I let my eyes adjust and scanned the room looking eagerly for the face for someone I've never seen before. Someone I knew only as 'Gene.' As soon as I laid my eyes on the slumped, Micky Rouke circa 9 1/2 weeks throwback man leaning motionless against the bar, I knew he was the one I was there to see.
I sidled up to the seat next to him, and after taking a Wet Wipe to the ripped red vinyl cushion, I sat down and order a wine cooler. The bartender looked at me with a perplexed face and then I clarified, "Oh, sorry, a STRAWBERRY / LIME wine cooler." He then walked away shaking his head and went through the curtains into the back room, never to be seen again.
"You Gene?" I asked as I checked my iPhone for a text from my girlfriend confirming she picked up my kids. "Yeah, you Lizzy?" he said into his drink. (Good, she picked them up on time. What? "No, no Icee!" I furiously typed, "Just bring them to your house like I said." Sheesh!) "Yes, I'm Suz....LIZZY, I'm Lizzy," I confirmed, nodding like a bobblehead with a big, geeky smile.
"So, who do you want me to whack?" he said, again into his drink.
"What? You need to sit up and look at me when you talk. No one is going to respect you if you mumble," I corrected him.
He did exactly what I said and then he asked again, "You know, who do you want to dispose of?"
"Well," I said, looking around for the bartender, "It's not exactly a 'Who' as it is a 'What.'"
**Journey's "Open Arms" comes on the juke box and for a minute were both lost in the sadness and hope of it.
"Listen Lady, I don't have time for your little word games," Gene was getting agitated with me.
"Like I said, It's not a 'Who' I want rid of... I will pay you handsomely to make my...my laundry disappear. I want it gone. I don't ever want to see it again and I don't care how you do it. Just make it clean and make sure it never comes back," I blurted out in double-time. It felt so good to finally come out and say it out loud.
Then Gene did that little laugh men do when they think you're crazy, when they want to discount a perfectly reasonable request. My brothers did that to me growing up...and my husband did it last week when I said I thought he needed to use conditioner on his hair, **that laugh** "Conditioner, yeah, okay..."
I snapped and in a quiet scream, through my perfectly glossed motionless lips I tell him, "Listen Chuckles, first of all women hate it when guys do that laugh and I can see by the absences of a wedding ring you have had no luck in that arena so cut out the condescending attitude. Second of all, I'm willing to pay handsomely with the money I earned from selling knitted latte cozies on Etsy. So that's it! I'm taking a hit out on my laundry."
I was really on a roll now...
"Obviously," I continued, " You don't know what it's like to hate something so much that you're willing to risk it all--the house, the Escalade, the double oven and the holiday newsletter---in order to see it killed."
No stopping me now...
"Obviously, from the smell of you, you haven't done laundry in a very long time... Obviously, you don't know what it's like to finish a task only to see it waiting for you the next day, double the size and the next and the next...Like some crazed, evil monster sent to the earth only to mock and torture you. Well, that is what I want to die, so if you aren't man enough for the task just say the word and I'll take my cash somewhere else."
At this point I realize I'm practically sitting on poor Chuckles's lap. He had, not so much a scared look on his face, but more a look that comes from nagging someone into obedience. I was in my comfort zone. I backed off, sat back down and dug through my purse for the cash.
"Here," I said as I threw it down in front of him. "There's an extra grand in it for you if you take care of 'making dinner,' too." I then turned on my sensible heels and marched out to my Escalade. I then started the long drive back to Orange County--smiling the whole way.
This was written for my blog over at OC Family, head over there for comments and assorted silliness. "My blog at OC Family