Tuesday, June 15, 2010

“Uncle Buddy’s House”, Chapter 54: voice mail

Welcome to the bustling modern terminal of Vancouver International Airport, where, on this drizzly spring Sunday afternoon in the year 2003, we find a certain handsome middle-aged gentleman, Mr. Buddy Best, of Hollywood, California...

(Go here to read our previous episode or click here to return to Chapter One of Uncle Buddy’s House©. “A tale of frustrated lust that certainly struck a chord with me and all the other lonely bachelors in my Knights of Columbus book club.” -- J.J. Hunsecker, in the Catholic Standard & Times.)

Buddy had almost two hours to kill before his flight, so he sat down at a table in a lounge, had a Maker’s Mark on the rocks and read the New York Times. After about ten minutes of this it occurred to him to check his cellphone voice mail. He had kept the phone turned off ever since getting on the plane yesterday. He opened it up, turned it on, and waited. And after what seemed like a slightly more than reasonable time he was just about to close it up when the thing suddenly triple-beeped and a screen came on telling him he had 21 New Voice Mails, and giving him the choices of Listen or Ignore. Buddy sipped his whiskey, thought it over, and opted for Listen. When he finished listening he sipped again, and pondered how twenty-one voice mails in succession can really dump you back into the fucking world you came from. Then he called Harvey back.
“Yo Bud, what up, still in Vancouver?”
“Yeah, how’d you know I was in Vancouver?”
“Marlene told Debbie and Debbie told me.”
“Oh, okay.”
“So, how’s Vancouver?”
“And did you get your end wet?”
“You’re kidding me.”
“I wish I was.”
“Why not?”
“She didn’t want to, why d’you think?”
“Oh, yeah, that makes sense. But -- let me put it this way, are you going to get your end wet?”
“No, I’m at the airport now, I’m getting a 3:45 flight back.”
“Oh. So it didn’t work out.”
“It worked out fine. We had a great time.”
“Yeah. We had a really -- good time.”
“But -- you didn’t fuck her.”
“So -- all you did was -- just, like -- hang out?”
“Well, we made out a little.”
“Ah, you made out. Like, heavy making out?”
“Fairly heavy.”
“But no fucking.”
“I think we already established that, Harve.”
“Right. I’m sorry.”
Buddy wondered if he could smoke a cigar in this joint.
“Did you at least get a blowjob?” said Harvey.
“What? No. No blowjob.”
But he didn’t have any cigars with him.
“Buddy --”
Ah, but he could probably get Cubans here.
“Tell me something. Are you like in love with this chick?”
Yeah, a box of Cubans would certainly make the whole absurd adventure a little more -- what?
-- plausible?
“Are you in love with this girl?”
“Ah. Y’know, you’re not the first one to ask me that.”
“Are you?”
“I don’t know --”
“Just asking.”
“Yeah, well --”
“Well, okay.”
“So,” said Harvey.
“So you’re just giving up?”
“What do you mean, giving up.”
“I mean, go back and give her some pretty flowers. Some fucking perfume.” Ouch. “Some chicks you got to work on a little, Buddy. You know that.”
“Except I don’t want to work on her.”
“Why not?”
“Because -- because I have no desire ever to work on any chick ever again in my life. And anyway even if I did I wouldn’t work on this girl. She’s too nice. She’s -- I don’t know. I like her.”
“Oh. I get it.”
“You are in love with her.”
“Ah, fuck you, Harve.”
“You are.”
“Well, even if I am, so what? Who gives a shit?”
“I’m your friend. I give a shit. I give a shit deeply. And I’ll tell you this, if she made out with you, she’ll fuck you. So, stop being such a New Age wimp and go back and give her some fucking flowers. Christ --”
“Fuck that, I’m tired and I’m drinking bourbon and I just wanta go home and, like, you know, John Travolta, whack off and go to bed.”
“Well, okay, so’d you get my message?”
“Yeah, so Iggy thinks the movie’s finished?”
“That’s what he says, screening it tomorrow down at the lot.”
“Cool, eleven a.m.?”
“That’s right.”
“Okay. I’ll be there, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.”
“Next stop Cannes, baby.”
“Yeah, whoopee. Okay, Harve --”
”Hey, Buddy, I hope I didn’t fuckin’, you know, offend you, I mean about Rosalind --”
“What’s-her-name, the Mariner’s daughter.”
”Oh. Cordelia.”
“Cordelia, sorry.”
“I’m not offended.”
“You’re sure?”
“Absolutely. I know I’m acting like a fool, anyway.”
“I don’t know about that. I only saw her that one time at the office, but. She looked kind of cute. Nice body, too. I mean from what I could see --”
“Yeah, she’s a cutie.”
“The fucking Mariner’s daughter.”
The fucking Mariner. Whom Buddy had promised a part in their next movie, and about which he was going to have to tell Harvey and Iggy, but not fucking now.
“Okay,” said Harvey, “I’m being an asshole, I know, so I’ll get the fuck off now.”
“Okay. I’ll see you tomorrow, Harve.”
Well, that was a lot of fun, and Buddy decided not to return the calls from Debbie, from Marlene, and from Marjorie, two from Marjorie, oh well. Or from Iggy or Heather, or from three different people at Sony, one of whom he had never heard of, or, no, he undoubtedly had heard of the person but had forgotten the fucker’s name. Madge/Shakira had called twice; later for her. Philip; Liz, who’d called three times leaving a message that it wasn’t anything important; Deirdre, and Joan, ah well -- he called Deirdre’s cell.
“Okay, Uncle Bud, I want to hear all about it.”
“Yeah, hello to you, too.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. ‘Hello, Uncle Buddy!’ Okay, now tell me all about it.”
“Uh, no.”
“Fuck you.”
“All right --”
“No, wait -- Uncle Bud, can you hold for a minute --”
So, should he have another bourbon? He definitely had time, and it would sure as hell make the flight go easier. He flagged down the waitress, ordered another drink and went back to his newspaper with the cellphone to his ear: Iraq. Iraq. No banned weapons found yet, uh huh. But on the other hand the war all over now, supposedly, except for the shouting, hmm, yeah, now fucking what --
“What a bitch,” said Deirdre suddenly.
“I said what a bitch.”
“Who, your mom?”
“Well, she’s always a bitch, but no, that was Trish.”
“Oh, are you two having some uh --”
“Oh, like you care about my teenage shit --”
“Well, of course I --”
“Uncle Buddy, even I barely care about my teenage shit.”
“Oh. Oh, thank you.”
“For what?”
“Why are you thanking me?”
“Oh. That was a waitress. She brought me a drink.”
“Oh. It’s just she’s so immature.”
“Trish. Who do you think I’m talking about?”
“Oh. Trish, well, what do you expect? She’s, what, fifteen?”
“Okay, sixteen. You want her to act like uh --”
He tried to think of a female model of maturity and drew a blank.
“I just don’t want her to act like a fucking cunt.”
“Okay. I can see that.”
“You’re not getting on my case about my language.”
“Oh. Right. Okay, don’t talk that way.”
“So, how’d it go? Are you still in Vancouver?”
“Yeah, I’m at the airport.”
“Tell me how it went. With Cordelia.”
“Uh, fine.”
“Did you guys, like, you know --”
“All right, look --”
“Just --”
“Just what?”
“Just --”
“I hope you didn’t get SARS.”
Buddy took his conversational-speed-bump pause, and then said:
“Yeah, me too.”
“But I think that’s just Toronto.”
“Don’t sit next to any Chinese people on the plane.”
“I’ll try not to.”
“If you do, don’t let them breathe on you.”
“Right. Look,” said Buddy, “I’m getting in around 6:30, you want me to pick you up?”
“You don’t have to. We’re going to the Mighty Ducks playoff game tonight and Stephen will drive me home.”
“Mighty Ducks? Since when are you into ice hockey?”
“Since never. But Stephen is, ‘cause he’s gay, and he seems to think he’s providing me with some great thrill so I’m going to go.”
“Oh. Is your mom going?”
“Yeah. Woo-hoo.”
“Well, okay, then -- I’ll see you tonight.”
“Wait. Just tell me how it went with Cordelia. Did you have a good time?”
“Yeah, it was fun. We had a good time.”
“Did you have sex with her?”
“Did you have sex with her?”
“None of your business.”
“Well, you make my sex life your business.”
“You’re too young to have a sex life.”
“You’re probably right. But did you?”
“Why not?”
“Oh, Christ --”
“She might, you know, if you give her time.”
“Who made you such an expert?”
“Well -- that’s just my opinion.”
“But what the hell do you know about it?”
“Jeeze, Uncle Bud, don’t get all Polly Pissy Pants on me.”
Buddy heard what sounded like -- and which come to think of it he’d already heard a couple of times in this conversation but hadn’t registered -- a toke on a joint.
“Are you smoking pot?”
“Oh, Christ, in Stephen’s house?”
“No, I’m on the beach behind his house. Behind his stupid smelly boat.”
“Well, okay.”
“It’s Stephen’s pot anyway, I raided his stash.”
“Stephen has a stash?”
“Oh yes. He and Mom walk on the beach and smoke pot. They think I don’t know. But I found his stash.” Well, thought Buddy, better than my stash -- “She does like you, you know,” said Deirdre. “You-know-who. She told me so.”
“Who, Cordelia?”
“Who else?”
“When did she tell you this?”
“Well, yesterday for instance.”
“You talked to her?”
“What, on the phone?”
“No, telepathically.”
“What -- since when did you two start having phone chats?”
“Since like a week or so ago. She called to talk to her father and I picked up, so we talked, and we’ve talked a few more times since then. She’s nice.”
Buddy let this sink in for a moment.
“Do you mind?” said Deirdre.
“That she and I talk to each other?”
“No. No. Why should I mind?”
“Okay. I’m gonna get off now.”
“Wait -- what do you guys -- what do you -- what do you talk about?”
“Just stuff.”
“What kind of stuff?”
“Men? What do you know about men?”
“Oh.” Drawing another blank, then -- “Oh, the molester.”
“She agreed with you. That I was too young for him.”
“Or he was too old for you.”
“Whatever. Well, goodbye, Uncle Bud.”
“Wait --”
“Um --”
He wanted to ask her what else Cordelia had said about him. But somehow he couldn’t quite do this, so instead he said, “What’s the big rush to get off the phone?”
“I want to call Cordelia. She’ll tell me everything, you know.”
“Oh. Great.”
“I’ll see you tonight, Uncle Bud.”
“Oh, and call Liz.”
“I don’t know. Just call her. She asked me to ask you to call her if you called me.”
“Is something the matter?”
“Maybe. Just call her.”
So, all right -- one more phone call and that was it. He called home, it rang four times, the answering machine came on, and he was starting to leave a message when Liz picked up.
“Hi, Dad. Dad, it’s me.”
“Oh, hi, Liz, how’s it going?”
“Okay. Are you still in Vancouver?”
“Yeah, still in Vancouver, tell The National Enquirer.”
“Okay, when are you coming back?”
“My flight gets in at 6:33, supposedly.”
“Everything okay?”
“Yeah. No. Sort of. I don’t know. We’ll talk tonight.”
“Let’s talk now, I got time before my flight.”
“No, it can wait. It’s no big deal really.”
“Well --”
“No, it’s cool, Dad. Philip’s here, anyway.”
“You mean you don’t want to talk in front of Philip?”
“Then --”
“Dad, everything’s fine. There is something I wanted to talk to you about but I’d rather wait till tonight.”
“Well, okay --”
“Okay,” she said.

“So, I guess I’ll see you, I don’t know, whenever I --”
“Philip and I are going to the movies, so we probably won’t be here when you get in.”
“Oh, okay -- what’re you seeing?”
X-Men. X2. Whatever.”
“Okay. So I’ll, uh, see you after the movie?”
“Yeah, sure.”
“You’re sure you’re okay.”
“Sure. I just want to go to a movie, okay? Is that so strange?”
“No, not at all --”
“Oh. Wait. I didn’t even ask. How did it go with Cordelia?”
“Uh, it went fine.”
“Tell me about it.”
“We’ll talk tonight.”
“Dad --”
“Hey, tonight.”
“All right.”
“You want me to leave you something to eat?”
“Don’t bother, I’ll --”
“I’ll leave something in the oven for you.”
“Well, okay, thanks, Liz --”
“Dad --”
She hesitated. Now what?
“Oh, never mind,” she said. “We’ll talk after the movie.”
“Well, all right.”
“Okay, ‘bye.”
“’Bye, Liz.”
“But wait, I have to know, did you and Cordelia --”
“Goodbye, Liz. I’ll see ya tonight.”
“Well, okay. See ya, Dad.”
She hung up. And to tell the truth Buddy was glad the house was going to be empty for a while when he got home. He was looking forward to masturbating in peace.

(Continued here, just in case something happens.)

(Feel free to turn to the right-hand column of this page to find a current listing of links to all other published chapters of Uncle Buddy’s House™, available free of charge for a limited time only, although gifts of money and beer are gratefully accepted.)


kathleenmaher said...

I'm beginning to agree with Manny: Buddy's a saint. His family's fun too.
The Ancient Mariner ain't nothing compared to my fam and what I'll be facing the next two weeks in...hey!...Vancouver. (Another cousin's wedding: no quickie ceremonies among my mother's clan.)
I'll have to catch up with Uncle Buddy and Arnold and Disdain when I return. I'd like to take them with me so I'd have something fun to read but too many people are demanding I pack stuff for them.

Dan Leo said...

Kathleen, if you need a brief respite from "la famille" you and Manny might want to stop into the Hotel Vancouver -- now known as the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver (900 W. George St.)-- and have a restorative cup of herbal tea. You might want to try their "900 West Lounge", where Buddy and and Cordelia drank a bottle of Barolo together and where you may, in the words of their brochure: "Relax in our soft wingback chairs, admire our beautiful architecture and enjoy the sultry sounds of our live jazz entertainment."

kathleenmaher said...

Manny took photos of the Hotel Vancouver, now a Fairmont. We wandering inside: deluxe.

Dan Leo said...

Kathleen: very cool...