October 8, 2017

Nonfiction: “Pest”

Searchlights speckle a night sky devoid of excess stars, both literal and figurative. Jittery jive-fingers strum strings, slap bare feet like tambourines. Tipsy tongue gently butchers lyrics that could slide into accuracy with more frequency. The cover artist doesn’t try to emulate the great singers of the past fifty years, but he does a muddled, mumbling, slap-dash impersonation of his favorites (acoustic-style). When a song’s too high for his register, he unashamedly tells the crowd, “Not in my range,” and moves on to a tune that’s easier to croon. I applaud. He’s shameless in his imperfection. His voice sounds pleasant enough.

Pitch accuracy is of next-to-no import in a joint where the majority of its clientele pretends they’re at a Jimmy Buffett bar. Venue options are limited, since I’m on foot, and most of the bars close when the retirees nod off at nine PM. My husband’s marathoning Breaking Bad repeats a few doors down. I’m here to nurse a martini, observe the surroundings; write on an off-night from mom duties.

Meanwhile, this metrosexual poseur douchebag who’s been bothering me for the past thirty minutes straight, trying to get me to, “This may sound crazy, but do you want to take a walk on the beach/check out the nightlife/go to my Airbnb condo to have sex while your husband’s sleeping at the villa a few doors over,” will not take a polite hint, a firm “No,” or a talk-to-the-hand — so I roll my eyes at his friends, grimace when he asks for a hug, and quietly storm out of the rinky-dink martini bar masquerading as an artisan cocktail speakeasy geared towards senior citizens and bored college kids killing time on winter break.

“I wouldn’t screw you for all the tea in China!” I don’t call over my shoulder. Not for all the milk and honey in the promised land. Not even if you paid me in crisp green by the millions. But what would my unimaginative insults accomplish, besides adding an extra layer of earwax to closed ears?

Maybe he’ll come back in his next life as a bug, so I can squash him underfoot like the pest he personifies.

One can hope.



NO © Jane Bled

Author’s note: this piece recounts an unfortunate encounter I had with an unwanted suitor/potential date rapist when I was on vacation last winter. I don’t know what was more insulting — the fact that he thought I was the type of person to just folderol off with the first guy who was douche-y enough to use stale lines in hopes of attracting a “desperate housewife”; or the fact that he thought he had a witch’s tit’s chance in hell with me, the least likely candidate to ever fall for that tomfoolery. Truth be told, my first uncensored thought was to smack the smirk off his face and give him a knee-to-the-balls for good measure. Luckily, I have sufficient impulse control, and don’t resort to violence IRL to express my scorn.

It doesn’t matter anymore — water under the bridge — insert the platitude of your choice. These days, I abstain from squashing bugs (unless they pose an immediate threat). My spider-killing sprees have come to an end. Instead, I ask my husband or a friend who’s not afraid of eight-legged creatures to trap them in a jar; and then set them free with a stern warning never to return.

Thank you for moseying on down to the water hole. Y’all come back now — unless, of course, you’re a pest. 😉