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Chapter 6 - Dick

“Tequila with lime and a margarita, no salt,” I ordered at the bar.

The bartender hesitated. “Are you 21?”

“Yeah, and I’m thirsty,” I replied as I put a fifty in the tip jar.

“Comin’ up,” the bartender replied as he smiled.

After the bartender waved his wand and produced the tonic, I quickly drank the shot. I sucked on the lime as I found one small round table in the back of the small room in the e-club. The jukebox played an eclectic mix of 80s rock, rap, and country for the varied group milling about. Rock-Night Thursday started at 7, but it was only 6:30.

I drank the margarita like a thirsty plant drinks water, one long slow sip. I returned to the bar for another round. On my fourth trip to the bar, I felt someone watching me. I got my drinks, did the shot at the bar, and returned to my table to drink the margarita. I sat with my back to the wall. The hairs on my neck stiffened as I saw the eyes that I felt earlier. They floated above the crowd and closed in on my fortified position.

“How are you doin’, Lilian?” Richard asked.

“Good. I don’t remember anything,” I replied.

Richard smiled and relaxed a bit.

“Well, almost,” I said.

Richard stiffened.

“I’m sore,” I said as I look directly into his dark brown eyes that looked nearly black in the dark club.

Richard shrank into a seat next to me. “Hey listen,” he began with excuses and ended with apologies.

“It’s alright, Dick.” This stopped his pathetic tirade.

“Richard,” he said.

“That’s what I said—Dick. Do you want to dance, Dick?”

“Okay…” Richard said as he slowly scooted his chair back and stood behind me to pull my chair out. What a gentleman. We made our way to the dance floor as Reba’s “Fancy” began playing on the jukebox. Richard guided me, slightly wilting, around the dance floor. He smiled down at me, and I caught the scent of cigarettes. Be nice to the gentlemen, Fancy, and they’ll be nice to you.

“I didn’t know you smoked.”

“I had quit until this morning.”

As I danced with the devil, I reminisced about what I thought my life was supposed to be. I grew up in a neighborhood of elderly people. There were very few children to play with, so I spent most of my time playing house with my baby dolls or watching TV. I watched cartoons, Popeye, Scooby Doo, and The Brady Bunch. My mom and dad divorced when I was young, six or seven years old. The Brady’s gave me hope. The mom and the dad were single, and they found each other. I wanted a family like theirs. I wanted brothers and sisters to play with. When I grew up, I was going to have a husband like Mike Brady. He was soft spoken and always had his arm around his wife. They were a united front. He was always right about everything, and so was Carol. I wanted that strength and love.

At the final spin, I spoke into Richard’s ear, “You want to take me home and do me right, Dick?” If I can’t have the Brady’s, maybe I’ll have a romance novel.

Richard hesitated and then smiled, put his arm around my waist, and led me off the dance floor.

If I give you my body, then you didn’t rape me. If I give you my body, then you will love me.

“Do you need to grab your purse?” Richard asked.

“I don’t carry one.”

“Are you ready to go then?”

“Yes.” The DJ began to play AC/DC.

This time, we made love in my husband’s and my bed most of the night. I kept thinking about that night of strip poker and at one point, I asked, “Do you love me, Richard?”

He didn’t answer. He lay there, quiet.

You do love me because you made love to me.

The next morning I woke to a sober realization. I cheated on my husband again, and this time, it was my choice.

“Good morning, Dick. It’s time for you to go,” I said as I lit one of his cigarettes. I pulled in the smoke and immediately choked on it.

“Huh?” Richard said disoriented from the rapid wake-up and the slap that followed the words.

“It’s time for you to get out. I have to go to work.” I pulled on the smoke again, forced it to stay in my lungs, and immediately choked again.

“Okay,” Richard said as he rolled his naked body out of bed and ran his fingers through his dark brown hair. “Can I see you again tonight?”

“I don’t know, Dick. It depends on how drunk I get before I see you.”

Richard sniggered as he sat on the edge of Chuck’s side of the bed and pulled his clothes on, and then he said, “I’ll be happy to buy.” I gave Richard the rest of his cigarette.

I noticed bloody foot prints on the floor of my hall as I ventured down it to the bathroom for a shower. I avoided stepping on them, and they were still there when I got out of the bathroom. When I got to my bedroom to dress, the pack of Marlboro reds was still on the nightstand, but Richard was gone.

It didn’t happen.

That morning at work crawled. The monotonous engraving set a pace that kept me in my mind all morning. You shouldn’t have gone out. Put the brass plate between the clamp. You shouldn’t have drank. Check the distance. You could have done something. Adjust the point. It’s your fault. Place the templates. You cheated on your husband. Carve the letters. The process repeated until lunch. It was Kelly’s day off, so I ate lunch behind the counter.

“Hey, Lilian,” Dick called from my right.

I jumped from my thoughts and looked up. Dick smiled and asked, “How’re you today?”

My skin immediately started to crawl. I rolled my eyes at him and looked back down at my sandwich. He kept talking about something random and insignificant. He was trying to make small talk, trying to make things okay.

Dick finally got to the point, “Do want to meet me at the e-club for a drink after work?”

“I think I’m going home after work.”

“Aw, come on. It’ll be fun.”

I knew what it was. I knew exactly what Dick wanted from me. I didn’t want him.

“I can’t tonight. I feel sick.”

Dick went on talking and trying to seem concerned about how I was feeling. Maybe he was. In the end, he gave up trying to persuade me and left.

I went back to work.

Put the brass plate between the clamp. It’s your fault. Check the distance. You could have done something. Adjust the point. It’s your fault. Place the templates. You should’ve said no. Carve the letters.

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