One Last Romance – Part Two

One More Romance – Part 2

 (I was forced into writing!)

*

6

One should never have to compromise himself (male, presumption, me!), to be verbally bullied, coerced, cowered, manipulated, threatened, vilified into adding to a story already written, filed, and, presumably, in a secret, private vault.

(One side note: my lovely and most curvaceous writing coach advised me not to hesitate in showing off an extensive use of qualifying words and phrases to show the readers my total command of an excitable vocabulary.)

So, it is with these statements that I begin the second part of “One More Romance.” The person who did all the nasty ‘force-thingies’ in paragraph one of this Part Two will not be mentioned by name, but, will, in some future and unsuspecting moment, be placed in a compromising, utterly embarrassing, and dreadful position of shame…

*

At the last moment, my Debbie was called into work at the Throne Room for a special gathering of some college fraternity dignitaries. She was filled with dismay in missing the dinner at the Arizona Country Club and meeting Doctor Sam and his wife, Char, a cute and endearing shortening of her full first name, Charlotte.

So, good Sam, Char, and I enjoyed best we could dinner without Debbie, and the alcohol gave us uplifting glows. It was determined after dinner that we would go to the Throne Room, meet Debbie, and enjoy the wonderful piano styling of Lady Gwendolyn.

Our Arizona Country Club was having a relatively slow night. Our lone piano player kept playing and singing our old-time memory melodies, and we reminisced and let the glows grow into a miasma of melancholy. We talked about Peggy, about Debbie, how they resembled each other in so many ways.

Sam, Char and I were feeling no pains as before-dinner libations and vintage Cabernet through our gourmet meal did their jobs well. In short, we were not ready to call it a night. We chided ourselves that prospects for morning hangovers were viable possibilities, so with the vestiges of youth mixing well with the drinks, we hauled our asses to the Throne Room in Scottsdale.

On the way we were pulled over by a motorcycle cop, and, for a moment, oh, oh, the rain was coming to fall on our parade. (Side Note: that curvaceous writing coach also explained that it was an occasional coup d’état to use a cliché.)

No driving ticket was issued from the pretty brunette motorcycle cop for a dysfunctional rear light… Yes, it was a female M/C, and the kind lady re-energized particularly me by issuing ‘no ticket’.

We drove onward to the Throne Room.

“I think the lady cop was looking you over beyond the scope of her duties, Chuck. Should we be telling Debbie about this driving incident?”

“Doc Sam, control your wife, please.”

With more time-killing, tantalizing teasing, we soon arrived at the Throne Room.

There was a deepening, dissociative disorientation of sorts as we walked toward the lobby entrance, a rather awkward feeling of unrest, and I was restless and disturbed by the feeling. My guess was that we all have those moments from time to time…as well as the recurring need for alliteration.

The mind can have strange diversions, can bemuse the hell out of me

Ah, but it was all to become clear to me in just moments.

7

Entering the lobby just off the Throne Room the emanating noise level in the lounge had a too loud and raucous element which surprised me, and apparently good Sam and Char who was visiting my drink din for the first time. They looked at me curiously with the raising of their brows.

Besotted folks did not stay long at the Throne Room, and I looked around for Tommy DiGrazio.

Tommy was a big guy who kept order in the Throne Room, usually stationed himself at the entrance to the Lounge, his quick thoughts determining the mind-set of the people entering: were they looking to cause trouble? Had they already had their limits of booze? Were they men ‘feeling their oats’ looking ‘to score’ before the evening ended? (Ah, love the clichés.)

This hotel and this up-scale Throne Room was not the typical pick-up bar. It was a hotel and lounge that catered to the Movers and Shakers of the Corp and Entertainment world, but anyone with a sane and sound-working brain knew that trouble could happen at any time and any place, regardless of its resumé.

So, where was Tommy?

Maybe he was inside the lounge, and there’ an easy way to find out. Go into the lounge, Dummy… I like kicking myself with an occasional verbal jibe.

Tommy was every bit the look of what a person might consider labeling a man true to the Mafioso element, not too keen on smiling, slow moving and a ‘hulk’. He was not a good friend, but we did like each other, and, through the years, except to know and to kibitz, we maintained a buddyship. A new joke was shared here and there, and there was always the feeling on my part that he was looking out for me – in a good way.

Somehow, my senses were suddenly alerted to danger, and I could see the same transformation taking place on Sam’s and Char’s face.

“There’s no piano music, Chuck, just a lot of noise, with some sharp yells. Are we going into the lounge?”

We were standing in the lobby, just outside the lovely statue-entrance to the big Room.

“Why don’t you two relax in one of the love seats while I go in and see what’s going on. I won’t leave you sitting out here too long. It’s more than likely there’s something special going on for the frat people, people just having fun.”

Just as I entered the lounge, I heard loud tinny whistles behind me, voices, screaming, “Police. Out of the way. We’re coming through.”

In a moment of crowded clarity, I saw three things that scared the hell out of me: Tommy was on the lounge floor in front of the Piano Bar, face bloody and gashed, still fighting two stout young men in suits, the police rushing to aid Tommy; Debbie was kneeling on the floor, blood coming from her brow at her hairline with an unmoving Lady Gwendolyn cradled in her arms; one of the bartenders was crawling over the shiny mahogany bar trying to reach and help Tommy.

I rushed to Debbie’s side, knelt, yelled her name and lamely asked: “Are you okay? What happened to Gwen? You have blood on your brow? What just happened here?” My questions rushed from my lips, sounding inane and with pitiful urgency.

Debbie looked up at me and almost in a whisper, said, “Later, Chuck, when we’re alone and you can hear. I’m okay so don’t worry. A piece of glass flew into my hair. I’m okay.”

Medical help soon arrived, and the police returned the lounge to some semblance of order and whispering voices.

I talked briefly with the bar manager, Artie Pierson. He told me the lounge would be closed when the ‘suited bastards who caused all of this are hauled away’.

Artie told me to get Debbie out of there, that she would be reliving Lady Gwendolyn’s attack – One of the young suited apes went wild, threw several cocktail glasses when Gwen screamed in her mike trying to restore order. One cocktail glass knocked her out.

“What caused all of this, Artie?”

“The Frat Apes caused it, flirting with guys’ dates or wives, grabbing their breasts, their behinds… They went crazy for no reason I could tell you. Lady Gwen did plead with them to stop their crazy behavior, and you can see what she got for her efforts.”

“Artie, these guys are too old to be ‘Frats’ in college.”

“Oh, no, these guys are the big shots in their luxurious Corp-Offices. College kids have their own hangouts for booze and girls.”

A doctor was working on Lady Gwen –now stirring – and announced she would be okay.

I lifted Debbie from the lounge floor and gently led her out to the lobby. The police somehow knew that I was not part of the problem.

Doc Sam and Char met Debbie under a full-moon sky, and they liked her.

Debbie and I drove Sam and Char back to the club and their own car.

It was almost 12:30 AM when we were settled enough for bed.

I hated the ugly events at the Throne Lounge, but I loved pampering Debbie all through the night, a strong stamina stud, you might say – OMG, where is all of this coming from?

The next morning, I made breakfast for us – a new cereal so good we had two bowls, each. Debbie and I would never be as close as we were that sun-filled morning.

We had such an emotional yesterday and a hard day’s night, we decided to take a nap in mid-morning. Well, say what you will, but, unaccountably, we were still exhausted after a bologna sandwich and took another nap.

The afternoon nap produced another period of ennui that we found difficult to understand, and, with a left-arm- stretch, I was able to reach the TV remote. It just happened that a Spider-man movie was on, and, with all his ‘webbing-zips’ from one tall building to another, we got tired again.

So, again, we napped!

8

It was Debbie’s final decision to make, and I’m glad she made it.

She was fired from the Throne Lounge.

‘Fired’ is a bit strong. She was  given a choice.

Reason for ‘no job’? She screamed obscenities at the bad International Frat-A-holes during their bad bar behavior, and management felt she exacerbated the situation.

She joined in a Class Action Lawsuit leveled at an International Fraternity Consortium, and, waited – okay, if you insist – and, waited – oh, okay, one more time – and, waited.

Now, the story, weird from the very beginning, got more weird.

That International Fraternity group was in a ‘blind trust’ – that is to say, it was so damned blind that it was not at all visible, to anyone, ever, any time, never.

The few people arrested that night at the Throne Lounge were mysteriously released with large bail sums which was also a thick mist of mystery – just love my alluring alliterations. In college, I was named, wait for it, Always Alliterating Ad Nauseum Nerd. The college officials promised to use only the acronym – AAANN – and award scholarships to any-student interested and smart enough to figure out the words those big Cap-letters represented. Is it just me, my ego? I’m thinking that AAANN sounds rather impressive… Just, Saying.

Enough about me and my, uh many, college honors…

Oh, yes, the Class Action Lawsuit? Or, if you like acronyms, CAL.

There were several unamused lawyers who could not find any associations with the appellation, International Fraternity Whatever, or, for that matter, any of the signatory names used for room reservations, rooms that were stayed in, many that were damaged and/or vandalized, for rooms badly used but for which the hotel was never paid.

It is to this day one of the ‘not talked about’ Arizona anomalies in its long history of jurisprudence. It is likely best not to mention this story’s subject matter if you should be in an attorney’s office, particularly one who spent time trying to find out just who the hell were ‘those people’ of the International Fraternity Whatever and where their offices might be located.

The good news?

Debbie and I are still together, getting old together, making our naps a bit longer and more ‘strenuous’. We are both losing weight, and good old doc Sam tells us to “keep on doing what you’re doing, keep eating whatever you’re eating, keep doing your body exercises every day.”

Well, I can tell you this, good Doc Sam is now legitimately out-driving me every damned drive on every hole, sinking unbelievably long putts, and taking my money like he needs a vacation home in Aruba. And, he’s not being sneaky about it.

So, why am I smiling every day of my life now?

If you have a clue, let me know…

The End

©One Last Romance – Part Two

By Billy Ray Chitwood

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