When I became fatherless at twelve years old due to Daddy’s intoxicated joyride that led to his wrapped around a telephone pole death, my fate became clear. I would grow up as Honey Paterson, absentee of father-daughter dances, punchline of prostitute and stripper jokes, and likely future gold-digger with an unshakeable daddy complex. Of course, my first name didn’t help with the stripper jokes, but Mom and Dad were baby-boomers and still had waves of LSD and tie-dye pulsating from their inner cores when I was born. It was only obvious that they would name me after the succulent nectar created in bee hives or something equally as hippie.
“So, what’s your name?” says Dick, or John, or whatever the hell he said his name was five minutes ago. Let’s just call him Dick. He puts his glass mug to his hairy lip and inhales lots of foam and some beer. His older friend’s eyes flicker from my breasts to my eyes, then right back down to my breasts. Apparently, he’s searching for some erotic secret embedded in the large milk-sacks that are biologically fused to my chest.
“Honey,” I say, crossing my arms over my cleavage to block his pervert vision. I catch myself right away, uncrossing them quickly. Don’t wanna give him the pleasure of knowing he skeeves me out. Old guys at the Drunken Fuck always seem to get off on female discomfort. (Really called the Drunken Duck, but this name seems more accurate, don’tchathink?)
They both look at one another, then back at me, Dick stares into my eyes – I didn’t know real guys actually did that – the old one looks back down to my milk lumps, and then they look back at each other again. After a minute, my two new friends shrug, laugh, clink glasses, and chug their beers.
I turn my stool towards the bar. In front of me is a row of bottles – Sourpussy, Captain Blow’s, Swearnoff, Go-Down Royal, and the likes. Each potion holds a special power. Want a fruity drink that’ll satisfy your sister without getting her annoying-blackout? A mini jug of Malibu and pineapple juice will keep her busy and just a little dizzy! Wanna get the broad you’ve been flirting with to take you home and drop her panties? Buy her five shots of Milagro and her mouser is yours! Think you need to take ‘er easy because you work at eight the next morning and can’t be puking in front of your new superintendent? Order an Extra Spicy Caesar for added kick without the chack! But, if a girl wants a man to meet her, love her, and stay with her, what potion can she mix for that? I have yet to find that mixture for Honey’s Book of Spells and Potions, but I guess I’ll continue searching.
“Can I get two shots of Absolut?” I yell, loud enough so that the bartender can hear me over the blasting Shania Twain. Party for Two? Nah. Honey Paterson would never be so lucky. For three? Sure. Both of my new friends scoot their stools closer to me so that our bodies form a delightful triangle of suffocating proximity. Beer spills onto the counter and my black Walmart heels.
“Actually, make it four shots,” I say, rubbing my wet foot on the back of my calf. “And give me a slice of lime.”
Agh! The taste of hand sanitizer burns the back of my nose. Luckily, that was the fourth shot. I’m done. And I’m feeling less anxious, thank God. Sticking the meat of the lime between my lips, I suck on the sour juice. The sour dilutes the sanitizer taste, but not completely. My mouth is still stale.
The Old Pervy Guy left his seat in our threefold of suffocation to go prey on a group of librarian-looking college girls (not the sexy kind). Dick is still here, though. It’s somewhat easier to breathe. Somewhat. Dick’s doing that thing where he stares into my eyes with his own cocoa-brown eyes, but unlike the fun and flirty female lead of the current most popular RomCom, I just get weird about it. I start picking at the hole in my jeans to avoid the whole situation. When I bought these stupid things at the Sally Ann, the hole was about the size of a quarter on the centre of my knee. Now, the hole’s extended towards my inner thigh and stops about three inches away from my crotch. The pants shriek class.
“So, what’s your story, Honey?”
I assume he’s using my first name, though he could certainly be using the pet name. Guys at the Thirsty Fuck are famous for their “baby”-, “honey”-, “sweety”-, and, really, “anything that ends in a Y”-nicknames.
“Mmmm. It’s not very interesting. What about you?”
“Ohhh, I’m not gonna let you off that easy.”
“Oh…?” I say as more of a question than a statement. I’m obviously aiming to charm him with my lack of confidence and slight hint of idiocy. Good one, Hon.
“No way!” he says, not letting up. “C’mon…Tell me your story, you mysterious-beautiful-dark-haired-and-kinda-mean lady!” He sets his beer down on the counter, making a real point that he’s not moving from his barstool anytime soon. I flinch when he says beautiful.
Not seeing any way out, I sigh and tell him, “I grew up with my mom and siblings in Nelson, graduated high school I guess, um, let me see, five years ago, went to UBCO for just over a year then moved here to get back to the Kootenays, have been cleaning rooms at the Super 8 for- for- for three years now, I guess. Huh… Three years already? Yeah. Crazy. Now you.” Exhaling, I look down at my hands. Goddammit, I wish I ordered a real drink instead of shots. Then at least I’d have something to do with these stupid gangly appendages.
“Hmm. Alright, but I’m not done with you. You said UBCO, right? Okanagan?” I nod my head, and he continues, “Well, I grew up in Kelowna for most my life. Moved there when I was four, but we moved back when I was eighteen, just after high school. Dad’s an engineer, Mom’s a nurse, and I’ve been working as an electrician here for about five or six years now. I’m surprised I’ve never seen you.”
He’s sitting close enough now that he can tap my knee. He does, but then he folds his hands together and places them on his own lap. I half-expected him to keep his hand on my knee, maybe even shimmy it up my lap a bit. But he doesn’t. Surprising move, Dick. Surprising move.
My shoulders relax a little bit.
He continues onto another chapter of his life story, saying, “Oh, yeah. So, after I left Kelowna, I studied English Lit at Mount Royal University for a while. You know, in Calgary? Three years I was there. But I ran out of money and thought, ‘Hey, why get myself into debt when I could make some bank?’ And so here I am. Twenty-eight-and-a-half and running my own electrical business. Became a journeyman through Teck and branched off into some contracting a couple years ago. Honestly, I couldn’t be happier about where I am.” He chuckles when he says make some bank as if there’s some secret, brilliant joke behind the needless idiom rather than mere capitalist-greed and insufferable douchery.
I smile with my mouth but nothing else.
I ditched Dick about an hour ago, made my rounds with the Drunken Fuck regulars, sang “Crazy Bitch” during karaoke hour with my sort-of-friend from work, Fran, ordered three Pornstars and a few different drop-shots that tasted like cotton candy, orange juice, and ass, peed about eight-hundred-and-twenty-four million times, and finally, started walking out the back door just as Old Guy, Dick’s friend from before, came strutting up to me. We’re standing by the pool table, now, he in his Ed Hardy t-shirt and me in my nips almost popping out of it leather corset. Great pair.
“Honey, is it? That your real name, baby?”
“No, I was just shitting you before. Name’s Anne-Marie.”
His eyebrows go up, then down, then up again. “For real?”
“Honey. Capital H.”
Old Guy grins with his teeth. “Alright, then, Honey,” he says. “My name’s Richard. But you can call me Dick for short.” His strong grip shakes my limp hand. Then he winks and says, “Or long.” He links his fingers through mine and doesn’t let go, holding my hand tight.
Gross. And of course his name is Dick. Why wouldn’t it be Dick? Dicky-Dicky-Dick. Dicky-Dickson. Daddy Dickson with a capital D. Devil Dick. Dicky Two. The perfect, perfect Dick for a fatherless me. I squeeze his hand as hard as I can. “Nice to meet you, too, Dad.” I say the words, but I don’t really feel them.
“Dad?” he chuckles, squeezing my hand back, but only to make a point. Dick Two doesn’t want to hurt sweet little Honey Pie with the childish eyes.
“Ain’t no dads around here,” Dick Two continues. “I ain’t even have a dad anymore. You, sweetheart, certainly ain’t got a dad, and I ain’t being no dad.”
I smile as politely as I can, unlink my fingers from his grip, and say, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to.”
“Oh, baby. I’m just playin’. Come here.” He leans towards me, dragging his hand along my hip, all the way to the back to grab my ass.
I dig my nails into his wrist, removing his grip from my butt-cheek. I say, “Anyway, I was just leaving. Have a great night,” and push my way through the Drunken Fuck back door without looking back. I don’t want to see Daddy Dick’s blue eyes change colour. There’s something about walking away from a guy that makes his eyes turn black.
“Hey, you slut!” he says. I keep walking. Taking my Walmart heels off, I carry them under my sweaty armpits. There are blister bubbles on the heel and pad of my left foot. They squish up when I walk. Electric pain shoots up my leg. The boning of my corset digs into my hipbone. It rubs. And rubs. Keeps rubbing until the skin feels raw.
“Too good for me, huh? Just too damn good for me! I saw the way you were walking around the bar, like you, like you fucking owned the place! Little DRUNKEN DUCK PRINCESS! You drunk NOW, honey? Or still THIRSTY? I saw the way you were looking at me… HEY!”
His voice is getting louder. Meaner. I walk faster. The blister on the pad of my foot is pierced by a small, sharp rock. It pops open and blister juice squirts between my toes.
“You should’ve listened,” he whispers in my ear. “Should’ve just stayed and talked to me like a nice girl.”
His hand is on my throat. The coarse hairs of his beard scratch against the side of my face. Spit spews when he talks. My cheek is damp from his saliva. It stinks. Bad breath and stale beer. Cherry Blackstones. Rage.
I turn my eyes from side to side. No one is around. No one will be. We’re behind the Kootenay Market. There are only a few houses in this part of town. No one is up. It’s past three in the morning, maybe even later than four. Shouldn’t have stayed out so late. Nobody around. He presses me up against the cold concrete wall, digs his beard into the side of my neck, and inhales.
“Please,” I say, trying to make my voice full. “Just let me g-”
“SHUT UP,” he yells, slamming my back against the wall. My shoulder blades shudder.
Making my voice a bit stronger, I speak. “But-”
“SHUT THE FUCK UP, YOU BITCH,” slamming me again. He leans in as if to smell me again, but he just keeps his face there, instead, his nose digging into my neck. I feel moisture in my neck crease. Is that spit? Sweat? Tears?
My eyes are wet. Hopefully he doesn’t look into them and notice. I blink. Three times. Eight times. It doesn’t help. Just when I think I’ve gotten rid of all the tears, more tears appear. His sweater is getting wet. Wet. Wetter. The grey material turns black where the tears hit.
Suddenly, he begins sobbing into my shoulder. His cries make me shiver. I can barely hear what he’s saying.
With a wet, gummy mouth, he continues murmuring, “It’s not your fault… I’m just taking it out on you… He did that to me, you know?” – a snot bubble forms around his nostril and pops – “My dad wasn’t just an engineer, Honey… He was a mean guy, too. Creepy, sometimes. I swear I wouldn’t be like this otherwise. I’m sorry for everything, but you forgive me, don’t you? You forgive me, and understand that it wasn’t my fault? Nothing actually happened…You forgive me, right?” He’s down on his knees now, his forehead digging into my lower stomach. He looks up. His eyelashes glisten with wetness.
I look into his eyes, trying to tap into the empathetic part of my brain. Try to see goodness, I tell myself. Try to see what you saw before. But his eyes don’t look so chocolatey anymore. They are awful things. Shitty things. They are shit. He is shit. Shit shit shit. Dick One’s eyes are a shitty shit-brown.
“I don’t forgive you,” I say, and his eyes turn from shit to black.