Picking up Chicks - Vol 1Submitted by Spam at 2013-02-17 14:49:03 EST
Rating: 1.55 on 9 ratings (15 reviews) (Review this item) (V)
“You okay man,?”
Gareth looks long and hard in to my eyes when he says it, which is concerning, because deep down, he’s a self-indulgent fucker so if he’s actually worried about me, I know I’m in trouble.
I pull myself up off the floor and naturally, the first thing I do is take a look around to see if anybody in this shithole bar witnessed my drunken stumble from grace. As if anybody’s opinion actually mattered anyway.
“Yeah mate, just lost my footing” I dust myself off and grin. “Impossible to walk in this muck, somebody order us some golf shoes, otherwise we’ll never get out of the place alive.”
Spoken with a whirly slur, the reference is either lost on him or delivered incomprehensibly because he completely ignores it.
“How about we go get some air mate?”
Outside, assured my moment of madness is over, he’s back to his old whiney self.
“I just don’t have it in me anymore man, This whole fucking scene… I never know what to say.”
Oh God, It’s all so clichéd it could be directed by Dennis Dugan.
But sadness rises within me nonetheless and I put what I hope is a reassuring hand on his shoulder with genuine pity. Gareth’s only loved the one woman, right since we were kids. Must be hard when, after 12 years, that’s all gone. Poor bastard.
“It’s easy”, I say, trying to squeeze into a character that doesn’t quite fit. Probably one played by Vince Vaughan. “It’s all about confidence. Everything else is secondary.”
“Is that how you got Mariella?”
“Yeah.” Even though, when I think about it, I’m not quite sure that that’s true.
Here on the smoking terrace, surrounded by young students ten years our junior basking in the faint thumping from the music inside, he looks lost, forlorn, so I shake off the cloud of alcoholic fuzz and try and step up for him, be the friend he so desperately needs me to be right now. Even if we know, you and I, that I’m no more cut out for this shit than he is.
“Fuck it mate, lets just rock up to a girl and talk to her. What’s the worst that could happen?”
But everyone knows the answer to that question.
The girl I pick is intentionally on the chubby side and definitely north of tipsy. You’ve gotta play the odds.
“Hey Sweetie” I drawl, taking a cigarette from behind my ear, “I couldn’t trouble you for a light could I?”
She grins and pulls a Zippo from some mysterious fold of the skin-tight lycra she’s spilling out of.
“I really like your beard” She says, lighting my fag for me. Which is weird, yes, but I’m an optimistic fuck so I chalk it firmly in the ‘win’ column.
“It reminds me of my dad”
Gareth looks like he’s ready to walk away at this point which is fair play but for some reason, I feel the need to mindlessly soldier on: It’s not about this hits you give out, I remember, It’s about how many hits you can take and still keep moving forward. Thanks Sly.
“Let me introduce you to my friend Gareth. Gareth this is…”
“Well Cindy, I’m Sam and this is my good friend Gareth.”
Hands are shaken and smiles exchanged.
“So… What brings you out to such a place this fine evening?” Jesus, I’m floundering around like a beached guppy but for some reason, she responds:
“It’s my Birthday”
As wingman, I figure my jobs done at this point and I wait for Gareth to mount up and take the reins so I can ooze back into a persona that’s probably far less chirpy but makes a fuckload more sense to me. There’s an expectant pause that lives and dies a thousand deaths before it becomes apparent that he’s still waiting for those mail order testicles to arrive, so I continue:
“Well fuck. Happy godamn birthday Cindy… Normally, I wouldn’t ask, but, looking at you, you’ve obviously not yet reached a point where you have to worry… What year are you celebrating, this fine evening?”
Yes, fuckers, I said ‘fine evening’. Again. And yes, I know I sound borderline Rainman but that’s what was said and no amount of cringing in the cold light of sobriety can change it now.
She takes it in good stead and smiles cheekily, “Guess.”
Fuck. We all know this a tricky situation that needs to be handled as delicately as possible.
On the one hand, I’m glad that Gareth’s starting become one with his spinal column and finally evolve into something resembling a vertebrate but still, I’m not entirely sure what he’s expecting to achieve with that particular gag in this situation.
“Fuck you” She sounds angry but the façade fades after a pause so perfectly timed that I’m convinced she may actually have a sense of humour.
“I’ll give you a clue… I’m still a teenager”
It’s me that responds this time. And quickly - fuck knows I don’t trust Gareth anymore.
“HA! Well I’m guessing it’s not your sixteenth…”
And yeah friends, when you read it now, in the clinical theatre of your living room or office, it sounds awful and clunky, but its all I’ve got and, overlaid on a backdrop of strong booze and cheap perfume, it raises a smile. Which is the best anyone can hope for really.
She points to her ample cleavage with a twinkle in her eye you could weld cars with and says: “Does it look like I’m sixteen?”
And this, trusted companions, is when Gareth finds his balls. His Big Meaty Balls.
And when he delivers his line, his killer blow, the whole universe takes a breath and listens to its profundity.
“Well…In my experience, some sixteen year-olds can have quite well developed bodies.”
Cindy’s friends, all tits wrapped in sparkle and trowelled on make-up covering their vacancy, have imperceptibly gravitated to our conversation and now stand staring at Gareth,
Cindy looks at Gareth.
I look at Gareth.
The Universe raises its eyebrow.
Gareth Blushes and puts his hands up defensively. In the midst of everything, even he knows that that is potentially the creepiest thing he could say in this particular situation.
Under our scrutiny I can see him desperately searching for the right line to recover the situation.
“Which… You know… I think is a Good Thing.”
Holy shit. Gareth, rocking a solid ten on the rape-o-meter, is fucking killing me. The depth of awkwardness is too much for me and I retreat to my happy place and try to hide behind a wall of Zen-like acceptance which Cindy promptly destroys with words spat witheringly out like Godzilla’s fiery breath.
“Let me get this straight, just so I understand what you’re saying”
She takes a deep, calming breath,
“You have first-hand experience of sixteen year-old girls with [air quotations] ‘well developed bodies’ and you think this is a good thing?”
I ponder just calling it a day and committing seppuku with a broken bottle right there. For the first time in my thirty years, I find myself wondering what the bouncer’s policy is on spilling ones own entrails out onto the floor of the smoking area. They’re probably against it. Tight bastards.
I wait for Gareth to relent, to apologise, to smile ruefully and admit his fuck up. He stares with a rictal grin and terrified eyes and I know at this point he’s got no idea where is he is or what’s going on, his primary systems have shut down and he’s functioning purely on instinct. So he flips his mental coin, picks a response and charges forward with it like an autistic running back.
“Yes… Yes I do.”
He didn’t get laid that night.