I've not done much of anything in my fifty years; well, other than read books and work. That formula has worked for me till now, but no more. I've finally decided to make a change. Oh me? My name is Bruce Turner: more about me later.
Working I'd become a major success; Well, if a hundred million in liquid assets can be considered success. My job? I'm self-employed. I buy and sell foreign currencies: not an occupation for the unlettered or the faint of heart. Me, I'm lettered as hell and for damn sure not faint of heart. And, I'm smart.
Hell yes I'm smart. Yeah, well, but maybe not smart enough to actually know how to really live. But, I am intending to change that little reality. All I have to do is figure out how to go about it. The catalyst for me wanting to make a change? A lady who calls herself Lana, no last name.
It hadn't been much, what she'd said, but it'd stung. "Bruce you've got to get out more. You need to get a life. You've got enough money; start using it to live," she said.
"I don't know Lana. Sometimes I think you're right about that stuff. I mean, but when would I have time," I said. She gave me a look that screamed, get with it imbecile! and then went back to work. It was real hard trying to concentrate on lifestyle changes, I mean with my cock in her mouth and me twitching on the love seat in front of her. Jesus, she knew how to do that.
Lana was a very talented lady of the evening. I'd purchased her services any number of times. We were, if not actual friends, at least friendly acquaintances. That was the prime reason that I was taking her advice seriously. Physically, Lana's five-four, maybe one-ten, 34-25-34, thirty-nine years old, longish brown hair, eyes to match, and possessed of an ass that can stop traffic. Oh, and a personality that can bewitch a man. Hell, she's bewitched me all to heck.
As I sat peering into the bottom of my wine glass—I was drinking port—I had decided to do a one-eighty in terms of my lifestyle.
"One more, Gilbert," I said. Gilbert Misguez is my favorite bartender; been pouring drinks for me for damn near twenty years: he's the owner and chief barkeep of Panza's Bar and Grill.
My man delivered my third of the day and leaned kind of side-angled against his side of the bar looking at me. "You look like you've got a load on your mind," he said. I looked up at him, and it occurred to me that bartenders knew everything about the social stuff, right?
"You could say that," I said. "Gil, can I ask you a question?"
"Of course," he said.
"Gil, I need to know just how big of a social loser that I am. I mean—well I mean—do you think that at my age could start doing stuff. You know social stuff?" I said. He looked at me and kinda stepped back as though appraising a potential purchase.
"What are you? Fifty?" he said. I nodded.
"Yeah, you could, but you'd wanna be doin' some changin'," he said.
"Yes, new clothes. Maybe a different ride."
"A new car?" I said. "That's a three months old Eldorado sittin' out there. Why would I need a new car? And my clothes..."
"No, no, not a new car, and old one, Maybe a pickup," he said. "And, yes new clothes. You dress like an undertaker. But, there's more to what I'm saying than just that shit."
"Huh?" I said.
"You look dull, Bruce, well off, but dull. Unless you want to be taken to the cleaners by some broad assed gold digger, you need to dress down and a little more colorfully; and, not be so obviously upper middle class. That's my thinking anyway," he said.
"Oh!" I said.
"Yes, oh," he said. "You know how to dance? Anything like that, that kind of stuff?
"No, no, not really. Never had much time for dancing." He nodded.
"Well, Whaddya do for fun?"
"For fun? I make money," I said. "That's lots of fun." He snickered.
"Yeah, maybe," he said.
We talked a little while longer, but then he got busy, and I was left to thinking about what he'd said. He was right about the gold diggers. That was one of the reasons I got my rocks off with pros like Lana. I'd learned in high school that one couldn't trust the softer sex. Devious didn't even begin to describe them as a group; the occasional exception to the rule notwithstanding. I took stock of myself.
Fifty and rich and dumb looking: pretty much described me. I wasn't tall or handsome or anything that women were likely on the lookout for. Well, at least I wasn't fat; that was something. But again, I was just kinda dumb and nothing looking; I knew it, and it bothered me—a lot.
I needed to change the dumb looking part. New clothes, the man'd said. New clothes but cheap and colorful new clothes. Okay, no problem. I was not at all miffed that Gil had denigrated my three-thousand dollar suit; he was right, I did look like an undertaker. And my car: it screamed old guy, boring, and unimaginative. So, next stops? Stan's Used Cars and Walmart. But, and then what?
I had it! Marge's Dance Studio. It was but three blocks from my office. I passed the damn thing every day. My socialization could start there—maybe.
Stan, actually an old high school friend of mine: he the prototypical nerd, me, the other prototypical nerd had each other's backs at Crutchfield High. We'd both skipped college and been successful anyway: he owned four car dealerships, two for used cars and two for new Fords. Me, as earlier described made my money in, well, money. He sold me the ten year-old Silverado for a grand: Faded green, no dents, and a sound drive train. Perfect.
I'd spent a grand to get the pickup, and then I'd driven it to Walmart and spent another grand on clothes. Two days later I found myself nervous, and doubtful of my sanity in front of Marge's Dance and Music Academy.
"Can I help you sir?" said the rail thin thirty something woman, as I entered the largish room.
"You Marge?" I said. She looked like a dancer.
"No, no sir. I just work here," she said.
"Oh. Well, I'd like to take lessons," I said. "How do I go about that?"
"Classes or private," she said. My defenses automatically went up. I didn't want to tip her to my cash position. But, I did want private at least at first; I decided to hedge my bets.
"I don't know," I said. "How much would the private lessons cost?" I figured that if I had to ask that question that the woman would figure I wasn't wealthy. I congratulated myself for my cleverness.
"Private is $7.50 an hour per person. Classes are $25 monthly for three half hour sessions a week," she said. I breathed a sigh of relief. The private lessons weren't that expensive. I could do those without arousing undue suspicion.
"Okay, I'd like to sign up for two private lessons a week," I said.
"Okay," she said. "But evenings are kinda full right now. Would you be able to come in during the day? Mostly housewives during the day and we do have openings then, you know, people have to work." Oops, another unexpected problem.
"Uh—yes," I said. "I work mostly evenings, so days would be okay." She smiled. For the first time I smiled; she was kind of frowsy looking, I decided, but could be pretty with the right kinds of female stuff. Even her voice was pretty.
"Wonderful," she said. "Tuesday and Thursday, say 11:00AM be good for you then?" I nodded.
"Yes, that would be perfect," I said. We talked a little bit longer about the dance teacher that I would have and the kind of dancing that I was interested in, and then said our goodbyes.
Just talking to the woman, I didn't even know her name, tipped me that I had to do more than buy me an ancient pickup and don generic duds. I had to have a job. I had to have workmates, a life, any life, other than the one I had. But, what kind of job. All I ever did was talk on the phone to brokers and drink really fine port wine. Shit! I was virtually without any marketable skills.
Back to Panza's. I needed to talk to Gil a little more, maybe a lot more.
"So whaddya think?" said Gilbert. I was slowly nodding.
"Partners, me a silent partner?" I said.
"Yes, and you'd actually be working in the new one, and maybe occasionally here," he said.
"Let me get this straight. I'd front you the money for the new place. I could make my money back since I'd be half owner of the place. And, I'd get to work there as a bartender. That about it?" I said.
"Exactly it. I've wanted to get that place over on Plumber Avenue, Sancho's B&G, for a long time, but two-hundred grand is a little beyond my reach," he said. "but, between us we could do it."
"But, me a bartender?" I said. I sounded dubious.
"I'll put Bill Philips in there with you for a few weeks until you got a handle on things. Between him and the workforce that's already there you'll be fine."
"Okay, it's a deal. But, no one is to know that I'm part owner. No one. We cool on that?" I said.
"You know we are," said Gil. We shook. I was feeling really good. I didn't even care if the place made money. I had my cover, my job. My lawyer would be making sure I was insulated against any untoward downsides, i.e., being sued or somebody setting me up to rip me off. I trusted Gil, but a hundred grand can cause good folks to go bad. Oh yes, this was a good deal because I was going to see to it that it was.
My first dance lesson was an eye opener. I found out that I not only had two left feet; I also had two broken ankles; well, figuratively speaking at least. Talk about a reclamation project, I was it!
.... There is more of this story ...