We all know the guy. He’s a complete mess, screws up everything he touches, and yet has just enough important things right with him that we continue to give him a chance, wait and see what he’s going to do next. Is it sheer entertainment factor? Maybe we’re just gluttons for self punishment. Regardless, we all know him. He’s in our lives in one form or another.
J. Travis Grundon, one of my favorite general fiction writers of today, has put the spotlight on all of our best worst examples in his latest and full length novel Mr. Bad Example.
Synopsis of Mr. Bad Example
Harlow Kingston is the wine loving social misfit who fell in love with the girl next door. He tried to be the man she wanted, but he fell for (and into bed with) many women along the way. He does his best to ignore his short comings by staying drunk, but it doesn’t take long before his bad choices start catching up to him. He becomes a magnet for pointless sex, crazy people, and death.
“Who’s a guy gotta fuck to get a free drink around here?”
The girl didn’t answer, she just brought my ticket over in a whiskey tumbler, and shot me a shitty look. The ticket said my server’s name was Brittany. She looked more like a Betty or an Alexis, to me.
“I’m the only one here, but I doubt we’ll be fucking tonight,” she snapped.
I thought she was being a bitch, but she followed her sentence with a cocky grin that made me think I might just stand a chance with this pretty little thing. I didn’t think she could really find me attractive; I was badly in need of a shave and I was nothing special. I was just an ordinary, average guy.
“So, this bad girl thing, is it just an act? It’s a fashion thing, right?”
“What the fuck is that suppose to mean?”
Brittany didn’t even look at me, she just kept counting.
“I’m just saying you have the dyed black hair, tattoos, and sexy, gothic, modern, pin-up girl thing going on. You must be a bad-ass, and if you are a bad girl, you wouldn’t give a shit about giving away a glass a wine.”
There was a long silence. She just twisted her ass in my direction while she finished fucking with her phone and counting her money. Then she jammed her tips and her phone in her purse and brought a bottle of Chardonnay over, and slammed it on the bar in front of me.
“Can you get me off?”
I pulled my last shabby five dollar bills from my front pocket, and slid them into the whiskey tumbler with my check.”What do you think?”
“I think, you look experienced. Get me off and you get the bottle. You do know where a woman’s clit is, right?
“As opposed to the man’s clit?” I snickered, “Of course I do, but why would I eat your pussy for a bottle of wine that I can buy at the Save-A-Dime, for $3?”
Brittany gave me a shit-eating grin, and bit her bottom lip.
“Let’s be honest. You don’t have to, and I’m a fucking idiot for even considering it, but I just caught my fiancé cheating on me, with my sister, before I had to come work tonight,” she hissed. “I’ve also been drinking rum all night, and I just took a hit of ecstasy, because I thought I was hooking up with my manager, who just left with some stupid bitch I can’t stand.”
She didn’t say anything else, she just brought me another glass of wine and snatched up the dingy dollars in front of me. She didn’t even count them. She just shoved all five bucks in her purse.
“Besides, you don’t have three dollars, or you wouldn’t be begging for a free drink.”
She wiped down the bars and cleaned a few more glasses. We didn’t talk. I sipped my wine and had a staring contest with a baseball report on one of the televisions, until Brittany switched them off. I didn’t care. I hated baseball anyway. I just watched the blank TV.
“I gotta go get some stuff out of the back. If you want that wine, you’d better come with me. There aren’t any windows back there.”
I watched as Brittany walked through swinging kitchen doors, and hopped up on a table. She rubbed her hands between her legs a few time, before the doors closed. She was ready, or as ready as either of us were going to be. I was sure she felt twice as ridiculous as I did. I don’t know why. I should have felt like I was winning a double, but something didn’t feel right. She could have had any guy in town. I’ll never know why she picked me.
I threw back the better part of the glass of wine and slid off the bar stool. I expected her to change her mind, as I walked through the cold, metal doors. She just bit her lower lip again, let out a little, nervous squeak, and spread her incredible legs.
I asked her, “Are you sure you want to do this?”
She didn’t answer me again. She slipped off her expensive-looking panties and dropped them off her foot, onto the floor. I took that as a “yes,” and all of that ridiculous feeling went away.
J. Travis Grundon has an academic background in English. He is the author of two short story collections, Eclectic Collection and Happy Hour Blues. He lives in Indiana.