(Go here to read to our previous episode, or click here to go to the first chapter of Uncle Buddy’s House©. “A heartwarming tale of love and frustrated lust” -- J.J. Hunsecker, in Redbook.)
The place was packed, so they told the hostess they were cool with eating at the bar.
“Oh my God,” said Cordelia, “I’m so hungry I could kill someone.”
So they ordered burgers and fries right away, the burgers rare so they wouldn’t have to wait so long. (This would be the first red meat Buddy would eat since that one meatball he had had at Locanda Luigi during his first dinner with Cordelia, what the hell.) Then Buddy ordered a pint of something called Red Brick Bitter, and Cordelia insisted on a Diet Coke.
“And don’t make fun of me, if I drink alcohol right now I’ll die.”
“Right on, baby.”
The drinks came, Buddy tasted his beer, and Cordelia leaned forward and sipped some of her Diet Coke through a straw.
“How’s your beer?”
“It’s pretty good. How’s your Diet Coke?”
“Diet Coke is always good.”
“Yes. You don’t know what it’s like to be a woman.”
“I’m sure I don’t.”
“We drink Diet Coke even though it doesn’t taste very good because the knowledge that it’s not fattening makes us feel even better than we would feel if we drank something that tasted good and wasn’t full of poisonous chemicals and produced by a corporation that owns half the universe.”
“I can see that. But I prefer my beer.”
“I don’t like beer. I like wine. Do they not have wine here?”
“Well, it’s a brew pub, which means they sort of specialize in beer --” and of course he had asked her if she would like to go to a brew pub, and she had said “Sure, great,” but then she was a woman, “but how about if I order you a beer you might like.”
“Go ahead, if you’re buying.”
They had a Belgian-style framboise on the list, so he ordered her a glass of that.
“I’m not going to like it.”
“Just try it.”
The bartender put the glass down. Cordelia made a face, but she picked up the glass, looked at it, nosed it, and took a sip.
“Oh my God, I like it.”
She was on her second one by the time the burgers and fries came, and she dug right in.
“Oh dear God,” she said, her mouth full.
“What?” said Buddy.
“This burger is so good. I was starving. I haven’t eaten all day except for one bagel with lowfat cream cheese and one whole-grain blueberry muffin and I did a whole hour on the elliptical machine at the hotel gym.”
Buddy was thinking that neither of them had washed their hands since the alleyway, yeah, well...
A band had come on, they were playing some kind of Latin music. It was very loud, and a gang of people were dancing. None of them looked like Latins and they sure didn’t dance like Latins.
“So,” said Cordelia -- she was finishing off the fries, dipping them in mayonnaise -- “are you glad you flew up?”
“Yeah, so far. Another beer?”
“Are you having one?”
“Okay, I’ll have another.”
Buddy looked at the bartender, who was looking at the band, or at least looking in the direction of the band.
“But, look, Buddy, I don’t think I’m gonna have sex with you. Do you mind?”
“Oh, right, we did sort of have sex, I forgot.”
“You sort of had sex.”
“Oh. Right. But I never said I would --”
Buddy kept his eye on the bartender. You couldn’t falter for a moment with these guys.
“Do you hate me?” she said.
“Then why won’t you look at me?”
“Because I’m trying to flag down this bartender.”
“Oh. Sorry. But are you mad at me?”
“You should be mad at me. I led you on and now I don’t want to have sex with you.”
“Well, you know, I’ll live.”
“You don’t mind?”
Actually he was thinking there was still a chance they’d wind up doing it anyway, especially if she kept putting away the old framboise, but --
“Life is fraught with these little disappointments,” said Buddy.
“I know I’m weird about sex,” she said.
“I am. I know I am.”
“So, who cares? It’s your business.”
“I know. But I care. It’s something I’m trying to work on. I mean, I talk to my shrink about it.”
“I’d love to be a fly on his wall.”
“But --” she said, and then paused. Buddy took his gaze from the bartender for a second and glanced at Cordelia. She was staring straight ahead with her lower lip twisted to one side.
“Yeah?” said Buddy.
She didn’t say anything, so Buddy returned his gaze to the bartender. Still no luck.
“It’s just that --” she said, and he cocked his head toward her to hear what she had to say but kept his eye on the bartender. When she didn’t say anything more Buddy glanced at her again. Her mouth was slightly open, as if she were about to say something.
But she didn’t say anything. He turned back to his bartender vigil, and, yes, the dude finally turned his Olympian gaze Buddy’s way and Buddy quick as a shot gave him the V-for-two-drinks sign.
“Never mind,” said Cordelia.
“You’re not even listening anyway.”
“No, no, I’m all ears.”
“No you’re not.”
“No, really. Please go on.”
“I said never mind.”
“Well, okay.” But then he remembered: Conversation, Female. “But I wish you’d tell me --”
“But part of me says if you have to make such a big effort then what’s the point?” she asked.
“Of sex, stupid.”
“Oh, right -- I agree,” said Buddy.
“I mean, all these sex advice columns, all these books, all the therapy and counseling, all the -- whatever. I mean, is sex that great?”
“Is it really worth all this -- whatever?
“I wouldn’t say so.”
“You know what I mean?”
“I mean,” she leaned close in to Buddy, “I mean,” she said, as the bartender loomed above her with their fresh beers, “does it really make me such a terrible awful person if I prefer masturbation to fucking?”
The bartender put their beers down in front of them.
“Thanks,” Cordelia said, and she watched the bartender till he went away.
“He thinks I’m a pervert now,” she said.
“Who cares what he thinks?”
“You’re right.” She took a sip of her framboise. “I just think sex is weird.”
“It is weird.”
“You think so?”
“But weird enough that it’s okay not to want it?”
“I’d say that’s a reasonable point of view.”
“You’re such a liar, I’ll bet you’ve had loads of sex in your life.”
“Yeah, but I’m an idiot, don’t go by me.”
“So you have had loads of sex.”
“How much is loads?”
“Okay. How many women do you think you’ve slept with?”
“Hmm. Well -- let’s see --”
Buddy was quiet.
“Come on,” she said.
“I’m approximating, don’t rush me.”
“Okay. I don’t know -- um --”
“More than thirty?”
“Uh -- yeah…”
“More than fifty?”
“Um, I’m trying to think, I mean, I started a long time ago, you know --”
“Well -- I don’t know, who cares, anyway?”
“A hundred women? You’ve slept with one hundred women?”
“Oh my God.” She took a good drink of her beer. “Do you know how many guys I’ve slept with, Buddy?”
Recalling the Mariner’s vile discourse, Buddy said, “Two? Or three?”
Her eyes went wide.
“You really think that’s all? I’m that bad in bed?”
“No, no, not at all --”
“But then I’ve hardly done anything in bed with you, so how would you know?”
“Right, yeah,” said Buddy, and then he immediately thought, Uh-oh, wrong response -- “I mean, no, I think you’re great --”
“No. I mean, I’m sure you, I mean -- you’re really -- you’re really very --”
“Uh -- sensual --”
“Oh, sure --”
“No, uh --”
He ran out of words.
“One,” she said.
“That’s how many guys I’ve been to bed with.”
“Oh,” said Buddy. So, the Mariner had got that one wrong. “Uh, that’s not counting me, right?”
“No, that’s not counting you. One. I mean I slept with a couple of other guys and fooled around sort of, but I only had full-fledged, you know, with one. And that was only like four times with him. Or three-and-a-half.” She took a bite of French fry. “What a loser I am.”
“What?” she said.
“Don’t stress about it.”
“Yeah. Life’s too short.”
“You think so?”
“I know so.”
“You don’t think I’m weird.”
“Sure you’re weird. Who gives a shit?”
“Okay,” said Cordelia. “Good. Let’s drink a toast.”
“Right on,” said Buddy. “What are we drinking to?”
She raised her glass.
“Oh, I’ll drink to that,” said Buddy, and they drank. Now he wanted her more than ever. He looked at her.
“What?” she said.
“What are you thinking about?”
“I’m thinking about that alleyway up the street.”
“Oh,” she said. “Yeah. That was hot. But look, Buddy -- that was --”
She fingered one of his shirt buttons.
“That doesn’t count.”
“Oh, really?” he said.
He moved a bit closer to her. They were in one of those little two-person bar bubbles, surrounded by all the chatter and music.
“I mean --” she said, and she leaned closer, still playing with his shirt button. Now she spoke very softly, “That was different. You know what I mean.”
Buddy touched her thigh with his little finger.
“Um, well, you know, I have to admit, I’m not quite sure what you mean --”
“Oh. Well, I mean I didn’t mean to have sex with you.”
She took her fingers off his shirt button. She glanced at the French fry basket, but they were all gone. Then:
“Okay, granted, if we had had a condom, I guess maybe we would have had sex in the alley. But you know what I mean, don’t you?”
He leaned a bit closer to her, and now, even in here, he could smell her smell, even under the Chanel #5, and it was absolutely a better scent than the Chanel. And in there somewhere was her sex smell. He slipped his little finger under her skirt. She still had those insane stockings on. Oh, and the panties, still in her raincoat pocket --
“Don’t you?” she said.
“Uh -- yeah.”
Okay, he had no idea what she was talking about.
“Yeah what?” she said.
“Um -- yeah,” he said, as if to say, Yes, of course, I totally agree.
“So you do? Understand?”
“No you don’t,” she said, and she pulled his hand away from her thigh. “Can we have more French fries?”
Luckily the bartender was right there, probably eavesdropping. Buddy ordered another basket of fries, and Cordelia added that she wanted them extra crispy and with extra mayonnaise.
She took a sip of her beer, holding the glass in both hands, and then she put the glass down. Buddy took a sip of his own
“That was the first time I ever came with a man.”
“Um, pardon me?”
“It was the first time.”
“What, in the alley?”
“No, not in the alley, stupid,” she said. “In my room.”
“That was the first time?”
“Look, I told you I’m weird about sex, and I am working on it.”
“Yeah, no, that’s, uh --”
“Look, don’t make me feel weirder than I already feel, okay, Buddy? Because you may not be aware of it, but, but -- some women never have an orgasm. And, news flash, women certainly don’t need men to have orgasms --”
“Oh, I knew that.”
“And -- I only did that time because you were touching me the same way I touch myself when I -- you know.”
“What?” said Buddy.
“I don’t know. Whatever.”
Buddy was remembering the way her face looked as she was coming -- that pale light from the rain-blurred window --
“Why are you looking at me like that?” she said.
She had gotten a little loud, but now she spoke low again:
Buddy didn’t say anything. In fact for the time being he was unable to say anything.
“Okay,” she said. “Okay. But look, no more sex. I really mean it this time. It’s just --”
“I mean, I really really mean it,” she said. “I just don’t, um, it’s like, um --”
“No, it’s cool,” said Buddy.
“Yeah. I mean no. I mean, it’s, it’s just, I just, I just don’t, it’s --”
“No, wait, the thing is, listen --”
“Baby, it’s cool. Let’s just --”
“Buddy, will you please stop interrupting me? You men always do that. You’re always so sure you know --”
“Sorry. You’re right.”
“See, you just did it again.”
“Sorry, go on.”
“Fuck! What was I saying?”
“Um, uh --”
“See, and you don’t listen anyway.”
“Um, you were -- oh, wait, you were saying you weren’t going to have sex with me.”
“No, jerk-o, I was saying why I didn’t want to have sex with you.”
“So do you want to know why?”
“Um, I’m not sure --”
“However I know you want to tell me, so please do.”
“I just don’t feel like I, I’m not, it’s just, I don’t, I’m not, it’s, it’s -- oh!”
She took a beat.
“You really don’t mind.”
“Well, I’d love to, you know, I’d love to --”
“Right -- but, you know, if you’re not into it, that’s cool.”
She took a breather. Then:
“Why are you being so nice?”
“I don’t know.”
“Maybe it’s because you’ve slept with one hundred women. What’s one more?”
Buddy sipped his beer. He was getting buzzed, the crowd and the music were loud, he was having a good time, even if she wasn’t exactly talking about how she intended to fuck his brains out when they got back to the hotel. And in fact for some reason or reasons it felt pretty good this way, that sense of relief deep down inside when no matter how much you wanted a woman you realized you might not have to have sex with her after all.
“Do you know what my shrink says,” said Cordelia.
Now Buddy took a beat.
“What your -- shrink says?”
“Yes. We’ve been having sessions over the phone.”
“She says -- well, no, she doesn’t say, but she always asks
-- she asked me if I thought you were like a father substitute.”
“Oh God what?”
“Cordelia, you have a father. You’ve got so much father it’s not even funny.”
“Yeah, but look at him.”
“If you had a father like him, wouldn’t you want a substitute?”
“You’ve got a point. But you don’t make out with your father. At least I hope to God you don’t.”
“Oh my God, that’s so gross, take it back!”
“I take it back.”
“Okay. But that’s my point. If you’re my father substitute, I shouldn’t make out with you. Oh!” The guy was standing there with the new basket of fries. “Thank you!” she said. “Yum!”
“You’re welcome, miss.”
She started in on the fries, and Buddy waited till the bartender was well away.
“Okay, Cordelia, I’ll just say this: I don’t want to be your father substitute. And I sure as hell don’t want you to be my daughter substitute.”
“But it might not be up to you. It’s all about me working out my shit with my dad.”
“Okay. But you know what? You had the right idea on the phone the other day. You want to work out your shit with your dad, get away from him. Move back to New York. Fuck him.”
“Bad choice of words, Buddy.”
“Right, sorry. The hell with him I mean.”
“Well, okay, but if I do that, go to New York, I won’t be able to see you, either, you know.”
“Yeah, tough luck for me.”
They fell quiet now, Cordelia eating her fries and Buddy sipping his beer with all the noise of the place all around them. Then --
“Hey,” she said, chewing, and she nudged him with her elbow.
“Hey,” he said.
(Continued here, whether something happens or not.)
(Please refer to the right-hand column of this page to find a listing of links to all other published chapters of Uncle Buddy’s House™. Vancouver interiors filmed at Paramount Studios, Hollywood.)
Give Buddy credit for kindness but he seems more than happy with Cordelia just as she is. And why not? Someone as guileless yet baffling and sexy as she is could probably charm millions.
At least when Buddy's in the old folks' home he'll be able to watch one of Cordelia's movies on TV (maybe that romantic comedy she did with Matthew King) and say, "Ah, I knew her when..."
I think Buddy should be nominated for sainthood. Is there a category for this particular type of situation?
Manny: currently in development with Larry Winchester Productions: "Uncle Buddy's House II: The Canonization".
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