#328 – Martian Chronicles

My friend and I were discussing stupid new stories last night. Ned mentioned the tourist who recently mistook a stairway to the Paris subway system for an underground garage ramp. Ned mocked the misguided driver, calling him “king of the morons.” I, however, refused to cast stones, deeming myself one of the people who live in glass houses.

As I informed Ned, my vehicular stupidity occurred during the summer of ’89, after I’d secured the all-important third date with a Manhattan resident named Robin. I figured I’d get laid for sure, if I didn’t screw up! I made carefully considered arrangements for dinner at a pricey Italian restaurant, followed by dancing at a hot nightspot called “Mars.”

To quote the immortal K.C. and the Sunshine Band, my plan was to “do a little dance, make a little love and get down tonight.” Phase one at least worked as intended. We dined in style and then scored a prime parking spot on the street near the club’s entrance. After a few hours drinking and dancing, I received the green light I’d prayed for. Robin invited me back to her place, “to watch TV or something!”

By that time, a massive horde had queued on the sidewalk awaiting entrance to the club. A small part of me pitied those fools, even as the bulk of my attention focused on the party soon to take place in my pants.

At Mars’ location, a low, wide curb separated the southbound avenue in front of the building from our northbound destination. Rather than detour to the nearest traffic light, I followed my pecker’s advice to take a direct route to “happy town.” The curb seemed manageable enough, so I cavalierly dismissed Robin’s words of caution, sped over the low obstacle … and blew out a tire.

My date obviously didn’t appreciate the ensuing insults hurled by a number of drunken onlookers. After repeated cries along the lines of “Hey baby, if your boyfriend screws like he drives, you’re in for a disappointing night,” I could tell my chances of getting laid were diminishing by the minute. I could ill afford an hour or two wait for a tow truck, so I decided to change the tire myself. While Robin wilted in the passenger’s seat, I switched the blown tire for the spare. In the process, I managed to blacken my white linen sports jacket, matching white slacks, and white patent leather loafers.

As I finished, one inebriated Miami Vice fan shouted: “Hey, Crockett! I don’t suppose you got a second spare in there?”

No, I did not, which was unfortunate inasmuch as a second blown tire had escaped my notice. Suffice it to say, the abuse doled out by the crowd during the hour and half wait for a tow truck made their earlier digs seem gentle jests in comparison. Long before AAA arrived, the insipid jibes at my soiled attire had my cringing date viewing me with anything but bedroom eyes.

In the end, I did spend the night at Robin’s place, though not exactly as hoped. Our third and final date concluded on her couch, where I slept alone. It seemed small consolation at best, knowing that the drunks who’d insulted us were still standing on the sidewalk when the tow truck drove off.


Lose the gun and shades and you’ve got my 1989 club outfit.

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