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Equal Work for Equal Pay and By the way, Mister, can you buy me another beer?

So I was sitting in this bar, see. I was minding my own business, bothering no one, enjoying a Friday night out at my favorite little watering hole, when Lo! From across the bar she came. Fairly attractive she was--in a Red Skelton, "I'm drunk off my ass and may puke any second," kind of way. She stumbled. She weaved. She bumped into a cocktail waitress and almost sent three vodka collins into orbit. But would she let that stand in her way? No! Her sights were firmly set on her target; her prey. Spinning widdershins, she hiccuped, belched, forced her eyes back from that nether-region in the back of her head, and squooshed over to my table.

"Hey mister," she said. "I'm really drunk."

I held my tongue. Firmly. Between my fingers.

"If you wouldn't mind, could you gimme a rhide hume?"

Okay, a little back story: I'm kind of a jerk. If there is one thing in this universe that brings my, shall we say, less than gentlemanly instincts to bear, it's a female, leaning down for maximum exposure in her low-cut top, asking me for a favor. I find it belittling to her and to me. Needless to say, by bile was up, my tongue poised to strike. I opened my mouth . . .and then shut it. Hard.

Because at that moment, I realized that every male within hearing distance of this little conversation was staring. At me. Not kindly. Every eye in the room said, in their best John Wayne voices, "Mister, the lady needs help." At that moment, I knew how George Orwell felt as the elephant danced in the sights of his rifle. Look it up.

I immediately ran a mental inventory. One, I was in a redneck bar. Two, I really didn't belong there, anyway. Three, chances were pretty good that if I decided to become a serious jerk at that precise moment, there would be an endless procession of Billy-Bobs waiting to kick my ass and prove to this lady that there were still gentlemen in the world. (Not to mention, increase their chances of getting into the drunken bitches' pants.) Did I care? No!

"Um, sure," I said. "Where do you need to go?"

Once in my car, and having made sure she was fastened in, things got worse. She leaned over, allowing her hair to fall across the side of her face, smiled impishly and said, "You know, I'm not going to fuck you for this."

This was one of the few moments where I actually considered that there might be a God, and he might actually love me.

"Thank you for telling me now," I said. "I wouldn't want to confuse your puke all over the front of my car for a pass later on . . ." I asked her where she needed to go. She told me. I drove.

We ended up at an apartment complex. Somehow, someway, she managed to make her way up to the front door. (And here's where I fucked up. I should have split. I should have done my absolute best to make my size twelve hit the front axle. Just as I was about to do just that, I looked back at her. She was collapsed on the front doorstep, crying.)

I put the car in park, got out, and went to her. She wiped her eyes and put on her "tough-girl" face as soon as she saw me approach.

"So what now?" I asked.

"He must be asleep. Would you go knock on the manager's window? They know me. They'll let me in."

Tears have their limit. They'll only buy so much.

She pleaded for about ten minutes more, keening in her best banshee-esque voice every time I told her that under no circumstances was I going to go about knocking on strangers' windows at twelve-thirty in the goddamned morning.

I finally got her back into the car without the police showing up to arrest our stupid asses. I didn't care if she was buckled into her seat. I sped away from the apartment complex and when it looked like the coast was clear, I asked her,"Now where to?"

She led me to a strange part of town. Very suburban. Very up-scale. I don't like places like that.

We lurched along, appearing very much like a teenage driver out learning to drive a stick as she said, "This one. No, wait. It's the next one. Um, no. I think it's a couple down. Wait. I think we passed it."

As politely as I could manage, I said, "MAKE UP YOUR FUCKING MIND!"

She didn't even flinch. "I'm still not going to fuck you for this."

"No?" I said. "Okay then, I'm going to fuck you." I reached over, popped the door, and pushed her out.

I made it back to the bar in time for one last beer, and as these types of experiences usually spur me to do, I began to think.

I juxtaposed our evening. A decent enough looking young lady comes walking into the bar. From across the room, I stumbled. I weaved. I bumped into a cocktail waitress and almost sent three vodka tonics into orbit. I spun, widdershins, hiccuped, belched, pulled my eyes from the nether-regions in the back of my skull and splooshed my way to her table.

"Excuse me, Miss," I said. "I'm really drunk. If you don't mind, could you give me a rhide hume?"

I would have had my ass kicked, pummled, and been thrown sixteen feet beyond the threshold of the front door. Then, I would have been in for a serious ass-whoopin'.

Fair? Hell, no. Sensible? Probably. Did it make me happy? Not in the fucking least.

Now, I know what some of you out there are thinking. Joe, you're a big dude! This was a helpless little female. When's the last time some big-assed dude had to worry about getting raped by some tiny little drunk-assed woman?

Your right. Of course your right. Do I have to like it? No. Logic has very little to do with like or don't like. But it did make me think. Oh, yes. It did do that.

And I'll tell you all what it made me think in part II.

Until then,

Joseph Haines, signing off from The Edge of The Abyss.

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