Recollections of Orlando
One of the jobs I had during my first two years in Orlando was working for a large, international printing company. The job itself was rather strange. There were four women who worked as customer service representatives, handling the details for large scale printing jobs for large corporations. They had been trying to convince the office manager that they needed a "printer's assistant" to help them with their workloads. That was the job I was hired for, except that the four women in question, who demanded help, were generally unwilling to let me touch anything and so I spent a lot of time doing absolutely nothing. "Don't touch that. No, you don't know what to do with that. Here, just make a photocopy of this single sheet of paper today."
The running theme of my friendship with receptionists of all kinds took an odd turn at the printing company. The receptionist was a warm and friendly older woman who brought me coffee and cake and brownies she made. She also had three daughters. The youngest was Lisa, who was the only one who came to visit her mother at work. She was a black widow, and it was so transparent in her methods and approach to everything that her appearances became my favorite form of entertainment. She loved to win the affections and attentions of men and then, just when she had them gushing romantic on her, she would cut them loose just to watch them try to swim away. She was beautiful and deadly, a woman in her mid-thirties who still thought she could pull off twenty-three.
Not long after meeting and getting to know Lisa, I went out to the club my friend Chris liked to go to on the weekends. She wanted me to meet her friend Mary, telling me she thought we might hit it off. We met and started talking and Mary asked me where I worked. When I told her, she laughed. "My mother is the receptionist there."
Mary was the middle sister in a family with three daughters. Lisa was the youngest and Elaine was the eldest. Mary had a daughter when she was a teenager and her daughter had followed in her mother's footsteps, making Mary a grandmother at 38. After our conversations we agreed we'd like to see each other again, but could not work anything out until the next weekend, when Chris again wanted me to take her to the club because she had developed a weird sexual obsession with the saxophone player and sometimes singer from the band that played nightly at the club. She was falling over herself thinking about him until she convinced the waitress to get him to come over. After talking to him for ten minutes and buying him a drink, he went back on stage and Chris turned to me and said, "My God! He's ugly!" From that moment on, he became known by no other name besides, "The Ugly Guy."
Mary would return the next weekend, but both of her sisters would accompany her. Lisa had heard about her sister's encounter with me, and even though she had only looked down on me and mocked me for being a lowly printer's assistant when she saw me at work, her sister's interest in me brought out the black widow in full force. There was no way in hell her sister was going to get some guy that she saw first. Even if she had no designs on him, this was a war the sisters had fought all their lives. Elaine was past it, being the eldest and being married, but Lisa and Mary were in constant competition. Mary was the soft-spoken, sensitive and caring sister and Lisa was the showgirl, the one who dressed to impress, usually all in black, and worked the room to make sure everyone noticed she was there. She always won. She was the ass kicker. There was no way her mousy sister was going to trump her. Except, she did.
I went home with Mary and spent the night. After we got there, another car pulled into the driveway. It was Lisa. Five minutes later Elaine's car pulled into the driveway. Suddenly I was sitting in a living room with three sisters who were arguing over whose "man" I was while Chris looked on, shaking her head. Elaine was trying to convince Lisa to leave us alone and go home. Lisa was trying to tell me that I would ruin things forever "between us" if I slept with her sister because there is only one rule in their family that is never broken. "The sisters do not sleep with the same guy. Ever. Make your choice now."
I made the choice and stayed with Mary, but the story was far from over. Lisa started doing everything except actually stalk me, calling me at home, showing up at work and hovering over me, and finding out where and when I went out so she could show up, wiggle herself around seductively in front of me to the tune of, "Now you can never have this. You fucked up." It was insane in every conceivable way. At the same time I was spending time with Mary, both of us accepting that our relationship was no more than two people enjoying some time together.
Months later came my life's collapse. When I was on the edge of losing everything, Lisa showed up. She brought me dinner. She brought me beer. She got me a job working at Cracker Barrel, where she worked as a waitress. She showed up in a tight, sleeveless t-shirt and the shortest shorts you can legally wear in public. She massaged my shoulders, and eventually the rest of me, asking me how she could possibly relieve the stress I must be dealing with in my life. It wasn't long after that we ended up in bed together. This was all she wanted. She got up afterwards, got dressed, and told me, "I hope you realize that I've just broken a sacred family oath for you." Then she disappeared and never spoke to me again.
A couple years later I would see Mary and Lisa again, together at the same club. They knew about the breaking of the code and Mary assured me, "She's broken it before. It's her last weapon. She thinks it will make you feel like you are special or fill you with guilt. You made her go deep in her bag of tricks. You did well."
I had also become friends with Doreen, a waitress who worked at the club. She was an intriguing character. She worked as a welder in Rhode Island for fifteen years before moving to Orlando and becoming a cocktail waitress. Recently she died of cancer and she will be missed.
Mary was glad to see me that last night, but Lisa walked away without a word. There was another woman sitting alone at a booth flirting with me and I figured it was time to change tracks. The woman was very attractive and a powerful flirt. After a brief conversation, we were out on the dance floor directly in front of the band. Our dancing eventually became closer and "dirtier" and eventually we were making out on the dance floor. At that point I felt something metal hitting me hard in the forehead. It was the microphone used by the woman who sang in the band. She used the microphone stand to reach down and whack me in the head with it, just hard enough to get my attention.
The woman I was grinding against and kissing passionately in front of the band was The Ugly Guy's wife.
She was weary of him and his affairs and was trying to switch it up on him.
Our antics were making it impossible for the band to stay focused.
Sometimes a friend is all you can be.
Sometimes a pawn is all you can be.
It's all good.
Perspective is everything.
My name is Keith and I used to be a male bimbo.