David S. Grant is posting his latest fiction “The Devil Wears Black Leather” while he works on his latest book, the fourth and final installment that follows: Bliss | Bleach | Blackout. The working title is of course, Bleak. Why is he doing this? Because he loves you! (Note: Also, may be drunk, hence the third person intro.) For more information (or purchase/download) David’s books check out his Goodreads (Bleach 4.6 rating; Bleach | Blackout 4.8 rating) or Amazon page.
The next day I have a severe headache, but when Lucy texts I agree to meet her, wanting to figure out what happened the night before. We meet on The Highline in the meatpacking district and before we take four steps I begin accusing her of ditching me and possibly drugging me. Lucy doesn’t get offended, instead, she stops and stares at me. “How much do you remember from last night?” Lucy continues to stare. I mention talking with Torre and Yolanda and not being able to find her. “I was on the terrace looking for you” she says. “What happened after you left?” I think about the question for a second and then shrug my shoulders and say nothing. Lucy raises her eyebrows and pulls out her iPhone, pulls up a picture and shows it to me. “Is that you marching down Broadway with a Mariachi band?” I stare at the picture for a full minute, unable to remember leaving the taxi except when I got dropped off at home. I say nothing, Lucy continues. “Do you remember biting the bartender?” Blood rushes through my body, my anxiety heating up again causing my feet to sweat through my canvas Chuck Taylors. “And what did you say to Torre? He told me you are an orgy guy. Is this true? If so, that’s okay, I just want to know what I’m dealing with here.”
I’m about to explain that I thought he was asking about cheeseburgers, but realize this will not help the “are you insane” look that is presently displayed across Lucy’s face. Neither of us says anything, we just stand as tourists pass by. Lucy leans forward and hugs me, I hug her back. It feels okay. She says, “I’m attaching the marching Mariachi picture to your name on my phone so that when you call I will laugh.” We hug for another two minutes and then she says, “I’m not who you think I am and you should just use me for fame, or something”, then she kisses me on the cheek, and then on the lips. It feels okay. We walk along the elevated park to 30th street then exit and walk toward a beer garden on 23rd. Lucy tells me that she Googled me and that she wants to help me with my book. She reminds me that she knows people and can set me up a couple meetings. She tells me to stop thinking small. Stop thinking Indie. Start thinking big. Start thinking TMZ big. Around 2pm we leave each other, but agree to see each other again. She kisses me again and grins and as I walk away she yells, “Think TMZ big!”
Back in my apartment a cockroach runs across my keyboard. I slam my fist, missing the bug, instead hitting the backspace key, losing the entire paragraph I just typed. The next twenty minutes are spent armed with a can of Raid, looking for the cockroach, to no avail. Back working on my book I look up the word substantial on Dictionary.com, looking for a synonym, but don’t find anything to my liking so I log into Facebook and read my comments. Next I decide to set up a Twitter account. I begin following the New York Times and an account that may or may not be Gary Busey. When my screen refreshes I see I am following 2 people and 0 people are following me. I unplug my computer, nothing to see here.
I notice the temperature in the room is rising and a wave of anxiety again fills my head. I take a deep breath, pretending I am breathing in a puff of a cigarette. I am one minute from full panic mode when Jagger calls and says he is going to the racetrack in Yonkers. He just sold a piece of art to one of the Housewives of New Jersey cast and is renting a town car. I tell him to hurry and within ten minutes we are on the FDR heading to the track.
We are both betting three horses boxed as an Exacta which is when horses finish first and second. We lose the first two races and then I win $200 dollars on the third. Prior to the third race a grizzled local player tells us that he likes IRISH ANGER. “They didn’t fly him in from Ireland to lose”, he says. We both place boxed Exacta bets with IRISH ANGER and the top five favorites. The race is a photo finish and is delayed when the screens cut to an update of the runaway python that has apparently slithered its way to Illinois. When the screen returns the results are posted and our hot tip finished third, leaving us out of the money. The next two races I place $80 placing Trifecta bets and lose. We pause to eat, settling on hot dogs. Racetrack hotdogs is a lot like New York deli chicken. There is a risk involved. There was a girl I once dated that ate deli chicken religiously, knowing she would have food poisoning twice a year. It was welcomed because she would lose five to ten pounds. She referred to this as the deli chicken diet.
Jagger wins $100 after picking a horse named Factotum to win in the seventh race. After collecting his money I ask Jagger about Izzy and he shakes his head and says he is concerned, hasn’t heard from him in over a day. I ask him if this is a long time and Jagger raises his eyebrows. We bet one more race lightly, leave, and then Jagger tells the driver to stop at a strip club named Top Heavy in the Bronx.
The forty dollars I’m up is quickly gone and I spend the next two hours near the bar waiting for Jagger who is talking to a stripper named Alabama. The bartender is one of the dancers who introduced herself as Crystal. The DJ announces Crystal Light is up next and I mention this to her and she says “NO, that is Crystal Light!” She points to a brunette in a girl school skirt. “I am just Crystal.” I order two beers in hopes Jagger will join me and Crystal tells me its twenty dollars. I put down a twenty dollar bill and she says, “NO, its twenty dollars each!” When Jagger returns he tells me he really likes Alabama and I ask “the stripper?” and he says, “NO, I love the name Alabama.” On our way back to the Lower Manhattan we stop off at a Mexican restaurant in SoHo where our waitress is wearing a short skirt and I am surprised when she doesn’t ask for a dance. I don’t think many understand the first hour after spending too much time in a strip club is a very strange experience.
Back home Lucy calls me and apologizes for the party even though she’s not sure why, just thinks it was a weird first date. I blow it off and tell her about my upcoming Las Vegas trip and she sounds excited for me saying she once went to Vegas after touching someone lucky. We agree to go out again and then I go to the deli to buy cigarettes, but have to wait in line because there is a man who keeps buying scratch off lottery tickets and cashing in each dollar winner he has. He is humming the song “Staying Alive” when he scratches off a $500 winner. He shows it to the cashier who smiles and yells “Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!” while pointing at the lottery player. I decide to leave, with no cigarettes.
When I get home I get a call from the third party I freelance my porn business through. They confirm my Vegas flight details and tell me there is a potential new account and that they are setting up a meeting. When I ask the name of the escort company he says it’s not an escort service. It’s a performer. When I ask the name all they tell me is: Elvis.