Ray stopped by while Beef was out, and once again I could tell that he wanted to invite us over for dinner, but felt weird doing it because "the man of the house" wasn't in. Atypically for him, he actually sat down and chatted over some wine for longer than two minutes...maybe he's finally getting comfortable around me!
- + -
RAY: [knocks on open door] Hey hey HEY what does the government SAY!
ME: I give up! What does the government say?
RAY: Hey, chica! Beef home?
ME: No, he's at Walgreen's getting some medicine for his toes. What does the government say?
RAY: Huh? Oh. Probably somethin' like a raspy whisper, real menacing, like, "You gonna diiiiie, sucker!"
ME: I don't think the government really wants us to die, because then we couldn't pay it money.
RAY: Yeah, but if we die they get like fifty percent of our estate tax...I don't know, I'm just sayin', I been down on government since I played that game. You and Beef got dinner plans?
ME: No, not really. I was thinking of doing smoked salmon with some pasta. Will you join us?
RAY: So Beef'll be back for dinner? Dig. You know, I actually like smoked salmon if it ain't too fishy...you ever try some smoked salmon and it's hell of ass?
ME: Yeah, this is mild stuff. It's the kind Beef likes too, and he's super-sensitive to things that are hell of ass.
RAY: That's how you can tell he's a sane man. Those curtain-wearin' Russian grandmas, got like three different kinds of curtains tied around them as an outfit, ankles thick as the dickens with black shoes that look like they got baked in the oven, or raunchy old Eskimo people, man, they eat on some smelly-ass fish. That action is horrid. That action is not any kind of way.
ME: I picked up some nice wines after work today, I'll pour us a glass.
RAY: [loosening up] Daaamn. You know I got a quench on, right?
ME: It's after five, we're good. [gets wine]
RAY: [drains first glass] Wow. That just happened! [smiles]
ME: I didn't know you were so thirsty! [fills his glass again]
RAY: Well, just tryin' to mellow up. Old Ray been havin' a rough week.
ME: What's up, the third person?
RAY: Ohhhh, this and that. You know, I don't know if I could do what you guys are doin'.
ME: You mean getting married?
RAY: I just don't know if it's in old Ray's bones. I got a good heart, but it jumps around, you know? I might be all on a knee with some roses for Boliqua at the Stila counter, but next thing you know a spicy little sauce-pot is fillin' out her shirt at the grocery store, and...I'm sorry. I ain't mean to be crass to a lady.
ME: Well, I don't think you've been in love yet. You get really excited about eye candy, and because you're a passionate, imaginative person, you let yourself run away with your daydreams.
RAY: You know...that's IT! Damn! How is it women always see right to the quick of a guy? I'm like Robin Hood, but with love.
ME: I don't think you've ever had your heart broken, so you're sort of careless with it.
RAY: Oh, I've had my troubles. I can't let you say that.
ME: Did Tina break your heart?
RAY: Tina? Naw, man. Chick is dumb as a cough drop. She just smelled nice and was usually in bed.
ME: Did she ever hurt you, though? Sometimes even people we don't respect can make us feel bad.
RAY: Well, there was this one time. She was supposed to get this new queen-sized mattress delivered, and I knew she needed help gettin' it up the stairs at her apartment, so I waited around for her to call me. I waited and waited, and finally it's like eight o'clock, so I called over there, all anxious and worried that the mattress never showed up. Turns out, she had this big security guard friend of hers, Abado, carry it up. I was like, why didn't you call me to help? I thought we had a thing here? She just acts kind of surprised and goes, I didn't call you 'cause it was heavy. I didn't call you 'cause it was heavy. That dug at me. I kind of went off the hook and was like, "you know, they ain't stop cookin' steaks at Outback just 'cause you ain't there!" We were supposed to go to Outback Steakhouse that night, you know, but I went by myself, which was stupid because I hate that cheesy place and I had only made the reservation because she liked it.
ME: What did you have?
RAY: I had the Kookaburra Porterhouse Quartet. I remember it 'cause it came with this really hot clear sauce that they said was supposed to be white. The manager came over to apologize and offered me a free dessert, you know, since those places always have tons of dessert goin' bad, but I was like, can you just bring the white sauce? He pretended to pop himself on the forehead, did this little laugh, and came back with like a pint of the white sauce, which turned out to be ranch dressing.
ME: What was the clear sauce?
RAY: Heh! I should have asked. It didn't have any smell. I...damn, I really opened up just now! Man, was I talkin' for like half an hour? I'm sorry!
ME: Not at all! See, that's what it's like to actually talk. Women talk all the time, and men just bottle it up inside, which is why you like to watch collisions on television.
RAY: Do I owe you like a hundred bucks? Is that what Frasier gets?
ME: [laughs] This one's on the house.
RAY: [eyes empty glass] You mean, like the wine?
ME: [laughs again] Exactly. I'll go get the bottle.
RAY: You know, Frasier liked wine. He liked it so much that Kelsey Grammer got his bad self a DUI!
- + -
At that point Beef showed up with some steaks that had been on sale, so pretty soon we were back at Ray's lighting up the grill. He reverted back to his old self almost immediately, but I bet now that he's got the taste for opening up, he magically appears the next time he sees Beef head off with the reusable grocery bags.