The bar is packed for a Sunday night. It smells vaguely of mildew and stale cigarettes, the blue Christmas lights strung about all over are somewhat festive in contrast to the small, dark room. The only one who takes notice is the blonde at the bar, her unsmiling smile shows at the corner of her eyes. I notice because I am on the prowl, after all.
She’s brave to be wearing a tight dress in the cold Seattle night in late November, but hey, who can argue with those legs? I let her know I’m not looking as our cat and mouse begins. I sit to the left of the bar, her on the right at the other end; I’m not supposed to make it look easy.
The bartender walks up and I order a glass of tequila, no lemon, no salt. It’s been that kind of day. Just a few hours earlier, my girlfriend, sorry, ex-girlfriend and I broke it off. It was quite unexpected. I thought this time it was going to be different; thought this time I was different. I thought this time I’d be more amiable; that I would definitely be more genial about the whole thing. Same thing, different day. I suppose people don’t change.
Sorry, I got off topic. Anyway, that’s why I was on the prowl. I wanted to prove to myself, to her, to everyone that that wasn’t going to get me down. I would show them. They would see. Prove what, exactly I couldn’t say. In my agitation and anger I felt no hesitation in whoring myself out yet again. Another thing to chastise myself eternally for and why not? It’s not like I don’t deserve it anyway.
I know she’s looking. I know just as much as I know that within the next 10 minutes, me and that blonde are going to walk out of that bar and head back to my place. I know it because that’s what I’m good at, if there was anything to be proud of in cheapening myself, my morals, my values, my integrity, my self-worth. Sometimes I feel it’s the only thing that ever makes sense.
You see, I’m good at it because I was raised around a predator. Someone who taught me how to make others drop their guard, who exactly could be used; who wanted to be used. In a way, you could say it’s just reading people…only, more than that. I would say it’s a gift, but what cursed soul ever thanks their God for the uncanny ability of wallowing in your own filth and pity? It’s with a great deal of certainty I can say that almost all the time, when I know, when I have this feeling, I’m right; I know. This woman is waiting for me to use her, wants me to use her.
I finish my tequila, turning the glass over on the coaster and giving the bartender my debit card. “Start a tab, please. Oh, and whatever she’s drinking, give her one on me.” I never even look in the blonde’s direction, I don’t need to and even if I did, well she wouldn’t wind up fucking me. Like I said, when I know, I know.
I walk past her on my way to the bathroom. It smells like days old piss and weeks of shit that hasn’t been cleaned. The floor is slick with piss and water from guys shaking their hands after rinsing them because why would there be paper towels to dry your hands for? Duh, it’s a bar. Guys don’t wash their hands at the bar. I walk up to the urinal, unzip, and allow my muscles to relax. I do my best to not think about the blonde with her tight green dress and mmmm those legs; it doesn’t work.
As I come back in, I point a finger in the air at the bartender and say “One more.” He nods and grabs the tequila bottle as I settle in right next to those legs. Her not-smile smile is back at the corners of her eyes as I promptly ignore her. Trust me, it’ll work. The bartender slides my tequila in front of me and I raise it to my lips and drink, waiting for her next move. I begin to count the seconds.
I can’t remember exactly where, but I do remember reading several articles throughout my life stating something along the lines that a woman knows exactly what they’re going to get from a person within approximately 5 minutes of meeting someone. The blonde is playing hard to read tonight, so I’m guessing it’ll be somewhere around 3 and a half-ish minutes before she reacts. It’s another drink and 193 seconds later that she turns to stare at me.
I’ve never met this woman before in my life, never talked to her before, don’t know her name, hell I haven’t even so much as seen this woman before, and I know exactly how the next half hour is going to go. I don’t give anything away. I let her stare at me for a full 5 seconds before I feign noticing her. I double take but don’t crack my stone mask; it’s all in the eyes, they’re full of contempt with a side of sneer. I wait for her to say something; I let her know who’s in charge.
We stare into each other’s eyes that way, neither backing down, neither speaking first. The buzz of conversation and bursts of laughter punctuate our wordless conversation. I’ve always been very good at staring contests, this one will be no different. She finally looks down towards her lap, her rising laughter making her back heave in and out as it becomes louder, greater. She turns more towards me, causing her hips to shift and square up in my direction. While she’s not looking, a brief smile touches my face from her action; she’s signaled my cue to take control, to show her what that means, to use her and discard her once I’m done. She probably won’t even like it. I know I won’t.
She goes on that way, laughing and staring at her thighs until it just as slowly fades away. Her eyes pull up to peer through her hair dangling about her face and it’s then that I truly see her face hidden behind the strands of hair. She thinks it’s well hidden; it’s sight makes me want to throw the tequila up all over her, to physically show her just how disgusting I truly am. Instead, I reach up with my left hand and pull her hair back over her right ear, then put my fingers under her chin and tilt her head back up, level with mine. She’s a doe in headlights; somehow, she realizes I see straight through her. She visibly trembles, ever so slightly.
I notice it all. The way her breath is quickening, heaving her moderate sized breasts more quickly up and down. I notice the way she plays with her ring on her right hand, probably one from a high school best friend. The way her bottom lip involuntarily quivers as she glances at my lips. The way she stares into the fire burning in my eyes. The way the hairs on her arm stands up when she thinks I’m going to reach for her hand. She thinks it’s passion when it’s really anger and fury and disgust with her, with myself, with everything. I notice it all as I stare into her eyes.
I let a tiny sliver of a smile touch the left corner of my mouth. Her own smile beams back. “Do you want to get out of here?” I say to her. She nods yes, sends a text to someone, then says, “I have a roommate, so maybe we can…” I interrupt her with, “My place is just a block away, we can even walk there. Maybe leave us a bit of time to get to know each other.”
I don’t care about this woman. I don’t give a fuck how old she is, how many kids she’s had, how many times she’s been married or her hopes and dreams. And I most definitely don’t care enough about her to show her what lingers behind my mask. I make myself believe it’s because it’s more fun that way; I’m too old to know better.
After closing out my tab, I hold the door open for Shelly. Or was it Joan? Mariah? Hole. That’s what I’ll refer to her as, Hole. She’s talking excessively because she’s nervous. She’s telling me how she never does this. She’s telling me how electric she feels when she looks into my eyes. I let her talk, my own thoughts carrying on my own indignant conversation; tells me how much I will miss Erika. I blink back the tears that threaten to run down my face.
This is what I deserve now. This is what I am now. A parasite gorging on the stupidity of others, of myself. A greedy little fuck who only cares about himself. They’ve said it enough, so it must be true. I’m lower than everything. I’m the shit on the heel of your shoe before you walk back into your house. The liquid swirling inside a tobacco spitter. The vomit caked on your shirt from right before you blacked out. This is my itch that never goes away. I am Loathing.
These are the things that I know as I hold open my apartment building door for Hole, as I stare at her ass as she walks upstairs, as I remember the feeling of thinking I’d never have to do this again; I hold no more hope for the future. I feel just like a pig wallowing in his own shit. I open my apartment door, and we both go in.