The final edition of my story, parts 6 and 7—for previous sections, check posts below. Based on real people and events! I wanted to put us in the middle of different relationships, contrasted to other people’s romantic lives.
“Crest is a toothpaste, is it not?” Jack is asking Davey, who nods. “OK” Jack continues “my grandfather, remember I was telling you about him?”
Davey’s face shows a puzzled frown. Just the eyebrows together. He is COOL.
“No, wait, I was telling Gary”
Davey’s face opens back up, relaxed, inviting Jack to tell it all.
“So, yeah, you hear Crest, are you thinking college? No, right? But there you are: CREST COLLEGE. I mean, if you heard Aquafresh, are you thinking ‘I’d love to go to college there’ or are you thinking ‘MINTY! Whitens teeth and freshens breath!’ The place has an image problem. Imagine ‘Ugly University’ or ‘Stupid School’, right? But still”
Davey nodding, understanding, suddenly hungry. Burrito or sandwich?
“Alright, so the story I was telling Gary, about my grandfather? He comes to see me at college. I went to Bennington, which at least sounds like a college. And here is my grandfather telling me ‘Too bad you didn’t get into Crest College’ and I was like ‘grandpa, I didn’t even apply there”
Davey nodding again. He had gone to NYU and majored in girls with a minor in art. A great combo, you just act cool, talk about your WORK, sit around the studio late, drinking coffee, staring into space, doodling, scribbling, then once a month go on a painting frenzy: HUZZAH! Another brilliant semester show, all A’s. And a rainbow of coeds, all shapes and sizes, who dig the artistic soul….
Jack is back to his grandpa “So, my senior year of college, out of nowhere my grandparents drop in. Hadn’t seen me in ten years. On their way to his 50th reunion at…you guessed it….Crest College. We go to dinner, they are 2 drunk skunks, my grandpa trying to impress me with his youthful exploits. Tells me first that he was out of town, in a brothel, the night my mom is born. Then, and remember my grandmother is sitting right there, tells me if not for the unfortunate accident of my mom, he never would have married my grandmother. Nice. The dick has a lot of lives to account for, my mom, her sisters, all my cousins---adds up to ten, maybe 12 people. No, 13, I think one of my cousins is expecting”
Davey’s attention wanders over to the bar where a young woman has just stepped in. Where has he seen her before? Great hair, great…no, wait, now she is kissing some guy. Interesting! Dude would be no competition though… Davey forces himself to look back to Jack, nods to show he is listening.
“OK, so I was telling Gary that this same grandpa outlived my grandma by about 15 years. Lucky her! He was a miserable SOB. He was always MISTER BIG MAN ON CAMPUS. President of his high school class, captain of the football team, held the school record for the ¼ mile, for like, 60 years”
Davey makes a face, eyes wide, shows he is impressed.
Jack goes on “My grandpa dates my grandma throughout. After high school there is no money, so she goes to work at the Converse Shoe factory with her father. They made the Chuck Taylors, you know? Right there in Massachusetts. China, now”
Davey shakes his head, disgusted. What is made in America anymore?
Jack finishing about his grandpa “No factory work for Mister Big Man on Campus though. He has the ticket out, on his feet, in his hands, and he does get recruited by Penn State, Notre Dame. Or at least he claims they recruited him. But the only scholarship comes from Crest College, 3 miles from home. He must figure ‘College and a girlfriend, got those sewn up’. And that, my friend, is the reason for my existence. Thanks to a spring frat party at a second rate college with a stupid name and a bathtub full of gin. My mom was born toward the end of the next football season. Of course, the team was on the road, relaxing after the game. In a brothel. My grandpa lost his foot toward the end of his life, diabetes. I was thinking ‘fool not setting any records on the track THIS week”
Davey can admit to himself “this is one crummy story” The worst. What kind of loser goes to a brothel, prostitutes? He notices up at the bar, guy is gone, and now that gal is alone up there, ordering. Her remembers her name now: JANE! Jack is quiet for a change, staring into his beer, and Davey is rising, reaching across his fist for the goodbye bump, turning and heading toward the bar….
The sun is setting on Broome Street behind Gary and Maude walking home. Gary reaches over to take her hand and she is like “LOOK!” Gary looking left and right. “No silly, right there!” pointing straight ahead “our shadows? I saw our hands come together” Gary lets go of her hand then slowly reaches for it again, watching this time, turning to her with a smile. His left hand comes up quick, catches a sneeze “achoo!”. Maude reaches her right hand to her neck “you catching a cold? Here sweetie, you can borrow my scarf”
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