A bad Night In Benicia
It was a warm night in Benicia, California, a small town about fifty miles outside of the San Francisco Bay Area. Tyler Bishop was working his job at the Bella Giardino restaurant and bar as a bartender. He had been employed there for over six months. He enjoyed it because of the friendly staff and the ability to work flexible hours. This allowed him to pursue his passion for writing songs and performing live concerts at some local bars and clubs.
Tyler is a tall man in his early forties with blond hair that is cut mid-length. Some say he looks like Tom Petty back in the day. He has never been married and has had only a couple of serious relationships. In fact, he is in one right now with the love of his life, Karen. Tyler enjoys bartending because of all the fun people he meets. His weakness is any girl that comes in to flirt with him. Everyone in town knew who he was and knew that he is all talk and no action. Primarily because he is in love with his girlfriend – he is very loyal to her.
Tonight, it was your typical summer heat type of evening. It was eight o’clock, and the temperature was still in the upper nineties. Tyler did not mind the warmer conditions. He knew when the weather was hot, the ladies would be wearing less and less. It made the job more exciting to see these women dressed in almost nothing at all. Tyler would always hope for that one girl to walk in alone and sit at the bar. That way, he would have someone to talk to. On this night, he would not be disappointed.
While Tyler was making the drinks for one of the tables, he could not help but notice a young lady that had walked in alone. She was wearing a sexy black dress. It was so revealing that you could see the silver stud body piercing on her belly button. At the same time, the dress had a side cut that went up high enough to make anyone wonder if she was wearing anything underneath. As Tyler proceeded to look at her, he noticed a diamond necklace showing off a large sapphire in the pendant’s middle. His eyes continued to survey her near flawless body. He finally got to her face and saw that she had earrings that matched the necklace and eyes that enhanced the sapphire (or vice-versa). She had long, straight blonde hair that stopped just above her waistline. She appeared to be in her early to mid-twenties. The perfect age for Tyler, even though he was forty-two. He was hoping she would sit at the bar, and he was hoping she would be sitting alone. She did, and his night was about to change.
Tyler finished making the drinks and completing the order for the table he was waiting on. He strolled over to the woman who had walked in. “Hello,” he said with a big smile. “What will you be having?” Tyler always liked to ask young ladies a question that would leave it open for interpretation and a seductive reply like, “YOU.” But it had yet to happen. The lady smiled and looked deeply into his eyes. “Chardonnay, please,” she said in a low beautiful toned voice. Tyler had heard voices like that only in the movies.
“Chardonnay? Wow. That’s no challenge,” Tyler said, turning to get a wine glass. He glanced over at her and continued, “You sure you don’t want a Slow Screw Up Against a Wall or a Harvey Wallbanger?” Tyler was not known for his subtlety, and he was showing it here. The young lady smiled and looked at Tyler, “Why? Is your name Harvey?”
“It is if you want it to be,” Tyler replied. “But seriously, my name is Tyler,” as he politely reached out to shake her hand.
She responded with her hand, “Hi, Tyler. I’m Michelle.”
Tyler noticed that her hand was incredibly soft and delayed giving it back to her. He looked up at her and saw her smiling. Any other girl would have been pulling her hand away quickly, and just as quickly, she would have been reaching for the hand sanitizer in her purse. But this one did not do that. Tyler finished pouring her wine and placed it in front of her. “Here you go. One Chardonnay.” Tyler was trying to be smooth, attempting to find out if she would be dining alone. “Would you like me to save this seat next to you for a friend of yours or spouse?”
Michelle smiled. “Thank you, Tyler. But no. I am alone tonight,” she said in a slow sensuous voice. “Tell me, Tyler, do you always flirt with your customers this way?”
Tyler knew if he told her the truth, she would have seen him be the womanizing-son-of-a-bitch he was known to be. But he was hoping she was from out of town and unaware of his reputation. So, he lied, “No. Not at all. Only the ones that take my breath away.”
Michelle smiled as she took a sip of her wine. “I feel honored. So, tell me, what time do you get off?”
Tyler usually would never get this far in a conversation with a woman. He drew a blank as to what to say and felt that by telling her the truth, 1 AM, she would end up leaving. So, he lied again. “I can get off anytime you want me to.”
Michelle continued to smile. Tyler’s seducing was working on her. “Meet me out back in about ten minutes.” She got up from her chair and left the same way she arrived. Tyler was in shock that his flirting had actually worked. He knew he still had several hours remaining in his shift, but he did not want to lose out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. He cleaned up the area that Michelle had been sitting in and went to the back to look for his boss, Joe.
Tyler found Joe sitting in the office, reviewing some accounting books. “Joe, something came up, and I need to take a quick break. I’ll be back in about fifteen minutes.”
Joe was a short, portly man in his upper 50s with a heavy Italian accent. His face had a thin mustache with a little goatee. One reason he was able to retain his staff at the restaurant was his fun-loving perspective on life. He seemed to always be in a good mood and worked with his employees if a situation came up where they had to leave or take a day off. He enjoyed being sarcastic and making people laugh. All-in-all, he was a funny man that you wanted to be around.
Joe looked up from his books, “What do you mean, ‘something came up’? Something is always coming up with you.”
“I’m sorry, Joe, but this is serious.” Tyler throws his apron at Joe. “I’ll be back as soon as I can… Thanks” and runs out.
“IF YOU LEAVE, YOU’RE FIRED!” Joe yelled sarcastically as Tyler ran out.
Knowing Joe was kidding around, Tyler was going to find Michelle and see what was up. He hoped to have a few drinks with her and see where the evening would go from there. As he turned the corner, he saw her standing in the dark, underneath a palm tree, watching some sailboats go by on the bay.
As Tyler approached, he removed his light jacket to put over her shoulders. “It is time to take the flirting to the next level,” he thought. He put the coat around her, “Oh, aren’t you sweet,” she said. “Thank you.” She adjusted it a bit more to take the non-existent chill off.
Tyler looked at her, “You are one gorgeous young lady.”
Michelle smiled again. “You are so nice, Tyler. Thank you.”
“So, what’s the plan?” Tyler said. “A drink or two. Dinner? Are you hungry?”
Michelle looked at Tyler, “You tell me. What would you like to do?”
Tyler’s eyes got big. “Well, I think you know what I would like to do.”
“Then…” Michelle looked around. “You know I’m not cheap.”
Tyler could not believe what he had heard. Worse yet, he could not understand how he did not realize who, or what, she was. He felt that he had lost his touch to know who was a prostitute and who was not. But there was one way to find out if she was. “Cheap? No woman is cheap. How much?” Tyler asked.
Before Tyler had finished asking the question, four men carrying police badges and guns came out of the bushes. “Freeze! You’re under arrest for solicitation.”
Tyler’s night had now officially changed. He had never been arrested before, and he was scared. He could not believe she had done this to him, and he could not believe he was that stupid. He did exactly what the police officers asked him to do, and before he knew it, he was on his way to the police station to be booked.
* * *
The next morning, Tyler woke up on the cold cement bench in the jail cell. He was still upset that his girlfriend would not bail him out last night. But there was not much he could do about it. He screwed up, and she was making him pay. All he could hope for would be for her to still be home when he finally was released. Being his first time in jail, Tyler had no idea what the process was or what would be the next step to getting out of there. About fifteen minutes into his thought process, an officer approached his cell. He was carrying keys in his right hand. Tyler was hoping this was a good sign. Right now, Tyler would take any good news. As the officer approached, he yelled out Tyler’s name. “Bishop! Come on. Time to go.”
He stood up and walked to the cell entrance. The officer led Tyler to the desk to complete some paperwork and handed Tyler a citation. “This is your court date. You are being released, but that does not mean you are free. You must appear in court on the date set, or a warrant will be issued for your arrest. Do you understand everything I have told you?”
Tyler took the citation, “Yeah.” He was quiet and still in disbelief of everything that had happened in the last twelve hours.
The officer handed Tyler a large envelope that contained his personal belongings. “This is yours. Everything should be there that you came in with last night.” The officer led Tyler to a door that read EXIT. He opened the door and held it open for Tyler as he left. “Have a nice day,” the officer said mockingly as he was chuckling. Tyler walked across the street, hoping nobody saw him exit out of the city jail. Benicia was a small town. He knew it would not be long before everyone in the city knew about his arrest and the reason for it. He decided to stop at the city park and sit down to make a phone call to Karen.
He reached inside the yellow envelope and emptied the contents on the bench. Just as the officer said, everything was there. He placed his wallet and keys in his pants pocket. He picked up his phone and noticed he still had ten percent battery life left.
He called his girlfriend. The phone rang, and just as Tyler thought, there was no answer. It went to voice mail. Tyler left a message, “Hi. I’m out. I was hoping to talk to you. I’m headed home. I’ll try to call you later. You can call me back if you want. Bye.”
Tyler started to walk home. Lucky for him, it was only a few blocks away. It gave him time to think about things and figure out what he was going to do. He knew the chances of his girlfriend calling back were slim, and he realized that he had probably lost his job at the restaurant. “What else could go wrong?” he thought.
As Tyler walked home, he looked at his phone and noticed there were three voice messages. One was from his girlfriend. Another was from Joe, his boss. And the last one was from Josh, at The Old Tavern where Tyler was a regular act and played a couple of times each week. He listened to his boss’s message, and sure enough, it was him yelling and said he was fired. “Oh, well,” Tyler thought. “It’s not like it’s the first job I ever lost.”
Next, he was going to listen to the voice message from Karen. Tyler feared what this might say and did not listen to it right away. He figured whatever she had to say would not be good. He might as well wait until he got home to talk to her in person.
Tyler listened to the message from Josh. As expected, Josh informed him that all his future gigs had been canceled due to his arrest. Josh said it was a publicity thing.
It took a few minutes of walking for Tyler to make it home. The first thing he noticed was Karen’s car was not in the driveway. He was hoping she had gone to the store and would be back shortly. That thought was quickly dismissed when he saw a note on the front door in her writing.
I don’t think you know how hurt I am and embarrassed. To think that I have given you two years of my life… two years of my heart and soul… two years of me… Look what I get in return.
I think I have been pretty patient with you. Letting you flirt with other girls at your gigs. I always felt that you were all talk and would never hurt me by following through. But I guess I was wrong.
I’m leaving you. I have taken my things and packed them up. What I have left behind, you can have. I don’t need it anymore. Don’t call me. Don’t try to find me. And, by all means, don’t be an ass to the next girl. She doesn’t deserve it.
I loved you with all my heart, and I will be hurting for a long time.
Tyler realized he messed up big. Karen was everything to him, and he never meant to hurt her. He knew what he did last night was wrong. What he did not know was how much that one event would end up turning his life upside down.
Tyler opened the front door of his home. After reading the note, he was expecting to see the house in shambles. He was surprised that it was spotless. It appeared that Karen had cleaned the house before she left. And that would be just like her. Karen was always the even keel of the relationship. She knew what she wanted and would usually get it. But it was because she worked hard to get it. She never took anything for granted. That was true for her in work and in her relationships – especially the relationships. Tyler knew Karen was the best thing to ever happen to him. She was the one person that grounded him and made him feel secure. He knew he fucked up, and he knew he fucked up big.
Tyler walked to his bedroom and collapsed on the bed. He hoped he could get some sleep before figuring out how to fix this mess he had gotten himself into.