Richard Roe +1

You become acutely aware of your place in the world when you’re the +1.

Your name isn’t on the list. You don’t even have a name. You could be anyone. They’ve could’ve brought someone else.

But there I was, a +1, on the end of the Sunset Strip at a lounge named after a street a few blocks away in Beverly Hills. Oh, those crafty club owners. Nothing drives up the value of your venue like associating it with a wealthy residential street… But I can’t really talk. My name wasn’t even on “the list.”

Outside, as they say, was a meat market. Or more aptly, an Iranian meat market. Persians lined the streets waving money at zombie-like bouncers. Turns out they hit capacity two weeks ago and haven’t let anyone in since. We were free to stand outside as long as we liked though.

Naturally, I was drawn to the longest line where I expected to wait until we decided that the place sucks and left. I moved towards that line only to learn that each of the forty people had informally committed to bottle service. There they were, patiently standing in line, prepared to spend a thousand bucks on a hangover. Clearly, that wasn’t the line for us.

We were guests! I was a plus one! And by god, I refused to mingle with people who have more than my networth between the folds of their wallet. After about a minute we found our man: Tall, black, void of emotion. We assured him our presence was needed inside. He agreed.

We were escorted through the backdoor. We walked through a kitchen. I accidentally mistook the walk-in refrigerator for a bathroom. Eventually, we reached our destination. Smiling young people with bright teeth and clear eyes. Yes, we had arrived. Yes, it was an open bar. Things were starting to make sense. One tequila, two tequila… yes, things were crystal clear.

Did I mention it was a birthday party? The birthday girl: a lanky blonde, marginally famous, a model by trade. She once drank a bottle of sauvignon blanc on my couch. She didn’t remember me. She did however remember the gentleman whose plus one I accounted for. He brought a gift. That suave bastard! Maybe if I had brought a gift she’d remember slaking herself in my domicile. I doubt it.

My friend, let’s call him GENTLEMAN CALLER and the BIRTHDAY GIRL embraced, exchanged pleasantries, etc. Here’s what followed:

GENTLEMAN CALLER: I got you a present.

BIRTHDAY GIRL: You’re so sweet! (Another hug, she looks longingly into his mahogany eyes and finds the meaning of life).

Keep in mind, said present is nowhere in sight. In fact, it’s in the car.

GENTLEMAN CALLER: Guess what it is.

BIRTHDAY GIRL: Give me a hint. (winks)

GENTLEMAN CALLER: It’s something you do everyday

BIRTHDAY GIRL: Drugs!

The gift was a bottle of wine.

No one laughed.

Inside, I smiled. My heart was full.

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