Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

More of IF...1968, Vinnie's a cop

Now the problem with a lot of these parties was, after about ten minutes they’d break out the illegal powders and pills. Then girls in hip-huggers that barely covered their asses with hair down to their crack’d drop acid and start swaying and moaning and all that. Guys dressed the same way with hair almost as long would get coked up and manic. Then they’d lose all inhibitions. Needless to say, I got kissed by both sexes on more than one occasion. So long as that was all, I could handle it, but then this one guy grabbed my butt and I nearly punched him but Marc stopped me and said, “Just walk away.” Turned out that guy was the host and I later learned Marc was trying to find out who his connection was. If I’d hit him, Marc would’ve had to start from scratch.

So I walked and wound up in a bathroom with a blond goddess who was so high on something, she kissed me hard enough to draw blood then slipped her hand down my jeans and muttered, “Feels so good,” and went down on me. You know that old saying, “First time’s the best”? Darla’d never done that on I now had proof positive -- that saying was completely true.

Thing is, they all wanted me to join in with the drugs, when it was all I could do to keep from screaming “NYPD” the first couple times I saw it. So from that point on, soon as things started getting crazy at a party, I’d back into a corner and just watch, making sure I had a beer or a glass of something alcoholic in hand to look like I was doing what I wanted to do. And if a girl came up, I was fine. If a guy came up, I made like I was going to get another drink.

That’s how I met Catherine. We were in an old brownstone just after Christmas, in the East 60s. Some banker named Adam celebrating some deal, and Marc knew the guy from a year he spent at college. The place was done in the usual dark paint and black light and fluorescent posters in hundred-dollar frames on the walls with pillows and incense and stuff. The usual people were there -- self-satisfied intellectuals reading eastern sayings, girls with flowers painted on their cheeks and Indian beads hiding their breasts, everybody with hair so long you couldn’t tell he from she, half the time. Cigarette smoke and wine everywhere as sitar music alternated with The Doors and Jimi Hendrix. It descended into the usual chaos of pot and pills and punch spiked with God knows what and puking and screaming, so I grabbed a bottle of vino and hit for the roof.

It was cold and threatening to snow, but it felt clean and real. The lights of the city seemed to be looking down on me, as if they were asking, What the hell I was doing there -- I mean, other than trying to make lightning hit twice with some stoned chick and a blow job. I just sort of shrugged at them and sipped some of the wine straight from the bottle. How do you answer a question like that?

I had just about decided to split and catch a train back home when I noticed someone sitting in a folding chair off to one side, hidden in this fur coat that surrounded her face and barely reached the top of these white boots.

She held up a glass and asked, “Is that white or red?”

I had to look at the bottle to tell. “Red. Want some?”

“If you’re up for sharing.”

I slipped over and filled her glass then took another sip.

She smiled and said, “Do you always drink wine like it’s beer?”

I shrugged and said, “I’m not out to impress people. Besides, it tastes just as good this way as that.” And I nodded to her glass.

“May I try?” she asked, holding her hand out.

I handed the bottle over and she took a dainty sip, and I got a better look at her face now that it wasn’t hidden so much by the coat. Her features were almost pixie-like, with light blond hair and green eyes, and her lips were a soft pink.

She handed the bottle back, saying, “Not bad. Not the same, but close enough.”

“Ah, you like to let wine breathe.”

“Don’t you think it adds to the flavor?”

I shrugged. “Wine’s for drinking. Like beer. Like bourbon.”

“Simplicity. I like that, but it’s hard to achieve.”

I wasn’t sure where she was coming from, so I held out my hand and said, “Vinnie.”

She took it and smiled. “Catherine. Why aren’t you downstairs, Vincent? Or do you prefer Vinnie?”

“Told you -- not out to impress. And I’m not in the mood for crazy, tonight. You?”

“I’m not fond of parties.”

“Then why’re you here?”

“Adam asked me to come.”

“Friend of his?”

“Sister. Being supportive and all that.”

“Oh.” I took another sip of the wine then said, “Y’know, I used to work in a bank. When I got out of high school. Never struck me as the kind of place that’d make the kind of deals that’d warrant this kind of party.”

“Adam’s with a private investment bank. What do you do for a living, now?”

“I’m a cop,” I said, the word popping out before I could think. I cast her a sideways glance. She was smiling.

“Then it’s no surprise you don’t want to be downstairs,” she said. “The happenings must drive you mad.”

“Some, not all.” Then I cast her another glance. “But you know, there’s a coffee shop around the corner, on Lexington. It’s warmer than up here, and I’d be up for a cup.”

She eyed me then stood up, and that coat whispered up legs that went all the way to last Thursday, ending at this tiny mini that was immediately swallowed up by the fur.

“Lead the way,” she said.

I rose and found she was almost as tall as me. I glanced down at her legs. “You gonna be warm enough?”

“I’m wearing tights,” she said then glided towards the door.

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