Once upon a time many years ago I commuted north to San Marcos to attain a not-so-valuable junior college education at Palomar. A girl in my literature class befriended me. I later would refer to her as Q-Tip because she had long bleached hair that she always wore in a bun and a slender build with not much shape. She was an Assistant Music Director at the school radio station, KKSM. She told me that she wanted me to meet her male friend, the Music Director. I would later refer to him as Toothpick because he had a slender build and blonde hair. Q-Tip professed, “I like him a lot.” I got the impression they were platonic friends, but she wanted to be more than friends and needed a wing woman. Turned out, it wasn’t like that at all.

We three would hang out, they encouraged me to join radio, and they would declare that they were just platonic friends, like really close buddies, and business partners (they had started a small record label.) They would even have sleep-overs, but still maintain there was nothing romantic between them. Once we three were hanging out in Q-Tip’s room (converted out of part of the garage) at her parents’ house in San Marcos and she shared with me that she had been date raped not long ago and also recently sexually battered at a concert (the latter incident involved some dude taking the liberty of putting his hands up her skirt and feeling around.) Her friend from a local band (and other record label business partner) beat the pervert up. I asked her if she reported the date rape and she said no, but I couldn’t ask more questions because she shushed me. (She didn’t want her family members to overhear anything.)

Toothpick grew more and more interested in me, calling me, sending cards, paying attention to me. He actually admitted pretty candidly that my lack of enthusiasm in responding to him crushed his ego. I was a naïve eighteen year old, Toothpick an immature 24, and Q-Tip 21. Out of pity, I started thinking I might give him a chance, if there was really nothing going on between him and Q-Tip. One day when we were all hanging out in Toothpick’s grandparents’ junk yard in Leucadia, Q-Tip told me privately that she and Toothpick used to be lovers, but now they were just friends. Toothpick also confirmed this was true. He would call me and tell me that Q-Tip was the first and only girlfriend he ever had. They broke up because she wanted to play the field, but they decided to become friends again.

I should have disassociated with them once I discovered that they were liars, but I didn’t. I figured that Q-Tip suddenly changed her story because she didn’t want me to get involved with Toothpick, but I didn’t feel any loyalty to her by that point. She eventually got so jealous because of Toothpick’s pursuit of me and my not rejecting him that we stopped associating. Toothpick still maintained a relationship with me, but I started noticing aspects of his character that I didn’t care for. For one thing, he was full of himself and repeated stories about himself over and over. One of his favorite stories was about how he became the Music Director. He had discovered that the current Music Director embezzled the bulk of the station’s music library and reported him to the General Manager so that he Toothpick would thusly be appointed the new Music Director. His favorite part of the story was when the fired guy “threw the keys” at him. Toothpick didn’t mention it, but I figured out through clues I noticed over time that the fired Music Director was the same person as the date rapist. I asked him if I was right and he admitted it. I asked why he would omit such a detail from a story he liked to tell repeatedly and he said he didn’t know. I figured I knew. He probably wasn’t too proud that in his ambition to suck up to key players at the radio station, he fixed his best buddy up with a rapist.

One day Toothpick received the news that his female sixteen year old cousin had been shot to death while tagging. He said she deserved it because vandalism is an egregious crime. Q-Tip liked the story so much she told it to every record label contact she communicated with that day relishing in the detail of the juvenile’s head being blown off.

They had at some point moved up in rank with Toothpick becoming the Program Director and Q-Tip the Music Director. Toothpick had previously implied that he would pass the baton on to me next so that I could have a turn at directing the music, but that didn’t happen. He had become controlling and would throw power-tripping fits at the radio station, which I didn’t put up with. I eventually disassociated with him because he was rude.

Later I heard from through a mutual acquaintance (the guy from the band who worked on a record label with them), that Toothpick and Q-Tip partnered together to create a porno web site. They purportedly made good money, too. I visited the site to verify that it existed and sure enough they were running it under different aliases. Q-Tip even professed on their message board that she was “madly in love with” Toothpick. How sweet. The web site still exists today. Last I heard, Toothpick moved to Japan, but that may have been a decoy for tax creditors. Who knows?

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