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Fly Me To The Moon: Part Two
by C.J. Michaels
2006-12-08 10:33:53
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It seems that Deirdra’s musical taste is similar to mine and she’s chosen some of the same songs. “Dance with me,” she says, when Summer Wind plays again and I suffer a sudden fit of nerves as she takes my hand and leads me away from the bar.

I’m not a good dancer. Wiggling around at a disco is not something that comes naturally and I feel as rhythmical as a broken stick. It’s only recently that I learned that the movements you make on the floor are supposed to have at least a tenuous connection with the beat. Slow dances are easier and that’s what Summer Wind is all about, so I slide an arm around her waist and we start to sway and slowly turn, with me pivoting on my right leg until it goes numb.

The record finishes and the pain in my leg makes me want to stretch and sit, but there are other considerations. I’m wondering what she thinks about the hardness that threatens to burst out of my trousers because, with the way we’re welded together, there’s absolutely no way that she hasn’t noticed.

So we dance a second time because now Wicked Game is on again and her willingness to do that shows she’s noticed in an agreeable way.

“How about going somewhere else?” she whispers in my ear, pressing her hips into mine and it’s now obvious that this date has a sequel. I’m in the midst of self-congratulations for setting a new record, when two things happen, more or less at once.

Yan climbs up on the bar, reaches up to the clock and pushes the hands back an hour.
“Forgot the fucking time change,” he moans, and I remember about the spring forward, fall back nonsense. It was on the radio and in the papers, but I forgot too, so I’ve spent all day an hour out. It’s not eight forty, it’s seven forty. This means that I was not dead on time; I was an hour early. So was Deirdra.

Then the door opens and a girl walks in who could be Deirdra’s double. With cropped hair. She has no coat – it’s not cold, after all – and her shoulders are bare to reveal a tattoo that doesn’t look a bit like a banana. It looks like a jumping fish. What are the odds on that, two girls with that hairstyle and a fish tattooed on their shoulders, in the same bar? On the same night?

But this one’s carrying the Hoboken Reporter.

The feeling that threads through me is like the one you get when a jigsaw that’s been scattered all over the table, starts to take shape. A bit of sky here, a bit of tree there, corner pieces and straight lines and, before long, the picture reveals itself. The knowledge of success - but this one has a creeping sensation of all my internal organs below the waist turning to mush.

It’s only a short hop of logic and reason to realize what’s happened and to muse at the ironic coincidence, but I’m not in the mood for musing. For a brief moment of panic, I consider running away and climbing through the window of a back room, until I remember that there is no back room and no window. That would be foolish anyway, since I have my arm around the waist of a girl who wants to sleep with me.

So I guide Deirdra towards the door, facing forward like a horse in blinkers. Miss Mystery’s head turns like Megan in the Exorcist and she stares so hard I can feel her eyes burning through my back, out of my chest and into Miss Kitty’s Saloon across the street.
Maybe she’s thinking, “There goes someone who looks a lot like my date for the evening, now what are the odds on that?” It’s all I can hang onto, but Yan and Henderson both pipe up with, “Bye Charly,” and I’m busted.

We walk arm in arm up the slight hill and my heart’s racing, but it’s not because of the effort or anticipation. I feel the way I did at four years old when I got caught for nibbling the corner off my mother’s chocolate bar and then trying to re-wrap the silver foil so it looked the way it was before.

Then I notice something else. The feeling that twisted through me in Fabian’s and felt like a tornado in my gut is not going away. Through the minimal walk home, Deirdra is on my arm but my concentration is now focusing on trying to will away a sensation that feels like someone has reached a hand into my stomach and squeezed.

We reach the building entrance on Third Street within minutes. Deirdra’s intrigued that I’m guiding her down steel steps towards the depths of the earth, but then I open the apartment door and that’s the end of the light.

The smoky stink of melted plastic and charred cardboard greets us and, despite opening all the windows, the apartment smells like a burnt out shop.

In the dim illumination from the hallway lamp, I can make out the shape of the monstrous pile of boxes at the end of the living room, which are the remains of the packing cases that transported the stereo and records from England. I can just about see Deirdra’s expression as she takes in the gloomy scene. It is not one of total relaxation but my current level of suffering makes it hard to assure her that everything’s all right.
She murmurs something about American Psycho and I can sense her mood changing. I don’t think Bohemian is going to cut it, this time.

I lead her inside and leave the door open so I can find and light the single remaining candle. She seems more relaxed when I lie about the power being cut off by mistake and about the ‘cooking incident’ and then show her around to prove that there really aren’t any dead bodies piled up.

All I want to do is get to the bathroom, but Deirdra needs it and I feel obliged to let her go first. I doubt that it would be a good thing to do otherwise, particularly as the extractor fan is on the same circuit as the non-functioning vanity light.

Music might relax her, so I decide to set up the portable CD player to play a Frank Sinatra selection, starting with Fly me To The Moon, which seems fitting. Even with the CD already in the player, it’s difficult to do in one hundred percent blackness and it’s running on batteries, so the buttons only light up dimly.

For a short while, my internal strife seems to lessen and I think I’ll be all right. When Deirdra comes back, I take her in an embrace, but she reacts cautiously and I remember the American Psycho comment. Maybe she’s worried that I might be mad.

Things improve as I get her more interested and her confidence comes back. But mine doesn’t and the trouser situation of which I was so aware in Fabian’s, is now a thing only of memory.

My bathroom desire begins to return and I’m convinced that the lack of interest in my nether regions is connected. Despite Frank Sinatra singing to a willing and now partially dressed girl in a candlelit bedroom, I am in the frustrating state of having to excuse myself.
At least ten minutes pass before I realize that I can still hear Fly Me To The Moon, muffled through the bathroom door. It ends – and then starts again. It’s not on shuffle play, I have set it to repeat the same track. Frank will be singing that song out of tiny speakers for all eternity, or until the batteries run out.

It’s whilst I’m pondering the absurd chain of events that led to this situation that I hear a muffled yelp, followed by a short scream, a sharp crash and the thump of something heavy falling over; something Deirdra-sized.
“Are you alright?”
There is silence and then a sad, “No.”
It sounds like a question.
“What’s the matter?”

Frank starts again. Then, weakly, “What kind of person lives in the dark? On a mattress on the floor. And why have you got a box of, of, condoms? A whole fucking box?”
Hmm. That’s not supposed to be on display. Frank pauses for a few moments, then starts again. “Fly me to the moon. . .”

I hear a wail. “Shut up. Shut up. Just shut up,” and I realize she’s screaming at the CD player.
“Press STOP.”
“STOP. Press it.”
“Shit,” she says experimentally, as though she’s trying it out for size. “Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit. I used to love this fucking song, but now I hate it. Shit.”

I say nothing, because the right words won’t come. What would they be, anyway? A fit of nervous tension makes me laugh and then I get the giggles, which even I have to admit is not appropriate, but there’s nothing I can do to stem them.
“What’s so funny? You’re all fucked up,” Deirdra yells and there’s nothing gentle or sexy in her voice. “I’m going home. There’s something wrong with you.”

That reminds me of my father, except for the eff word, which I had never heard him use.
It seems that our relationship has progressed to the fighting stage, without actually getting through the steamy lover stage, all in less than two hours. This seems even funnier. Giggles take over my entire body and I thank God that I was where I was.

I hear muffled stomping, a sharp retort as something hard hits something else hard, more stomping and then silence. Not even Frank.

When I come out, there’s no candlelight and no Deirdra. The front door’s wide open, so I go to deal with it and find the matches. A series of them leads me to the candle.
Even with the candle, it’s too dark to look around but there’s a Coors Extra Gold in the fridge, so I open that and drink it on the floor, straight from the can. The cooker clock says a little before ten, which means it’s a little before nine. It’s still early enough to go back out but I feel that I’ve had enough fun for a Sunday. This is my earliest night for months.

It’s morning, when I find the CD player, broken, at the base of the wall, looking like it’s been kicked there with great force. A dent in the plaster confirms this. The condom box, which is actually a shoe box - and I suppose gives the not particularly favorable impression that it might have held several hundred - is upside down, with the contents scattered across the room.

I suppose she wandered around in the gloom, put her foot in the box and skidded, fell over, lost the light and panicked. Lying on the floor, bruised, half naked and continuously serenaded by Frank Sinatra, she might have felt that a one-night stand in a smoky dungeon with a accented man who’s got the shits, might not be such a good experience. No accounting for taste, I suppose.

Looking back, I could say that if Frank hadn’t recorded ‘Fly Me To The Moon’ in nineteen-fifty-whatever, then I wouldn’t have shagged Deirdra, but that’s meaningless, as I didn’t anyway. Got close though – and that counts as a score.

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