My first real job was at an IT company just starting up in Fort Worth. There were seven of us at the time, and though we may not be in contact, I love them all to this day. I want to know that going in, despite the story you are about to read.
This one takes place during Christmas time, maybe in 2006 or 2007. I thought that instead of getting our boss, the owner, a few small gifts, we could pool our funds and get him something more significant. After getting everyone else on board, I asked his wife what would be a good gift for him. She told me he was looking to buy a pair of boots.
Everyone pledged something like fifty bucks, and I went to Boot Town or Western Warehouse and bought a gift card matching what everyone would donate. As I said, I loved my coworkers and was doing alright enough financially that I could float them until they reimbursed me later.
I trusted them, is what I mean.
There was going to be a Christmas party at the owner’s new house. I helped my boss set up the karaoke machine a few days before the big event.
My coworker Dave and I had met at a karaoke bar and had been hanging out for years before he was hired on. Dave had a love for karaoke, though his singing voice might have been described as a little flat and nasally. But he could do a mean “Humpty Dance.” The Digital Underground would be proud.
What Dave lacked in vocal quality, he more than made up for in humor and mischief. So on the morning of the big holiday party, when I was going around and collecting reimbursement for their shares of the Christmas gift card, Dave wrote me a check. In the memo field, he wrote, “For Anal Sex.”
We shared a laugh, and one of my other coworkers caught on to what he did and followed suit. Then the rest of the coworkers were all paying me back with checks. And all of them wrote “Anal Sex” in the memo field. It was a riot, even though the joke was on me.
That night at the party, we drank these orange and cranberry martinis. My boss was demonstrating how to make them, and I was far too gone to follow the recipe but not enough to stop drinking them.
The karaoke was fun too. At the time, I was much more limber, and at the karaoke bars, I would make these moves to finish a song: jump kicks, spins, hand gestures, the works. Being annihilated as I was, I thought doing a power slide in my boss’s living room would be a great idea. The old pair of jeans I wore that night couldn’t take the strain, and the crotch ripped out to my back pocket.
This was maybe the best cue that the party was over I could have received, and we all filed out, but before I did, I remember downing all the half-drunken martinis and champagne glasses on the counter.
The following day I woke up with the pressing urge to deposit the reimbursement checks I had been given. It was laundry day, and having nothing clean to wear, I slipped on my jeans from the night before and hit the road.
As I ambled up to the counter at Washington Mutual, fishing the five checks from out of my pocket, the realization hit me that each of these five checks had in the memo field that the reason for the payment was “Anal Sex.” Though I couldn’t tell you the going rate, now or then, fifty bucks seemed pretty cheap. Worse still, was the ripped-out crotch of my jeans and how that added another layer of sadness to the story.
I thought I caught a look in the bank teller’s eye. And was she trying to bite her cheeks to keep from laughing? I couldn’t be sure. But in my hungover state, I remember thinking, “Eh, it’s a living.”