A lot of you are probably already familiar with Rassles from Sometimes I Make Lists as we seem to lurk around the same cyber neighborhoods, but I’m a recent convert. Rassles signed on to the interview project I was running and made me a permanent fan with this post about a trip to the Creation Museum. I’m thrilled to have her aboard to hold keep things interesting around here for me while I’m lazing away in the Antipodean sunshine…
“Where are you from in America?”
“Chicago. Technically a suburb, but yeah. Chicago.”
Audrey starts chattering in incomprehensible French to Antoine, who widens his eyes and grins like he just got free candy, and he interrupts her and cracks back with some more French fireballs, and I have no idea what’s going on.
“He would like to know if you have a gun.”
I smile, and look at Antoine, shaking my head. “No, sorry.” A little golden Cocker Spaniel is rubbing herself all over my shoes, which have walked through nine countries in the past couple of months and are covered with all sorts of scented goodness and foot sweat.
More French. They rapid fire, back and forth, and I try to coax the dog over to me.
“Her name is Esme.”
Of course it is.
Audrey looks at me, puzzled.
Shit, I said that out loud. I beam up at her, and then at the dog. “She’s a beautiful dog.”
Antoine starts yammering again, and Audrey sighs. “Have you seen a man shot before?”
“No. I don’t really live in that part of Chicago.”
“But you have been to le Bronx?”
“Le Bronx, oui?” Antione looks hopeful.
“Uh-uh, sorry. The Bronx is in New York. I’m kinda far from there.”
She answers him, and he squints at me and leans forward, and this heavy ass gold chain falls out of his jersey. “I no…ummm…agree.” And then he’s speaking French again, his volume rising, and he keeps saying, “le Bronx le Bronx le Bronx.”
“Do you know a person in the Bronx?” Audrey is getting impatient. She’s a real fucking trooper, you know, letting a strange girl stay at her apartment. She works at the airport for Ryanair in Beauvais, and after Ryanair denied me entrance onto a plane, she offered to give me a place to stay, which was completely fine with me, considering the fact that I was broke, and I needed to get to Ireland. I’d left my friends in Paris so I could meet up with Leyden, who’d been playing rugby in the UK all summer. I look at her clock. If I’d made that flight, I would be in Dublin right now, hanging out with him and getting good and drunk. He’s probably waiting for me at the airport. Crap.
“Ummm…I have a friend in Brooklyn. But that’s not really the same-” I glance at Antoine, and he looks super bummed. He wanted some straight up gangstah story about guns and the Bronx, but seriously? I’m from the suburbs.
More French. “Is J-Lo really from the Bronx?”
I have no idea. “I have no idea.”
Antoine laughs and pulls Audrey onto his lap, being all fast-talking and French and slapping her ass, squeezing. She squeals, giggling, and explains through gasps, “He says…ahahaha! French le poisson! He says, J-Lo looks veree veree hahaha Francais! Je m’appelle! Amour! veree tough, and he wishes my behind could more like her.”
I have no idea what she was saying, by the way. Those are just random sporatic French words. Obviously.
Antoine looks sly. “Ass,” he states, triumphant, and takes another handful of it, in proof of ownership. Then there’s another giggle fit, and more flirting en Francais, and the Cocker Spaniel starts barking.
“Esme, haha! Francaisfrancaisfrancais.”
I do not like it when the attention is not on me. I am an interesting American, here, with adventurous tales of thieving urchins and mountain climbing and dueling with Spanish gypsies, and all they care about is le fucking Bronx.
“I am sorree. HaHA! Francais! Sometimes we play.”
All I can do is grin. “It’s alright.”
There’s another short monologue from Antoine, where he jumps up and tries to act something out for me, complete with sound effects and apparent hilarity (to Audrey), and all I can do is smile and nod. It ends Antoine faking a machine gun and a maniacal laugh.
“I don’t know what just happened,” I whisper to Audrey, who says simply, “It is a veree long storee. So you really have never been to le Bronx?”
“Well, no,” seriously, just lie, “but, well…my brother moved there a couple years ago. I haven’t really seen him.” I have no brother.
Audrey relays this to Antoine, now fucking ecstatic, who points at me and says more French things.
“He knew it.”
“Yeah, I guess it makes me kind of uncomfortable, because I never hear from him anymore, you know?” Frown. Look downcast and forlorn, do it, there you go. “He and my parents don’t get along.” Audrey is interpreting for Antoine again, who grins. This is what he wants, you know? America.
“He kind of gambled a lot, you know? And he kept on borrowing money from this loan shark. Some mob guy. I sent him my savings a couple years ago, to get him out of debt, but he just spent it all on who knows what. Probably horse racing,” I wipe my nose with my sleeve, “Drugs.”
She’s talking quietly in French as I speak and try to remember the plot to Pope from Greenwich Village and morph it into my own, because I’m sure they’ve never seen it, and Antoine listens, all kinds of giddy.
“Well, one day he thought he had a sure bet on a horse, some two-year-old that had good genes, I guess. He was always talking about good genes.” I’m dating myself here, but I’m sure this guy’s seen A Bronx Tale, and who really knows about horseracing anymore? “This mob guy who’d lent him money was really pushing him to pay him back. So I sent him everything I had. I couldn’t tell my parents.” Cry, dammit. Cry. I can’t cry. I can barely stop giggling. Sniff.
“A couple of days later I got an email from him. He said thanks for the cash, but his sure bet fell through, and he was going to have to disappear for awhile.” Sniff. “I haven’t talked to him since.”
“Francais francais francais,” Antoine rambles, excited. “Francais francais?”
“Is this really true?”
“Well, yeah, it’s true. Sorry, can I use your washroom?”
“Oh, of course.”
I run into there and start cracking up, after telling the worst story in the history of stories. Leyden is probably hanging out in an airport, waiting for me. Sucker. Muffy and Sean are in Paris, starting a secret relationship, glad I’m not around anymore, but I didn’t know it at the time.
Eventually, I exit the bathroom, crying from laughing so hard, and Audrey and Antoine say goodnight. I pass out on their couch, cuddling with Esme and reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, because I totally bought it in Barcelona the week before, despite low funds. I’d been seeing it on the international bookshelves for nearly a month, and I just couldn’t wait. Perfect thing to take my mind off of how I was going to find a way to Dublin.
Thanks, Freeman, for letting me write over here. Just so you guys know, if you made it to the end of this lengthy story, I made it to Dublin. Everyone was freaking out because I was lost for two days. It was super rad.
Have a blast on vacation. Don’t get lost.
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