Suggested Audio Jukebox ♫
 Frank Sinatra “Strangers In The Night”
 ABC “Poison Arrow”
 Paul Young “Wherever I Lay My Hat”
 Simple Minds “Promised You a Miracle”
 Daryl Hall & John Oates “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)”
Of all of life’s many pursuits, few are as perilous as the dating game. Fraught with potential banana skins, it can rapidly descend towards catastrophe with one Freudian slip or by not playing the game by its rigid rule set. Dating is a battle of wits and, moreover, often an exercise in non-truths. We may feign interest in the one another’s pastimes but, chances are, they won’t actually be terribly appealing. Anecdotes become grossly exaggerated, facts altered and false opinions formed as a result. Meanwhile, any neck warts are cunningly concealed beneath a layer of polyester and not revealed until the act of coitus has been facilitated. I’m just as culpable as the next man on many of the above counts and have bound in with swagger and verve, while secretly storing up sufficient flatulence to sink a cargo ship. Speaking from experience, the only way I know how, the path to my chosen mate was anything but incident free.
I had some soul-destroying encounters along the way, scraped the barrel on numerous occasions, and sat like a garden gnome minus rod whilst tumbleweed circled us, reminiscent of a school of piranhas around an aquatic bullock. Sometimes the desire to escape is potent enough with both parties to gain a mutual unspoken understanding that there won’t be any diaphragms going in tonight. Despite this, bars ply you with liquor and locate prophylactic dispensers alongside urinals in an attempt to empty our pockets of shrapnel. On rare occasion, the deathly silence may subside and a fair few sparks start flying. This too can be misleading as your guard can drop, turning you from George Formby to Harold Lloyd in the drop of a handkerchief, once you realize you’ve overplayed your hand.
Regardless of the diverse assortment of pitfalls mankind is designed to pro-create. Most of us are just aspiring to find someone capable of overlooking your concave chest or average sized girth. Ultimately it is little more than a game of chess. Taking our time to make each next move, we guard our royalties for dear life and hope a sneak attack isn’t facilitated right under our noses. Thing is, playing games stopped interesting me a long time ago, and honesty is the only weapon unsheathed when entering the dating arena nowadays. However, I’m forty-one years old, and haven’t always possessed the kind of foresight I do now. This is where Audition comes into play. You see, Takashi Miike really struck a nerve with his 1999 film, as tales don’t come much more cautionary than his. Basically it boils down to this: dating is a cataclysm waiting to play out and, while we may appear to have our suitors all figured out, should they possess a length of piano wire, a hypodermic syringe, or boast of their skills in acupuncture, then we may well be in for a rather nasty surprise before the night is out.
In honor of Audition (or オーディション to use its native mantle), I have decided to cherry pick a few select moments blighted by impediment from my plentiful failed adventures in dating. I assure you that, while my works are autobiographical, I’m disinterested in naming names as I’m a placid fellow with no time whatsoever for feces-flinging contests. We may think we’ve emerged victorious from such melee but that still leaves us with excrement smeared across our cuirasses. Thus, as I call to the stand my very first witness, I shall simply refer to her as Girl #1. How’s that for ambiguous? Granted, should she be reading this, then she may have a beef or two come my sign-off, but nobody else need be any the wiser. I reckon I’ve got enough fuel in the tank to deliver us to Girl #4 in the time it takes to expel all that pent-up gas as we wave our dates adieu after the most uncomfortable cup of coffee we ever guzzled. Guess I should begin at the start right?
Girl #1 was responsible for shaping my sexual experiences right through my scholarship. My first foray into pleasures of an ebony-skinned variety, this suitor agreed (likely with great reluctance) to become my muse, for the afternoon at least. Needless to say, I was ecstatic. My first real mate, this was something to celebrate, and I had to play my cards right to keep the charade up for as long as was feasibly possible. Alas, our courtship never really left the ground so to speak as, the same lunchtime that I received the all-important thumbs up, I invested my entire allowance on a luxurious box of praline truffles and bounded off back to school feeling like the shit as I had finally landed myself a girlfriend. For a couple of hours, nothing could have toppled me from my podium of glee, such was my sense of achievement. If only it hadn’t been so utterly delusional and doomed from the start. There’s doomed and there’s fucking doomed and, when the clouds part to deliver your first clue, you know you’re neck-deep in the latter.
I distinctly recall a torrential downpour and my diversion to collect said chocolates had left me woefully tardy with regards my school-bound pilgrimage. Sensing a flock of seagulls on the horizon to chaperone me safely, I ran, I ran so far away. What I hadn’t figured into my risk assessment was the consistency of the soil beneath my feet; the rain had left little in the way of grip and my footwear could not withstand the trip, slip, and ultimately, fall that followed. I’ve fallen before and no doubt will many times as my shot knees continue to pop out of lock whenever I turn a corner. It is my firm belief that the desired manner in which to regain one’s dignity is to chuckle, attempt to turn said nosedive into an elaborate forward roll if at all possible, and await the judge’s scores. With that in mind, I stuck out my chest and continued with my former crusade, not initially aware of the elongated streak of rain-sodden dog feces decorating the side of my drain pipe trousers.
Once I arrived back at the barracks (ten minutes the wrong side of the bell chime I hasten to add), I rapidly emptied the male restroom of its premium grade toilet roll in a thankless endeavor to remove this unsightly smear from my personage. By the time damage limitation had been facilitated, the bell was again chiming, only this time for first period. I sheepishly maneuvered through the corridor, trying my best to brush against anyone I had a distinct dislike for, whilst navigating the ensuing swarm. It was then that I arrived face-to-face with one of her cronies who dutifully informed me that she had changed her mind and was calling time on our fleeting courtship.
“But…but I got her these and they’ve got liquor centers”
My response was peppered with heartbreak and served as a harsh reminder that this entire exercise had been in vain. However, as I held out that deluxe casket of delicacies, her associate suddenly made an about-turn. Upon registering the supreme quality of these particular truffles, she asked me to wait right there while she scuttled away to confer with my Nubian queen. A few nervous moments followed, before she returned with news of a most unexpected announcement. I believe the words “she’s had a rethink” pretty much cover it and she held out her hands expectantly, to claim this delectable bounty.
There have been a few decisions taken during my life which I’m particularly proud of and this was one of them. Suddenly, that dignity I’d misplaced on that soiled surface came rushing back as, with a sideways shake of my head, I walked away with liberty in tact, albeit giving off the vague aroma of mutt’s asshole. When I returned to my sanctuary at last bell, I presented the gift (minus any orange or strawberry truffles obviously) to a far more deserving recipient – my dear mother. She was most grateful for the token of my affection, but less enamored by the shit smudge I donated to her pinafore. Thankfully, I was pardoned by the point where she had the pleasure of polishing off her primary perfumed pinstripe praline.
Girl #2 was actually my friend’s object of affection and not one of my more noble memories. In truth, karma came knocking for him, after attempting to excise a laugh from my expense, but I too came up short in the honor department and, while this may seem most uncharacteristic for me, back then it was par for the course. Girl #2 and my friend had been dating for well over a year when he decided to play a callous trick on me, and roped her in for the prank. Together they concocted my ideal woman, plucking her from thin air, as she didn’t actually exist. Girl #2 played her part in the ruse by playing the part of my suitor for any subsequent telephone interactions. This is where the plan backfired rather spectacularly as we happened to locate a fair deal of common ground and it wasn’t unheard of for us to chat on the phone for hours at a time, despite the fact that I despised this method of communication.
An impending summit became very much on the cards and, what neither myself nor my friend had realized, was that she had begun to develop feelings towards me during our various verbal transactions and no longer wished to spend another nanosecond as his sweetheart. Once any horseplay was eventually revealed, she invited me over, presumably to apologize for breaking my heart into iddy-biddy pieces and pissing down the crumbs. Curiouser than George, I obliged, and trekked to her place of dwelling still oblivious of her mounting infatuation. As I entered, I failed to spot that my boots dispensed with tactically by her front door and that her partner, my buddy through the whole of secondary school, had been double-booked for a visit in pre-meditated fashion. On hearing a ruckus downstairs and still blissfully ignorant to my pawn-like status in all of this, I ventured down to see the back of my chum as he dragged his heels forlornly down her garden path, soundly crushed. Subsequently he came out of the closet a couple of years later and ended up in a civil partnership with a well-known gay TV host, I shit you never.
At any rate, before I could place two and two together, Girl #2 elaborated on her infatuation, and this presented a conundrum. Do I act with integrity and politely decline her invitation to twang her tonsils? What do you think happened? That’s right, a hormone-filled teenager who had spent most of his pubescent years to that point unsuccessful with the opposite sex, had insufficient self-discipline to deny this harpy’s siren-like call. I felt wretched about my friend but consoled myself with feeling a breast in my clammy palm for the very first time in my life. To be honest, she was completely flat-chested but, what she lacked in ample bosom, was more than made up for in udder diameter. To this day I have never seen another pair of nipples quite like hers, you could hang both hat and coat on these beauties and still have space for your umbrella. That’s by the bye of course as something beautiful was starting to flourish.
We already knew that we had plenty in common and any awkwardness had been vanquished during our getting to know you period. Thus, we hit it off in some style and spent a good week in one another’s pockets as you do when cupid’s arrow lands dead center. Indeed, it was all going rather splendidly until that fateful picnic in the park. She had already began to call persistently when we weren’t together, often before the cock could so much as crow, and my family were growing weary of her constant communication. So when I rolled out the blanket and laid down to observe a booger Biz Markie would be swollen with pride with, stretched taut from one side of her nasal flume to the other akin to an emerald strain of spider gossamer, it was all the validation I needed to make a hasty exit. What followed was of the bunny in a pan variety and this simmered away for weeks before in due course going off the boil. While my crimes may not have been calculated, I have acted with more kindness than through the sorry debacle of Girl #2.
Girl #3 was definitely my bad although, once more, my intentions were pure at the offset. We were courting for something like a month and I blame instant attraction and the customary pheromone release for me making a thousand promises that I increasingly realized I had no great desire to keep. Our relationship simply fizzled out like an effervescent antacid and this was unforeseen as there certainly wasn’t anything erroneous at the offset. Each early rendezvous was filled with adoration and a togetherness I hadn’t felt prior to that point, aside from fleetingly with Girl #2. Alas, the of our greatest foibles when commencing our unions is to become overly comfortable and this was precisely what occurred as the dreaded toweling socks came out of her drawer.
These were no ordinary ankle warmers either, we’re talking toweling terrors that appeared never to require freshening. Either that or she had a pair for every day of the calendar month. They began to materialize with escalating regularity and, with their emergence, my adulation began to wane, where it was replaced with consternation. Girl #3 took the news hard when I put her out of her misery and this was made all the more discomfiting by the fact that we frequented the same circles. I was simply too young to come good on my initial oath and could only be honest as that’s apparently the best policy. However, I now look back rather affectionately at our brief romance, and don’t wish to depart Girl #3 on a downer so I have rustled up a doozy from out primary courtship that still makes me chuckle to this very day.
Picture the scene, two sweaty adolescents bumping and grinding one another in the altogether, with copulation potentially on the cards, but not quite at that point yet. However, fellatio appeared fair game, and this was precisely what was playing out. I recall her being mid-blow job with two cheeks stuffed with my Crimson Quill and accompanying dimples when her mortified mother entered the room with two piles of ironed bed linen beneath her bingo wings. The poor woman performed a 180 faster than Jill Valentine and exited clearly less than enamored by the sight she had subjected herself to. Perhaps a knock first would have been an idea? It was what happened next that left me flabbergasted, as my belle dashed off to explain, while still hoisting up her panties, and reasoned with her incensed mother by spouting the following rationalization: “I was only giving him head mom”.
My heart dropped to the pit of my stomach like a soggy satchel of badger snouts as, in my estimations, that was akin to revealing “I just ploughed your infant down with my station wagon but its okay, it was only manslaughter”. To my eternal bemusement, her mother shrugged her shoulders before replying “My bad, sorry chicken” and continuing down the stairs nonchalantly. I mean seriously, what the motherfuck! So you see, it wasn’t all bad, and Girl #3 (and her unwitting mother) provided me with one of the most priceless moments of my existence so the socks have long since been laid to rest. Nowadays, I’d accept such eyesores, at least until her back was turned and I could cut those ugly bastards to toweling ribbons.
Fret not as I’ve left the most preposterous until last and, should you have just eaten, then I apologize in advance and call dibs on the semi-digested chocolate biscuit. I take no responsibility whatsoever for the terrible tale of Girl #4 as this particular suitor was just a little too forward for my liking. Let’s not get things twisted, in a loving relationship, getting my freak on is a favorite pastime of mine. That said, there is a time and also place for such shady shenanigans and the end of a fairly unspectacular first date by the roadside isn’t either. This charming young belle had recently endured an acrimonious split from her neglectful partner and was understandably in dire need of attention. The problem is; she went about it all the wrong way.
After a date that was so-so at very best, I proceeded to transport her to her place of abode with every intention of cutting the evening short, along with my losses, and already romanticizing about a warm mug of home-brew and some Twilight Zone re-runs. As we navigated winding country lanes, we came across a clearing by the roadside, filled with stationery vehicles, many of which had strangely steamy windows. The term “dogging” wasn’t one I had been familiar with until this point but, after tonight’s excursion, I’d be far more in-the-know. At her request, I naïvely pulled over and, before I could apply the hand brake, was taken aback to discover a mound of discarded clothes forming by her oddly shaped toes more hasty than keys in a bowl at one of John Perfumo’s bi-weekly soirées. In the time it took my head to rotate 45 degrees for further scrutiny, she had relinquished every piece of linen which hung around her slender frame. Naked I believe is the word.
My eyeballs dilated in an attempt at taking in this unexpected flesh vista and it was then that she reached for her clutch bag and proceeded to pull from it an unsullied red flag (and yes I do mean tampon). Without further ado, Girl #4 slid the uterus napkin from its slender phallic casing and you don’t need a degree in obstetrics to guess where it was headed. After parking the pallid paddy in her considerable double-berth garage (with sliding doors), she clambered between the seats, presenting me with a flash of the Eye of Sauron and a distant whiff of meadow muffin as she slid her posterior past my rosy crimson cheek. Then she settled into the back seat and opened wide like an imposing triffid; no doubt readying to squirt some blinding fluid into my baby blues and consume me right there and then.
I can’t pinpoint my actual response although I would imagine it to be of the “cor blimey, guv’nor” variety but I do recall making my polite excuses. However, she was not about to lob in the towel (pun a happy accident) quite yet and took things yet another stage further by exiting the vehicle still in a state of complete undress and with white string still dangling from her snatch, and crouching down in full view of any headlights in the vicinity, like a hen ready to roost. No eggs dropped but a steady stream of urine was forthcoming and no amount of rubbing my eyes could change the fact that this shit was really happening. Here’s the thing right, you see, I happen to be something of an exhibitionist myself and may have even engaged in the life-enriching pursuit of naked skateboarding on occasion so, while her urination was unsavory in the extreme and I had no inclination to allow this date to continue, I hold both hands up freely to gathering mind-bullets for my planned self-gratification exercise upon my return home.
We shared polite conversation on the remainder of our journey, and ten minutes can feel like double that after an experience such as that, but our communications halted at the precise moment I spoke the obligatory words “I’ll call you”. My only regret about passing this ship in the night is that mobile technology had not yet inaugurated as a memory lasts for an average of three years when you have your junk in your palm, but a photo lasts forever. I would have acted dutifully and never showed another soul the atrocities of that fateful night. But, once those curtains were drawn, I’d be up to my elbows in my mother’s hand lotion and about to misplace yet another left gym sock. Unlike Girl #3, I didn’t have thirty identical pairs at my disposal to mix and match. Guess she was shrewd after all.
So there we have it. I promised four and four I have provided but, should these truths not be deemed sufficient enough for me to forego my dare, then I think I still have my skateboard around here somewhere. It’s in the closet I believe, buried under hundreds of crispy odd socks. There have been various other unromantic episodes that could just as easily have made the cut but I shall leave it there for the time-being and, should enough of you request a sequel, then who am I to not divulge? Now however, I would prefer to state one thing – I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum, broken hearts and had my hopes shattered like delicate hymens. But I thank the heavens above that I never shared a date with Asami Yamazaki. That’s right, the chick from Audition may be easy on the eye, but someone should take a look at that bitch’s grand piano, as C-minor appears to be out of commission.
Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2016