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 out of 5 rating; Bleach | Blackout 4.8 rating) or Amazon page.
“Pablo is ready!” Lucy screams on the phone. I wait. “He is ready to sign a contract with you.” Lucy pauses for a second, I ask her what she is doing and she says having a Fla-Vor-Ice so I give her a minute to cut the top and take a bite. “The big 5 publishers are all getting together for an annual party” Lucy pauses. “To celebrate another year, I guess.” I agree and before I can ask her what I should wear she hangs up. I walk over to the desk where I have a pack of Parliaments, pick up the pack and then put it down. I go to the refrigerator, grab a Fla-Vor-Ice and sit on the couch, staring at a pair of Chuck Taylors across the room. I am about to grab another Fla-Vor-Ice when Jagger texts me asking me if I’m ready and that’s when I remember it’s his birthday and we are going out to Long Island, wine tasting, for the day.
When I walk outside there is a town car with Jagger standing outside, next to the driver, both smoking cigarettes. We leave and in two hours are sipping wine at Cordato’s and then drinking Reisling at Fall Gardens Winery and then lunch and a Cabernet at X40. We are pretty well buzzed for 1pm when we arrive at Summer’s and order the “Super Tasting” which is equal to about four more glasses of wine. It’s almost 3pm when Jagger meets Salvatore, a guy wearing skinny jeans and a salt and pepper goatee. They immediately hit it off and begin ordering bottles of wine. When I approach the subject of when we are going back Jagger says, “Never!” so I let him know I’m going to take the Jitney bus shuttle back to the city and he doesn’t even hear me, already half way through a bottle of Pinot Grigio. I buy a bottle of Pinot Gris, open it and walk to the nearest Jitney stop.
Each time I take a drink from my bottle of Pinot Gris I get a strange look from the Jitney crowd. There is a couple fighting, a very old woman unable to hold her head up, and a man wearing a tuxedo. I take another drink from my bottle.
Half way back to the city it becomes very dark. A thunder storm hits and the rain is heavy. The driver tells us to be careful and that “It looks like The Last Boy Scout weather, better check for a gun”. This is good advice, I think and then we almost collide with a bus and not long after that see the city skyline as we travel through a strip mall friendly area of Queens and then through the Midtown tunnel.
I find myself on the homeless side of Midtown, the 8th Avenue side of Penn Station and I’m about to get sick when I see Lucy and she is dressed as Minnie Mouse. I am wearing a blazer, T-shirt, black pants, Chuck Taylors, and a black fedora. Lucy points to a bus that appears full and I can see from the windows everyone is in costume. We board and see an open seat near the back so we navigate our way, past Iron Man and Michael Jackson. All the classics are represented: The Cowboy, a Vampire (which makes me think of Izzy), and even a Clown which I make sure stays at least fifteen feet from me at all times. We sit next to Tina Turner and RuPaul, I’m not so sure they are dressed up as much as a couple of drag queens out on the town. I look around the bus. This is the powerful publishing industry? A full scan shows a Devil, an Angel, an Anthony Wiener, and four Barack Obamas’ (apparently there is an unwritten rule that if you are a black editor, you come as Barack). I’m a little disappointed that I don’t see a Jason hockey mask, of course I also don’t see any Frankenstein’s. No sense of history with this crowd.
Tina Turner gets up and falls into my lap, he says excuse me and hands me an extra wig that is long and blonde. I take off the Fedora and put it on because I’m the only person without a costume. Tina then offers me a bump of cocaine which I decline, but then get a glimpse of myself in Michael Jackson’s sunglasses and realize what I look like so I do the bump and then I do one more. I reach in my back pocket, but remember that I left my journal at home. I will have to wait to write my clever comment about insulin, cocaine, and quitting smoking.
“So what is this party?” I ask Lucy, “We just ride around, in costume?” Lucy laughs, and says, “Pretty much, there may be a couple stops though. People they know, their houses, etcetera, etcetra.”
Sure enough, the first stop is a large house on the fringe of Queens and Long Island, somewhere near JFK. I can tell by the low flying planes. James Whitten, a legend on Madison Avenue is dressed as Mr. Burns, pulls me aside and says, “I’ve talked with Lucy and have two pieces of advice for you.” Whitten stops, pulls out a bag of cocaine and dips his pinky nail in and sniffs it. He offers me some, but I decline. “First, always meet your deadlines, nothing worse than an editor waiting on a writer.” Whitten sticks his pinky back in the bag, sniffs, and then rubs his pinky finger on his gums. “Second”, he pauses and I lean in, “Always take drugs when offered to you; who the fuck do you think you are!” Whitten looks over at Lucy and shakes his head.
From the Whitten incident until I get home it gets blurry. I accept the next six offers for drugs until I get sick on my Chuck Taylors. We crashed a Producer’s house and destroyed his piano because he wouldn’t play Billy Joel, and then crashed the bus into his garage – I believe this was on accident and had no connection to the not playing Billy Joel. Our next stop was a wedding for one of the Acquisition Manager Assistants. We came in, someone gave a toast, and then someone stole the cake and the Priest who was then riding with us on the bus. After the wedding the consumption continued and included vodka, cocaine, Merlot, Coors Light, methamphetamine, and Tequila; not in that order and not just once. Near the end of the night Lucy and I were in the back of the bus and she removed her costume, revealing that she was wearing nothing but a black leather bra and panties underneath. We started kissing and I closed my eyes. When I opened them back up it was the Tina Turner drag queen on top of me, I’m pretty sure of this. I closed my eyes again and found myself in a parking lot with Lucy. She said I freaked out and that she was proud of me. “Proud?” I ask. “Of course, they love you!” she says. “The coked up, out of control, drag queen lover is easy. You don’t have to market that!” I grab my head, “Drag queen lover?” Lucy nods, “You were hitting on her pretty hard, but then again that was after half a bottle of Patron Silver, we were amazed you were still standing. Anyway, I was still jealous.” We begin walking, “But nothing happened, right?” Lucy grins. “Sure.”
That night I am dreaming about the original Karate kid movie and getting a picture Ralph Machio (Danielson) and Billy Zabka (Johnny from the Cobra Kais’) when I am woken up by a text message. It is Izzy and he has just been released from the hospital. The text reads: PISSED OFF-LOOKING FOR BLOOD. I feel like I’m living in a Twilight Zone episode, I also still feel disappointed because I never got the picture with Danielson and Johnny.