The conversation

It goes a lot like this

My phone rings.

The Conversation ensues. It never fails. Neither the caller nor the particulars matter much; the gist is always the same.

Hang around my place eavesdropping on any given weekend; at some point, you'll hear this, or something almost exactly like it.

"What's up?"

[Pause]

"Eating a cold hot dog and wondering where I put that videotape of SciFi Channel movies that Jenny made for me."

[Pause]

"Naw, I'm not feeling it. I'm still ganked and broke from last weekend. I'm gonna get some wings from that place by my old pad, and take half a Percocet, and watch Raptor Island and Snakehead Terror or whatever's on there."

[Pause — farty sound of the last of the spicy brown mustard being squeezed from the bottle]

"She's going to Georgie's with Cindy; she's not exactly all about the sci-fi."

[Pause]

"Yeah, I know there's a ton of shit going on tonight — "

[Pause — noisy chewing]

"I haven't seen them yet, but I really like the CD. But that's one of those art-opening things, and I haven't seen any of the artists' stuff, and there's going to be bad house-DJ music in between everything, and the other band sucks."

[Brief pause]

"Yes I have, I saw 'em at The Bank a while back. They suck. SUCK."

[Long pause — sounds of refrigerator rummaging, glass tinkling, keys jingling, a Corona being opened with a poorly constructed keychain bottle opener]

"What? WHAT?! I can't hear you, dude — "

[Long pause]

"Ha! You can't pull that 'professional responsibility' shit on me, my man. That's not how it works. Only I can choose when to exploit the concept of 'professional responsibility' as it applies to off-the-clock activities, and I will do so only when it works in my favor, like if I want to go out and stay out until last call on a weeknight when I know I shouldn't. It's only to be abused for opportunity, not guilt. You don't get to do that."

[Pause — belch administered directly into phone]

"I can't afford that fuckin' place tonight. And I don't know the door guy."

[Pause — sound of zipper going down, followed by streaming liquid]

"Yup. What? I had to go. And this might be the longest phone conversation I've ever had with anybody."

[Pause]

"Get somebody else to go, I didn't stay home after work all week. I'm beat. Where's your roommate?"

[Brief pause]

"Where's that girl you were with on Friday?"

[Pause]

"That's cool. Do I know her?"

[Pause]

"I'd probably know her if I saw her. Where are you meeting her?"

[Pause]

"Well, why don't you just stay in Clearwater then? I don't wanna go out. I've drank every night since Labor Day. I'm not going out. I'm old. I just wanna — "

[Pause]

"No they're not. That was last week."

[Pause]

"Are you sure? I could've sworn it was last week, and I forgot about it."

[Pause]

"No, I believe you. I do that all the time 'cause I'm always working on next week's paper, and thinking that shit's going on this week."

[Pause]

"Two-dollar PBRs? I bet Andy Beerschool's gonna be there, too ... Naw, forget it. I'm not going out."

[Pause]

"But I don't have any money."

[Pause]

"How about, instead of that, you loan me 20, and I'll buy my own?"

[Pause]

"And you'll pick me up?"

[Long pause]

"All right, I'm in. Just promise me we're not going to be out all night."

[Brief pause, much laughter]

"Fuck you, too. But seriously. I didn't even want to go out tonight."

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