By Erica Nicole Clark, stand-up comic and author
To this day I don't know the reason for celebrating Cinco de Mayo. But one year my friend Debbie and I decided to make it the best May 5 we'd ever had. Most of the day was spent downing sangria and taking shots of Jameson while discussing Dave, the new improv comedian I had recently started dating. Not long before I'd broken up with my boyfriend of seven years, so to hear about anyone new immediately caught Debbie's attention.
This was our night. Drinks, cigarettes, shots. I showed off Dave's Facebook profile.
At around 3 AM, Debbie gets the bright idea that I should text Dave to meet us out. He lived right around the corner in Lakeview, and we were at the shittiest bar known to man.
Nervously, I texted, "Hey Dave, you should meet me and Debbie."
He replied quickly: "Gotta work in the morning."
Debbie was disappointed. A dirtier, raunchier text would get his attention, she said. That's not usually my style, but her goading and some Jameson convinced me. "If I come over later, will you eat my pussy?" I texted.
And then—nothing. No response. I waited. Smoked another cigarette. Got another shot. Still no reply.
I checked my phone again. And that's when I realized the problem: Dave didn't respond because I didn't text Dave. I texted Dad.
Side note: My dad is Mr. T. Yes, that Mr. T.
I took the battery out of my phone and threw it, hoping irrationally that would delete the message I'd sent.
Debbie's brilliant plan was to call my dad and explain the text wasn't meant for him. Like, "No, daddy, I don't want you to eat my pussy. I want Dave to eat my pussy. Happy Cinco de Mayo!"
I put the battery back in my phone. Immediately it rang. It was my father. And he was screaming. But strangely not about the errant text message.
"Erica! Erica! Is everything OK? Do you need money?"
"No . . . " If he was worried I was selling my body for cash, he didn't linger on the subject.
"How's ya momma? How's Lesa?" That's my sister.
"They're fine," I said, stunned at the conversation's quotidian turn.
"OK," he said. "Bye."
Dad didn't ever ask me about the origin of the explicit message, and I've never had the guts to explain myself. But maybe that's for the best. v