UPCHUCK

I meet the men of my life out of sheer chance, randomly when I least expect it. I like the spontaneity and vulnerableness of it all. After living in the city for almost eight years I had a track record for meeting some of the most interesting men, and getting myself into some of the funniest situations. For the most part I had some idea of what my dates did for a living. I had the Wall Street tycoons, athletes, working actors, starving actors, restaurant managers, dentists, morticians, and politicians. I usually believed everything they told me, and for the latter part some amount of truth stood behind their stories.

Upchuck is the one guy still to this day I haven’t figured out what he does or what he’s hiding. It was a hot summer day in the city. I headed down to my favorite spot in the West Village, Ponchito’s to finish writing a script I was working on. Ponchito’s had amazing sangrias and were packed, so I continued walking down the street in search of a perfect place to write. I found a cute Italian restaurant that was open and empty, it had my name on it. There was only one guy at the bar watching sports on the flat screen above the bar and drinking a beer. I sat at the bar and ordered an omelet and a bloody Mary, I can consume those two items twenty four hours a day. When it was time for my check the bartender told me it was already taken care of by the guy sitting alone. I couldn’t believe he bought me lunch. He was actually kind of cute in a younger Tom Cruise sort of way, and I looked like a homeless lady. I had planned on laying out in the park before it started raining, so I wasn’t wearing any makeup. In New York it’s hard to always be done up, because there are people around you constantly. It would be silly for me to put on a full face of makeup just to take out the trash, or to walk the dog. My rule was if I’m in my neighborhood I could go without makeup, but other neighborhoods I normally fixed myself up. I excused myself to the restroom for a quick powdering and lip gloss before grabbing a seat next to the guy to thank him for lunch.

“Thanks for lunch, that was nice of you,” I said.

He smiled back at me as I caught him off guard. “No problem. It was my pleasure. I wasn’t even expecting you to say thank you.”

“Why wouldn’t I say thank you? I’m not rude.”

“It’s not that, I just meant I didn’t buy you lunch so you had to talk to me.”

He was charming, preppy, and confident. I couldn’t resist a little flirting.

“Well I would have talked to you regardless. You don’t have to work either?”

“I’m always working,” he said as he held up his blackberry. “I’m always playing too,” he said as he winked and held up his beer to cheers.

Upchuck lived around the corner. He was perfect, a West Village boy who didn’t have to go into the office. Don’t get me wrong guys in suits and ties are sexy. I admire a man who gets up at 6 am for a hard day at the office, but the office doesn’t leave much time for afternoon romps in the sheets. What I do fancy is a successful man who doesn’t have to work 9-5, and only uses a tie when he is tying me up to his bed post. Upchuck was intrigued I was a writer. He had a 3 pm meeting with a producer. He spent his time in between Vegas and New York. He was involved in some sort of finance and relocated to Vegas for the time being. I told him I had my share of good times in Vegas. After another round of drinks we found we had so many things in common. I used to be a flight attendant and loved adventure. He traveled a lot too. He was once in Mongolia for business. For some reason China had a high security alert out on him. When he crossed the border for lunch he was detained, tortured and questioned. After being locked up in China his protégée/driver found away to sneak him out of the place they were holding him. They drove off in an SUV to Mongolia as the Chinamen fired their rifles at them. I loved danger and Upchuck’s story compelled me to be even more attracted to him.

“Why was China after you?” I asked.

“I still don’t know,” he said. “They think I’m in the CIA or something.”

“Well I used to want to be an FBI agent. I love shooting guns. In Vegas I go to the gun shop and shoot the semi automatics.”

“I have to carry at least two guns on me at all times in Vegas.”

According to Upchuck he and his partner had recently purchased a well known strip club in Las Vegas after the previous owner had been put in jail for mob relations. Since they bought the club, Upchuck had been getting death threats, calls, and letters in the mail. A car once rammed into his sports car driving him off the road.

When he went to the cops they simply said, “We reckon you get a gun son.” That was their advice... get a gun.

Upchuck pulled out eight different Nevada gun permits. I couldn’t imagine a nice city boy like Upchuck handling so many types of guns. “I usually carry at least two on me,” he said with a wholesome smile. I pictured Upchuck and I on a romantic date in one of the casinos. A mobster would start a shoot out. Upchuck would pull me down a black staircase leading to his sports car, it would look like something similar to the Bat mobile. He’d shoot back at the men chasing us before flying down the parking ramp and diapering onto the highway. He’d look at me and say I’m sorry I never wanted to put you in any kind of danger. I’d reply, It’s ok, as long as I’m with you I don’t care what happens to me, as if I was the lead in a cheesy action flick. Upchuck had a 3 pm meeting and a 9 pm flight back to Vegas, but he really wanted to see me before he went to the west coast. I agreed to meet him at Sushi Samba at 5 pm for drinks.

While he was at his meeting, I was at home turning myself into a sex kitten. On my way out the door I received a call from a friend in Los Angeles saying he needed a copy of my sitcom emailed to him immediately because a big wig at NBC was interested in it. I was on cloud nine as I jumped into the cab. What a fabulous way to kick off the weekend, while my sitcom was being shopped around in LA, I was grabbing cocktails with mystery boy. Running from the Chinese government, death threats from the mob, who was Upchuck really? Chuck was his first name, but I thought Upchuck had a better ring to it, so that’s what I called him. When I walked into Sushi Samba he was waiting for me at the bar in a sexy black blazer. His Louis Vuitton carry on sat next to him on the floor. He gave me a full up and down. I was now wearing my shortest khakis that accentuated my toned tanned legs, and a coral low cut shirt. My makeup and hair were done to perfection, and my nude open toe heels kicked off the outfit.

“Wow you looked good this afternoon, but right now you look phenomenal,” he said in awe. “Thanks,” I gushed. “You look pretty sharp yourself.”

There was an air about Upchuck, so confident, and sure of himself. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be opposed to him having his way with me. We flirted and drank lemon drop martinis for over an hour. It began pouring one of those hot summer down pours.

“Let’s do something crazy,” he said.

“Want to make out in the rain?” I asked.

The next thing I knew it we were running in puddles and splashing in the rain in the West Village. While pedestrians were running for cover holding their briefcases and designer bags over their heads, Upchuck had me pushed against the brick wall locked in for a passionate kiss. Five minutes later we were back at the bar drinking a bottle of wine and sharing appetizers.

“I don’t want to go back,” said Upchuck.

“Should I stay one more night?”

“That could be fun,” I said. Upchuck looked at his watch, it was almost seven.

“Well I got to make a decision quick. I have a dinner meeting tomorrow night, so I should probably get going.”

“Yeah,” I said agreeing. “I had fun with you I love spontaneity.”

“I feel the same way. Hey why don’t you fly back with me? I’ll have my secretary book you the flight.”

I had only known Upchuck for five hours at the most. The most I knew about Upchuck was he was always running from some degree of danger. It would be crazy to hop a plane to Vegas with him. For all I knew he was a part of the mob or a spy, and I wasn’t sure which was more dangerous. Every time I brought up the CIA or FBI something hidden sparkled in Upchuck’s eyes. Was he an international spy? There was no way, that only happens in the movies. I did wonder how a city boy running from the mob learned to handle eight types of guns in less than a year. I looked at him dripping wet in his designer blazer. I would have been stupid not to jump the chance of one night in Vegas with him.

“I’m in,” I purred as I kissed him. “I just got to go home and pack and email my friend my sitcom pilot and bible.”

I explained the exciting news and Upchuck agreed that my sitcom was a priority. We jumped in a cab uptown. After ten minutes of rush hour traffic Upchuck unbuttoned my mini shorts and slid his hand down into them as I nibbled on his sweet lips. The cab driver curiously glanced back at us in the rearview mirror. I scrambled to put my script treatment together, but it was saved into about fifteen different files. Upchuck patiently waited next to me.

“They’re all a mess,” I said as I began to edit.

“Flights leaving soon, and we got to go to JFK,” said Upchuck.

I knew I had to make a decision Upchuck and Vegas or LA and my sitcom. I couldn’t have both that night, so I chose my sitcom. I knew once I was successful and famous I’d have plenty of time for off the wall adventures. I told Upchuck I’d visit him the following weekend. The next weekend I was on a plane to Vegas. My one best friend Maria worked for Jet Blue, so her buddy passes came in handy at last minute. My other friend Lisa danced in Vegas so I always had a place to crash. Lisa and I laid out at her apartment pool. She was going to work that night while I had my date with Upchuck.

“I don’t know ... he seems shady to me,” said Lisa.

“I know!” I exclaimed excitedly. I couldn’t wait to see what trouble we’d get ourselves into. That night Upchuck picked me up for dinner. I was impressed he came up to Lisa’s apartment to escort me downstairs, instead of waiting in the lobby like most men would do.

“Which car is yours?” I asked as we walked out into the parking lot.

There was only a rusty old Buick and a flashy green Ford Escort. Both were a far cry from a “sports car.” Upchuck smiled and pointed to a brand new Ducati motorcycle.

“That’s our ride,” he said proudly. “Hope you’re not scared.”

I looked down at my dress, the only thing I was scared of was flashing Vegas, but they had seen it all before. Upchuck cruised around the strip showing me his favorite spots as I clutched onto him out of fear I’d loose my balance. We had an amazing dinner at the Bellagio. Upchuck told me that he had told his business partners all about me. I found it a little bit strange since we only hung out one time prior, but it was flattering just the same. While we were walking to the parking lot Upchuck kept looking over his shoulder. He tensed up as he hurried me to the bike.

“Come on quick,” he said as he squeezed my hand. I looked around ... we were the only two people in the parking lot. Upchuck told me we were being followed. We had to get down near security immediately. He turned on his bike, tossed me on, and sped off. Ten minutes later were in his Jacuzzi that over looked the strip drinking two Coronas. Upchuck apologized for rushing me out of the casino. He just didn’t want me to get hurt. Some days were worse than others with the death threats. After he had gotten back from New York the threats became more serious. These people knew everything about Upchuck. Who he called, where he went, what he ate and with whom. He confessed his ex-girlfriend back in New York broke up with him because she found out her phone had been tapped by the government, and she was being watched. The stories didn’t make any sense. How could one guy have two major enemies, one being the good guys and the other ones the bad guys? Who was I drinking Coronas with? He later drove me home in his BMW convertible and asked if he could see me before I went back to New York. I agreed and sealed the night with a kiss. The next date was a bit more exciting. After dinner and drinks at the Palms where everyone knew him, we went for a quiet drive towards Red Rock, a resort out in the desert. We grabbed cigarettes, candy and beer at a gas station and drove off into the night under the full moon in his convertible. We only passed one or two cars the whole ride there.

It was desolate to say the least. I wanted to go skinny dipping, but there were no spots in the desert. After forty five minutes of driving through the desert laughing and signing to the radio Upchuck pulled over.

“What are we doing?” I asked. Upchuck looked in his car mirrors.

“We have been being followed nervously. “By who?”

“By them.”

“Who are they?”

“Whoever they are, they want me dead.”

Great I was about to get murdered with a guy and I had no idea why he even had a death threat. I looked around the never ending desert of darkness. What a better place to get murdered than Death Valley. Maybe if I was lucky I’d die of dehydration before drowning in my own blood. A car slowly passed us.

Upchuck pushed me to the floor and said, “Dunk down!”

I stayed hunched over clutching my ankles for a few endless minutes.

“Ok, you can get up,” he said.

In the distance headlights approached. Upchuck pulled a revolver from under the driver’s seat.

“Quick open the glove compartment and hand me my gun,” he ordered.

I quickly did as I was told. He pulled a third gun from his pant leg and handed it to me.

“What do you want me to do with this?”

I gasped looking down at the piece that belonged in a Bond movie.

“If I tell you to shoot ... shoot,” he said as if he was simply instructing me to ride a bike.

While I grew up with guns and shot them before it’s a different feeling when you shoot because you have to shoot. The car slowly drove past us as Upchuck slouched down and held both guns out the driver’s seat window. After the car passed and never returned I looked up.

“Well look at that, it’s a full moon,” I said.

“We got lucky. I think they’ll leave us alone now.”

Upchuck grabbed the gun from my hand and kissed me. We got out of the car and shot a round of bullets into the desert before I gave him a strip tease barefoot on the ground under the bright moonlight. He repaid the favor by giving me one as I sat on the trunk. After that night we hung out a few more times between New York and Vegas. My last trip to Vegas he picked me up from the airport and took me to breakfast at Denny’s. We had plans for that night. He dropped me off at Lisa’s and told me he’d see me later that night.” I never heard from him again. I called and text massaged him a few times that weekend, but got no response. While it was a fun, short lived, fling playing with fire, I still wonder what happened to him. Maybe death was his destiny. Maybe the flame died between him and I. I did learn a lesson, if you’re going to be playing with fire, at least know what team you are playing on. Anyone who does “business” in Vegas, but doesn’t tell you what, is probably connected with some bad characters. The only work ties Upchuck had were shady ones.

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