Havana, part 2

04 Apr

The likelihood of a gropee being able to successfully identify a groper is inversely proportional to the density of the immediate population. This is Newton’s First Law of Groping.

Nothing good can possibly come of identifying the groper, so it’s probably best if Newton’s First Law precludes successful identification. This is Newton’s Second Law of Groping.

Newton was a pervert.

I stood up straight, involuntarily clenching my buttocks. The bartender placed my beer and bourbon in front of me with a polite leer. I looked around, but there was no hint as to who’d grabbed my ass. The men at the bar had bar faces. Some of them smiled; some did not. All of them evaluated me casually with a deliberately crawling gaze, lingering occasionally at my ass or lips. Usually, bourbon is for sipping. This tasted awful. I shot it, chasing it with beer, and walked back to the pool table.

A short man with dark skin played a solo game. I leaned against the wall and watched him play. He smiled at me and invited me to play the next game. Gratefully, I accepted. I reached out to shake his hand.


“My name’s Mike,” he said, pulling me closer and kissing my cheek near the corner of my mouth. “So, are you gay or bi?”

“Um,” I said. “Straight.”

His face cycled through disappointment, annoyance and back to politeness. “Oh, I’m sorry,” he said. “I—”

“No, it’s fine. Really. Really. Do you want to play eight ball or nine ball?”

We played a few amicable games punctuated with awkward conversation. He drove a taxi and was trying to save up enough money to open a café. He never learned my name or what I did, but he did force me to admit what I was doing there.

“Well,” I said. “I’m on a date.”

He glanced up from his shot to look at me, declining to mention how excruciatingly obviously we were the only two people in the room.

“That’s nice,” he said, and changed the subject.

After my third thorough thrashing (although this last game I had managed not to scratch the eight ball), I thanked Mike for the games and walked back into the main bar with the intention of continuing through it and out the front door. A cab at this point possibly could have been justified even with my crippled finances, but I thought that running the High Street gauntlet would be useful in distracting me from my shame. I fantasized about punching that dwarf in the neck after one too many kicks in the shins.

I turned my head toward the sound of raucous and unmistakably female laughter to my left. Beth sat in the midst of a gaggle of acolytes, some men, some women, some young, some not. A boy in his early twenties sat next to her, draping one arm across the bench behind her. Occasionally he’d touch his lovingly architechtured bed head, presumably to make sure his hair hadn’t been flattened by actually resting his head on something.

I followed their gaze to the karaoke stage, where a few girls from their group were drunkenly belting their way through a Streisand anthem.

Escape remained possible.

I took a few more steps toward the door, glancing back up at the table where Beth held court. She saw me and waved.


Leave a Reply


  1. Allison Hill

    August 30, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    dating is both an art and a skill, it also takes a lot of practice to have a perfect dating experience*,*

  2. Jesus Ross

    October 11, 2010 at 3:30 am

    i love dating coz i like to mingle with other people and know them better,:’