"Did I ever tell you about the time" or "Back in my day..."

Usually, these were the words that often prefaced a forthcoming lecture from my father. Most of the time, the wisdom he was trying to impart made no sense to me at all. I pretty much turned a deaf ear towards what he was saying and sat there with my eyes glazed over into what is known as the thousand yard stare. Every now and then I'd grunt an affirmation his way when he'd ask "Are you listening to me?"

I was young then...

I was away from home for the first time and found myself with some time on my hands. I was getting bored sitting there in the hotel room and there was a bar that was within walking distance. Being a conversational sort of fella', I decided to head down there and make same new acquaintances.

It was pretty empty when I got there and I began to strike up a conversation with the bartender about the usual kind of stuff. The old "Hey' what's there to do in this town" and the like. He was friendly enough but after awhile he walked off to the other end of the bar and made a few phone calls. I sat there pretty much to myself, my eyes alternating between the television and the door. I don't know what I was expecting to see. Every time it opened, another of the regulars plopped themselves into a seat and exchanged greetings with the other folks who were there.

The place seemed nice enough. It had the advantage of having a neighborhood feel and it wasn't like one those chain establishments where people wore uniforms and other silly shit. Nope, this place had no gimmick. It was what it was.

I was probably there for a good hour or so when the door opened and in walked this striking beauty. This woman had it all. Red hair like it was on fire, a gentle smile and a body that wouldn't quit. Figuring her for another local, I was a little shocked when she sat down a couple of stools away from me. The bartender and the other regulars didn't seem to know her either and it wasn't long before yours truly felt the gift of gab coming on.

We talked about ourselves for a little while and as the drinks flowed, so did the conversation. She said she was from out of town and staying at the same hotel that I was. In the back of mind, I kept thinking that the gods had finally chosen to smile upon me and that if everything that was going on in my head actually played out, I'd worship them forever.

A couple of hours flew by and she said she had to be getting back. Being a gentleman, I offered to accompany her back to the hotel. She smiled a smile that would melt the polar ice caps and off we went.

When we got back to the hotel she asked if I'd like some company for the evening. I'm seldom at a loss for words and mumbled something like "Yeah, sure" and I had visions of what was going to be the makings of a great night dancing in my head.

By now, the liquor was doing most of the talking for me and we started getting to know each other up close and personal. Kissing, petting, more kissing, more petting and on and on. She finally broke away and said that if we were going to do "this", she insisted that I take a shower first. I thought it was kind of a strange request but it was the wrong head doing the thinking. I asked her if she'd like to join me but she said no, she'd be all ready in bed when I got out.

I just abut ripped my clothes off and got into the shower as fast as I could. I washed quickly and even managed to splash a little cologne on myself. A quick scrub of the teeth and it was going to be back into my new found lovers arms for a night of glorious passion.

The first thing that greeted me was silence. The next thing that greeted me was emptiness. She was gone and so was my wallet and everything in it. The watch I was wearing had vanished too. She left me my smokes and my lighter though.

I've never felt so stupid in my life before. I went down to the front desk and asked if they had a woman by the name of XXXXX staying here. The desk clerk checked the computer and said "No, nobody here by that name." I should have known.

I asked to speak to the manager on duty and told him of my woes. He said that he was sorry and there was nothing that he could do but if I wanted to file a police report, he'd be more than happy to make the call. I said, "No, I've got another call to make instead."

It's hard admitting when you've fucked up.

I got my father on the other end of the phone and was going to try and bullshit him like I'd try to do countless other times. Make up some story about being mugged (he'd ask about the police) or just saying that I had somehow lost my wallet. I didn't think he'd buy it so I decided to come clean. I mean here I was, stuck in strange town with no friends, no money and what looked like no way out.

After listening to my tale, I could almost feel the anger coming out of the other end of the phone. Oh, he didn't yell and he didn't scream. As a matter of fact, he didn't say anything at all and that's how I knew how just how pissed he was.

I think I was about four hours away by car and he made the drive. Four hours is a long time to stew by yourself in a car and by the time he got there, most of his anger was spent. He forked over some much needed cash, paid for the hotel, asked me if I needed anything else and went on his way.

He didn't say much, the look in his eyes told the story.

I'm older now...

"Buy you a drink sometime?"

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