What a TEASE!
Hello! I am working on a ton of new stuff, and one of those projects is a sequel to my first book, Rebound. The title is Sobering, and this time, instead of being dumped by a boyfriend, I get dumped by MY COUNTRY. DUN DUN DUNNNNNNN!
Anyway. This week is immensely stressful, but I do have the intro to Sobering mocked up, and so I'm sharing it here, today. The stories in Sobering will be similar to those in Rebound, fun and vodka-fueled, but I won't lie, it's of a heavier subject matter. Still, I promise the stories are still funny. I'm still a jerk.
Anyway here's a little blood in the water, for ya! It's just the intro. And if you haven't got your mitts on Rebound, my first book, get it here.
November 8, 2016: Election Night
That night, I didn’t wear anything sexy. My exposed cleavage, my tight pants, my crop tops were all retired for an evening. Tonight was a special occasion. Showing my ass or my tits didn’t matter one bit. I wasn’t a single girl looking for love. Men were the farthest thing from my mind. Tonight, I was a feminist and an idealist. Tonight, I was finally going to watch America elect our first female president.
I chose to meet Jordan and Allison at Padre, an upscale Latin- American fusion restaurant with a pretty, tiled bar top and great taco Tuesday deals. Also, strangely, Padre has what I can only call “The Dick Staircase.” It’s a wrought iron staircase leading to the upstairs craft cocktail lounge, and I’m not even kidding, it’s all dicks. Wrought iron dicks.
Allison and Jordan beat me there and had snagged a cocktail table in the corner next to a gallery wall of romantic Latin art. Colorful, embellished birds perched next to Frida-inspired portraits. A Corazon with wings was positioned diagonally from a painting of skeletons dancing and drinking. Several canvasses decorated with colorful plants and lush, dense greenery framed a larger painting of a woman in Dia de Los Muertos garb. The candle in the center of our table flickered as I sat down.
“Where are we at, ladies?” I asked.
I was a little late and wanted to know the political score. Allison took a long pull from her margarita and looked down. Jordan took a breath and looked me in the eye.
“Girl. It’s not looking good.”
I turned to look behind me, at the only television in the bar. I stared in awe. It took me a moment to process that the Democratic party was well behind Donald Trump and the Republicans. I checked my phone. 7:45 p.m.
“We have time. They’re just counting all the po-dunk states first because they’re less populated,” I picked up the drink menu.
The girls looked at me with forced smiles.
“I got the Tijuana Pharmacy once I saw we were losing,” Jordan lifted up her glass in a small cheers and took a sip, trying to smile again.
“I got a tequila flight. I have a feeling I’ll need to black this night out. Plus, hey, less calories, win-win,” Despite being borderline underweight, Allison was always chasing that ten-lb dragon.
“You guys. He’s not going to win. There’s no way,” I scanned the menu, confident in my statement,
“Where’s the waiter?” I asked, turning back to the television.
Trump had won Ohio. But I had unwavering faith in Hilary Clinton. She was overqualified to be president. She was an actual, experienced politician. Democrats had done the work and showed up to elect Barack Obama. I knew we could make history again. And then…from the television: ‘Donald Trumps’ path to the White House is becoming shockingly clear as he has now won the great swing state of Florida. This gives him 29 electoral votes, a real blow for Clinton.’
“Hey there, can I getcha’ something to drink? Our obnoxiously chipper waiter asked.
“Every time he wins a state, we have $5 shots of tequila, FYI,” Alison chimed in, looking down at several empty shot glasses on the table.
“Yes. I’ll have the Pepino Margarita and then also a flight…hmm, let’s go with the Mezcal,” I put the menu back on the table as he jotted down my order, “And I guess we’ll each have two shots of the $5 tequila for Ohio and Florida, yeah?” I asked the girls.
Alison and Jordan shrugged in hopeless approval.
“Okay and do we want salt on the Pepino?” The waiter spoke to me like a child, lifting his voice at the end of each of his sentences.
“Yes, actually, let’s make the Pepino a pitcher, thanks,” I said watching the television over his shoulder.
“Oh sure thing, and how many glasses with that?” He asked.
I looked at him and shook my head a little, my brow furrowed.
“One,” I told him flatly.
“Wow, you’re drinking margaritas?” Jordan asked.
“Yeah, well, it’s a monumental night,” I smiled, forcibly, crossing my fingers under the table.
You know what happened next, politically at least. But if you were drinking as hard as we were that night, I’ll give you a recap.
Trump won another swing state, North Carolina, about 20 minutes later. By then, I had taken two of the three shots from my Mezcal flight and downed two margs from my pitcher. Plus, we kept doing the $5 shots because who doesn’t love a bargain? 40 minutes after that, and another marg, Trump doubles up by taking Utah—no surprise there, really—and then, ten minutes later, my pitcher now empty, Iowa. I slammed my last Mezcal shot and ordered another round of the same. Jordan and Allison followed suit.
Our collective excitement at the table turned to collective doom. It was clear that Trump had won the election. But I refused to admit defeat. This couldn’t be real.
“This can’t be real,” Allison said, reading my mind. Reading all of our minds.
“It’s real,” Jordan said, her voice low, the light in her eyes nonexistent.
My second round of drinks arrived.
“You guys it’s only 10:30,” I said, slugging back another shot, “It’s so early.”
This was a stage of grief called bargaining and totally ridiculous. I was in Southern California. It was 1:30 a.m. in Washington D.C. Just as I couldn’t accept defeat, neither could Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, telling New Yorkers, “Let’s bring this home,” even after losing Pennsylvania to Trump, a state Hillary had long expected to win with ease.
“I can’t watch any more of this,” Jordan said, her face slumped in her hands, her eyes welling with tears.
“I don’t think we want to watch anymore of this,” Allison chimed in, pointing toward me as I poured another marg, swaying back and forth in my chair.
“Girl are you gonna’ be alright if I go home?” Jordan was always sure to check that everyone got home safely.
“Oh yeah, yeah!” I was sloppy, but absolutely determined to see this night to its horrible end.
I scanned the room, looking for anyone I knew.
“Scott!” I yelled out to one of my coworkers, who was with a handful of bar regulars I recognized from my bartending gig down the street.
Scott assessed the situation—I was very, very drunk—and saw that Allison and Jordan were packing it in. He nodded toward us, a sort of ‘I won’t let her die’ comradery. Bartenders are good that way.
Jordan and Allison shared an Uber home, and I was left to watch my country implode over another pitcher of Pepino Margaritas and a a few final shots of bargain booze. Just as the girls had exited, Trump captured Wisconsin. This pushed him past 270 electoral votes. I drank my margs straight from the pitcher, tears welling in my eyes, tequila running down my chin.
“Is Auriane going to be okay?” Bradley, a friend of Scotts, asked him with concern, watching me weeble and wobble, alone and in tears.
“Yeah man, don’t worry about her. She’s got this,” Scott said, eyeing me quickly and patting Bradley on the back for assurance.
At 11:35, I watched in abject horror, my eyes streaming tears, as Hillary Clinton conceded to Donald Trump. I held the pitcher, now, with both hands, and upended it into my mouth. I spilled booze all over my not-sexy, idealist outfit and dumped ice all over the table.
“Scott, I don’t think she’s okay,” Bradley nudged Scott and pointed my way, “We need to do something.”
The waiter approached the table, a check presenter in hand.
“Ma’am,” he said, gently, since I was crying.
“Sir?!” I spat back, and then slumped down in my chair, crying some more.
“I think it’s time—”
“I need my check,” I interrupted him, fumbling with my phone for an Uber.
“Wonderful,” he said, handing me the check presenter.
I tipped 100% (let that be a lesson to anyone out there who shows their ass in a bar—you need to pay for it), confirmed my Uber and nodded to Scott as I stumbled outside.
“Man, are you sure we don’t need to help her? She’s really fucking wasted,” Bradley asked Scott a final time.
“Nah, man. Trust me. She’s done this before...”