Cougar Fruit Salad

“I’m going to be drinking some Dank Beer tomorrow” she says, in a way that sounds more like a commercial than something sincere, something she will just happen to be doing. “You know, because it’s April 20th. The 20th of April, right?”

The young man winked at the woman. “Yeah, yeah! Tomorrow!” and he takes a drink of the beer that was just set in front of him.

“Four twenty, so like, DANK.” She repeats the word, in case the whole place hasn’t caught it.

Yes, yes, yes. The Devil’s lettuce. Chronic, The Herb, Ganj, a doob. WE GET IT LADY, YOU’RE GONNA SMOKE A JOINT TOMORROW BECAUSE YOU MAY BE OLD, BUT YOU ARE STILL HIP. Only a few minutes before she had been talking to him about how her daughter was going to college next fall.

Some people are already packing a bowl to celebrate an early 420. My dream is to go to university. Real university. I am working my way through community college and sometimes, in an effort to “The Secret” mentally psych my ass into getting through this and into my dream I go and study in one of the many spaces of the campus of one of the finest universities in Michigan.

My friend Esmeralda and I are just trying to have a Sunday brunch a few weeks before finals. Esmeralda has gone with a nice glass of ice water. I’m two Bloody Mary’s into my study break while this mature woman in her early fifties and some lame-o barely of drinking age idiot flirt.

I don’t much care about the dynamic of older and younger people in a relationship, as age doesn’t really dictate maturity anyway, but for the love of everything good and holy in the world, it’s really pathetic to see someone try desperately to show how they are still relevant.

The woman stops in her coquette steps only when the lumbersexual waiter dressed in flannel and a well-groomed beard comes by.

“Are these more lemony or more buttery?” she asks, peering over her bright blue glasses attached to a beaded cord around her neck to the bearded wonder as he looks at what she is pointing at in the menu.

“They are lemony AND buttery,” he answers; I think trying to get out of getting her yet another sample.

“I want to try it, can I try some?” The woman has had a sample of spicy hummous, garlic hummous, regular hummous and the yogurt salad. She stirs the remains of the only thing she’s ordered since she got there- a drink that is made of four different fruit flavored vodkas, cranberry juice and a splash of lemon.

Oh bartender, serve the woman another “Cougar Fruit Salad” with her free sampler platter.

I roll my eyes and Esmeralda and I continue talking.

A older gentleman comes in, sits next to me and orders a Michigan brewed beer, one of my favorites.

“Why didn’t you tell me you have that beer? It’s my favorite!” I chide the bartender

The man takes his beer and smiles at me and lifts his pint glass. “Maybe if the bartender gives me a little glass, I’ll pour you some…” he says, raising his eye brows and smiling slyly.

I am three Bloody Mary’s into this study break. I have no patience.

“Oh, that’s sweet! I have a job and money; I can buy a whole beer if I want. Thank you!” I smile brightly at him.

“Que pedo con este ruco?” I say to my friend. “What the hell is up with this old dude?” I am irritable, easily distracted. I look towards the bartender’s friend.

“So I hear Kendall is pissed at you, huh?” says the bartender to his friend perched on a barstool nursing another beer.

“Yah, like, Ryan caught us on our way out and was telling me something, and to be fair, I had heard his story a thousand times before, so like, I was trying to wrap it up but she got all pissed and like, I dunno why, cos we’re just friends, y’know?

“If you are honest and up front with her, you did right!” chimes in the Cougar.

“We’re like, not even sleeping together!” the jaunty young man says loudly to his friend the bartender.

“Oh yeah, don’t even worry about it! That’s her problem, not yours!” the coug says.

The lumberjack bartender just stands looking at the scene, preferring to take a safe neutral, non response.

“What the hell is going on with this?” I say to my friend, in Spanish. I am four Bloody Mary’s deep by now and I am tired of hearing her pathetic attempts at getting laid and the boy’s lame attempts at justifying treating his female friend like a doormat.

Esmeralda just shook her head and finished her water.

“Yeah, like, I just treat her like I treat all my guy friends and she’s all mad, or whatever, but I can’t help that. I’m not going to treat her any differently, she just has to get over it.”

There is more banter back and forth about how he was doing no wrong, and her reaction was totally irrational.

It makes no sense, no sense at all. We’ve met this man before, we have met this many in every person that feels like they can get away with treating women- Hell PEOPLE  they are typically stringing along for an ego job- with total indifference. They think some people are like a pause in a sentence, like they aren’t a big deal. They have to spare no respect or worth on this human as they aren’t giving them any sexual pleasure, or perhaps they are, but with no titles they feel they have to pay no tribute to them. This is garbage. I am tired of it, and if I am honest, I am a little tipsy.

I am a lot tipsy.

“This is bullshit, total bullshit!” I say to my friend. “Because if he were sleeping with her, she would be somehow more worthy of his time? What the hell is that even?”

Esmeralda shrugs her shoulders again, and asks the bartender for the bill. She is looking intensely at me. She somehow already feels the tornado swelling up in me, before I knew what I was doing, even.

The Cougar is still fluffing the man-boy up. “No honey, you just do you. She’ll have to get over it. If she is hurt, that is her fault; she’s gonna have to deal. You’re young, have your fun!”

“Yah, like, you get it!” the guy says, happy he has someone justifying his misbehavior.

“Ugh, what?!” I screech at them, finally completely irritated. “Ugh! Ugh! Don’t listen to her! She’s OLD! She doesn’t even know what she’s saying!” I say, disgusted.

“LET’S GO.” Esmeralda says to me, picking up my backpack, half handing it to me, half shoving it at me.

The woman looks shocked and is taking off her drug store specs, they fall and the chain around her neck keeps them from dropping on the floor.

“You! Hey you, dude, are you single?” I yell at the kid, who also looks slightly shocked.

“Yeah, I’m single” he manages to spit out.

“Well, I know, we ALL know, we can tell. And you know why you’re single? Because you have a fucking HORRIBLE personality!” I yell at him, and turn around.

“LET’S GO, LET’S GOOOOOOOO” Esmeralda says to me. She starts walking towards the door and grabs me by the arm, guiding me through the tangle of chairs, away from the people I’ve just seriously angered.

We walk out of the dark and dingy restaurant and into the bright sun, we are laughing.

“Esperanza. I have no doubt that God moves in mysterious ways but I have yet to understand sometimes why He sends you to do the most unexpected dirty work.”

“I’m a poet, and I know good delivery.”

Lies. I’m just mean and one day someone is going to try to fight me.


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