Storyline: Jane

(10 entries)

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Multi-level marketing of me

Life in the bar is a series of compromises and reconfigurations. One must be fleet of foot or risk being thrown off the logroll. The general tactic is, go to talk to the bartender, not girls. Then start trading up. If, at any time, the most fascinating woman in the room is carted away in an ambulance, pick a new belle of the ball and work from there. Move laterally if you have to, but don’t move backward.

It’s about momentum. Use the bonhomie generated in one conversation to fuel your entry into the next. It isn’t as systematic as I’m making it sound. It’s organic, things ebb and flow, but you do need to be on the lookout for when Someone Better comes in. It’s sort of like An American Tragedy in that respect.

So I spent a pleasant hour speaking with a very earnest young woman about any number of forced conversational topics, ranging from how old ladies in the doctor’s office often don’t remember their real age, having lied about it so much, to subcultures in regional America where alcoholism isn’t believed in. It was very pleasant and she’s very cute, but when a fire engine pulled up in the personage of my old sparring partner, Jillian, I had to get involved.

Apparently there were other fires to put out, because Jillian’s total face-time was about five minutes, two of which were spent in the bathroom refueling her nose. However, we still had time to make plans to go to the movies next week, exchange cards, and for her to perform two filmic impressions for a few of us who happened to be there: memorable moments featuring the female leads in both the 1954 A Star is Born and the original Deep Throat. Exit Jillian, the perfect woman.

By that time the earnest girl had moved, for protection, to a new scene of her own. Cue Crazy Jane, Sweet Jane, Calamity Jane, who even the very na´ve and rather drunk somehow know not to hit on. She came on in, with a smile and a wave, very happy to see me, for whatever reason. She sat next to me, in the hot seat. But Crazy Jane and I aren’t secretly in love the way Jillian and I are, or at least it’s an even better-kept secret. I keep her at arm’s length. I like crazy girls, sure, but she seems to be somewhat pompous about it. I prefer the free-spirited crazy, not the collecting-old-newspapers crazy.

So I excused myself to go to talk to my friends Moustapha and Yusef, otherwise known as The Moroccans. (Whenever I mention Moustapha to Meg, it always takes her by surprise. She thinks it’s like talking about Mister Snuffleupagus. I can’t decide if that’s racist or witty, though politics make it difficult for it to be both.) I told them that when I came into the bar, the bartender was standing in the door smoking. He told me excitedly, “We’ve got both Moroccans here tonight.” The sight of two gentlemen getting excited over this fact caused some guy smoking nearby to ask, “Are they hot?” So I warned M. and Y. that they might be mistaken for belly dancers at some point later in the evening.

Cut to Crazy Jane, alone at the bar, if a woman with several drinks in front of her can be said to be alone. Move laterally, but never backward, to the bar, to her side, stepping over the bodies of the would-be swains who got the vapors. It doesn’t take long for this:

“Jack, I know you don’t believe me, but I’m the most open and giving person there is. Whenever we talk, I always feel like you’re so, so guarded! It’s frustrating to me, because I’ve had better connections with people I’ve been stuck on the subway with.”

But do you know what? Just as October was my month to show no mercy in the Vanquishing of the Mostly Disappointing, in November I’m trying to grow as a person. Since I have mastered Creating Unhappiness Where There Had Been None, it isn’t proving the same entertainment. It’s time to undertake a new challenge: giving people what they want, instead of withholding it forever. Stay tuned.

by Jack, 2:42 PM | Link | Comments (2)

Friday, November 14, 2003


You might remember the film Dealbreakers from a few seasons back, a romantic comedy in which Jennifer Love Hewitt plays a young woman who seems to have found her true love, until her breast reduction surgery proves too much for their relationship to bear.

This is not that story, but it might as well be.

When we last saw our hero, me, he was about to make up for a lifetime of sidelining poor, crazy Jane by giving her one perfect night of directionless jawing.

One truth I’ve stumbled upon by mistake is that if you are endlessly and repeatingly a big jerk to a vulnerable woman who only wants to be liked, and then one day you are nice to her, you get even more points than if you had been nice to her in the first place. This shouldn’t work, but it seems like it does. Hey, I just work here.

Down-and-out, crazy, underloved, but undeniably well-put-together Jane waits for me at the bar. I deftly engage her in her desired unburdening of random thoughts: the remarkable makeup of her extended family, what it’s like to be smart in a world that only cares about her ass, the fact that Roy Orbison is from Lubbock, Texas (which shocked me; how could Lubbock have two rock pioneers, when it doesn’t even have two laundromats?). She’s a philosopher, but sort of in the “I’m thoughtful, and therefore unique, and therefore right” mold.

However, I was able to sound her out on some of the Trouble Sells Issues of the Day. I brought up “maturity,” and how I’m beginning to think it’s a myth. I understand that people collect “experiences,” and that this happens over time, and that these experiences help them make decisions. But that isn’t “maturity,” which suggests that people somehow get new tools with which to make these decisions, as they grow older. I’m not convinced, from observing, that they do. I don’t think someone at 45 or 85 or 805 has any more ability to understand than does someone at 15. They may have more examples on which to draw, but no “maturity.”

Jane said, “That’s beautiful,” in the dreamy way she said everything.

“Don’t be snarky,” I told her, “it’s no longer ‘in’.”

“No, it is beautiful,” she purred. “I never say anything I don’t mean.” Good grief. That is straight out of some syllogism. Socrates is a man…all men are liars…therefore, I’m out at the bar with Jane.

It was getting late. Maybe the reason I liked Jillian the best was that she also knew the most important rule I learned in Vaudeville: always leave them wanting more. Jane was a few drinks ahead of me, but fresh out.

“Have one more?” I suggested.

“I’ll have another drink with you if you give me some cocaine,” she said in the dreamy way she said everything.

“I don’t have any cocaine. That’s the situation.”

“I’ll have another drink with you if you give me some cocaine,” she said, meaning it.

“It’s five in the morning. I wouldn’t know where to get cocaine if I wanted to get it for you.”

“I had better go home,” she said, rising, “though I would be thrilled to have another drink with you if things were different.”

Now she’s wrecking it. I told her, “Your telling me that you’d like me better if I gave you cocaine is like me telling you I’d like you better if you got a boob job. It isn’t very flattering. What happened to your celebration of humanity? I mean, liking people when you’re on drugs isn’t about you, it’s about the drugs. It isn’t hard to do, that’s what they’re for.”

Smiling, waving, her face brushing by mine as she destooled herself, saying, “You’re right. Goodnight.”

I was right.

by Jack, 4:23 PM | Link | Comments (2)

Friday, December 12, 2003

I'm a sentimentalist

I’m a sentimentalist and there’s nothing sadder than a drunk girl with an empty glass. Especially around the holidays. I ran into Our Friend Jane recently, who wasted no time in asking me to buy her a drink — a gift, in the spirit of the season — to replace all those she’d made disappear. I gestured appropriately to the barman and seated myself next to dreamy Janey, wondering what she wanted to get off her chest this time, and if it’d be dirty.

I looked around our little slice of heaven, the local bar. I nodded to my compatriots. It attracts a crowd — if a handful of deadbeats can be called a crowd — with not much in common except loneliness and drunkenness, the holiest of human attributes. Unlike most New York bars, there is a wide ethnic range. It’s sort of like the U.N., but without all the diplomacy. It is a Bar That Looks Like America, especially because it’s going to shit.

“Love,” Jane whispered into the ether.

All right. “I seem to recall the name,” I said.

“Love,” she repeated. “Why can’t I be in love? I was in love with this boy, but something happened. Something happened then. I need to be in love now. I should be in love. Someone like me? Someone giving like me? Should be in love.”

“Well….” I offered.

“And this boy, this boy, he was so sweet. He was beautiful, so smart — and kind.”

“Well, what’d you do to the poor sap?”

“He was so good-looking.”

“Yeah, all right,” I said, knowing my role as straight man. “How good-looking was he?”

“Well, he was very good-looking. You know how good-looking you are? Imagine forty, fifty times better than that.”

I whistled appreciatively. “Sounds nice.”

Jane smiled at me sadly. I looked into the dimming depths of her eyes. She may or may not have a beautiful face, but everything still shows on it, and that counts for something. “I’m sorry you’re sad, Janey,” I said, and raised my glass. “Here’s to new love in the new year.”

We toasted gravely and I slid her a dollar to put into the jukebox. She skittered over in the stillness and plugged away at the dusty old fairgrounds. She’s the kind of woman who plays songs on the jukebox like she’s discovering something. As speakers blared out “wild horses, how come you taste so good?” she picked her way back to the high stool and stared, sighing, at the worn wood surface we slouched on.

But she was already a dozen drinks ahead of me, lost.

by Jack, 12:24 PM | Link | Comments (2)

Monday, July 24, 2006

A View from the Bitch

Jack is on vacation. In his absence, we present posts from Jane, who is also on vacation.

Yeah, America is ugly, grey and concrete. Americans are fat, lazy and lonely. Big raging fucking whoop. Boo-hoo, I’m rich, over-qualified and unmotivated. Quel dommage! I think it’s about time we caught up with the rest of the world’s despair.

To qualify, the rest of the post-colonial-Western-European-world-except-a-shadow-of-it-since-we-haven’t-had-to-deal-with-any-REAL-economic-crisis-or-uprising-apart-from-the-Great-Depression-when-the labor-movement-had-legs-to-stand-on-that-were-soon-clipped-etc. I’m sick of this substance-less pseudo-existentialist dilemma that my criminally-bored generation (myself included) suffers from. And I’m FUCKING sick of hyphenating!

Yes, you’re right. This isn’t Jack. I’ve hijacked his blog. And in the interest of making good with my opportunity to humiliate him, I will begin with alliteration. Who hijacks the blog of a hapless hack? The homely hunfortunate victim of his h-musings. How fair is it to be written? To have your heart distilled into a couple of clever (or not so) lines? I’m a complex woman. I love people. I’m not all dreams and booze and maudlin nonsense! But now I’ll never convince you. I’m just a chimerical series of typed characters. In fact, you fans of Trouble Sells may not even remember me. I briefly appeared in this blog a couple of years ago. Though I breathe still. And also SEE our Protagonist Jack somewhat regularly. He’s right. Things indeed have been strange since OUR bar closed one year, seven months, and eleven days ago. That bar was a grounding device. In spite of whatever adversity I faced, I could always count on getting drunk among those familiar souls who were drunker than me (which says a lot, as you would know if you’re familiar with this blog). Can we tell Jack to shut up for once? Can we tell him to shut up about his stupid alienation and juvenile fantasies? Can we tell him to buy me drink so that I don’t stop typing?

by Jane, 11:16 AM | Link | Comments (1)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Sea, sex, and sun: Pick two

Jack is on vacation. In his absence, we present posts from Jane, who is also on vacation.

Dear Jack,

Greetings from Fire Island. I wish you were here. I realized that I’m gay and I want you to tell the world that I’m not coming back.

Ever yours,

Just kidding! Sort of. I’m on Fire Island. Cherry Grove to be specific. Having a gay old sopping-drunk blast with my dyke friends. And, no, I’m not sure that I want to come back. What a strange and wonderful place this is! It reminds me a lot of when I lost my mind back in Nice a few years ago.

I’m just now truly settling in after ten days or so of “vacation.” It has to better here than wherever you are, for sure. As Serge Gainesbourg said, “Sea, sex, and sun.” And even if I’m not the one having sex, it’s still fun. I’ve seen more live action male frontal nudity in these ten or so days than ever before in my 26 years. My friends dismissively say this is the trashy part of queer Fire Island, not surprising given the condition of our rickety matchstick rented abode known as Tee-Pee House. But I think it’s great the house wobbles every time I heave out an asthmatic cough, though fortunately everyone is too drunk to notice.

Indeed, every day I awake to Long Island sunshine, vegan scramble and a freshly-made frozen margarita. Or some stale crackers and a warm Coors Light, depending on who rouses themselves first. Then we go to the beach and swim away the transition between hangover and fresh intoxication, nap in the sun or under an umbrella, and retire to more frozen drinks in the teepee and the occasional night on the town, talking a bunch of shit that only one or two of us are likely to remember even a shred of.

Just last night, in fact, I had a long conversation with Rob imploring her not to swim in the ocean alone in her condition (I was certainly in no condition to rescue her if she got into trouble and I certainly didn’t feel like schlepping the compulsory 6-pack to the beach!). I eventually convinced her to play a game of rummy 500 with me instead. Shamelessly whipping out my theory of poor Natalee Holloway’s unfortunate demise (RIP)…abandoned on the shore after unsuccessfully seducing her seducers and bathing away the shame in the surf only to meet a watery grave. No shame, I tell you! If not her, then someone.

Near dawn, I emerged from this match triumphant but she wanted another hand, just as a sort of perverse 2-out-of-3 possibility of redemption. I gracefully gave it to her and won again. Anyway, in the morning she emerged from the depths and stated, “I don’t remember how I got home.” “Good thing you didn’t go swimming,” remarked Lorelei, the only other breeder in the house. Little did she know the trials I had gone through to convince Rob of the danger of the sublime night sea. “So that’s why I lost,” Rob said, rubbing her eyes and replacing the horn-rims on her ginblossom face. “Don’t use your condition as an excuse to dismiss my victory!” I exclaimed. “So beating a drunk is a satisfactory victory?” she replied, cracking open a Coors Light that was sitting on the littered countertop.

There will be a rematch.

by Jane, 6:39 PM | Link | Comments (0)

Friday, August 25, 2006

Music for chameleons

Jack is on vacation. In his absence, we present posts from Jane, who is also on vacation.

Another day in the luscious and infernal Cherry Grove. It just keeps going. I suppose I should tell more anecdotes in order to make my hijack worthwhile. Something worth reading. (Apologies for not performing better under pressure!)

The only thing exciting that’s happened recently is that I got stung, bit, irritated by something. Swimming in the sea, kicking my girlhood siren fantasy — or desperately scrapping for a lobster-boy pass, as Rob calls her funny orange turbo-tailed nerfball that we pat about in the surf — it’s impossible to isolate the incident. Somehow I wound up with a Farrah-Fawcett-Burning-Bed-style bruise/laceration on my trunk. At first I thought it was just the result of a mid-afternoon wrestling match between me, Rob, and Cassandra (the fabulous one of the bunch) that shook the rafters of Tee-Pee House. A match that resulted in bruises upon all and the death of my sunglasses for which I performed an instant Irish wake that garnered the applause of all.

Then I woke up this morning with a profound burning sensation, itching and burning, and a truly spectacular wound on my belly. I dare those dykes to do such damage! I’m guessing it was a jellyfish or some otherworldly kraken-plant that I grazed in the midst of my stupefied pleasure. Jellyfish. I tend to doubt knowing the venomous Gulf of Mexico jellyfish that I sparred with during my youth on the Florida panhandle. Apparently there are dainty jellyfish on Fire Island, that just flirt with the idea of hurting you and then quickly retreat before you can get any sort of hold on them. Barf! Clichés all around! I’ll tell you, this place lends itself to them.

A couple of nights ago we decided to head to the local seafood galley for lobster night. We ate tiny $25.00 lobsters al fresco in view of the rising rose-colored moon bobbing along to the tunes of the shirtless piano player. What more could you ask for? Well, you could ask for him to play one of the better tenor numbers from Les Misérables…. But, you know what? No need to ask! He’s on it. He’s on it. Bring him home!

I had to confess upon my enthusiastic joining of the chorus that I know this material well. As a baby-goth drama princess, I sang the whole soundtrack innumerable times, each vocal part in fact. The gang were astounded but not terribly enthralled.

I shouted “And you call yourselves gay!”

“I’m a dyke, not a faggot!” thundered Cassandra. “Give me Iggy Pop, give me Bryan Ferry! Give me FUCKING New Order. But DO NOT give me SHOW TUNES!” standing and pounding her fists on the table.

‘Nuff said. Maybe I’m not just gay, but a gay man….

by Jane, 3:04 PM | Link | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

London, actually

Jack is on vacation. In his absence, we present posts from Jane, who is also on vacation — from reality.

So I had rented this house on Fire Island with my buddies anticipating the demise of my New York City self in advance of moving to London for sabbatical. Away from Jack, away from the lesbians, away from the shitty indifference that’s so typical of my adopted home. So.

Now I’m in London (an instantaneous switching of the scene due to poor blogging skills). I moved here to get away from all of the bullshit. Here there’s loads of bullshit. It just has very little to do with my world so I don’t pay much attention to it. (Comparative analysis can come later.)

Frankly, at this very moment, I’m just happy to be somewhere else. I subletted a cute little house, formerly a council estate, owned by a software writer and an accountant. The software writer (female) is doing a secondment in Singapore whilst the accountant lives here still. His name is Edward and he’s 26 and Welsh. When one takes a sublet for a room online, one expects the worst. Knowing that I would be living with a 26-year old male Welsh accountant, I expected something close to Ewan McGregor’s character in Shallow Grave. Sure he’s a Scot but whatever. Wales, Scotland…both marginal and non-English.

I flew in from NYC, took the tube as long as I possibly could with my bags and all, and then broke down and got a black cab to my destination with nothing but a Google map and a single key. Happily — joyously really — the key worked and I walked into my new abode. Like I said, formerly a council estate. This I didn’t know upon first entry, thinking it was likely still a council estate. So I unpacked, reaching to the depths of my soul to my Polyanna heart, wandered out to find the fabled Sainsbury’s that I had heard about from my homies that know the hood, bought some shit (always cathartic) and then came home for a nap. When I woke up I could hear him moving about downstairs. I was totally disoriented and looking mightily unattractive no doubt, but it had to happen.

Lemme just say that it was weird. Wouldn’t it be for you? Walking downstairs to meet the total stranger that you’ll be living with for the next few months? I’m sure it was equally as weird for him. Coming home to the house that he owns to meet a total stranger who entered midday with no one home and moved a bunch of shit in. Well, as I said, I was expecting a bloke, football-oriented to be sure, with fucked-up teeth and a certain grimace and stench. What I found in my jet-lagged delirium was a rather dashing som’n-som’n who was making me blush. Because he was cute but also because he was so much better than even my best-case-scenario expectation. He’s awfully sweet, it’s true, and I think he deserves a reward.

by Jane, 2:43 PM | Link | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Identity Theft

Jack is on vacation. In his absence, we present posts from Jane. Or do we?

alright already. as a trouble sells follower i have to ask what in h.g. wells’ name is going on. my immediate inquiries are “who is this jane character, why is she using my name, and, consequently, what on earth is she trying to do with my reputation?”

i know i don’t have the best reputation around here (california) or on the east coast, my former breeding ground (so to speak), but i’m not sure i like this slander either. fire island? dykes? dashing brits? come on now, dearie. more exciting things are afoot than tumbling around with some overzealous subculture.

i suppose i’m being malicious, & i do apologize. just imagine what it’s like to check into a friend’s blog & see my name all over, describing events past & places traveled. but i did not travel these places, did not participate in these occurrences. i’ve got my own stories, for sure, but mainly i’ve been sitting in a downtown flat smoking cigarettes & listening to dogs barking at the falling leaves.

response, “ms. jane?” or shall i just take it from here?

by Jane, 4:49 PM | Link | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Prestige

Jack is on vacation. In his absence, we present posts from Jane, who hates Jane.

Well, excuse the fuck out of me!

I’ve just had my flatmate’s cock out of my mouth for long enough to check on my little pet project to see if Jack is back (from having his cock in someone’s mouth, let’s hope) to read this nonsense. Could it be true that I have a doppelganger? Moi, pitilessly misunderstood and misrepresented, misty and metaphysical me? No, I smell a pretender. Perhaps Jack has another friend named Jane that is perhaps rather cheekily and/or self-aggrandizingly confusing herself with myself? In any case, she speaks of stories to be told without bothering to tell them. Granted, I’m a bit of a lazy bitch and my stories are not particularly riveting…I’m thinking more travelogue than lad-lit…but they are articulated nonetheless which is more than we can say for this soul who attempts to hijack the hijacker with the promise of atmospheric description of the interior of a Los Angeles apartment. By all means tell your tales, child, but do not do it in my name.

That having been said, let’s get back to me, Jane, and my life "tumbling around with some overzealous subculture."

As you may have gathered, I have done a bit of tumbling with my dear taffy Edward with whom I have been living LONDON. Edward is handsome, robust, as charming as a precocious adolescent, and really into watching American television. That little footnote would normally repulse me. After all, I find a snoring 65 year old drunk wobbling on his stool at the end of the bar more engaging than an episode of Friends, but somehow Edward’s appeal transcends this gorge of a flaw. Over the short time that I have been here, we have developed a strange and blissful domestic ritual. Strangely familiar, that is, like playing house.

Having nothing at all in common apart from a love a football, we started off with awkward stammering and gradually integrated our vibes so as to be finishing sentences for one another; we’ve developed our own inside jokes; learned little ways to please each other, etc. etc, each cultivating the aspects of our personalities that agrees with the other.

Every morning we rise from our respective beds, we eat breakfast together and he goes off to work smelling good in his crispy suit. I proceed with my day and we converge again in the evening and eat dinner together in front of the telly. Hi, honey! I’m home! It’s very much like a ’60s sitcom. A lot of laughs and exchanging of admiring gazes and no sex whatsoever. With each other, that is, lest we forget the muffled sounds that emanate occasional evenings from either of our bedrooms, separated by only a wafer-thin wall….

Now readers, don’t get confused. I now must addend this with an "until recently." Maybe it’s the accent, maybe it’s the blue eyes, maybe it’s because he is so indefatigably male. Maybe it’s just because he’s around. Or maybe it’s because the novelty of having a man to take care of has mutated into legitimate affection. The point is, after suffering from an ever-escalating limerant state and increasing physical desire to the extent that large parts of my day have been devoted to sexual fantasy, I can no longer disguise being happy to see him when he walks in the door each evening. Again, just like playing house, but this time around maybe I get to fuck Daddy….

Indeed, the prism is finally shattered. We attended a football match together a couple of weeks ago, my first, and indulged in customary pints. Our local won and so we celebrated at the pub with tequila shots which we chased down with a near dozen tallboys, ear-splitting Z100 and some fumbling around naked back at the house. As always you are free to draw your own conclusions but I apologized the next day. I felt like I had to. There’s no such thing as happily ever after. I initiated it and I had no intention whatever of being his girlfriend. Things were too comfortable as they were. Yes, walking around with aching loins and damp knickers, veritably panting across the coffee table from the guy scratching his belly on the couch is more comfortable to me than allowing myself to be romantically involved with another human being. You heard me.

He took my retraction in stride and things went back to normal after this incident, but the blister slowly rose again and popped last night. Today there are no apologies. There’s not much to say at all. I don’t really know what’s going on. With my feelings…with his feelings…. I don’t know what I want. My natural instinct which has proved quite effective in the past is to run away, but it’s not so easy to run away from the person you live with. In fact, he’s in this very room as I type.

So, in effect I may have enhanced the situation in my cocksucking introduction, but I am compelled to make my posts more attention-grabbing now that I have competition in the one that would be me. Sure, it’s melodramatic, but hey, trouble sells, bitches!

by Jane, 7:43 PM | Link | Comments (0)

Friday, November 10, 2006

that's not a foot in your mouth, is it?

oh yes, let’s hear all about you, shall we? i’m sure we’re all so interested. i’m tempted to draw a metaphor consisting of a school assembly wherein the principal/dean/whatever is rattling on about life’s lessons or God or something & all of the students are writing notes, picking their noses, or sleeping. i seem to be the only one paying attention here, & i’m calling your bullshit. at first i thought it was jack pretending to be a woman, just to start fresh with another point of view - something simultaneously admirable & questionable. then i realized not even jack was this narcissistic - or then, maybe he is; at least he knows his stuff is interesting enough to read. no wonder you’re stuck with some rando’s cock in your mouth - he was probably sick of hearing your life story.

by Jane, 8:22 PM | Link | Comments (1)