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by E.P. Lee
Apr 29, 2021
AND the DOG BARKS... CHAPTERS # 31 - 36
“AND THE DOG BARKS..."
CHAPTERS #31 - 36
For over two hours the two of us talked, and it was only the two of us who talked as I remember it. The girl was there, the entire time, but my memory says she said little to nothing.
At least my memory says that.
But I don’t know if that’s true, as later, and for years, that little Bitch couldn’t be kept quiet, she never shut up. But at that moment, at that initial meeting, I don’t remember that bimbo saying anything at all.
I certainly remember nothing of consequence leaving her lips.
And it’s of no matter, as the dude and I talked, and talked, and talked; for over two hours he and I talked. And I learned his name, Mitch. And I learned her name, Alcee. And I learned their relationship, “lovers”. They’d just started to live together. They’ve only known each other some three months, and they just last week moved in together. Alcee was a student. Mitch was currently unemployed, unskilled, and looking for work as a handyman/back and thinking of going back to school.
And all of this was spoken about as the crowds pushed us in multiple directions, the music blared and pulsed with the overpowering vibration and physical push of that artificial disco base, and the treble squealed or screamed out the high notes. And I could feel Mitch’s body heat next to me with each thump and shriek of the music, and so I stood there, 100% entranced in the moment for two hours, for over two hours.
And then I said:
I’m renovating this house.
I need lots of help, and I have lots, and lots of work.
If that’s what you want to do, here’s my cell phone number.
Call me and we’ll see what we can work out.”
I didn’t ask for his phone number.
I just said:
“Happy New Year”
And then I turned, and left.
The rest of New Year’s Eve night was uneventful, some interesting data was accumulated at the pool party at 5 a.m. and filed away for later, but the rest of the night was uneventful.
And I did go home alone when I finally went home.
Damn that memory.
And my January then progressed without any strife, duress, or mayhem. Brad’s visit came about, and passed, with no change in either of our positions. Brad was outspoken on his position of wanting to come on down to Miami for good, and me, I was skeptical of the outcome, not saying “no”, and not saying “yes”. I was just questioning…
But Brad became increasingly annoyed with my questions, and increasingly distant from me as his stay elongated. There was at least one instance of:
“Please don’t touch me…”
… and I don’t do that kind of rejection well.
With personal physical distance now established, a second January visit, was not planned. But I moved along regardless, not missing a step, and towards the middle/end of the third week in January, my cell phone rang and an unfamiliar voice said:
And I did remember him, and I said so, and Mitch continued:
“I’m looking for work.
And I remembered what you said New Year’s Eve.
If there’s still stuff to do I’d like to hear about it and see what I could handle.”
And I replied:
"There’s a lot to do, mostly outdoor stuff, landscaping, back work.
If you’re interested I could meet with you tomorrow and go over what I want done first.”
And so we met that next day.
Mitch, me, and Alcee…
That first meeting was a straight up business meeting.
Except I had no intention of doing any business with Alcee.
And Alcee was intent on doing not only all of Mitch’s business, but on telling me what business I should do. And not just the business I should do with Mitch either, but what I should do on every project in my entire house and garden. The little Bimbo spoke incessantly from the moment she got out of the car through the entire hour we three were together.
And in my attraction, and pleasure, at seeing Mitch again, I let Alcee run on.
I still don’t know why I behaved that way then. I don’t know why I allowed it to go on at the moment it occurred. And even after all these years, to this day, I don’t know “why” I didn’t stop her dead in her verbal tracks immediately. I have no idea why I let her talk on like that, no idea.
I can only speculate that my pull to be near Mitch was so extreme that I would tolerate that intrusion into my personal space.
And not only “tolerate” that intrusion, but not let it bother me. It should have bothered me then, and it should have bothered me a lot. And I should have reacted to it hard and fast! That manipulative bitch needed to be derailed and contained immediately then. And I didn’t do it. And because of that decision Alcee attempted to take control of the situation many times in the future.
But at that first meeting there was nothing for me to say, or to be bothered about, as I wanted nothing at that moment from Mitch but his labor, and nothing else. And that’s just how I kept it straight through January, and into the first three weeks of February. I kept it to “nothing but his labor” right through Brad’s only February weekend visit.
It was all about work then, and only about Mitch’s work for me, for over seven weeks. And Alcee wasn’t there once during that time period. I took care of a possible repeat trilateral scenario:
… (a Brooklynese idiom for “right away”) …
… as I had Mitch call me the day after our first trilateral business meeting to confirm coming to work the following Monday. I’d asked Mitch to call me to “confirm” the work start schedule as he and Alcee left that completed first meeting described above. And in that call the very next day I said:
Ditch the Bitch.
Don’t bring her to my house again.
I’m hiring you alone, and not as a duo…”
So Alcee never came to my house after that first time on workdays until much later in the future.
And again, at that first seven week beginning, at that start-up, it was only about “work”. Through that first month of projects, and Brad’s February visit, Mitch was there at my house, three times a week working in the garden, planting, weeding, laying stones. It was hot, sweaty work and Mitch’s shirt would come off, and fast. I would have eye candy then, tasty eye candy, but that was it.
My eyes were satisfied, but only my eyes.
The day before Brad arrived was the last time I saw Mitch in February. I wasn’t doing any work on the house when Brad was there. Actually, I never did work at times like that, no work was done when I had guests of any type.
It was to be Mitch’s 21st Birthday that Saturday, and he was going to L.A. with some friends for a Birthday Blowout Vaykay, and he wouldn’t be back for a week. So with that February departure, all work had to be postponed until the second week of March some 17 days away.
With Mitch’s departure for his Birthday Blowout in California, Brad arrived the next day.
Only this visit was nasty.
That February visit was the culmination of all of the coldness, distance, and questions of the last few months. I knew for sure that I didn’t want Brad living with me. And Brad no longer wanted to be here, in Miami; not even for the rest of this visit. We never fought, or had bad, or loud, words with each other that weekend, but we never moved towards each other either. There was no closeness between us at all.
After Brad left to return to New York on the fourth day, we didn’t speak for awhile. We didn’t speak at all for a few days perhaps, or maybe a week. And then we two spoke regularly again, but with gaps. And all of this went down without a bad word being said between us as we never fought, not once.
We never fought, we never, ever, fought.
And Mitch wasn’t in my thoughts as any of this played out; not sexually, not emotionally, and not in any other way at all. I was studying for the State of Florida Real Estate Licensing Exam a lot, and I was consumed with thoughts of:
“Do I really want to sell real estate?”
While at the same time I was trying to budget the various repair and renovation projects I had going on around the house, and juggling the numerous social obligations I had pending. So I was busy.
And so Mitch wasn’t playing on my consciousness at all then. And Brad had annoyed me big time, so Brad was a non-entity in my thoughts. And I was busy. And then in mid-March Mitch came back to work.
And it was hot out.
Now there are some “memories”.
It starts getting hot, very hot, in Miami in March.
Morning temperatures were in the high 60’s to low 70’s in February, moving up to the high 70’s or low 80’s most days. Those temperatures by mid-March were a full ten degrees hotter. And so work clothes started to come off early in the day, and stay off, as t-shirts became tank tops, pants became shorts, and shoes became sandals, or flip flops. “Less-is-on” became Mitch’s drill: shorts, a Guinea-T (“Muscle-T” or “Wife Beater” T-shirt for those who don’t know the slang), and flip-flops were the uniform. Sneakers were kept in the car if foot support was needed.
But “less-is-on” was the drill, “less”.
And I was all for it.
I didn’t just have eye candy now, I had the whole candy-store in view: chest, arms, calves, butt, and thighs, those shorts were tight and short. But still, this was all about work, and I had lots of work to get done. So I would set Mitch up for what I wanted him to do that day, gander at him discreetly for a bit, and then go and do whatever else I needed to do.
This one day…
… it was really hot out.
And I wanted some sun out by the pool.
So I said:
I want to catch some rays out at the pool…
Will that bother you?”
And Mitch stared at me quizzically for a minute and said:
… it’s your house and your pool and if you want to get some sun…
Go for it.
Who am I to stop you?”
And I replied:
It’s way hot out…
And you’re working like a dog…
If my relaxing at the pool bothers you in any way I don’t want to do it.
I can lie out there anytime.
This work shit is hard enough by itself…
I don’t have to add to it.”
And Mitch stared at me again.
… but hard this time, and finally he said:
“It won’t bother me at all…
Go for it!”
So I went upstairs, changed into a black Speedo.
I wore Speedo’s back then.) …
And then I moseyed on back down to the pool with a towel, a cool drink, and the dog.
And there on a soft chaise I drifted.
In the hot, midday, heat I drifted away from my reality as I was lying on a plush chaise by the lip of the pool, down by the canal, with the hypnotic sound of the water lapping at the sea wall, the gulls cawing overhead, an occasional fish splash, and Ziggy’s rhythmic snores from his shade spot under my chaise kind of enveloping me. For over an hour I was there, in that debilitating heat, with those nature sounds, and the techno/house music I had wafting from the outdoor stereo speakers around me.
It was hypnotic, and there I was, lying there, IN THAT HEAT, kind of hypnotized, until…
Memories, memories, memories…
Until I heard that whistle. You know the whistle a low class, lowly educated, sexist, construction worker makes as a pretty woman walks by his construction site...
... that whistle.
Through my hypnotic daze, through that hypnotic music, I heard:
And at first I didn’t react.
I was “drifting”after all. But soon I heard it again, only now I was bolt upright on my chair and looking around through the glare of the hot, hot, hot afternoon sun and haze for the source. And some 15’ away was short-short wearing, shirt off, sweating, flip-flopped be-clad Mitch with a rake in hand; at which point Mitch did that whistle again.
And I laughed.
So I composed myself a bit, grabbed the nearby towel to both dry the sweat off my dripping chest, and attempt a grasp at some modesty, decorum, and composure. And I said to Mitch:
“Want a drink?”
His immediate reply:
And up onto the upstairs terrace marched we three, Mitch, me, and Ziggy, then right into the cool air-conditioned house. Once inside I went to the refrigerator and I got, opened, and handed Mitch a beer, and I said, haltingly at first:
Sometimes I think you’re sending me signals…
… and I don’t react because I don’t want to invade your personal space.”
To which Mitch replied:
“But what if I want my personal space invaded?”
So I sent in the Marines.
That was the start of many invasions.
But not right away.
There was a flurry of military activity that day, and again the next week. But Mitch froze after that third or fourth interlude, he just froze up. All of the bravado of wanting to be “invaded” dissipated then, and Mitch became sullen, desultory, and resentful. And I had all of this work that needed to be done, and Mitch had done the work so well.
So I sat Mitch down and said:
It’s not for me to upset you.
You never have to have sex with me again.
SO LIGHTEN UP!
There’s stuff I need done, and I want you to do it, so…
I won’t hit on you…
I haven’t yet, so I won’t.
You’re safe, Dude…
And I meant it.
As I said it I meant it.
And that’s exactly how I behaved moving forward. After that second week of sex and affection I left Mitch alone and went back to doing the things that I needed to do as I had done them before. It was April now, and Brad had been mouthing off on the phone that it was time we saw each other again.
And since we had never fought I thought:
It’s not like I had cheated on him. Brad and I weren’t “Lovers”, we had no vows, or even thoughts of a commitment between us.
What’s in a word?
I had no idea what, or who, Brad did sexually when he was in New York City alone, no idea. I could only speak for myself, and my tryst with Mitch at that point was meaningless long term, great fun, damn, such fun.
But “meaningless” nonetheless at that point.
And I was all through with drama in my life, just no more “drama” please. I wanted no “drama” from Mitch, and I wanted no more “drama” from Brad. I wanted no “drama” from anyone. So if it was easy…
“Come On Down!”
And three days later Brad arrived.
As nasty as the prior visit was is as nice as this new visit played out.
It was like two long lost lovers of any sexuality who hadn’t seen each other in years had found each other again. There was no tension, no acrimony, no difficulty communicating in or out of bed, everything was perfect.
And as the fourth day was concluding we agreed to a second April visit, and another Miami visit the first week in May, and wouldn’t I be in New York for a week before I went to Chicago in mid-May on business? And why shouldn’t Brad come to Chi-Town to spend a few days with me at my hotel, and then of course come down to Miami for the Memorial Day Weekend after that, and perhaps for a longer, more open-ended stay.
That “living together” thing again…
And I didn’t say “no” this time, as it’s really been pleasant, and if it stays easy and pleasant, why not?
And so the plans were made by Brad and me for all of the above. And Mitch was completing the work I wanted done around the house. And so, during this period, I never hit on Mitch again. And the gardens looked great, and the house was maintained, and Brad and I were having fun; fun in Miami, fun in New York City the week I was there, and fun in Chicago too.
And then three days before Brad was to arrive in Miami for his extended (as in “open-ended”) Memorial Day sojourn, he binged on Coke and Meth in New York City with a bunch of old, enabling, High School chums, stayed up for 48 hours straight, couldn’t crash, and was rushed by those friends to the Lenox Hill Hospital Emergency Room for the necessary curative drugs to bring down his super high blood pressure and slow his racing heart. Released from the hospital 12 hours later, medically stabilized, Brad went home for the night, to rest until morning, and pack, to finally fly off from LaGuardia Airport in Queens soon after, and arrive at Fort LauderdaleInternational Airport the next afternoon. Brad arrived in Fort Lauderdale looking like a cat that had just encountered a loose high voltage electric wire, and he was vibrating accordingly.
Brad was vibrating at that moment of his arrival.
… and vibrate he did for the three days he was in residence.
Brad vibratedthrough three-days of dual Alcohol Anonymous (A.A.) meetings attended with similarly vibratingFOB’s (Friends of Bill). One particular day, the Saturday in the middle of the visit, three meetings did Brad attend. That Saturday, Brad attended three A.A. meetings, and those three meetings did nothing to abate his inner demons and tensions, or stop the vibrating.
Talk about DRAMA!
And I was miserable.
I wanted to help, I wanted to ease Brad’s pain. I wanted to make Brad’s demons go away. But what I wanted didn’t matter. Only Bradley (Brad’s inner person), mattered, and Bradley wanted control of Brad back. And to get that control Bradley demanded familiarity. And so Brad had to go back to familiar New York City where Bradley would be in control, and that is exactly what Brad did.
Sunday night of the Memorial Day weekend at 11 p.m., I drove Brad to the Fort Lauderdale Airport because h said:
“I can’t stay in this house another minute”.
Brad slept in the Fort Lauderdale Airport Jet Blue waiting room overnight to take his already booked 1 p.m. flight back to LaGuardia.