It began as an innocuous e-mail; no biggie, I get several of those on a daily basis. Why would this be different? It was.
I received a note from "Gladys" --we'll, that's not her real name actually, she begged me to be discreet. She said she was a "fourth-tier" reporter at one of the small, local stations and it was incumbent that we talk. Like now. Immediately.
I was skeptical and bit jarred; not so much the nature of the story but the fact she was very secretive and vague about what she was wanting; what she was seeking from me of all people; the only initial connection I could make was that she was indeed a female media reporter and that she seemed genuine. I wrote back asking her where she wanted to meet. She requested the Van Ness Holiday Inn at the bar on the ground level. She indicated that she'd be in a conservative black skirt with a beige top and matching heels. I was a bit nervous as I had no idea what was up and was further curious when she refused to say what indeed was on her mind but that to trust her because she couldn't discuss it via email --only in private.
After verifying her status and making sure she was legit I agreed to meet. Late night, about 10: 30 at the end of the bar. An off-duty United airlines pilot was nursing his second Amstel lite and I sat nearby noshing on a small bowl of cheese fish. "Gladys" hadn't arrived yet but I was a bit early and ordered a scotch and soda. Needless to say, my inner anxiety meter began to pulse up and I quietly had second thoughts. "Was I being set up?" And if so, for what? And just who was this woman and what was she looking for and why me?
After a brief interlude of watching some lame, Russian Women Soccer channel that the young barkeep had on in the background, I received a sudden, almost jolting grab from the back! OMG, what is this? A 35ish blondiful female almost out of central casting. She giggled uncontrollably and apologized for being late. I looked and acted almost incredulously --"excuse me, but are you Gladys?" She quickly whispered in my ear that indeed it was she. I knew full well her name wasn't "Gladys" but I went along with the game; I must admit her stunning beauty and big ET blue eyes gave me a momentary woody; frankly, I was overwhelmed. She was simply too gorgeous. My mind began to wander as I was both emotionally and physically seduced and little did I know what I was in store for; I could only try to settle down and regain my composure and sip on my second scotch and soda. I had a reputation to protect and donations to my blog to gather steam and momentum.
She quickly took her jacket off as she guided in a seat next to me and ordered a glass of Zinfandel and grabbed a few of my cheese fish. She didn't say much at first allowing me to gaze in and try to comprehend what was taking place. I recognized her as the TV reporter but she looked quite a but different in person, like really different; mind you I'm taking all this in and she's still silent and so finally, asked her what was up. "This is odd you know," I said softly to her. "You know, look, I've had a few rodeos in my life so I wasn't born yesterday but, please, what's going on--you must talk to me." And talk she did; maybe the wine was beginning to take effect. I didn't care at this point; I was still awash at her Mayberry-like beauty and innate ability to keep me in the loop, at a bar no less.
She indicated that she was having domestic problems and hubby and her were separated. It was mutual but she still had a connection--it wasn't a physical connection, she insisted, and that she sought me out because (bare with me) "I read you religiously and like your sense of humor and thought you'd be cool and could help me." Huh? Oh, please, is this some kind of joke? Are you kidding me, lady!", I was extremely angry at this point and could barely contain myself. I mean, we're talking weird here, weird! Here we have me and her, a technically married woman sitting late at night in the Holiday Inn on Van Ness. Just what the hell is going on? "Gladys" didn't back down--matter of fact she doubled down!
"Look, Rich, I know you think this is crazy but I need your help. I need your help like you have no idea." She ordered another glass of wine and asked the barkeep to get me another one. She threw a 50 at the guy and told him to keep the change. He gave me that look, like, "Pal, you must have hit the lottery tonight--enjoy, rock on dude!" Only I was internally having massive anxiety attacks. I still hadn't gathered if "Gladys" was fooling with me and even if she was sincere, A. Why me? B. She's still married and C. Just what was she after--was she trying to sabotage me, my 415 Media rep, what was she thinking?
Suddenly, without any thought, again, she began giggling mightily and whispering in my ear like a young Lucille Ball waxing poetically into Desi Arnez. I have to admit I was verklempt. Part of me was in complete shock, the other part of me seeming to allow the events at the bar to continue on. I was speechless and confounded, confused. She was starting to make it real rough for me.
She began to play footsy with me. I at first hesitated because I didn't know where this was leading to but intuition told me it was only going to get worse. She finished up the last of the cheese fish and began putting on some lipstick; firehouse red to be exact. In the background, George Michael's "Careless Whisper" percolated on the overhead sound system. Gladys seemed a little tipsy. I asked if she needed air. In the blink of an eye, she gave me a quick slap on the face and told me "no, asshole!" My God, this was too intense. I felt it would be irresponsible to leave her at the bar alone. She seemed to have a destination in mind as she waved the hotel key at my face and began to sing to Michael's tune. I was concerned. I now made it a point that I would not leave her --my thoughts were that leaving her would be callous and un-manly. She was not in harms way but soon a man, resembling the appearance of a young Marty Feldman, stepped in and I was never going to leave now. That's not the type of guy I am. I decided to stay. Gladys, meanwhile, was getting far more daring and unconventional. Her verbal sexual teases were now becoming more pronounced and real. I was in a conundrum.
TO BE CONTINUED