"I was really drunk one night and...."
It's not what you may be thinking - this is clearly not some hot, passionate romance story - quite the opposite, in fact. Being tortured as a kid, I was schooled in the art of taking advantage of someone's vulnerabilities and preying on those very qualities for personal amusement. Now, this may seem shallow and mean - but by the end of the story - you'll be singing right along with me.... "I once knew a girl, her name was Ruth ........"
It all starts at the Town House II - a local dive bar full of the usual suspects (many of whom are reading this right now - provided there are not too many big words). The first Town House burned to the ground. Hence the II - (the use of authentic Roman numerals was quite significant - being suburban NY and all.)
Again - my childhood was a ridiculously hateful experience. But all of the tactics those sinister neighborhood kids and terroristic schoolmates applied to torturing me, we're quickly bottled up and stored for a rainy day.
All of this mean-spirited energy was well-harnessed and under control - until I discovered tequila shooters and Budweiser. Let the games begin...
Rather than unleash a postal barrage of hate, I decided to spin the energy around and find entertaining ways to make people laugh - however, it was usually at the expense of some unsuspecting victim. Enter RUTH!
I could not start a good Ruth story without first introducing the supporting cast. There was Liz - my "sister" and the bartender from the dive bar. Liz watched nightly as I prepared to pounce on some poor victim and she quickly knew her role. She was a master of her art!
Then, there are Beulah (aka Lisa), Harriott (aka Julie) and Freeta (aka Trish - not "good Trish", the other one) - sorry Freeta - needed to paint the picture....
Beulah and Harriott were my "lesbian" friends that - on command - would spring into action trying feverishly to get Ruth to "join their team." The stories quite often surrounded Beulah and Harriot who deserve Oscars for their performances - although I would have preferred a little hot tongue action to make it "real.." Team-players, all, this cast of characters set the stage for our introduction to a "friend of a friend" who just moved to the area.
John was Liz's husband. An old high-school friend of John's was coming to the bar to be introduced to some "nice" local people who could help acclimate her to the area. John had the crazy idea that we were that bunch. In hindsight, I am sure he would choose a more compassionate group - such as White Supremacists or Animal Torturers.
The nightly stories began.... the very first - an attempted suicide. I was a bit bored and looking to prank some poor unsuspecting fool. Lightbulb! I called my E.M.S. friends to bandage up my wrists. The ambulance pulls up to the bar and they practically applied tourniquets to my arms for my first big scene. Quickly - the team springs into action and calls Ruth. Now, Ruth was an unemployed musician at the time and money was very tight as was fueling up her car. What better way to start the festivities by finding creative ways to make her leave her house, drive lots of miles for nothing and run down her gas tank. That sounded like fun.
"Ruth, come quick! Pat has tried to kill himself.....AGAIN! and he keeps calling your name." Wondering why someone she just met would single her out to rescue him from the pit of despair, she shrieks in horror and jumps into her car and drives 40 miles (I carefully time her arrival and continue to drink beers until she is about to pull up) at which time I drop to the floor and start muttering non-sensical babble from my pill overdose and subsequent wrist slashing. She asked what I took and I reach in my pockets flinging tablets all over the room (every thing I could round up including Midol, Flintstones Vitamins and Tart-N-Tiny candies; which oddly resembled a hit of mesc.)
My friends all rallied to my bedside (the booth in the back of the bar) for a death vigil. Beulah and Harriott were there - holding each other for support - of course - and (at my prompting) were singing old Negro Spirituals to help me "go into the light."
Ruth was horrified - but we quickly formed a bond the next day when I called her and told her she was the ONLY reason that I hung on....
Within weeks, Ruth was a regular at the bar. I was now "cured" from my illnesses (although I had to keep my fucking wrists bandaged for months as a prop - that was a pain in the ass). Ruth checked in on me daily and I always found a way to make her get into that car and drive..... miles.... for something totally obscure and ridiculous.
She was in constant touch with my fake "parents" Ray and Natasha. Natasha (I forget her real name, I think it was Jane) was a 60+ woman who was a cashier at the movie theatre. In a pinch, she was cast in the role as Mom - a decision that later was declared a "win."
Ruth and Natasha formed a friendship one evening when a weeping Natasha confided in Ruth that she was ill. Seems Mom had a steel plate in her head. It was not very painful, except every time she walked past the microwave, she shit in her pants and pretended to be King Lear! and .... she never read Shakespeare.
Ruth was always watching out for Natasha - including the time that we dialed Ruth from my office and Natasha started screaming wildly mid-sentence because someone turned on the microwave. Ruth was pleading on the other end "turn it off! turn it off." The call ended with Natasha, in her best Shakespearean voice, proclaiming "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child!" Lear (Act I, Scene 4).
The call goes dead! The next day, Natasha shrugs it off by simply moaning "oh - that damn microwave, Ruth!" Ahhhh, good times.The stories continued for months.
There was "other Liz" who was my "ex-wife" who was now married to Skip. Ruth was amazed that she and I remained friends despite our hideous breakup which included Liz getting a restraining order and throwing me out of our trailer home. Liz once even took the keys to my John Deere mower so I couldn't sneak off to the whore house when she was hard at work at the meth lab. Astounded that Ruth wasn't yet "on to us," we continued the story. Liz and Ruth fast became friends and formed a trust. Enough of a trust for Liz to confide in her why we remained so close after all we had been through. Seems that Liz had a "problem" that only I could help her with. This sparked Ruth's curiosity and she asked Liz to share. A tearful Liz explained to Ruth that the exposure to the chemicals used to cook the meth had caused her to grow an inordinate amount of hair in odd places. Liz explained that I was the only one that could help her "shave her back." She also fessed up that the cost of razors was straining her financially at which point Ruth suggested she'd pitch in and buy a few. Now that's a true friend.
Beulah and Harriott were always the stars of the show. Ruth was soooo understanding of their "lifestyle" as lesbians and confided in them one drunken night that she, too, would like to kiss Harriott. Even Meryl Streep has her theatrical limits - so imagine the answer when I asked B & H to "take care" of Ruth. Hey, a man can try, no?
Everyone - and I mean - EVERYONE called Lisa and Julie - Beulah and Harriott. Even my grandmother. In fact, she asked a few months ago "What ever happened to that nice Beulah girl."
Skip and I once stole Ruth's car from the bar and parked it blocks away - ON the sidewalk - BEHIND A FIRE HYDRANT and she got a wave of tickets when the police "recovered" her stolen vehicle.
That was the same night that Steve blew his nose on her coat.
Ruth played the flute. We once made her do a recital at the bar because we wanted to be cultured. We made sure that one-by-one, people angrily walked out during her performance - but like the band on the deck of the Titanic - she kept playing until the entire ship went down.
She wore perfume called Red Door - but we called it Barn Door. It was awful!
Ruth always wanted to be "part of the crowd." We tried to help her. Kind of like a band-geek makeover. As part of her transformation, we told her that wearing spandex was "in." The whole bar took one for the team, donning their tightest fitting clothes including Gina who was like 500 pounds. We also kept referring to ourselves as Heifers. She was curious - so we told her that a Heifer was a "party animal." Much to my surprise, she called me one morning after a night of partying hard and starts the conversation with; "Pat I was such a heifer last night." My job was done.
Months later, she looked it up in the dictionary and called me angrily. She read me the definition:
A young cow, especially one that has not yet given birth to a calf..
I quickly explained that she mispelled it and our "HEFFER" was Yiddish. Oi! What a Shiksa!
Then there was the ransom video from Lake Placid. That's a blog of it's own. Ruth had to pony-up money to save me from kidnappers. Too long for today's blog. Stay tuned.
A quick preframe:
The ransom story begins on the ride to a bar-sponsored ski trip. The bus full of barflys on the 4 hour drunken drive - began a bit of a sing-a-long on the drive up - "I once knew a man whose name was...." (yada, yada, yada....) I was passed out from the hours of drinking and missed most of the limerics (until watching the video).
However, being my turn to chime in, they smacked me to a light consciousness, and I rang out in song.... "I once knew a girl, her name was Ruth - who had more gum than she had tooth." Since Ruth's teeth looked like little mini-chicklets, there was a brief silence and then laughter ensued.
Then I threw up all over the bus....
This catchy little tune will likely be trapped in your head for years to come.
Peace out Heffers! Moooooooo!