It was an early morning in the town of Garden City. The sunrise had already begun and the empty winter branches of rounded-shaped trees were like black veins in the eye of a bloodshot sun. There were no clouds above my town to project the colors of dawn—there was only a soft pink hue extending across the horizon with fringes of purple at the edge of its reach. Morning was in full swing and the night before was at its end.
After a long night in the city, I drove home and thought about the girls I met and their phone numbers, which I would probably never call. I thought about the last girl I kissed in a place called The Live Psychic near 84th Street.
We left together and somehow ended up in my car. We parked in front of Lincoln Center and kissed each other while my friend, Johnny the Rug mauled her friend in the backseat.
Johnny was not smooth by any means. We called him Johnny the Rug because of his hairy back and chest. He swore women liked this; however, we seldom heard from anyone that did.
No, Johnny was not smooth in any way. He was loud and often obnoxious. But he was fun to go out with. He was an excellent wingman and good for a laugh.
He was seldom fair though. It was more important to Johnny that he meet someone, and should anyone else meet someone and Johnny remained solo, he quickly spoiled this with his loud, Johnny the Rug charm. Not too many people liked this, but it never bothered me.
Johnny the Rug
Never before had I met anyone like him. His outfits were from a previous decade and so were his dance moves. He was far from cool—but no one ever told him this. I suppose this is why I liked Johnny. He was always himself regardless to where we were and who we were with.
I respected that. In a world of plastic people and fake responses, I saw Johnny the Rug as more real than most.
It was because of him that I ended up in front of Lincoln Center. It was because of him that a short, slightly geeky, slightly awkward, and strangely built girl straddled across my lap. She pressed herself between me and the steering wheel of my blue four-door Chevy.
She smelled nice but she kissed poorly. Rather than gently place her tongue in my mouth, she spun it around like a propeller on an airplane.
Each time I attempted to move either of my hands to either of the beneficial parts of her body, she declined them and said, “Not here.”
I tried again, only to be told, “I’m not that kind of girl.”
However, from Johnny’s point of view, it appeared as if I were having sex because my girl moved on me in a dry-humping movement. This frustrated John and caused him to say something cruel.
While I maintained my position, Johnny climbed all over the poor girl in my back seat. He tried to push his hands up her shirt.
At first, she allowed him a quick feel, but then she stopped him. Next, he decided to shove one of his hands into her pants.
After several minutes of countless attempts, the girl answered Johnny by screaming, “I have my period!”
And just like that . . . Johnny thanked her for a fun time and asked the strange looking girl to leave my car.
Then he looked at the girl straddled across my lap and said, “It was nice meeting you,” as if to tell her in Johnny the Rug’s kindest way, “Get out!”
Refusing to leave my car, I agreed to drop the two girls off near their apartment in Chelsea. My girl remained in the front seat and Johnny’s girl remained with him in the back. What I remember most, other than the obvious awkwardness, was Johnny repeating the same question, “I don’t get it. Why would you leave with me if you knew you weren’t going to do anything?”
He asked her, “What did you think we were gonna do, talk?”
Fortunately the ride was quick. I dropped the two girls off at 28th Street and 8th Avenue. The girl in the backseat thanked me. Then she looked at Johnny and laughed. My girl scribbled her phone number on a sheet of paper from her purse.
“That’s my number,” she told me. “If you can remember my name, then you can call me.”
I answered, “Okay.”
“Does that mean you’re gonna to call me,” she asked.
Her eyebrows squinted downward with a look of outrage.
“That’s rude,” she complained.
“Why would you say something like that?”
“Because I don’t know your name,” I answered.
The two girls left my car and slammed the doors behind them. Johnny climbed over into the front seat. “That was a complete waste of time,” he said.
“That was completely your fault,” I told him.
Johnny the Rug:
A man whose golden, rope-chain necklace looked as if it were woven in a sea of black chest hair.
Johnny: A man whose every pick up line always began with, “Ay-yo.”
And last but not least . . .
Johnny: A man that stunk from the street gyros he ate after our stop in Chelsea and passed out while snoring as I drove us back to Long Island.
I was in the prime of my twenties and all was well. This was before the financial binds of married life and homeownership. This was before I was concerned with things like maintaining a positive credit score or waking up for work on time.
I was single and happily uninvolved then.
After nights like this; I would pull up to my place of residence and park my car. Then I would process all the events I had just undergone while sitting on the trunk of my car and watching the sunrise.
Man it was good to be young.
It was good to be young and have friends like Johnny the Rug.