing two very similar colors, I host an internal debate regarding the difference between them, one too pale, the other too grey and corpse-like. I go back and forth, finally settling on the least expensive tiny bottle in a shade between the two.

It’s at that moment that I feel her stare. Looking up from the nail polish rack, I see a petite woman, with sharp darting eyes standing in front of me. Wearing a black wool coat, purple handbag on arm, she’s a throwback to 1968. Her dyed matte black hair is perfectly coifed into a modest bouffant. She wears a red faded lipstick. Cautiously stepping closer, she let’s me know that she’s a psychic. She tells me that I have a very strong aura. I think, oh no, here we go….the psychic scam. Been there, done that. However, I am curious as to what message she might have for me.

She tells me that there is someone I have unfinished business with, and that I need to let it go. I do a quick scan over the past and, of course, there’s a lot of unfinished business back there, but I can’t think of anything that critical. I nod and tell her I’m good, I think I’ve resolved those things. She continues to stare. Then she pauses to pick up a lipstick. Holding it up, she tells me, in a heavy Brooklyn accent, how these long wearing lipsticks always make her lips dry. I let her know I’m a makeup artist, and I offer some suggestions. She tells me I have a very creative aura.

I thank her, turning to head down the aisle, making my stealthy escape. Around the corner I pause, momentarily distracted by a row of mascaras. I feel it again, she’s in front of me now. She tells me I am going to need to make a decision very soon. In my head, I’m thinking, yeah, we all make decisions every day. Case in point,  I can’t even decide which nail color to buy. But, she emphasizes that I need to make the best decision for myself, and not to let others influence that choice. I thank her for the advice, and I carry on towards the hair dye section.

As I wait in line for the register, I realize it’s saturday night, and I’m in a CVS in Burbank. I feel a wave of self-pity sweep over me. Let it go, I tell myself, let it go. You’re free. You don’t have to answer to anyone. You can stay in this store all night if you want. Self-doubt creeps in. Insecurity takes over. The psychic’s comments float through my mind. “Need to let go of something, creative aura, make a decision.” Maybe I ought to heed her advice. As I make my way across the lonely parking lot, carrying the plastic bag with my hair dye, nail polish, crazy glue, birthday card and gum, I know that I do need to let go of some things from the past, and it is time to make some serious decisions regarding my future. I embrace my creative spirit, and quietly thank the CVS psychic for her advice.

Trader Joe’s Gigolo

Ever since he could remember, women had fawned over him. He was a real head turner, and he knew it. The ladies loved him, and he loved them back. Again, and again. And, again. Years passed. He fancied himself a player for life. Love ’em, and leave ’em was his motto. Even if it meant shacking up with one, while managing a few on the side. Sure it became work, but he preferred to consider it a “lifestyle”.  A few more years passed, and eventually, juggling so many women began to consume him. It became a full-time job. So much so, that his actual career as a science lab manager went into a downward spiral. He wound up with a menial position at a pet store, where he got fired for trying to seduce a customer by putting a snake inside her blouse. Fortunately, he was still living with a clueless “girlfriend”, and she was all too happy to support him, since it gave her a sick sense of self-control. Self-control was the very thing he lacked. Not long after he lost his job, she came home from work one day to find him in bed with a wealthy elderly neighbor. Needless to say, she kicked him out immediately. He vanished without a trace.

These days, you can find him lurking around Trader Joes parking lots. Wearing a fitted t-shirt and jeans,  pretending to be on his phone, he looks slightly lost and confused. But as soon as he sees a single lady headed to her car with grocery bags, he shifts into high gear, and heads towards her with a studied swagger. Giving her his hungry eyes, and a slight smile, he pauses, then says, “excuse me, but you are so beautiful, I just had to tell you.” Usually, the woman swiftly slides into the vehicle, and backs out at high speed. But, occasionally he has a lucky day, and she pauses long enough for him to engage her further. He runs his fingers through his albeit thinning hair, like he’s seen men in cologne ads do. He’s still got it. Trader Joe’s parking lot has been good to him. There are lots of single ladies. and they definitely have food and a car. Soon, he might need to find a new location. He’s considering Home Goods or TJMax.

 

Lost in Translation

Veronica was a very cool chick. She managed to make juggling a high-pressure PR job alongside a packed social life look effortless. Her jet-black hair was always perfectly cropped. A fringe of bangs grazing her almond-shaped, kohl rimmed hazel eyes. She was into music, and going to see bands play was her thing. Not only for the music, but for the musicians. Veronica loved musicians. In fact, she would only date men in that category. Exclusively musicians.

Over the years, there had been quite a few of them. There was the guitar player from a German punk band, an aging but still relevant American rock superstar, and even the lead singer from a very famous British pop group. However, nothing had ever panned out into a long-term relationship, and she was getting to the point in life where she craved more stability. For this, she knew she would need to expand her horizons.

One of her close friends was doing the on-line dating thing, and raved to her about how much fun it was. She told Veronica that there were so many cool guys out there, and she should really give it a try. Veronica was not interested, but she did reluctantly take a look via her friend’s profile and she noticed that yes, there were some cute guys on this thing. While browsing, there was one in particular who caught her eye. Her friend told her she could use her profile to hit him up. And, this is how she met Fabrizio1.

Yes, Fabrizio1 was Italian, imported directly from Italy. Currently working in San Diego as a tattoo artist. Oh, and did I mention that Veronica was a tattoo aficionado? Oh yes. He responded to her right away and they began a chat (using her friend Viki75’s account). He didn’t spell too well, but she quickly realized it was because his English skills were not up to speed. This didn’t bother her, in fact she preferred foreign men to the average American guy. He sent her a selfie from work at the tattoo shop. He stood in front of a wall of tattoo designs and artwork. He was tall with shaggy black hair, green eyes, a sexy smile, and from what she could see of his arms, and neck, he was loaded with tattoos. Perfect. She sent back a quick pic of herself standing on the balcony at her friend’s apartment. She had her trademark heavy black eyeliner on under those sharp bangs, and he liked what he saw. He commented that she looked totally different from the profile pic and she divulged that she was just using her friend’s account. He didn’t seem to care, and he asked her when would she be free so he could take her to dinner. She lived in LA, and he told her he would drive up and meet her.

They decided to meet at a cool restaurant off of Sunset Boulevard. Veronica waited in the lounge at the bar anxiously watching the door. Under her long black sweater she wore a fitted mini-dress with thigh high boots, and her go-to black fishnet stockings. A vixen version of Stevie Nicks. She watched as a few couples walked in and were seated. Finally, in walked Fabrizio1. She recognized him immediately. Wearing a beat up vintage leather jacket, and black jeans, he was even better looking in person. He looked around the room and made eye contact with Veronica. She smiled and he walked over to the bar. He sat by her and leaned over to kiss her on both cheeks. He smiled and she noticed the gold tooth. Could he get any hotter? He was so relaxed and easy to be with. Funny and charming. He told her he was hungry, and he asked the bartender if they could order at the bar. They shared some delicious tapas and drank red wine. The conversation flowed. He told her about the town he was from, and the reasons he decided to become a tattoo artist. Fabrizio had traveled all around the world and his life story was intriguing. She was very attracted to him. As they finished and the bill was paid, he put his hand on her thigh and leaned over to kiss her. It was a soft, romantic kiss, and she noticed that his hair smelled of the sand and sea, with a touch of smoke and leather. Yum. As they exited the restaurant, he asked her where she had parked, and she told him that her car was just around the corner on Santa Monica Boulevard. He asked her if she would mind driving him to his car. Sure she would do that, no problem. He put his arm around her and they walked together. He paused to kiss her intermittently. She felt warm all over. They got into her car and she turned on the ignition. He leaned over and pushed her sweater off of her shoulders. He asked if he could kiss her some more. She closed her eyes and he stroked her neck and ran his fingers through her hair as he put his lips to hers. She felt his grip on her head get firmer and suddenly her head was being pushed down onto his lap. She opened her eyes to see his hand holding his penis aiming straight at her face. She jerked her head up and told him “ This is not gonna work”, he pushed her head down once again, and said to her with his heavy Italian accent, “no, no bella mia, it work, it work, you keep doing and it working”. She raised her head again, trying to compose herself. Looking straight in his eyes, and with a serious tone she told him, “no! this!” Pointing to his lap. “This is not gonna happen!” A sudden flash of light in the darkness blinded her for a moment, and she noticed that a police officer was walking up alongside of the car. He tapped on the window. She sharply hissed at Fabrizio1 to “put that thing away!” as she rolled down the window. The cop, peering into the vehicle, asked if everything was alright. Yes, yeah, fine, she said. Alrighty then, he told them, have a good night then and remember you need to move your vehicle by 11. He turned and walked away. Veronica waited a minute in silence. She then turned towards Fabrizio1 and firmly told him that he would have to go get his car on his own. He tried to apologize. He told her she was just so beautiful that he couldn’t help himself. He went on and on about how in Italy things are different. He begged and pleaded, but she said nothing. Finally, she looked him in the eye and said in a stern loud voice “just leave!” He shrugged his shoulders, got out of the car, and she watched him saunter down the boulevard through her rearview mirror. She could see a couple of blonde party girls teetering in their high heels towards him. He paused to flirt with them. After a few moments, and what looked like laughter amongst them, they changed their course of direction, and turned to walk with Fabrizio1 into the distance along the boulevard. The last thing she noticed was his arm wrapping around both girls waists. She shook her head and started ignition of her Charger, taking off with a roar.