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Dealing with "That Guy"

By H.G. Miller

“Your song sucks and I want to sleep with your wife.”

So, maybe I was a little drunk, but he was a little high, and with that acoustic guitar strapped around his neck, he wouldn’t move too quickly, anyway.

“What?” he asked.

Not in an aggressive way, though. It wasn’t one of those “what the fuck did you just say!” kind of whats. It had the timid sound of a child in class who’d just finished another nude sketch of the teacher, looking up to find the instructor standing over him and asking for an explanation about the answer to some complicated math problem, which he had missed being drawn on the black board.

That’s the kind of “what” it was.

It meant he hadn’t heard me.

Nobody had, actually. Everybody was either in their own head, or working to understand what was in the heads of others.

You see, it was a Sunday, and sort of a holiday. Those who had day jobs would be sleeping in the next day, anyway. This was a group that had little use for the workweek, though, and so we just used the excuse of 80-degree weather to cook up some dead animals and toss back a few beers from the rooftop of one of Hollywood’s landmark hotels.

The place had been converted to apartments and rented out to transient transplants such as our selves. There was little left of the life that used to exist in places like these – glamour hotels constructed in the twenties, made famous by movie stars who sung songs about them during the depression so folks in middle America could dream about the high life in Hollywood.

Some seventies-era stucco condos crowded out the hills around these towers, but the charm of old Los Angeles still emanated out. And, we had roof access. A century later, the skyline still hinted at the manifest destiny that brought gold diggers out here.

There were maybe ten of us lounging out, eying the skyline and wishing for whatever youth we had left to last forever.

And, then this guy showed up with his hot wife and an acoustic guitar.

Yeah… that guy.

He spoke of nine novels he had going on in his head. He had an empty hash pipe and little hesitation in filling it from everybody’s stash. He strummed the opening notes of “Stairway to Heaven,” and God again failed to show His power by striking this man down before he could start forgetting the words of the second verse.

To be blunt: I’ve never met a guy who was more “that guy” than this guy.

And, I felt a moral obligation to knock him down a peg.

His wife smiled at me the way all married women did, freely and in a way that drove my mind to desire. It was a warm day, so it wasn’t long before she joined the rest of the girls in shedding clothes and moving shoulder straps around to avoid that one solid line that gave away a day of leisure. It only took a few drinks for the flirtatious comments to start rolling out with ease.

And, as is the nature of idiot singles such as me, I was infatuated.

Soon enough, my infatuation turned to frustration, and when she started harmonizing with her wannabe husband on some song he had written “from a dream” I decided it was time to start making stronger drinks.

Once the little logic man who inhabits my head had been put down, I let a little internal dialogue slip from my lips in my outside voice.

“Dude,” I said, because ‘dude’ is a word I use when it’s 80-degrees and I’m intoxicated, “your song sucks and I want to sleep with your wife.”


Of course, the little logic man woke up in a hurry and scrambled to stem this madness before it got out of hand.

“I said your song… could use a little work.”

“How do you mean, man?” he said ‘man’ because it’s a word guys like him use.

“Well,” I replied, “you don’t have a chorus and the verse is kind of meandering.”

“Yeah, but it’s supposed to be a stream of consciousness kind of thing.”

“But, you said this was written from a dream.”

“No, it was inspired by a dream,” he told me. “Never mind that. What was the other thing you said?”

The little logic man had no way of saying, ‘sleep with your wife’ in a nice way. So, he went with…

“What other thing?”

“You said something else.”

“Are you sure?”

“I’m pretty sure, man.” He started to giggle a little bit, and the little logic man knew he had this guy.

“Why don’t you take another hit?”

“All right, man.”

And, just because I could, I pushed it.

“You know, you’ve got a lovely wife.”

He nodded and exhaled.