Where did it all begin? When was it that I first took stock of my latest interaction with someone from the Weird Side of the Street and said to myself: What am I? A freak magnet? Was it the day in 1994 that a woman with a PhD in history explained to be that there were dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark? Was it the time I went on a blind date and the lady kept blithering, in oh-so-serious tones, about how homosexuality is a birth defect? Or maybe the barber in Nebraska who listened to the Grateful Dead, drove a Volkswagen minibus, had a peace symbol above his shop mirror, and who, while cutting my hair, went on a ten minute diatribe about how the country was being ruined by the niggers and kikes? All are good candidates, but as it happens I remember distinctly the occasion whereupon I sat, shaking my head and wondering how it had happened that I am to Freaks what A-positive is to vampire bats.
I was sitting at a table in one of my usual hangouts, collecting facts for a book I’d been researching. My notebook lay open before me alongside a pint of beer and a glass of bourbon.
All at once I became aware of a hovering presence. Raising my head, I discovered a rather nondescript chick with red hair, holding a beer in both hands as if she was about to conduct some sort of religious rite. For reasons I hope become obvious here in a minute, I’ve nicknamed her Brain-Cooker.
Brain-Cooker (BC): Can I sit at your table?
It was about 3:30 in the afternoon. Not counting her, there was a grand total of three people in the place—me, a guy on a stool at the bar and the bartender. Brain-Cooker had her pick of spots upon which to store her ass. But I elected, for whatever reason, not to be rude, and gestured at a chair.
BC: Cool. Thanks.
ME: Hope you don’t mind if I keep working.
BC: I won’t bother you. Just need to sit for a few minutes.
ME: Knock yourself out.
She plopped onto a chair across from me and let out a massive sigh. Glancing up I saw she was frowning all the way to her chin dimples, while alternating between sipping at her beer and gnawing on the cuticle of her thumb. She kept tossing her hair, too. Sigh, gnaw/sip, toss. Sigh, gnaw/sip, toss. Steady as a metronome.
Obviously she wanted me to inquire as to the source of her discomfort. I withstood the urge to comply for as long as I could, but eventually caved.
ME: Crappy day?
BC: Fuck yeah. Just broke up with my boyfriend.
ME: Just now?
BC: Yeah, like ten minutes ago.
ME: That sucks.
BC: I dunno. Fuck him.
ME: There you go. Getting better already.
I shouldn’t have added that second sentence. It came out forced; played my go-away card too soon.
BC: He don’t know what he let go.
ME: They never do.
BC: He’ll never find another me.
ME: Of course not.
BC: Never. Not the shit I can do.
ME: Nope. He probably deserves it, though, right?
BC: Fuck yeah. Never find another me.
ME: So you said.
She tipped the glass to her lips and drank off about two thirds of its contents.
BC: Cuz I’ll do anything, man. Anything.
ME: Oh, yes?
BC: Any-fucking-thing, dude. Swear to God.
ME: I’m sure.
BC: And he’s gonna miss it.
ME: Of course.
BC: Miss the shit out of it.
ME: No doubt.
BC: Cuz, dude, you want it, I’ll do it. I don’t care. I’ll swallow yer
load. You can cum on my face. Fuck me in the ass. Have yer friends
over, watch while they have a turn. Whatever. Fucking lick yer asshole,
dude. I don’t care.
And she suddenly rose to her feet, downed the last of her beer, and slammed the glass on the table, sloshing my drinks all over.
BC: Okay. I gotta go. Later.
And she scurried from the bar with the urgency of Alice’s White Rabbit.
I stared into space for a few long ticks, wondering if I’d hallucinated the scary mutant and her whole twisted rap, then realized it was just my Freak Magnet operating at peak performance. I tried to get back to work, but she’d cooked a hole in my brain that wouldn’t close. So I closed up shop, dragged my stuff over to the bar, ordered a double Maker’s, and dialed up some Ramones on the juke.
Fifteen years later and I still don’t know what to make of it all, other than this: It’s been a hoot.
Cheers, my friends.