I know I pushed my dear readers' patience with a deviance from NatCon on that last post. But I'm making up for it now. Part two coming shortly.

Enjoy responsibly.

(That means you Syd)

Art With Liquor

So he takes you to an Irish wake, partly because you've never partied with the dead and mostly because it's a Windex streak-free excuse for alone time. Well, as alone as a pair can manage in a roomful of cheerful, drunken mourners. It's an odd first date, if you can call it that. Which you won't. But then he mentions he'd met his future ex at one of these cultural events and you wonder about patterns.

So you sit at a high, round table with the stickiness of too many spilled Guinness's and not enough napkins. Beer bottles leave condensation rings, forming a maze that you trace, muddling the perfect circles into something more random. Something in the lazy movement of your finger transfixes him and art with liquor is born. The stool is cushy and twice as gooey as the tabletop but you don't mind. Because he's next to you wearing a pale gray shirt topped with an easy grin. It's a potent combination that's getting notice from the Irish eyes smiling in his direction. And you lean closer than propriety advises. Through feminine telepathy you shout 'mine' despite the lie of it. And the beer is cold but you hold yourself to one in order to get through this day without kissing him in front of his 300 cousins.

So once a few red-faced old gentlemen finish unscripted eulogies garbled in slurs, the crowd lessens a fraction. He tells you they're moving onto another pub to express their grief through an Olympic sized dart board. And maybe you'd like to see what transpires when sobriety-challenged men are handed pointy projectiles. Carnage isn't a bad way to prolong the date that isn't. You follow the ambling revelers to a smaller bar and its oversized sports equipment and it turns out his aim improves with added alcohol. You can't help but wonder what other steel-tipped apparatus you might have in hand tonight.

So you discover he's quite talkative when immersed in the womb of excessive family. And animated, which could also be contributed to that fifth beer. Or the shots deemed mandatory for saluting late lamented… uncle somebody or other. His arm, formerly waving to illustrate an interception that morphed into a lateral pass which saved the high school football season, finds rest at your waist. It stays while cousin number 408, the old defensive lineman, explains how he caught that lateral and hefted all 276 pounds into the end zone. It stays while the gathering shows signs of attrition. There are no fewer than ten cabs outside to usher the sleepy patrons into the warm darkness of the Massachusetts night. It hasn't occurred to you that home isn't your final destination today.

So your surprise is genuine when you stand at the front desk of a charming bed and breakfast with your boss, who is taking your hand in an assuming way that should raise your borrowed Irish ire. But his eyes are asking and your affirmation comes in a display that drops the jaw of the elderly clerk. The old bed will be a problem, not because it's the only one, but that it may not be up to the task. He grins, unbothered by logistics because there's a comforter, a floor and a fireplace. Watching him stoke the flames inspires a shocking number of ridiculous metaphors.

So apparently he's not as repressed as he portrays. And you wonder if what happens in Boston stays in Boston.