Feelin’ Froggy: P-Town Puddle Jump

December 19, 2010 at 2:22 am (Clairissa, Sweet sticky things)

The text read, “Can you bring me something to drink?”

I flipped back, “OE 800? Four Loko? I could hit a liquor store. Vodka?”

I gathered my things into the backpack. Wrapped the pint jar into a black plastic bag. My phone buzzed again.

“No hard stuff! 4 Loko watermelon would be heavenly, if you can find it. I could use the boost!”

I didn’t have the heart to tell her it no longer contained caffeine. “I’ll see what I can do.”

Off to Clairissa’s. It was time to move The Body again.

I’d received the invitation several days earlier, via text message. Clairissa and I communicate in loving 160-count missives. “GF at work all day Saturday. Pick a time and let’s lick it, er, kick it. Bring Prescott Wellington IV?”

“I’m all yours. Me and the frog.”

I stopped at the Kwik-E-Mart by my house, put the frog on the counter and went to the booze cooler. Four Loko Watermelon, right there. Hmm… no Fruit Punch, but lots of Grape. I seem to be buying a lot of this stuff and, though I’ve never drank it I *do* know what it tastes like. (Liquor tastes so much better on the lips of a woman, compared to the stuff in a glass.) The flavor description “like a bunch of Smurfs threw up Jolly Ranchers” seems spot-on. I chose two cans and went to the counter. Rod, the old dude who owns the store, said, “I haven’t seen you in here in years. Time to blow out the cobwebs?”

He knows my drinking habits, and was probably seeing dollar $igns. I apologized for not being more social. “Nah, not for me. Going to see a girl, and this stuff is like self-inflicted roofies.” I put the two 24-ounce cans in my backpack, and continued carrying the frog like a road soda. Off to the MAX.

I fully expected to be called on the carpet by the bus driver. She looked at my bag-o-frog, but didn’t say anything. Had she inquired? I had a stock answer: “For all you know, there could be a dead frog in here…”

Go ahead, call my bluff. Clairissa and I share custody of the carcass of a dead frog, which I’ve had for thirteen years now. Since she’s back from San Diego and into a permanent residence, it’s her turn. I know he’ll be in good hands.

After a thirty-minute ride through the ‘hood, I was walking up the street toward Clairissa. She texted, “Had to let the dogs out. Door is open, come on in.” Proceeding with caution, I headed for the basement. I was met by a big smile, a raucous bark and two wagging tails. I was simultaneously licked by a dalmatian, a mutt and a blue-haired girl. Life is good.

Clairissa has built a bootleg barber shop, bedroom and rec room, which she lives smack dab in the middle thereof. I unburdened, shared a welcoming hug and was promptly handed a ferret. “We’re weasel-sitting, I have to proof the house. He knows exactly what not to get into, and goes for it every time.” I held the purring, quivering critter while she stuffed towels into air vents and closed doors. I let the little fella go, and he immediately jumped into the garbage can. “Fuck it,” Clairissa proclaimed, and put Mr Weasel back into his cage. “I’d rather give you my full attention…”

And so she did. Her girlfriend was at work, and her last client of the day was an outcall, so we had two or three hours of us-time. Saints be praised! When was the last time we had a couple hours alone? She fetched me a Vanilla Coke Zero, and sipped her Four Loko through a straw like a good ‘hood rat do. She held my hand and asked about my recent dating adventures, which I shared freely. I told her of my hotel-prowling, and the string of middle-aged women I visit during lunchtime.

She came to the same conclusion as I: Combine them all and I’d have a decent GF. “Now I wanna play Cupid.”

She then proceeded to say some of the nicest things anyone has ever said about me. I wished I could freeze that moment in time, and reference it when down in the dumps. I can’t reproduce the moment, but I can hold it forever in my heart, and I will. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more appreciated by a woman.

She inquired about my mood, if I’d been drinking? “Nope, not since I brought you the frog on that fateful birthday almost three years ago.”

“Good. And while I don’t want you to drink, I expect you to come get me if you do. Cuz you know I will trash your ass…” The thought had me craving a Big Gulp-sized shot of Wild Turkey. It subsided. We talked about LSD, and how we would trip together if it somehow became available. My last trips were with Mizelle, and it was a most intimate affair. I’d love to share something like that with Clairissa.

She ran her fingers through my hair. “You know I want to go all Pippi Longstocking on your ass.” She pulled out a box of tiny rubber bands. She slipped into her workshop while I used the bathroom. It was only after I’d finished that I realized I hadn’t shut the door. She didn’t seem bothered. I stepped out, and she motioned me over to the barber chair. “I made you some hair ties.”

They were denim with purple edging, Soon I had pigtails. She put a crocheted shawl over my shoulders. “From behind, you look like the mom on Six Feet Under.”

That’s me, the ultimate middle-aged frump tranny.

Since my hair was already in pigtails, she took the opportunity to clean up my neck hair. She pulled out her straight razor and reinvented my neck line. It had been a few months, and the fuzzball produced was substantial. She said, “I want to start a second clump, since it’s almost beginning of the year. Shall we see how gray you are at the end of next year?” She plunked it into my hand while she fetched the jar that holds Critter, my seven-year-old tennis ball-sized collection of neck hair dating back to 2003. She put the new hairball next to the old one.

Not content with humiliating me in pigtail fashion, she brought out a collection of vintage ladies church hats. I posed for pictures with clashing leopard print apron and church hat. She rested a fancy red hat on my lap and made inappropriate comments. She showed me where she’d “gained twenty pounds.” It had gone to the right places. She was curvy, soft and squishy. She had lost that bag-of-antlers feel.

“Did you see what I traded for the van?”

The van was gone? No more Mystery Machine?

“It was a BITCH getting it down these rickety stairs…” We stood in front of an old upright piano. How had I not noticed this?

“This is what I do when I want to seduce a girl.” She sat down, took a sip of her Tijuana Tickle-Me Juice, and began playing a classical piece. “I learned it by ear, and purists always freak out because I don’t play it note-for-note, but it seems to work.” She played for two or three minutes. I was awestruck. I now understand why all those so-called musicians carry guitars around downtown. It’s a pussy magnet!

Three hours had passed like nothing. She’d cleaned up my hair to where it looked good again. I’d been getting the urge to lose it, go back to ye olde number-two buzz cut. But then I look at the wild, friizzy mop and realize it took eighteen months to grow it that long.

While I’d love to start seeing Clairissa every two weeks or so, I can hold out a little longer…

The bus ride home was crowded, but I didn’t care. I spaced out, gazing at the Christmas lights streaking by. I stopped for groceries and called it a night, early for a Saturday. I didn’t mind that I didn’t have a date, that I wasn’t sleeping over. I’d spent a wonderful afternoon with one of my favorite people, and departed feeling more loved than I had in ages.

Thank you, my sweet, for the best Saturday in a long, long time.

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