Amanda’s Story, Part 2

28 Mar

Amanda had met Johnny at Byrne’s for New Year’s Eve.

Everyone who drinks at Byrne’s thinks they’re more Irish than you. This supposed Irishness is a point of pride, but, like everything else, it’s also a point of fashion. Every evening, the bar fills itself with muttonchopped heads poking out of the tops of Flogging Molly t-shirts. More or less these heads know where Ireland is, and if pressed, probably they can find Dublin on a map for you. During the day, the damp corners accumulate the four or five second-generation Irish fiddle players who live in the vicinity. These two Irisher-than-thou factions look down their noses at each other during happy hour, when the transition happens. People genuinely from Ireland could sneak in and out undetected as long as they didn’t talk to anyone.

Since she’d been dumped, Amanda had been exercising her right to make bad decisions. It’s in the Constitution. Look it up. One of these bad decisions had been named Mike Downey, an organism who treated his biological imperative to mate with utmost seriousness. I guess he usually went by just his first name, but I never heard anyone say it out loud without saying the first and last name together, as though it were crucially important to establish that we were talking about this Mike.

For each person, there exists at least one other person with whom it is impossible to do anything but fuck. Mike Downey had been that person for Amanda. They had gotten along quite well until Amanda had suggested a role for him outside that rather narrow parameter, and he’d split. Ordinarily, none of this would be a difficulty, but, sometime in the forgotten past, Mike had also been involved with Amanda’s roommate, Mia. For each person, there exists at least one other person whose name rots them like cancer. Mike had been that person for Mia.

After Mike (and during a twilight time when each of their numbers endured in the other’s phone as a lifeline to an emergency booty call), Amanda had dated Nate, he of the thick head and thicker biceps. As I recall, his reason for dumping her had something to do with his truck.

After that came Johnny O’Brien. For a few weeks, his clothes had piled in a mound of varying size in the corner of her bedroom. Mostly, they slept at her place because he envied her Star Wars comforter. He formed the lanky, blond caboose on Amanda’s Train of Bad Decisions. This is not to say that I judge Amanda for making them. One of the best places to hide your pain is in the genitals of other people. Ask anybody.

Amanda rocked on her stool, sipping an imported beer with an Irish brand that, in reality, had been brewed in and shipped from Canada. She tried to focus on Johnny’s face. It surged forward briefly in a moment of crystalline, blandly sickening clarity and then receded into fuzziness. Behind him on the TV, the ball glowed at the top of its pole, preparing to drop. Johnny swayed with the affected, telltale posture of the mostly sober. True drunkenness carries with it an inimitable sincerity unattainable by the sober. Those who merely pretend retain the slightest self-consciousness.

He leaned against Amanda, pressing himself close to her in order to be heard above the crowd. Unsteady, Amanda grabbed his bicep, focusing her eyes closely on Johnny’s shirt. On it, perhaps caught in mid-whine, C-3PO stood with apparent serenity against a desert background. Everything always turned out all right for that guy. Even after he was blown to medium-sized parts, everything still turned out all right. Amanda hiccupped into her closed mouth.

Johnny’s leg, encased in skinny jeans, pressed against hers. The ball began to drop.

“So,” he said. “I wanted to ask you something.”

“What?” Amanda smiled and leaned against him. The ball shuddered and twitched its way down the pole.

Johnny leaned away from her and looked away. “Well, if we kiss at midnight, I don’t want you to think it means anything.”


Leave a Reply


  1. *L*

    March 31, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    “For each person, there exists at least one other person whose name rots them like cancer.”

    This phrase is as brilliantly worded as it is completely true. You got an “Amen!” on that one. Brav-o!

    Also, I’m hoping that the beginning of Amanda Part 3 involves her throwing something foul in Johnny’s face. The beer bottle seems to be handy….

  2. Dan

    April 1, 2011 at 12:23 am

    Thanks! I appreciate it.

    Also, thanks for commenting. Lately, I’ve sort of thought that my erratic updating has alienated my readers, and I’m pleased to learn that that is not *wholly* the case. :)

  3. *L*

    April 2, 2011 at 5:09 am

    Absolutely. I sometimes feel the same way about my own, my only comments as of late being from people wanting to enlarge my penis.

    I kind of stumbled upon your blog, so I was actually reading all the back entries while you’ve been between new ones. I have to say, everyone and their cousin has a blog these days but yours is one of the rare ones held by someone who actually knows how to write. You’re very gifted. I’m even a little jealous (in a good way).

  4. E

    April 2, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Despite the irregularity, I still check in often and look forward to updates.

  5. Dan

    April 12, 2011 at 2:07 am

    Seriously, I know what you mean about the penis-enlargement comments. You wouldn’t believe how many Russian spammers try to leave comments. Or maybe you would. Sometimes it seems like all my traffic is from bots. :)

    Thanks for the compliments, though. I really appreciate them, and they’re exactly what I needed to hear right about now . . . My other writing is having a tough time getting traditionally published. As opposed to, y’know, all blogged up in here. What’s your blog about?

  6. Dan

    April 12, 2011 at 2:11 am

    That’s good to know. And comforting. Thank you.

    For better or worse (well, worse, actually), my grad school applications are over. Also I’m teaching slightly fewer classes this quarter, so here’s hoping that that bit of extra time translates into more frequent updates.

  7. *L*

    April 12, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    No problem, I mean what I say. One of my best friends got her book published through an independent internet publisher, and also sells it on Amazon. She hasn’t exactly sold enough to retire on, but it got the book out there and she has sold some copies to people other than friends and family. I think it was called Better World Books or Creative Publishing or something.

    Mine blog is about cooking, I’m an aspiring chef trying to break out of the amateur league. ;-) If you google my email, you’ll find it. It’s not my most fabulous writing, a lot of it is instructional and kind of choppy. I haven’t updated recently only because of a competition coming up that I’ve entered. Gotta’ hold my best cards close to my chest. ;-)