Thursday, September 29, 2011

How Many Licks?

I smoked a bunch of cigarettes, okay?

I lasted three and a half weeks. That isn’t bad. Then I took a cosmic licking and the marshmallow center of my hard candy shell came out like a pop star in Provincetown on the 4th of July.

Like a vengeance, in other words.

And also not much of a surprise.

I don’t think I’ll get into much detail about the cosmic licking. Let’s just say that filing for divorce after a year and a half of chasing paperwork takes an anti-climactic five seconds to do, costs $120 you probably should’ve thought about ahead of time, and elicits unwelcome congratulations from everyone you tell, even when you’re only telling by way of an explanation as to why you’re not your usual eat-a-peach, the-world’s-my-oyster self.

Well, not from everyone you tell. It doesn't elicit any response at all from some people – Some People whom you decided not to tell but accidentally included anyway on the “I just finally, officially filed for divorce” text message that was supposed to only go to out-of-staters. You deserved that deafening silence, though. Because you hadn’t told Some People anything else about the divorce (or the marriage, or much of anything else about your past, for that matter) up to this point, anyway, so you can’t blame them if they don’t know what to say. Come to think of it, they probably deserve credit for at least not offering knee-jerk, cliché congratulations.

Also? Sigmund would probably say that slip was no accident, after all. But what does he know about texting, anyway? He’s been dead since, like, rotary dialing was cutting edge.

And then the bank — 

Let's see. How can I put this so you’ll understand how frustrating these past few months have been, without getting into the sordid details of how our quail-size nest-egg got all scrambled...? Aha! 

A. Bank of America is an elephant.

B. Everyone who works for them is blind.

I wanted to carry that analogy a little farther. There’s a joke in there about climbing trees and ropes and walls, I know there is. Plus something about dung beetles, I’m sure. But I promised myself I’d post this before I went to bed, and I can’t reach either of them from where I’m sitting at the moment. Not that anyone would notice if I didn’t. But still. I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. And, well, you know…

So that happened, and then what else? Oh, yeah.

By way of distraction, I went out with a couple friends that night. To the biker bar in Arundel where I work. And found out that the guy who asked me for my number last week – the guy who was supposed to at least distract me from the damn Kid for a while – is actually already dating someone else.

So I shot him, lit myself a cigarette from the smoking barrel of my gun, pushed through the double-swinging saloon doors and strode off in my cowboy boots into the night.

No, no. I'm joking, of course. I don't really wear cowboy boots, sillies. I wear Fryes.

Really, I lasted two whole more days after that. Two twitchy, weepy, five-(then-six-then-seven)-pounds-overweight days, over which I developed a nasty habit of sending increasingly-crazy-sounding text messages to Some People who still Did Not Respond until finally I cracked and called him.

Them, I mean. Some People. You know: Them.

They didn’t answer, and that’s when I cracked. Skittered downstairs for the spare pack in the freezer, grabbed the big fireplace lighter off the counter by the candles, ran out to the front step and smoked before I had a chance to change my mind.

Six cigarettes. Right in a row. Onetwothreefourfivesix just like that.

And then?

Some People called.

I don’t think I’ll get into much detail about the conversation. Except to say that it was very wet, satisfyingly productive, and it cured the crazy nasty habit for a while.

Just like the cough I had to put up with all over again for the next few days.

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