St. Patrick’s Day Post and Excerpt

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Almost every year since my freshmen year in college, I have adopted an “Irish for One Day” existence. I have celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with gusto—from “Kegs and Eggs” parties with the boys from Tau Kappa Epsilon in college, to post-college and way post-college afternoons spent drinking pints of Guinness and doing shots of Jamesons Whiskey in pubs in New York City, Hoboken, Pearl River and Belmar. I’ve hit the parade circuit with my Irish friends, waited in very long lines at early morning hours to get into crowded bars, kissed my share of strangers (yeah, it happens) and I even got a ticket for open container drinking in the street. On March 17th, and often the weekends before and after, I’m the most Irish Jew you’ll ever meet.

Yes, I was a blonde once. Don't ask!!

Yes, I was a blonde once. Don’t ask!!

As I get older, I must confess that it’s getting harder to keep up. My colleagues poke fun that I still take the day off from work every year and it’s getting more and more annoying to have to explain to the drunk and flirtatious young men that I’m almost old enough to be their mother. I considered skipping it this year until one of my favorite Irish friends (one of my favorite friends period, actually) twisted my arm. She didn’t have to twist that hard, especially since several of my other girlfriends were game as well. So, I am about to enter dangerous territory and I’m certain that I will smell like a distillery when I get home, but this might just be my St. Patty’s swan song. Possibly I will share the events on my next blog but then again, what happens on St. Patrick’s Day stays on St. Patrick’s Day.

In this excerpt from my novel, A State of Jane, Jane finds herself in Hoboken, New Jersey in line to get into a bar on St. Patrick’s Day. Jane gets into a bit of a jam that was inspired by true events. Enjoy 🙂

Shivering, I hugged myself to keep warm. “My God! How early do you have to get here to beat the line?”

Anne pulled her green ski hat over her ears and said, “Bars open at eleven, but the locals know to get in line early.”

I looked at my watch in disbelief. “It’s only eleven-thirty! What time do people get in line?”

Applying lip balm, Bethany said, “Nine, maybe?”

“Nine last night?” I was only half joking.

“Ha ha.” Bethany handing me her lip balm. “Want some?”

As I reached for it, I heard a guy say, “Good. Keep those red lips soft and moist for kissing me later.”

I turned around and rolled my eyes at Beauty Mark Guy. He gave me a devilish grin and walked over to us. He was carrying a brown paper bag.

Trying to peek inside, Bethany said, “Whatcha got in there?”

Winking, he said, “Milk. I’m a growing boy.”

“Yeah right,” Anne said. “Got some for us?”

He looked at all three of us. “‘Cuz I’m such a nice guy…” Gesturing toward me, he said, “and you girls are so friendly, OK. But be slick.”

After Bethany and Anne each took a can of beer, he said, “If you see any sign of a cop, put the beer down on the ground and play dumb.” He looked at me and said, “You can have one too.”

Shivering, I spotted the Dunkin Donuts across the street and wished Beauty Mark Guy was offering me a thermos of white hot chocolate instead. “No thanks. I don’t drink beer.”

He shook his head and chuckled. “Why am I not surprised? Loosen up, Rainbow Brite.”

In quick defense, I said, “I am loose!” When he sneered at me, I looked down and corrected myself, muttering, “I mean, I don’t need beer to loosen up.”

Jumping to my rescue, Bethany put her arm around me and said, “Hey, be nice to my friend Jane here!” But then she gave me a serious look. “Jane, maybe you should have a beer. I’m not even sure they’ll have a full bar today. Might as well get used to beer.”

Piping in, Anne said, “After the first few, you won’t taste it anyway.”

I reluctantly reached into the bag and grabbed a cold can, but only to prove I wasn’t uptight. Not that I care what Beauty Mark Guy thinks.

He grinned and tousled my hair. “There you go, Strawberry Shortcake!” He moved closer to me and said, “We should all huddle close to hide our beers.”

“Nice try!” I said.

Moving in to make our little circle even smaller, Bethany said, “He’s right, actually.”

I pulled the tab off of my beer, praying it wouldn’t spray all over my jacket and took my first small sip. I held my hand over my mouth so no one would see me snarl involuntarily from the sour taste.

“See?” Anne said. “It’s not so bad.”

I held my breath and took another sip, this one bigger. “Not bad at all.” How many do I have to drink before I won’t taste it anymore?

About a half hour later, the line had moved about ten feet and Beauty Mark Guy, whose name was actually William, was telling us how he ran into Paula Abdul in McDonald’s the previous weekend.

“She was drunk off her ass! But I guess she was craving Mickey Dees,” he said as his friends, who had finally joined us, nodded in agreement.

“She was high on more than booze,” one of them said.

I brought my almost empty can of beer to my mouth and looked up at William.

He whispered, “Put your beer down.”

I decided he was not so bad after all. “Huh?” I glanced over at Bethany as she slipped her can of beer into the arm of her bulky wool sweater. Then, I felt a tap on my shoulder. In a slight daze, I turned around to face a blonde haired, blue-eyed guy, probably in his early thirties, in a police officer’s uniform. “Can you come over here a second?”

I looked over at the others who were watching me with concerned interest. I shrugged my shoulders, “Uh, OK.”

He stepped aside and I followed him, nervously biting my lip.

Ignoring the kids in line who had halted their own conversations to eavesdrop, he looked at the can of beer still in my hands and said, “You know an open container is prohibited outside, right?” His eyes bored into mine.

I looked down at the ground and watched my knees wobble. “Yes, officer. I’m… I’m sorry. I’ve never done this before, I promise.” I looked up into his eyes again, afraid he was going to arrest me.

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St. Patrick’s Day inspiration

I am behind on my blogging, but I like to think I have a decent excuse.  I’ve had a very eventful couple of days.  One of my very best friends came down from Boston and stayed with me from Wednesday night until Saturday morning.  My friend and I (along with our other comrades in drinking) spent many a St. Patrick’s Day past doing the parade circuit (Belmar, Pearl River, Hoboken and NYC) and bar hopping.  (Some of us were actually Irish; most of us weren’t.)  But good times were always had by all and I probably have enough memories from various St. Patrick’s Days to write a novel or at least a novella.  Actually, one of my experiences inspired a scene in my second novel!  Anyway, it’s been several years since I took off from work to join in the festivities, but I hadn’t seen my friend in almost a year and we were both itching for an opportunity to perhaps visit the ghosts from St. Patrick’s Days past.  It is not possible to re-create history, but I’m pleased to report that we managed a sufficient amount of debauchery this past Thursday and I think our younger selves would be proud! 

In other news, since my friend wasn’t arriving until later on Wednesday night, I did not have to miss my weekly writer’s group.  I’m so happy it worked out that way, because I finished the first draft of my second novel that night!  I think.  Unlike my experience writing Just Friends With Benefits, I am not entirely certain the ending of my second novel works, so I plan to read the book from start-to-finish over the next few days and see.  But if I’m pleased with the ending, I’ll start my first round of edits.  It feels like I’ve been writing this second novel forever.  Probably because I stopped writing it several times to edit Just Friends With Benefits, once to add more description and once when I received the publishing contract.  But even with the interruptions, it actually took only about a year and a half to write the first draft.  That’s not too shabby considering I work full time as a trademark paralegal, have an active social life and cherish my down time.

I’ll be busy revising my new book for a long time as well as continuing to promote Just Friends With Benefits, writing blogs, etc. but I’m already concerned because I do not have an idea for a third book yet.  (My premature worrying should come as no surprise to those people who know me well.)  It’s just that I came up with the premise of my second book while writing my first.  I wasn’t even thinking about it and so I sort of expected it to be that way with Book No. 3.  But so far – nuttin!  While a few ideas have popped into my head, I’m not excited about any of them and fear I only have two books in me.  Say it isn’t so!  I am truly inspired by those prolific authors who seemingly release a new book every six months!  

I sincerely love writing books.  It is so much fun for me to step outside of my own life and create a fictitious world and characters to inhabit it.  I’m actually fairly confident there is another story somewhere in my overactive noggin.  But if I have to take off more days from work and drink beer for further inspiration, I’m pretty certain my friend from Boston could be persuaded to tag along!