IMG_1806 2In the Pink

 

 

I once was a famous poet.  No harm there except the usual, an inflated sense of self importance.  I thought I was the best poet that ever graced the stage, proscenium, or living room.  I would read anywhere.  One time I read poetry in a concert hall bathroom for twelve strangers.  A few of them were behind closed stalls.  But that didn’t keep them from applauding when I was finished.  People are always very appreciative when you stop reading poetry. Being a famous poet is the only profession in which you can be famous, yet no one knows or cares who you are.  You can’t make a living writing poetry unless you’re already dead, but that didn’t stop me from being a poet.

I was at yet another poetry book signing.  I was seated behind this tiny desk as an endless line of women shuffled toward me.  I’d try to flirt with them nonchalantly.  I didn’t want to let on that I was hard up.  This particular night they could see inside me like a glass refrigerator.  I needed some love and would have settled for a strong like.  At the very moment my need matched the room’s capacity, in walked the one.  You know the one, the one who teaches you that the height of true misery can never be reached alone.  The girl who enters your life with so much power it feels like a helicopter is landing on an ant.

“Can you sign this book, To Devlin, with all my soul?“  She asked.  She didn’t care much about heart, this one.  I looked up slowly.  I knew it would take a long time to get to her eyes.  She was a tall woman and not just because I was seated.  She was born as tall as her mother.  And why, I’ve often asked myself, must a tall woman be blessed with such perfectly chiseled features and blazing red hair.  It was as if she had been designed by some waif model association specifically to torment me.  I should have ended it right then, but being a mere mortal, I was weak with curiosity.

“What does that mean, with all my soul?” I asked calmly.

“Just do what you’re told and I’ll give you a reward,” she said as her eyes did a Svengali line dance.

I wrote what she had asked me to write.  She handed me her card.  It read, REVOLUTION in bold 14pt. Helvetica.  Her name and number were smaller and printed in italics, Devlin Lovechild.  Her name was unusual, yet too familiar.  It was obviously one of those made up names conceived by parents who considered themselves artistic.  Did she say “Call me,” or did she just think it loudly?  I would call her alright.

That night I stood at home in my office with her card taped to my desk.  You can’t call a woman right away.  There is a perfect amount of time that must pass before you can connect with a potential mate.  If you call her the very next day, she’ll think you desperate.  Two days’ looks forced, she’ll think you scraped and clawed yourself back from calling her on the first day.  Three days is ideal, but if the girl is needy, she will be angry you waited so long.  If she is popular, you could easily have missed her window and hit her wall.  Women shack up fast.  I called her within the first two hours.

She answered the phone.  There was a temporary silence, and then a slow, “Hello.”  It wasn’t a question.  It was a challenge.

“Hi.” I said, “It’s me.”  I figured I’d be mysterious, since I couldn’t be patient.

“Hi ya.” She said as if she knew me.

“Look,” I said, “We should get together right away, when are you free?”  I wasn’t sure where my urgency was coming from but it was a new look for me and I liked it.

“Why don’t you come over right now?” She said, daring me.

“Tell me where you live and I’m there already.”  I said trying to mask my fear with a thin veil of lame humor.

Devlin lived in a big pink house in the Hollywood Hills.  Now when I say this house was pink, I mean it was pinker than any acceptable pink.  Neighbors must have been compelled to sign petitions against the houses’ color.  It was around eleven at night when I arrived at her abode, but even under that sliver of a moon I could see her pink house shinning like a girly beacon to the universe.  I climbed her big white steps one at a time to savor the absolute terror welling up inside me.  When I landed at her front door, I rang the bell.  The chimes where so loud that the bell rang me.  Rich people.

She answered the door smiling like she had just swallowed her Tabby.  She took me inside silently as if her parents were in the den and I wasn’t allowed to come and play.  I stood in her living room.  It was a nice place if you liked walking on the skins of dead animals, I don’t.  Another room must have had all the ex-lovers skins.

“Would you like a drink?” She asked casually.

“Whatcha got?”  I answered, instantly regretting my choice in speaking like a ranch hand.

“Anything you could want,” she assured me.

“I’ll have that,” I said.

She walked into another room so I thought I’d poke around.  The ceilings were high.  Hanging height.  A gigantic glass coffee table stood in the middle of the room.  Precisely positioned accouterments sat on top of the table.

A glass ashtray, no ashes.

A glass bowl of glass kisses, Hersheys.

A glass of wine, red.

A set of glass coasters, clear.

A glass piece of art, lousy.

A glass vase, empty.

The floor beneath my shaking booties was crafted from delicate bird’seye maple hardwood which ran the length of the massive room.  In the corner stood a large suit of armor.  Must have once been Dad’s house, I thought.

She emerged from the kitchen with a tall pink drink.  Now I have nothing against tall drinks, but a drink so pink can mean only one thing, PINK SQUIRREL.  I had a bad run of pink squirrels once.  I thanked her, took the drink and casually set it on the coffee table.

“Aren’t you going to try it?”  She asked with a slight accent I hadn’t heard before.

It was one of those accents you can’t place which usually turn out to be some pretentiously local affectation.  Valley Girl, folks lived in England for a year type scenario.  I picked up the drink, tried not to think about my college dorm toilet and took a sip.  It was strangely good, like blood to a fledgling vampire.

She told me to have a seat on her couch.  I did.  Her couch swallowed me.  I tried to adjust my position, but like the quicksand furniture of the seventies, the more I moved, the deeper I became imbedded into its immense couchiness.  She sat in a chair next to me.  She was comfortable in her chair.  She crossed her legs so slowly I thought she wanted me to stop her.

“So . . .  business,” she said “let’s get down to why we’ve met and why we’re here tonight.”

“Business?”  I said, trying not to look let down, “Of course.  You have something I want, I have something you want, we can work together.”

Her mouth was looking moister as she spoke.  All I could see were her giant lips sucking the life out of me.

“I need you to find someone for me.”  She said.

“I’m not a detective.  I’m a poet.  I can write a sonnet of loss for your missing person.”

“You have the talent of observation.  That’s what I need from you.”  She said, lifting my drink and motioning for me to imbibe.

“And who, may I ask, is it you need to have found, or observed?”

“My soul mate.”

Apparently Devlin thought she had enough soul to mate with.  I was impressed and intrigued.

“And who is this soul mate?”  I asked.

“I don’t know.  I’m not sure if we have met yet.”  She said without even flinching.

“Are you asking me to help you find the woman of your dreams?”  I asked, stabbing in the dark.

“I’m flirting with you.  Jesus, what does it take for you to get a hint?”

“A hint.”  I said.

She stood up suddenly and took my hands in hers.  I followed her as she led me to her bedroom as if I were a common pink nosed bunny.  I can’t really say what happened after that.  I know what happened.  I just can’t say.  Suffice it to say that she took me through the gears better than any pro stock car racer.  She navigated turns with precession and speed.  She made excellent use of threshold breaking before she’d dive in to cut the apex.  She was a master on the straightaways.  At one point she managed to slip stream me which enabled her to catapult herself to victory.  All this without a single pit stop.

I left Devlin’s house the next morning after she fed me a breakfast that resembled an Iguana scrambled.  I didn’t ask what it was, hoping she wouldn’t tell me.  I called her later that day just to say, “Thanks, don’t get any stranger,” but she never called me back.  I called her a week later to say, “Hey, where ya been?”  But again, no response.  I finally sent her a letter saying, “What gives?  I liked you.  Where’d you go?”  She never sent a reply.

I had heard through the grape vine, which is two exes removed from the source, that she was notorious for having one-night-stands.

There is a saying about running backs in football.  If the player has been hit from behind too many times, he may begin to sense the impending pain before it happens which will cause him to drop the ball.  This is referred to as “hearing footsteps.”  I have been hearing footsteps ever since I met that pink obsessed, tall chick.  Before I met her, I was the one in control.  I was tough enough to have one-nighters with a woman, without calling the next day to see if I’d left something–anything, at her place.

This experience changed me.  It turned me into a teenage girl.  I’m the one tethered to the phone, star 69ing strangers who mistakenly dial my number.  I give a girl my number and ask my friend repeatedly, “Do you think she’ll call?”  I meet a girl at a club.  Within the course of light conversation, I’m running a movie montage sequence in my head. It will feature her and me.  I will see our fabulous relationship in full color Cinemascope.  And then within seconds, our love will deteriorate into grainy black and white, suddenly igniting into a burst of flames inside the cheap projector.  We sometimes forget the women who have loved us.  But those who have hurt us are still renting spaces for free in the beach house of our minds.