Getting ready for his date, Mark puts a brush through his hair, scrubs a brush across his teeth, and thinks all the while of Sarah’s fine ass. Nothing is better at Christmas time than having a quiet dinner with a lady. He checks his phone for the time and sends her a text:
Leaving in 20
He ties his hair back and puts on his nicest hat and leather jacket before cracking a beer and sitting down in his computer chair to listen to some Christmas music. “Christmas in Hollis” by Run DMC plays; he downs the beer; gets up, and leaves.
After arriving at the mall and sitting in his car waiting for her to come, he gets out to go look for her. He calls her as he scans the parking lot.
“Where are you?”
“I just went to get a 6 pack; I’m coming out of the liquor store.”
“Good girl. I’ll to meet you.”
He walks towards the liquor store and sees her, wearing tight light blue jeans, and a beautiful bright smile on her face.
“Hey!” she says, approaching. A 6 pack of tall cans in one hand and a shopping bag in the other.
“Hey cutie,” he says, walking up to her and hugging her.
He feels her warmth and squeezes tighter.
“You gotta put that stuff in my car?”
“Yeah,” she says, smiling brighter.
They walk over and ditch the goods before heading to the restaurant.
“So how’ve you been?” she asks.
Mark puts his hands in his jacket pocket and walks close to her, bumping into her gently as they walk.
“Are you happy?”
“You don’t seem it,” she says, not smiling as cute anymore.
“No, No, I am,” he says, looking at her face and smiling.
They get to the restaurant, and a cute young blonde seats them in a booth. Sarah takes off her jacket and Mark stares at how big her breast look.
“You good look, hun.”
“Thanks. So do you.”
“So what have you been doing these days?”
“Nothing. Relaxing. Selling weed here and there.”
“You’re making some sales?”
“Yeah, I got a friend that smokes like a chimney. Honestly, you would think it was crack the way this motherfucker smokes it.”
“Have you been writing?”
“Yes, a little bit.”
“You should be a writer now that you don’t have a job.”
“Yeah right,” laughs Mark. “You know how impossible that is?”
“You can do it.”
“You don’t get it.”
The waitress walks up and takes their drink order. Mark recognizes her and looks away awkwardly.
“Hey, how are you tonight? Can I get you started with some drinks?”
“I’ll have a Canadian,” says Mark.
“Do you want the regular one, or do you want to upsize it for a dollar more?”
“Upsize,” says Mark with a smile, looking at Sarah.
“I dunno; the wine looks expensive.”
“Get it. Get whatever you want.”
“Ok, I’ll get this one,” she says, pointing at the menu.
“Great, I’ll be right back with those,” the waitress says, walking away.
“I know her from when I used to play in a band.”
“Sorta. I don’t know her, but I’ve seen her around.”
“Why don’t you play in a band anymore?”
“What’s the point,” shrugs Mark.
“Why are you like this?”
“Come on babe, let’s have a good night. Let’s get a few drinks in us; it’s the holiday. Enjoy yourself.”
“You enjoy yourself. You need to enjoy yourself more, Mark. Always drinking beer and laying down under that stupid blanket.”
“Hey. You don’t talk that way about that blanket. It keeps me warm, it’s comfy, it’s goddam awesome,” laughs Mark.
Sarah rolls her eyes.
“You like that blanket. You fucking loved that blanket. You always try to pull it off me whenever you stay over.”
“That’s because you’re a hog.”
“I share everything with you, hun. I’d share my life with you; if only you would marry me,” smiles Mark.
Sarah rolls her eyes again, and the waitress walks up and places their drinks down.
“Excuse me, what is this?” asks Sarah.
“That’s what you ordered; that’s the one you pointed to.”
“No I didn’t. There’s barely anything in there.”
“That’s the one you pointed to,” says the waitress, producing the menu and showing her.
“This isn’t enough. When I worked in Toronto I would never bring anyone a glass of wine like this.”
“If you want more, that’s no problem. I’ll go fill it up more,” says the waitress calmly as she grabs the drink.
“Yeah any size she wants,” says Mark, “It’s no problem.”
The waitress walks away.
“What’s wrong with you? Why would you talk to her like that?”
“That was rude. You can’t just talk to people like that. That was the one you pointed to, the small glass.”
“Mark, that wasn’t a glass of wine. That was nothing.”
“Well, you should’ve known what you were ordering. I said get anything you want; I don’t care about the money.”
“I did order what I wanted. She’s just stupid.”
The waitress comes back and puts the glass back down.
“Here you go,” she says with a smile.
“She’s not stupid,” says Mark after she walks away. “You should know what you’re ordering.”
“What are you talking about Mark?”
“What are you talking about? I think you need a drink or some dick.”
“Yeah, like you're getting any tonight.”
“Oh, I will,” laughs Mark.
“You think so?”
“I’ll wear you down, baby. You can’t resist.”
“If that’s what you think.”
“You seen any good movies lately?”
“Just some Christmas movies.”
“I love Christmas movies. We should watch one after.”
“As long as you calm down. You’re outta control tonight with that temper.”
“I am calm. You're the one that always freaks out on people, wanting to fight everyone.”
“What’s wrong with that?”
“It’s stupid. You're gonna get in trouble.”
Sarah takes a drink and stares across the table at him.
“Mark, I’m too old for you.”
“Yes, I am. I could be your mother.”
“If you had me in the eighth grade. Who the hell gets pregnant in Grade 8?”
“Yeah, I knew a girl that had a kid at 14. She was pretty fucking stupid, actually.”
Sarah laughs and rolls her eyes.
“You hate everyone.”
“I like you.”
“You’re too wild.”
“You’re the one that’s too wild. I’m not the one freaking out on waitresses.”
“It’s not even funny Mark.”
“Yes, it is. It’s all funny. It’s hilarious.”
“It’s just bad timing in my life.”
“Ah, what can you do? Let’s just enjoy dinner and have a good night,” says Mark as he sees the waitress walking over to take their order.
“Ok,” says Sarah, smiling lightly.
After dinner—and several drinks—they decide to get more drinks.
“That was fun,” says Sarah, as they walk through the parking lot; she reaches over and squeezes Mark’s ass and he slaps hers.
“You’re so rough,” she says, slapping him on the chest.
“You like that?”
“Come on, baby. Let’s blow this joint.”
They grab a bottle of wine and go back to Sarah’s apartment and drink some more.
“I wanna go out,” says Sarah after they’ve had several more drinks.
“We already went out.”
“They’re doing karaoke across the street.”
“Come on. It’s officially now Christmas Eve.”
“I wanna hear you sing. Sing a song for me?”
“Can we watch a Christmas movie when we get back?”
“YES!” says Sarah with her biggest smile of the night.
They walk across the street into a small dive bar that smells of mildew and broken dreams. The old men suck on their pints of beer—alone at Christmas time—and although she’s 42 years old, and 14 years his elder, Mark walks in with by far the prettiest girl at the bar. All heads turn as they walk in and Mark orders a couple of pints for the both of them and tastes the unclean taps as he drinks the flat brew.
“I told them we're going to do a duet,” says Sarah as she joins him at the bar.
“What song did you pick?”
She tells him, and Mark knows it: A bland and typical alternative rock song with no soul.
“Alright,” he agrees.
The karaoke man calls them up and they sing, and halfway through the song Sarah is so impressed she grabs Mark’s hands as they sing. They get off the stage and an old man at the bar rail with a baseball cap and grey mustache compliments them.
“That was really good. Let me buy you a shot.”
“Alright,” says Mark.
The old bartender pours them three shots and they all cheers.
“To a Merry Christmas and a kick-ass New Year,” says Mark.
They down their drinks. Sarah leans in and kisses him on the cheek: something she rarely did. She would let him fuck her and stick his dick in her pussy, but for some reason, she had a problem with kissing. She once told Mark she didn’t want to kiss him because she thought he had herpes.
“Let’s do another round,” says Mark.
He orders another round and they cheers again. Sarah doesn’t do hers and gives it to Mark.
“I’ll do it in a minute. I’m feeling pretty drunk right now,” he says.
They sit and talk; merry and drunk. Life is beautiful, and they chat with all the old men and their rough beat-up wives and girlfriends about jails and poverty and the hopefulness that will come in the new year. Sarah goes up to do another song and Mark finishes his beer and starts on hers (which she has given to him). He takes the shot he saved, and when no one’s looking, he leans his head down and pukes between his legs on the barroom floor. No one notices at the dark bar rail. He calls over the bartender and hastily pays.
“Let’s go,” says Mark as Sarah comes off the stage.
“I said let’s go,” he says, taking his arm and pulling her towards the door.
“I puked at the bar,” he whispers in her ear.
“What? What the fuck, Mark? What is wrong with you?”
“It’s that dirty beer and cheap Whiskey.”
They get back to her apartment and continue drinking. Sarah sits on Mark’s lap and drinks wine but suddenly, she gets upset.
“Why are you like this?”
“You ruined the night.”
“Because I puked?”
“No, it’s more than that..”
“I don’t even know what you're talking about.”
She stands up, and Mark gives her a playful slap on the ass.
“Go to bed, babe. I’ll be in in a minute.”
“I don’t want to drink anymore.”
Mark gets up to go to the bathroom and as he walks by her gives her a playful nudge on the shoulder.
“MARK! That hurt!”
“Whoops, sorry, babe.”
“Are you kidding me? There’s a foot of snow out there.”
“I’m not going anywhere. Calm down, hun, go to bed and I’ll be in in a couple of minutes. I just need one more beer,” he says as he walks to the bathroom. He takes a piss, comes out, and grabs a beer from the fridge.
“Mark, I’m serious. Go.”
“No. It’s too fucking cold out and I can’t drive.”
“I want you out of my house.”
“Calm down,” he says, grabbing her by the wrist and pulling her onto his lap. He strokes her shoulder and kisses it, but she pushed his chest, stands up, and goes to her bedroom. Mark sits drinking: one more beer, then bed. Then there’s a knock at the door. Sarah stomps out and opens the door and two large cops entered.
“He won’t leave.”
“You called the cops on me?”
“We had a report that there was a domestic disturbance.”
“Yeah, he won’t leave.”
“What the fuck? I didn’t hit her. Look at the size of me; you think if I hit her she would even be able to walk?”
“Did he hit you?” the officer asks.
“I just want him to go.”
“Look at her. There’s not a mark on her. Show them a mark, Sarah. Show them a mark if I hit you.”
Sarah stands silently against the wall, then puts her head down and says quietly:
“I just want him to go.”
“Alright big guy, I think it’s best you leave.”
“Can I finish my beer at least?”
“Do it fast.”
Mark chugs the beer and stands up.
“That how it’s going to be, eh? At Christmas time,” he says to Sarah.
She says nothing and the police escort him out.
“We’re not meant for each other,” he hears her say behind his back as the policemen walk him out. “Maybe if I was younger.”