Uptown Rantz

Don't Wanna Be No Uptown Fool

Dick Nabber Died

“Dick Nabber died,” Melissa announced as if it was a normal way to begin a conversation.

Melissa sells pharmaceuticals and she is great at it. She decided that she wanted to work for a different company and did what you’re supposed to do when looking for a job, but what few people actually do. She called hiring managers, waited outside offices to meet with people she didn’t schedule a meeting with, created a brochure of her experience and accomplishments and stayed up ‘til two or three in the morning making flowcharts of people she should network with.

She’s the extrovert to my introvert, and I wish I possessed her swagger. She has the confidence of a young Mick Jagger on The Ed Sullivan Show, the presence of Freddie Mercury at Live Aid and all the sincerity of a Dashboard Confessional record.

Melissa K.

Melissa got the better job she wanted and now has to sit out six months on a non-compete before starting. She spends an hour on the treadmill every day while watching re-runs of The Gilmore Girls. I once again came home to the whirr-whirr of the treadmill belt whirring from the basement. I walked down the steps with the aid of the new guardrail that wasn’t there yesterday…a by-product of her free time.

I saw her newly blond ponytail bouncing around about as she kept a steady pace, watching mother and daughter Gilmore cleverly quip in a way that absolutely no one quips in real life, even if they are genuinely clever.

“Who’s Dick Nabber?” I plopped down on her brown couch that she insisted on moving into my house even though it’s two apartments old.

“Dick…Neiber,” she clarified. I had to filter out her words in-between her panting and her 7.0 mph paces on the treadmill. It was like trying to talk to someone who is treading water.

“Oh, I thought you said Dick Nabber”

“I did. He was…the old gay man who lived…near my parents when I was growing up. He…was a member of the country club…where I waited tables in high school. We…all called him Dick Nabber…get it? Some called him Dick Nibbler, but I preferred…Nabber.”

“Yeah, I get it,” I stared at the ceiling thinking about the Tyson chicken strips in the freezer and Coronas in the refrigerator. Dinner.

“All us wait staff…were high school kids. When we poured him coffee and cream he would say… ““I was so poor growing up that if…we wanted cream for coffee…we had to jack off a dog.”” He was saying this to high school kids!”

“Corrupting minors with images of beastiality. How nice.” I fixated on her body from the couch. She wore a white Nike sports bra and pink Under Armour running shorts. A lone trail of perspiration ran down her back between the bottom of her bra and the top of her shorts. It collected in a small patch of wet fabric on her boy shorts visible through the Under Armours. I always loved the fact that she made it through her late teens and early 20’s without a tattoo – not even one on the ankle or a tramp stamp.

I got up to pick up the floating bookshelf that fell to the floor next to the television.

“I’ll fix that…I fixed it myself yesterday,” Melissa said, now walking on the treadmill in the cool down phase of her workout.

“And I’m picking it up off the floor. You did a good job fixing it.” When she moved in, I unpacked one of her boxes that contained an electric drill, electric sander and a plumbing wrench. I owned none of those things. Without a dad in her life growing up, her mom taught her and her sister how to change the oil in a car and how to change a tire. I can’t do either of those things.

I started to walk upstairs to pre-heat the oven for my chicken strips. As I reached for the freezer handle, a voice no longer out of breath shouted, “Don’t eat anything! We’re going to Lurcat tonight – my treat. And no calling Cheney. Just the two of us. I’ve missed you this week.”

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