All of the vampire schtick around Halloween each year reminds me of a scary little scenario I found myself in several years ago. Wanna hear it? I wrote a post about it. Here it is!
This story takes us back a dozen years or so, when I was a starving grad student, eking out a life of hard work, ramen noodles, and beer appreciation at the University of Pittsburgh. We had a group of three or four intrepid young near-penniless guys and gals that would gather together on weekends for whatever fun, food, and foolishness we could afford. Which wasn’t much.
I should also mention that all of my compatriots at the time were single — some of them desperately so — while I was firmly attached, albeit long-distance, to the sweet and beautiful girl that I eventually married. So I played the perennial ‘wing man’, chatting with the odd man-or-woman out, after the hornies started pairing up.
“We were poor, yes, but we were working toward better times ahead. And getting mixed up with a three-toothed fifty-year-old with the meth shakes might complicate things down the road, just a bit.”
Or I sat at the bar, watching sports and drinking beer. I wasn’t a particularly good wing man, frankly. Luckily, the people I was hanging out with fell into two categories — those who were attractive, charming, confident (or easy) enough to not need a wing man, and those who struck out early and consistently enough to end up back at the bar alongside me, anyway.
None of this is particularly germane to the story, mind you. I just like to reminisce.
So, one weekend night a few of us were out at our local watering hole. With emphasis on ‘hole‘. The place was an unabashed and unrepentant dive. It was dark, it was grimy, and it was filled with an assortment of shady and suspect characters.
It was also home to a running special of two dollar pitchers of cheap nasty beer, which was all we could afford some weeks. So, more Saturdays than not, it was also filled with us.
What the joint was not filled with, typically, was a wealth of potential romantic targets for the ladies and gents with whom I was partying. As you might imagine. We were poor, yes, but we were working toward better times ahead. And getting mixed up with a three-toothed fifty-year-old with the meth shakes might complicate things down the road, just a bit.
(Okay, okay, it wasn’t that bad.
Truth be told, it wasn’t even the diviest dive we visited together. It was simply the closest to our respective depressing studio hovels, and it was far enough off-campus to limit the number of other desperate students in attendance to nearly zero. So the bar had more ‘characters’ than your typical near-college cheap-ass dive.
Like the elderly couple who were in the place, in a faded suit and dress, every time we walked in. They’d been drinking together for decades, apparently, and they weren’t about to stop any time soon. Or the loud burly regular who once, with growls and profanities aplenty, kicked out a twelve-year-old boy who’d wandered in one early Friday evening to sell candy bars for his Boy Scout troop. Or the wild-eyed aging New Age lady, who once swooped into a seat at our table, uninvited, fixed her shaky gaze on me, and asked:
‘Are you a Sagittarian? You look so much like a Sagittarian.‘
To which I replied, ‘No, sorry. I eat meat all the time.‘
She never bothered us again. But I did catch her glaring at me from across the room a few times. Apparently, the hippies hate smartasses just as much as the rest of the world.)
Now, where the hell was I? Oh, right — the dive bar.
The night in question was a red-letter evening for most of our party, because there actually were a few girls hanging around drinking. Real, honest-to-god, over-eighteen-but-younger-than-your-mother, no-parts-missing reasonably attractive girls. I saw at least two of our guys pinch themselves, in case they were dreaming.
Needless to say, our party of (mostly) desperate young men soon got their proverbial chocolate into the peanut butter of the (apparently) desperate young women, and we found ourselves sitting together at a couple of tables near the back. I was in a booth, with one of my needs-no-help friends across from me, chatting up a slim preppy brunette. Next to me — the wing man, remember — was a very loud, very drunk, and not terribly attractive girl who seemed, thankfully, to have as little interest in talking to me as I had in talking to her. I spent much of the next hour talking with my friend and his new ‘friend’ when they seemed to want ‘table talk’, and watching a basketball game on a TV over his shoulder when they didn’t.
This is where the fun began.
The girl next to me returned from a trip to the ladies’ room, and sat, somewhat more unsteadily than before, on the booth bench beside me. She also sat somewhat more closely to me, and I edged away just the distance that I hoped wouldn’t count as ‘recoiling’. I was still nominally the wing man, after all. If I gave her the sign of the cross and flung light beer at her forehead, there was a chance she’d work up a huff, and convince her friend to leave in it. Then I’d be the bad guy. So I scootched away a few inches, and went back to watching the basketball game, figuring the problem would eventually go away. Or pass out on the table, whichever. I wasn’t too picky, at that point.
She scootched closer. Deliberately. At this point, my far asscheek was grazing the wall on the other side of the booth, so I had nowhere to go. She hadn’t really done or said anything tangibly untoward yet — for all I knew, she was scooting in so her friend could sit on the end of the bench. So I didn’t immediately launch into the ‘Look, you seem like a great gal, but I’m spoken for‘ spiel.
I did rehearse it in my head, though. And kept my eyes locked on the game, hoping desperately for that passing out that seemed to be imminent beside me.
A few seconds later, she tapped me on the shoulder. I leaned my head marginally in her direction, not even bothering to look. If the disinterested body language didn’t stop her, I had the speech cued up and ready. She leaned in and whispered:
‘If I bite you, would you bite me back?‘
The speech vanished from my mind — *poof*. I was completely unprepared for that, and caught without any tactful response. So instead, I said:
‘NO!! I mean… no. Just, wow. No.‘
My friend looked over with that ‘dude, be cool, I’m getting somewhere over here‘ stare. He hadn’t heard her, and I wasn’t about to shout across the table that she’d offered to cram her teeth into me, so I shrugged helplessly and took a drink of my beer. If nothing else, the volume of my response had gotten the girl beside me to move further away, so that was a plus. I scootched even further into the corner. One asscheek was now wedged between the bench and the wall, but I was willing to sacrifice a little comfort to put some distance between myself and Mitzi McChoppers over there.
The situation seemed to be taken care of, so I went back to watching the game — but with one eye on the girl beside me. I’d made myself clear, but I was still trapped in the booth, at least until my friend’s situation played out.
Ten minutes passed. The kids across the table were chatting and giggling. The girl beside me was drinking, and talking with the other table. The Bucks were up ten on the Pistons, late in the third quarter. I poured another beer from the pitcher, and focused on the game.
That’s when she bit me.
I felt a dull but significant pain in my shoulder, and turned to see the bitch clamped onto me. Luckily, I was wearing two shirts in the cold weather, or it would’ve stung even worse. All I could get out was a:
‘What the — HEY! NO!‘
I looked at my friend across the table, and saw him start to flash the ‘dude, mojo in progress over here‘ look again. Then he saw her leeching onto me, too, and understood. He sat, open-mouthed, for a moment, as I wiggled my shoulder away and yelled again. The girl released her tooth-grip and looked at her friend as if to say:
‘What? I’m just biting some strange guy I don’t know in a skanky bar, after he clearly told me not to. What’s the big deal?‘
I wedged myself fully into the corner, and pulled my shirt down to survey the damage. There was a bright red spot, and clear tooth imprints, but the skin wasn’t broken. Thanks to my impeccable choice in thick rugby shirts, I wouldn’t have to get tetanus or rabies shots. Thank you, American Eagle.
Meanwhile, the girl sitting with my friend sighed, looked at him, and said:
‘Yeah. She does this when she gets drunk. We’d better take her home.‘
So, the only girls in the dive bar that night left our tables, lifted their friend off the bench, steadied her as best they could, and staggered her off into the night. I went above and beyond — way beyond — the duties of wing man, but still none of my friends were hooking up that night. Sometimes, it just works out that way.
And now, the sight of a vampire cape or plastic fangs makes me think of that weird, trashed, kinky skank that dug her nasty chompers into my shoulder, after I’d just said ‘NO!!‘ And ‘NO!!‘ means ‘no’, from everything I’ve ever been told. I’m just glad it wasn’t Halloween then, or the bitch might’ve had a pair of those fake pointy teeth, too. Maybe then, I would have ‘bitten’ her back.
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