CHAPTER 2: "Night On The Town..."

Michelle got back to her apartment around six, ate a sparse dinner of leftovers while watching a videotape of "The Young At Heart" (so far, she was a month behind), then proceeded to get "dressed to kill." Tonight, she planned to look like a sex goddess -- and act like an ice maiden.

Her plan was to meet men tonight -- and make them want her. Then, when she had them safely wrapped around her finger -- emasculate the little shits. Drop them cold. Damn it...all she'd ever really wanted from a man was a little tenderness...a little affection...she wanted to made love to, not just "poked" and wasn't as if she'd asked for heavy commitment (although she would have liked that as well, eventually), or anything like that...but the shits couldn't even go that far for her. Looking back at her experiences with men over the last few years, she felt like she'd been a conquest...some prize to be won, to be discarded when the novelty of victory had worn off. So...that's how men really felt about her? Fine! By god, she'd give them all a gaudy taste of hell!

Her plan, naturally, was to make herself up to look as desireable as possible...then go to some cocktail bar or lounge, and present herself as available. As to what was going to happen when a man finally "came onto her," Michelle hadn't quite figured out. Oh, she knew what she wanted the results to be...she just hadn't decided exactly how she would achieve them.

Essentially, Michelle wanted to make men feel small...insignificant. She wanted to castrate them (psychogically speaking). Since the size -- and corrosponding fragility -- of a man's ego was in direct proportion to (what he percieved as) the size of his prick, she felt it would be no problem at all. She was attractive, and men were always "on the make" -- this night would present few real challenges. But oh, it was going to be fun.Revenge was indeed sweet.

Problems started almost immediately. For one of the few times in her life, Michelle could not decide on what to wear. Basically, she knew it would be to her advantage to show as much skin as she could tastefully get away with -- enough to arouse interest (and desire), but also enough covering so as to tease -- and "tease" was definitely the theme of the evening. "Tease" in the cruelest sense of the word. Finding just the right outfit, however, was proving to be a challenge all by itself.

Michelle usually preferred shades of blue to match or compliment the color of her eyes. The first outfit she tried -- a short denim skirt and white long-sleeved blouse, set off with her favorite blue scarf -- seemed unsophisticated when she looked at herself in the vanity mirror. No cowboy bars for me, she thought -- first of all, she hated country music (although her cousin Kathie seemed to like it), an secondly, she thought the subtlety of the game she planned to play tonight would be completely lost on ignorant rednecks. Going into her walk-in closet (costs a bit extra on the rent, she always thought but well worth it ), she pulled out a blue dress with slits up the sides she'd had since college -- and found, to her horror, that it not only didn't fit right anymore, but actually made her look as if she had no figure at all. Ye gods, she thought, what was I thinking? Michelle had always been proud of her looks (some would even say a bit vain), and the blue mini-dress she'd been so fond of a few years ago did nothing to flatter her.

Michelle began to re-think her whole strategy -- what sort of outfit was going to help her in her "ball-busting" mission tonight? Ye gods, she thought. I didn't used to be this calculating. In college, she'd hated the girls who used to play "the game," as she and Kathie would call it. Now I'm acting just like them, she thought. Just then, her eye landed on a black dress she'd bought just the week before. But for a different reason...there's nothing I want from these guys tonight...except to see 'em squirm.

Five minutes later, Michelle stood admiring herself in the full-length mirror. Nodding, she thought, Mmmm--mmmm! That's the ticket...Suddenly, she realized she was starting to get rather aroused by her own reflection. Oh my god, she thought. Then, once again her thoughts began to turn to her cousin Kathie. She closed her eyes and began to run her hands over her breasts...then shook her head fiercely. Don't forget what you're all about tonight, Mishi, she told herself firmly. Almost as an afterthought, she put on a black choker with a cameo of her late grandmother. Then she stepped back and admired herself once more in the mirror. Yes, Mishi, you are definitely going to break a few hearts tonight, she said to herself as she came out of her closet. The only problem there was, she wasn't at all convinced that men had a heart to break...

But at least she could bruise their precious egos.

Michelle sat on the edge of her bed for a few minutes, collecting her thoughts. Things seemed so different now than they even had this afternoon. The time she'd spent with Kathie, she felt light-hearted, loving, fun...

...and now she was feeling bitchy and vindictive.

I like the way I am when I'm with Kathie, she thought. Why can't I find a guy that makes me feel like that? For the second time in fifteen minutes -- and perhaps the tenth or eleventh time that day -- she fould her thoughts drifting back to that wonderful summer with Kathie...the sweet kisses they had shared, and the only time she'd ever really felt --

NO!! Michelle told herself firmly. Don't go there, girl. Kathie's forgotten all about that, and you should too.

Michelle finally stood up, picked up her purse, and started out the door. Suddenly, she wasn't sure she really wanted to do this -- or even go out at all. She looked up at the wall-clock in her living room. I could catch up on all the episodes of The Young At Heart I've been missing....

She shrugged. Finally, she decided to meet herself half-way. She'd go downstairs and walk around the corner to the neighborhood pub she went to sometimes...stay for an hour or so, just to see what might happen. No law said she'd have to stay...

With the slightest smirk, Michelle walked out the door, down the stairs, and out into the early spring evening.

* * * *

"Ashley's Place" was actually fairly nice, as far as cocktail lounges went. Michelle went there periodically for a drink with friends, mainly because it was only two blocks from her home. She arrived about ten minutes later, still not even sure she wanted to be there tonight. Nice or not, "Ashley's Place" was still essentially a "meat market" for lonely -- or more accurately, horny -- young singles on the prowl.

No sooner had Michelle sat down at the bar than she started wishing she hadn't come. She ordered a wine spritzer, which she sipped at half-heartedly. What the hell am I doing here, she thought.

"Hi there," said a masculine voice. Michelle looked from her drink, then immediately rolled her eyes. thought. The young man who had seated himself next to her wasn't bad-looking...not a movie star, by any means, but what Michelle might have, at another time, thought of as "passable." Right now, she would have preferred sitting next to a six-foot slug to being with any member of the male speices...especially this guy, with that pathetic, hopeful look of lust in his eyes...

"Look...make it easy on yourself...just go back in the little boy's room and jerk yourself off, okay?"

"Whoa!" the young man said. "Hey, I was just tryin' to be sociable."

"No," replied Michelle curtly, "you think you might get some pussy from me tonight. Well, ain't gonna happen, so just take off, okay?"

The young man scowled at Michelle. "Geez, what a bitch," he muttered as he got up and walked away.

Michelle smirked to herself. In some perverse way, that encounter had actually made her feel better. down. How many to go...?

She looked around the room quickly, then turned back to her drink, waiting for her next "victim."

A few more men came around to her during the next hour...all recieved a similar brush off. By the time man #4 came around, Michelle starting her third wine spritzer and starting to feel a bit tipsy.

"Good evening, pretty lady," the man said pleasantly. "Mind if I join you?"

"I don't long's your prick?" replied Michelle, saucily.

"Excuse me?" replied the man, not quite believing what he had heard.

"Simple question, I think," answered Michelle. "I just want to know the size of your prick."

"I'm sorry -- I - I'm not sure I quite understand..." the embarassed young man stammered. By now, people around them were starting to listen to what was proving to be a fascinating discussion.

"Look, I see you've been lookin' at my tits since you sat down...since I can't look at your dick, I think I'm entitled to know how big -- "

"Please, Miss Michelle!" exclaimed Rashi, the Pakistani bar tender. "Please not to speak so rudely to our guests! Miss Ashley runs very classy place here!"

"Hey, it's okay," grumbled the young man, getting up. "I'm outta here."

Michelle chuckled as he watched him go. By god, she was having fun.

Rashi clicked his tongue and shook his head. "I do not know why you are behaving this way tonight, Miss Michelle," he said disappointedly. "Such talk will not get you the affections of a gentleman."

Michelle laughed out loud at this. "Rashi, just bring me another."

Rashi shook his head. "I think you have had one too many, Miss Michelle."

Michelle pulled out a $20 and threw it at him. "Keep it -- just bring me another."

Rashi shook his head as he made one more wine spritzer. "I only hope you are not driving from here this evening."

Michelle sighed and focused on the small amount of wine spritzer left in her glass.

"I really like the way you've been handling the guys tonight."

Michelle turned around. The woman who'd spoken was about her own age, Asian, and quite beautiful, she thought. Michelle regarded her for a moment, then started laughing.

"What's so funny?"

"Don't you see it?"

"See what?" the young Asian woman asked. Michelle thought she detected the slightest trace of a Spanish accent, oddly enough.

"Look at me -- I'm a redhead in a black dress -- and you're wearing practically the same dress, except you're dress is red, and your hair is black! You're backwards!" Again, Michelle started giggling. It wasn't particularly funny -- but the Asian woman started giggling as well.

"You're right -- isn't that something..." she sat down next to Michelle in the seat the young man had just vacated. "Look, can you do me a big favor?" she asked in a somewhat conspiratorial tone.

Michelle, still grinning, replied, "Why not? What do you need?"

"There's a guy behind you -- no, don't turn around -- anyway, he's been hitting on me all night."

Michelle brightened. "Oh, you'd like me to get rid of him for you -- ?"

"Oh, no, no -- I mean, yes, I want to get rid of him-- but we kinda have to be a little more -- oh, subtle, I think." She frowned. "I'm a little bit afraid that what you've been doing all night -- well, he might actually like it."

Michelle nodded. "I see...okay, what do you want me to do?

The Asian girl grinned and nodded. "Just follow my lead."

She looked over Michelle's shoulder. Suddenly, she took Michelle's hand and said out loud, "Gosh sweetie! So nice to see you!" With that, she leaned over and kissed Michelle full on the mouth.

At first, Michelle couldn't believe what was happening -- this was just about the last thing she expected. As the Asian woman kissed her, Michelle's eyes opened wide -- looking out the corner of her eye, she realized that nobody was even noticing them.

As the kiss lingered, Michelle suddenly felt a warm wave of desire wash over her. The other woman had her mouth open ever so slightly, sliding her lips caressingly against Michelle's. Michelle closed her eyes and reached up, putting a hand on the other woman's arm. The Asian girl gently placed her hand on Michelle's thigh, while at the same time, flicked the tip of her tongue over Michelle's lips quickly before pulling back with a gentle smack.

Oh my god, thought Michelle, her heart pounding. She looked around quickly. Amazingly, no-one was even looking in their direction.

"Thanks," said the Asian girl, grinning. "That seemed to do the trick."

"Anytime," said Michelle, blithely, turning to her fresh wine spritzer. Oh yes -- anytime at all. My god, I haven't been kissed like that since --

"My name's Tammy, by the way," the young Asian woman said.

"Michelle," she replied taking Tammy's hand and squeezing it. She gazed into the other woman's almond eyes for a moment. Her heart was still pounding, still thinking about that incredible kiss...

"Mind if I sit with you?" Tammy asked.

"I'd -- I'd like that," Michelle answered. Tammy smiled. Ye gods, she's beautiful, thought Michelle. She said "I don't think I've seen you around here before." That was lame, she thought. Just what those jerk-offs say when they're trying to put the moves on you.

Tammy just smiled. "No," she said, "actually this is my first time here." She glanced around. "It's nice," she added.

Michelle nodded. "As far as meat-markets go."

Tammy laughed at that. "I guess you're right about that..."

Michelle took a swig of her wine spritzer. "I usually just come in here after work, 'cause it's only two blocks from my place -- I'm not usually down here at night."

Tammy nodded. "So what's different tonight? Your boyfriend stand you up?"

Now it was Michelle's turn to giggle. "No, no...nothing like that..."

Tammy sighed. "Well, that's what happened to me."

Michelle put a sympathetic hand on Tammy's arm. "I'm sorry to hear that...but I can't say I'm surprised."

Tammy smiled. "Between that and what I've been watching you do all night -- "

Wait," Michelle interrupted. "You've been watching me?" Whoa,she thought. This is a bit strange --

"Well -- yes, actually," Tammy confessed. "You're so good at handling men...I thought I could learn something."

Michelle shrugged. "Not really."

"What do you mean?"

"I'm not so good at handling men," Michelle sighed. Suddenly, Michelle had a feeling...she turned around. Two guys were standing behind them with leering expressions on their faces.

"Hey, doll -- you and your friend wanna dance?"

"I'd rather eat slugs," Michelle retorted.

Hey, they do that in France -- " said the other one. Michelle cut him off.

"Look, my friend and I are kinda busy -- take a hike."

"But what about your friend -- ?"

Tammy grinned. "You know, I think there's an adult bookstore down the street -- why don't you head on down there?"

The first man looked surprised. "What, you wanna -- "

"No -- but you're gonna get more action there than you will here, so piss off!"

"Hey, there's no -- " the second man started. His companion cut him off, shaking his head.

"C'mon -- fuck these broads." They turned and left.

Michelle and Tammy burst out laughing, and slapped their hands together in a "high five" gesture. Suddenly, Tammy turned. "Hey, it looks like that table in the corner opened up -- you wanna move there?"

Michelle looked and nodded. "Sure," she agreed. Maybe the men would leave them be...suddenly, she wasn't interested in her game anymore...she'd rather get to know this new friend she was making.

Tammy, it turned out, was actually from Puerto Rico, but her mother had been Hawaiian...she'd come to Port Landers just before entering high school, and it had been her home ever since.

"I've been working over at a place called the 'Tin Lizzie' since I got out of school."

"I've heard of it...never been there," replied Michelle. "You tend bar there?"

"Actually, I sing with a band there," Tammy replied. "And serve drinks in between."

"Really?" said Michelle. "I used to sing in high school -- did a little in college, but I never felt like I was that good at it." She sighed.

Tammy giggled. "Oh, I bet you're better than you think. You just have to practice at it." Suddenly, Tammy tilted her head. The juke box had been going in the background, but neither of them had been paying much attention to it until that moment. "Oh wow," exclaimed Tammy, "I love this song."

Michelle nodded. It was a catchy little tune that she'd heard before, but had never really paid attention to. Tammy grabbed her arm.

"C'mon and dance with me," she said.

Michelle shrugged, smiled, and followed Tammy to the dance floor. It wasn't unusual to see women dancing together, although it wasn't something she herself did very often -- but why not? she thought.

Michelle considered herself a fairly good dancer as well, but none of her boyfriends ever seemed to be into it -- dancing, for them consisted of waiting for slow songs, then grabbing her ass and grinding against her - something she might not have minded in private -- but not on a public dance floor! (Of course, it never happened in private.)

Dancing with Tammy was a sheer joy, by contrast. She seemed to know all of Michelle's moves and how to respond to them -- it was almost like they'd been dancing together for years.

I really like her, Michelle thought.

They took turns buying rounds, until both of them were quite drunk and giggly. Funny, thought Michelle, but I don't feel drunk. She couldn't remember when she'd had such a good time with anybody.

Finally, Rashi announced last call, and it was time to go

"How'd you get here?" Michelle asked.

"Oh, I took the bus," Tammy answered. "I was gonna call a cat -- uh, a c-ca- a cab!" She burst out laughing. Michelle joined her.

"God, we're both pretty smashed, aren't we?"

"Yup," Tammy agreed.

Michelle gave her new friend an affectionate look. "I really had fun tonight," she said.

Tammy giggled and nodded. "Me too. And hey, we should get together again sometime -- "

Michelle replied, "I'd like that."

Tammy said "You should come over to the 'Lizzie' -- I'd love to sing for you -- but here, let me give you my number -- " she started to stand up, and swayed unsteadily.

Michelle reached up and grabbed her arm, and again they both dissolved into laughter. "Look," she said, "I've got an idea -- we're gonnabe hatin' life in the morning -- why don't you come over to my place, it's only two blocks from here -- I'll make us some coffee, and you can call a cab from there." She grinned, adding "save yourself a quarter -- and I make damn good coffee."

Tammy giggled again. "Why not?"

Slowly, Tammy helped Michelle to her feet. Giggling like schoolgirls, the two of them put an arm around each other, navigated lurchingly across the room and staggered out the door and out into the spring night. It had indeed been a memorable evening.

And it wasn't over yet.