“Some people credit Abraham Lincoln for freeing the slaves but I blame him.”
Dean looked at me with his most sincere face.
“Yeah…, you probably shouldn’t tweet that.”
It’s a long standing tradition; an ongoing contest to see who can say the most offensive shit in the most non-nonchalant manner.
Dean sipped at his coffee and took a thoughtful look out the window.
“There’s a fine line between credit and blame”, he said looking back at me to see if I was following.
I waited for him to meet my gaze and added, “Hashtag, emancipation.”
Dean snorted on his coffee a little bit.
“I had it all planned out for us this morning” he said. “Had the house to myself for, like, four hours. I had visions.”
“Why’d you let your kid stay home from school then?”
We were sitting in a Starbucks because fate was laughing at our plans.
“She says ‘I’m gonna stay home to spend your last day in town with you’, what am I supposed to say to that? No??”
“Yes, you’re supposed to tell her to go get smart, at school, where she belongs.”
“So why haven’t I been hearing from you lately? You don’t call, you don’t write.”
“You’re the one who ran off to Memphis”, I said.
“Yeah, that seems to be the general consensus, that I ran off. Still doesn’t explain why I haven’t heard from you. Maybe you don’t need me anymore since you spend all your time bangin’ Vince.”
“I told you already that was one time, months ago.”
“In your car”. He always likes to throw that part in.
“I don’t see what the locale has to do with it.”
“So tell me,” Dean leaned forward, eyes sparkling the way they do when he thinks he’s onto something, “at what point did you decide to throw in the towel and become a cougar?”
“I am NOT a cougar! I had a cougar moment, there’s a difference.”
“A cougar moment in your car”, he added again.
“You’re hardly one to talk”, I said.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“How old is Kelly?”
“So Kelly is three years older than Vince but you’re four years older than me which makes you a man cougar plus one.”
I can only imagine that the good people sitting around us were sufficiently horrified and confused all at the same time.
“What?!?! Noooo, men can’t be cougars.”
“They can, and you are.“
“So that doesn’t explain why I haven’t heard from you. Who are you bangin’?”
“Technically, no one. So, what did you say to Coleen?”
“Nothing?” But he knew what I meant.
“Yeah, you did. You were all excited to tell me the big news that you and Coleen were no longer together and I didn’t see how that was news since you’ve been divorced for over a decade, remember?”
“Oh that. I told her that Kelly is my girlfriend now and that I’m with her.”
“Unless you’re in another time zone. It’s not cheating if it’s in another time zone.”
“No, I’m not like that anymore.”
“No? What did you have planned for this morning?”
“Well, that really has no bearing on the situation… Just so we’re clear.”
“Right. Just so we’re clear.”
We were clear.
“So you told Coleen ‘game over’ and she just said ‘ok, tee-hee’?”
“She says she’s ok with it on the phone but then she hangs up and sends me all kinds of mean texts.”
“I can’t imagine why… What did she have to say about Carrie? I mean, you were engaged to her.”
“She didn’t know.”
“What?!?! Are you shitting me? She didn’t know? Where did she think you were sleeping?”
“I told her I was crashing at Mark’s place. Because we would be getting out of the Blue Moon so late, we’d just go to his place after because it was close by.”
“Seriously? And she believed that? You know, I told you when you would say ‘she knows where she stands with me’ that, no, I don’t think she does. Oh my god, I was sooo right!”
I just went out and bought a whole new wardrobe that I kept at her house. I…”
“Oh. My. God!!! You cannot even say anything about me being worse than you! Ever! “
“What?” He was all smiles and innocent puppy eyes.
“What?!?! You had a 2nd wardrobe? Oh my god! I’ve never done anything like that.”
The good people around us were getting up and leaving.
“Oh come on now, you would’ve if you had the chance.”
“You totally would.”
“You can’t convict me of something I would’ve done if I had the chance. This isn’t the Minority Report!”
“Come on…. You know it’s true. You would totally do that if the situation presented itself. I get all my evilness from you. So where are we gonna go? Can we go to your office?”
“I guess, but I only have chairs”
“Or we could use your car. We’ll just park in the driveway and hope Coleen doesn’t come home in the middle of the day.”
“I dunno about that.”
“Why not? You didn’t have a problem with Vince in there.”
“So what happened? I thought he was all over that shit?”
“Yeah, he was, once, and then he grew a conscious.”
“He had a moment of clarity?”
“Yeah, after the fact. And then he was all ‘Wahhhh, I don’t feel right about this because you’re married‘, and I was like ‘well isn’t that fucking convenient for you?!?!‘”
Dean is laughing so hard he has to set his cup down.
“You are such a man!”
“What?” My turn now to look innocently puzzled.
“Do you hear yourself? You are such. a. man!!!”
“He sleeps around you know, I’m a little worried to be with you now.”
“He is a guitar player and all.”
“You know, when you were working at Aztec Lodge, spending all night by the pool tripping on XTC, I never said any shit like that to you. I was never all like “eeee, I don’t know where you’ve been. You might have some fucking cooties!”
“Did you just say ‘fucking cooties’?”
“Yeah, I’m busting out all my words on you.”
“You’re using all your sen-tences.”
We were both laughing too hard to keep talking.
“So where are we gonna go?”
Later, on a chair at my office, I held his face in my hands, “it’s been 20 years, you know.”
“Can we have another 20?”, he asked.