Monday, July 6, 2009

My Virginia Memory

By Joshua M. Patton

So while browsing the internets, I happened across a banner ad (I just love those, especially when they are fun games and I win things) that asked me to web on over to your site and share my VA memory. As I allowed my mind to wander, thanks to various intoxicants, I recalled what I am sure would meet your marketing needs.

During the early part of this 21st century, I was what you might call a traveling salesman. At the time, I am sure that I would have told you how I was not in sales, but in advertising. It was too, just like a live performance of a commercial...of course then I would ask for your money and on a good day I got quite a bit of it. Virginia was always very good to me financially and after one very prosperous road trip a friend and myself found ourselves with some time to kill on a Friday afternoon in the summer.

VA is gorgeous in the summer, and this day was no exception to that. My friend Chip and I were browsing the markets and such in the Alexandria section of town and we met the Movado hustler that would change it all. After looking over his stash for some believable fake timepieces, we purchased four of them for $30. The temperature was hot and he had a good day, plus we were two salesmen full of confidence. The poor bastard didn't have a chance.

We decided to celebrate our new purchases at some trendy bar, the name escapes me. It was in this bar that I met a beautiful women dressed in a blue dress that fit the atmosphere of the neighborhood. It was simple, yet elegant and obviously expensive. It was an instant connection. Her eyes met mine a few times before she came over and introduced herself to me. Normally I would have tried to sell her a prepaid gift certificate to the salon we were promoting ,but I was all out of them so instead I offered her a drink. She laughed at all of my jokes, our interests were similar, and those eyes rarely left mine. It was at this moment that Chip interrupted me, “We gotta go. Now.”

“What did you do?” I asked, frustrated and glancing nervously over at the beautiful woman that I had a real shot with. The “last night in town” approach seemed to be working in concert with her interests. Plus, if I do say so, I was dressed really well that day and my fake watch looked great. Chip informed me that while in the bathroom he had removed his watch to wash his hands. At the same time another man put his real Movado on the same counter next to Chip's. He claimed that by the time he realized he had the wrong watch. I slipped my card to the woman and we left. We were almost through the door when I heard a voice calling out, “HEY YOU!”

Chip and I both knew who it was. The man had realized as soon as he picked up the watch that it was the wrong one. Chip did what any normal, honest person would do in that situation. He took off running. I am no coward and I will face what I have to face when I have to face it. However, I didn't do anything to this guy, but I looked back so he targeted me. So I bolted along the same path after my acquaintance (yes he was downgraded from “friend” at that exact moment). Chip was about a foot taller than I was and it was all in his legs and he had less money so he was nowhere near as drunk as I was at that moment. The man from the bar grabbed me by the arm and spun me around, but as he did so our feet were tangled and we fell to the floor.

“Where's my watch you fucking thief!” he yelled in my face as we lay on the pavement. I couldn't see anyway that honesty would work for me in this instance, so I did what any normal, honest person would do in that situation, lie.
“What are you talking about? Get off me, I gotta catch that guy who stole my money clip!”

The man from the bar was puzzled and then helped me up. I continued talking, tequila and corona's fueling my improvisation, “I was trying to impress this chick and I put a money clip with $300 in it on the bar. That dude pushes past us and after a couple of seconds, I realized my clip was gone and I went after him.”

“He stole my watch in the bathroom and left this fake piece of shit on the bar!” The man from the bar said. “Well, he's gone now. Since you are cashless, why not let me buy you and your friend a drink?” Since Chip drove and I knew him well enough to know that he was halfway to our hotel right now. I also knew the room was in my name and I never trusted him enough to give him his own key. With no better options, I went back to the bar.

When I got there the man my friend stole from turned out to be a decent wingman. He told the women in the blue dress, let's call her Trixie, that we fought the thief, turned him in to a cop that showed up, but he confiscated the watch and the money clip. I sat nervously, expecting Trixie to offer up her version of events where the thief and I were in almost total collusion, plus she had my name and number on the business card. But we really must have had something special, because she just called me her “hero” and after the drink our new friend left me to my own devices.

It was Trixie who suggested we go to her place and, after a quick call to the boss to make sure the didn't leave without me, we were on our way to her place about two blocks away. The apartment was dark when we arrived and from what I could tell sparsely furnished. However, I didn't get to look around very long. We were making out and she was guiding me to the bedroom. After some heavy petting, as the kids call it, she slipped to the floor in front of me and began to unzip my fly. After what could have been 25 seconds or 20 toe-curling minutes, she looked up at me and asked if I was a cop. I was young and unwordly and I was more annoyed at the interruption than the actual question asked. “No, baby,” I said, “I told you I'm in advertising.” She then asked me if I was going to put the $300 on my card or if I wanted to use cash.

That snapped my attention from one head to the other and I sat upright...almost blinding the poor girl, but I digress. “What do you mean the $300?” I asked.

“That's my hourly rate for the company.” She said matter-of-factly.

It was all I could take, I lost my mind and began to laugh hysterically. It could have been the liquor, the excellent VA-grown pot we had, the events of the day, or a mad combination of them all, but this felt like the perfect end to an otherwise ridiculous day. After a few seconds she began laugh, but I am not sure if we were really sharing the joke. I say this because after we regained our composure, she asked me the money question a few more times, each leading to a smaller, less-infective giggling fit. Finally, I told her that I had no money in cash or on my card nor did I intend to pay for sex.

The ubiquitous smile she was wearing dropped from her face. “Too late pal,” she said, “we've already started. I am gonna need something or I have a phone call to make to someone in the building.” Now, I am from Pittsburgh, PA and this close to Washington D.C. I did not want to deal with some high-class pimp or madam. I asked her if I could leave a post-dated check and it was her turn to laugh. She glanced at my fake Movado, “I'll take that. Those are like $800 watches right?”

I glanced at my wrist and held it up to her eye-level, “Try a thousand,” I said. I quickly dressed and then as I went to the door, I unsnapped the watch and set it on a table by the door. “Pleasure doing business with you,” I said, shut the door and ran like hell for the second time that night.

Down the block in a restaurant, I used a payphone (cell phones were not as big then and I was roaming, gimme a break) to call my hotel and my boss told me that Chip was actually half a mile away at restaurant selling off the rest of his coupons. After a brisk walk, I found Chip with two shots and no coupons left. We downed them, he with an obvious flailing of his wrist so that his new watch jangled and glinted in the harsh lights of the corporate eatery. Later that morning, around 3 am, we headed back to PA hoping to arrive in Pittsburgh early Saturday morning.

And THAT is my virginia memory.

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