They call them the 'dog days' of summer…you know, the way man's best friend has of just lying around in the shade doing nothing from about June to November. For us humans it's like waking up hot in the morning because the sun is seeping in through the blinds and is making you sweat even though your air conditioner is set at 75 degrees. The sheets feel kind of clammy and your skin feels about the same as the sheets. You don't want to get out of bed and go to work, assuming that you're the kind of person who has a job to go to. Or if you're idle, like me, you don't want to get up because you have no schedule.

 

Here in Fort Lauderdale, the 'dog days' can go on for six months and the only thing that gets you moving is either the threat of a hurricane or that rare cool snap that promises to stir your enervated sex drive. It's a great life down here on the whole and the wintertime is paradise. But, the summertime is the 'mean season' and that's what I want to talk to you about, what happened to me one day and night during the middle of summer, back one July sometime ago.

I would be 45 that fall but that day in July I felt much younger. I was single, in the way that some of us are. I had spent the day doing nothing and wondering if I could turn the air conditioner down to 70 degrees and still pay the FPL bill at the end of the month. As the sun began to set I thought about going down to my favorite gin joint in the Himmarshee "zone.” I slipped into some loafers without benefit of socks and admired myself in the minor. I looked maybe forty and with a little help from the dimness of bar light, who knows, could pass for 35 and holding.

There was a spring in my step and a whistle in my mouth as I entered the bar on Himmarshee. The bartender looked familiar and friendly like he was happy to see anybody step out of the heat and into his place. I ordered a Tanqueray and tonic and surveyed my surroundings. There was just me, a young couple oblivious to the rest of the world and the bartender. In the middle of my second gin and tonic, the door opened and a striking woman in a white tube top and red mini skirt came in. She sat one stool from me and crossed her long legs. She was neither shy nor coy, I soon learned. “Been here long, handsome?" she asked.

"Waiting for you seemed like an eternity," I said. It had been a lifetime since I used a line like that on a woman. I wondered if I could still blush like I did in the old days. She rose from her stool and took the one next to me. She pushed her little black purse next to my glass and gazed at me.

"Can a girl buy a guy a drink in this place or would the guy think the girl too bold?"

About an hour or so later and with the addition of a couple more gin and tonics I wasn't exactly at my best. She however, seemed to be just hitting her stride and she was decidedly hitting on me. She told me her name was Jones, Destiny Jones and that in this age of equality between the sexes she thought it was perfectly all right to come into bars and pick up a man. She asked me if I had a problem with that and I answered honestly, I had no problem with that, at all. Live and let love and let live and love, etc. The Tanqueray had made me brilliant beyond my phony forty years.

I was beginning to feel a little sticky even though I was sure that the temperature in the bar was a low 70 degrees or less. I knew what was shaping up with Destiny's come-on and I doubted that she'd be too pleased with my response.   Her sultry voice whispered, "What's your name, handsome"

"No guy's name can compare to a name like Destiny. So, let's pretend that I can be whoever you want me to be. Your choice, Destiny, what shall my name be, at least for tonight?"

She was quiet for only a moment and then she smiled some more. "Jeremiah, Jeremiah Jones. Destiny and Jeremiah Jones. Now we're a couple. How does that suit you?"

“Jeremiah suits me fine. Sounds like something out of the Bible. Maybe you should be Delilah."

"Destiny describes me too well to change it. Who knows, maybe I could be your destiny of the week, Jeremiah, or at least for one hot, lonely night in July in a little bar on Himmarshee street."

I knew it was time for the truth game. "Look Destiny, you're a beautiful woman with more sizzle than MacDonald's grill at rush hour and there's no place I rather be right now than be seated on this bar stool next to you, getting loaded on gin. But I'm not the guy you think I am."

"Don't be modest, Jeremiah. I like what I see and what I don't see, I can guess. I love a man with a handsome face and you sure got that... I see the outline of a hairy chest and probably great pecs. How about it Jeremiah, do you have great pecs to go with that hairy chest and package?

"As a matter of fact, I guess I do have those physical assets. But the truth is, well... I kind of fall for men with those attributes, myself."

Destiny Jones and I have moved in together. He's stopped shaving his chest and doesn't get into that drag stuff outside the apartment. Destiny keeps saying that we need to go back to the bar on Himmarshee and replay our first meeting. But I don't think we should tempt fate.

Between you and me, I get a little restless some nights. After all, maybe a guy named Destiny and a guy named Jeremiah aren't meant to last into the cool season...could be it was fate that brought us together but this romance is not our true and final destiny.

Anyway, I'll catch up with you again...say next June? Fill you in on it all…hey, why not? Come around the next "Dog Days" of summer, we'll bump into one another in that little gin bar on Himmarshee.


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