Saturday, October 16, 2010

Getting Mobbed Up - The Disappointing Conclusion

Making karaoke singers pay what amounted to protection money before letting them into clubs was the fun part. But I was soon given tasks that weren’t nearly as enjoyable, and had me working 15- and 16-hour days. In the afternoon, I was to go to karaoke bars that hadn’t installed the new South Korean machines that permitted the operator to disable the pitch correction that has been built into all karaoke machines since 2007, and persuade them to replace their existing equipment. The first time they refused, I was to send them intimidating anonymous emails, saying, for instance, “I'd watch my step if I was you, pally.” On second refusal, I was to contact an unseen accomplice at Yelp.com and get him or her to write a scathing review of the place. Of one place, for instance, he or she might write, “This place is awesome except they don’t have any Fleetwood Mac or Abba or Beatles or Eagles.” Of another, he or she might write, “The projection system sucks, so if you don’t know the lyrics by heart, you’re in trouble, because you can’t read them!” If the proprietor in question continued to resist, I was to burn the place to the ground, preferably with him or her inside. This struck me as harsh, but this was the path I’d chosen for myself.

The good news was that I was paid by the hour, and within a couple of weeks was able to afford the sort of casual wear after which I’d long lusted, designed by persons whose surnames ended with vowels. When you look wonderful, you really do feel wonderful, and when you feel wonderful, women, sensing as much, swarm around you, for a reason that isn’t really that difficult to understand if you’ve ever been romantically entangled, as I have, with a zoologist: self-confidence suggests that you will be an avid and capable protector of the young you will produce together.

In any event, I was grabbing a bite to eat at one of the chic new eateries on Maine Street perhaps 10 days ago, apparently both feeling and looking irresistible in my Carlo Buitoni slacks and blazer, when who should slide into the booth opposite me but the of-a-certain-age beauty whose karaoke humiliation I wrote about in an earlier installment. She was wearing a lot of perfume that wasn’t particularly complimentary to the aromas of my lunch, but had also apparently received multiple botox injections recently, and was looking pretty appetizing. She batted her false eyelashes at me and observed that most women secretly love a bastard, her implication — and my inference — being that she regarded my having engineered her humiliation as bastardly. I slipped the restaurant manager a crisp $100 bill to vacate his small, cluttered office for a short while, and we did that which is required to produce young, though it was my hope that her reproductive days were behind her, as I could easily picture her being far too narcissistic and self-absorbed to be a very good mother.

It turned out that she wasn’t as shallow as I’d imagined, though, but much shallower. When we viewed condominiums together, she insisted on a two-bedroom, explaining that I would not be permitted to glimpse her in the morning until she’d gone through her extensive beauty regime, which typically took 150 minutes. I pointed out that I, at my age, am hardly an oil painting the first couple hours after I get up (or the 14 thereafter, for that matter), but she wouldn’t hear of it. I have had more than my fill over the decades of women who won’t hear of things, and so decided not only to cease to “see” her, but to divorce myself from organized crime. I might no longer dress in clothing designed by persons whose surnames ended in vowels, but I would have my self-respect.

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