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Searching for Thrills

Searching for Thrills

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It’s best not to call a guy for a date after you meet at a dive bar, especially after he bites you while you’re singing karaoke. You’re standing on the stage, belting out a rendition of “The Thrill is Gone.”

Your eyes are shut, and you’re really getting into it. Suddenly, a man leaps from the crowd and clamps his jaw around your right foot. He’s young, dark-haired, and has a lean, perfect physique. You scream “OUCH!” and kick him, but not hard. Later, he gives you his phone number, invites you to call whenever you want.

It’s a typical Saturday night at the Java Jive. The bar is a Tacoma institution, a one-time home to two pet monkeys appropriately named Java and Jive. The monkeys are dead now, and so is your marriage. You’re singing karaoke because you’re trying to forget everything. You’re a lonely 41-year old single mom with two kids and a decaying house on the north end of town, and you know what it feels like to have your thrills vanish. So you’re singing your lungs out, and some guy bites your foot.

As the days pass, you stare at his number and wonder whether you should call. You realize this a terrible idea, but you’re still intrigued. He scrawled his name in pencil, so it’s hard to read, but you can tell his name is either Dan or Don. It doesn’t matter, because you’re horny. You haven’t had sex for six months—which isn’t a long hiatus for some, but for you, it’s an eternity. You call the foot-biter, discover that his name is Don. He’s pleased to hear from you, and agrees to meet later in the evening.

You feel excited as you dress for your date. You crank the stereo, have a glass of wine, and plan your seduction. Don is obviously a direct sort, so you probably won’t have to do much. You wander nervously around the house, and finally switch off the music. You look in the mirror and smile at your reflection. You look good enough to eat. You are more than ready to be eaten.

You and Don have agreed to meet again at the Jive. The two of you sit in the back room beside the video games, and stare at each other across the battered table. You smile and ask how he’s doing. He shakes his head and tells you he’s not doing well. He doesn’t look upset, he’s merely stating a fact. “Do you read the News-Tribune?” he asks.

This strikes you as an odd non-sequitur, and you nod with confusion. “I subscribe to the News-Tribune,” you assure him. “I read it every morning. Well, most mornings.”

Don scoots forward in his seat. He leans in your direction, and speaks in a low voice. “Did you read the story about the guy who was arrested downtown for throwing a newspaper box through a nightclub window?” You nod slowly. “Well, that was me. I would have called you sooner, but I’ve been dealing with a lot of legal shit.”

You remember the story. Two weeks ago, your best friend Sarah spent the night at your place, and you read the newspaper together. “Look, Sarah,” you said, laughing with derision. “Some asshole got really drunk and smashed a picture window downtown with a newspaper box, right after they threw him out of the bar.” Sarah laughed and took a gulp from her coffee cup. “Idiot,” she said. “Shit like that is why I quit drinking.”

Maybe YOU should quit drinking. You’re not an alcoholic, but you’ve come dangerously close, especially in recent months. Don continues, “I hurt my back when I threw the box, and they had to take me to the hospital. They gave me some really strong Oxycontin, so the night wasn’t a complete loss. It helped me sleep better in my cell, later on.” He laughs. “How have YOU been?”

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Horrified, you gape at Don. His youthful, unlined face gazes back at you from the other side of the table. His expression is earnest, like he wants your approval. He is fifteen years younger than you are, and obviously has mother issues. You have bad boy issues. Under better circumstances, this would make for a perfect match, but not tonight. Your vagina shrivels like a punctured inner tube, and your horniness wafts out the door into the parking lot. You watch it roll across the line of rusted cars, until it finally disappears entirely. It’s okay, however. There’s still time to catch the late movie on TCM.

Interior of ‘Bob’s Java Jive’, Tacoma, WA. Cover image courtesy of Ahren via Flickr

Previously published by Quail Bell

Read more of Leah’s work here

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