By Mike Doyle
A funny thing happened in Pittsburgh. My friend Tate and I had travelled to the Steel City for a football coaches’ conference. Neither of us had been to Pittsburgh, so we arrived a day early to explore the city. Of course, as young men in our twenties, we planned to seek the company of young women.
On a frigid, windy night in January, wearing jeans and leather-sleeved athletic jackets, we walked six blocks until we heard the sound of thumping disco music. It was 1974, and disco was king or queen. I’m not sure which. For a moment, we stood before the source of the music. We smiled at each other and ascended the steps to the entrance and opened the door. We entered a poorly-lit foyer where a tall, burly man looked us up and down. He shook his head and smirked. He didn’t speak a word but pointed at a large sign that read, “Gentlemen must wear sport coats. Absolutely no blue jeans allowed.”
I leaned toward Tate and whispered, “What do you want to do?”
He looked over my shoulder at the strobe-light-lit dance floor packed with writhing beauties dancing mostly with other writhing beauties. Tate smiled, “Brother, it looks like we hit the mother lode.”
“But what about that long, cold walk back to the hotel to change clothes? Wouldn’t it be easier to look for another place?”
“Would a prospector in Alaska who just hit the mother lode walk away from it because it was too cold? No, and it’s cold enough there to freeze tobacco juice before it hits the ground. I swear, Coach, you’re turning into a wimp. You want to get laid, don’t you?” He looked into the club again. “It looks like our odds for a good-looking female to have breakfast with in the morning are pretty damned good right here.” He grabbed my arm and ushered me back into the cold night.
We returned properly dressed with sweaters beneath our sport coats to thwart the attack of Old Man Winter and appease the unfriendly doorman. As we entered the club, I said, “Wow, can you believe this place! It looks like they’ve exceeded whatever limit the fire marshal set.”
Tate slapped me on the shoulder. “Yes, and I’d guess that three-fourths of them are women.”
After we bought drinks at the bar, and as Fate would have it, I found myself beside a dark-haired beauty with big brown eyes. We talked, we laughed, we danced. For some reason, it felt perfect. If you’re thinking that I got laid, you’d be greatly mistaken. What I got was much better than that. That dark-haired girl has been my wife for forty-seven years.
Sometimes the seemingly most insignificant decisions turn out to be the biggest in one’s life. Indeed, a funny, wonderful thing happened in Pittsburgh.
Mike Doyle, a native Ohioan, has published two novels, Whitewater, Ohio and Bubba and the Bedroom Cowboys. Mugs, Jugs, and Hugs; Cruising, Boozing, and Schmoozing; and Holidaze, Covidhaze, and Busbywaze are humorous books of short, short stories featuring a senior couple, Floyd and Miriam Busby. Mike’s short story “Valentine Days” was a finalist Florida Writers’ Association Royal Palm Literary Awards.