Miss Nomer enters a long narrow pub. She was shoved in by a lash of winter wind and the bits of snow that ride it. Night fell sometime ago but this evening isn’t like most others. It’s Friday which means The Sour Note, a trendy bar on the city’s historic square, has a full parking lot. Neon beer lights change the windows into miniature billboards. The interviewer opens the heavy door and shuffles in. The air outside was cold but at least it was clean – now there’s a smoky haze clinging to the ceiling..
The Sour Note is busy but not overly crowded. All the chairs are full with people trickling to the bar and then back to their seats. This where the Don Juan of Murfreesboro, TN – the orneriest horn-dog this side of the interstate– a Mr. Rodney Bovine is said to await his prey. It doesn’t take long to spot him. Mr. Bovine is as easy to find as a peacock in full display. He’s wearing a brightly colored western shirt, a bolo tie shaped with Elvis Presley’s TCB lightning bolt, and tight jeans. The jeans are especially nauseating with bright stitching along the front and sides designed to look like a pair of chaps.
Miss Nomer saddles up to the bar and grunts a bit as she hefts her voluptuous hide quarters onto a bar stool. It’s hard for a girl her size to get on those high stools “Uh, hello, Mr. Bovine, I presume?”
Bovine is older with hairline that’s been in full retreat for many years. He has blue eyes with a crop of gray stubble framing his face. He might be five foot six – Miss Nomer could crush him if she had the inclination.
He notices her right away offering her a sideways grin. “Why hello apple dumpling! What brings a happy hen like yourself to the fox’s den?”
Miss Nomer sets her satchel onto the water speckled bar. Her notepad and recorder are pulled out. “I’m here because a friend of mine couldn’t figure out how a has-been like yourself ever winds up with a girl on his arm. She’s been in this bar on a few occasions and has had to turn you down every time.”
Rodney Bovine smiles as if he’s missed the indictment in Nomer’s words. “Really? Well, tell me now, what’s the sweet tart’s name?”
“Is that really important?”
Still smiling, he responds. “Mmmm, she’s not here now so no, I guess it’s not. OK then, my little donut princess, what’s your name?”
“I’m Miss Nomer an investigative reporter for the geographic center of the Internet – DodoEggs.com. I’m really just doing this for my resume. As soon as one of the serious investigative websites comes calling I’m out of there.”
Mr. Bovine leans over to the recorder and speaks directly into the device. Miss Nomer smells a heavy dose of “Steer For Men.” He speaks slowly and with a ridiculously low voice. “Do girls read this LowBlowEggs.com?”
A snort escapes Miss Nomer. “I don’t know. Maybe.”
Bovine straightens and slaps the bar. “Then what do you want to know, sugar cookies!”
Miss Nomer raises her notepad to hide her wince. “Ok here’s the first question. How is it that you almost never waste a Friday evening by yourself? I mean you’re short, not particularly attractive, it’s obvious you’re older than almost everyone here. And your outfit says, ‘I let my subscription to GQ expire.”
Another smile – Miss Nomer considers possibility that Mr. Bovine doesn’t understand English.
Finally he replies, “I’m not picky. I usually look for pairs of girls that are sitting along the walls. On my napkin here, I keep tally marks on how many times each set of girls has been approached by the guys in the room. If a set of girls doesn’t get any nibbles in an hour and a half, I step in.”
“You mean some women will just sit here for an hour and a half?”
“If they’re lonely.” Bovine whispers a bit. “And all that time gives them the opportunity to drink a little too much. Beer goggles aren’t just for men you know.”
Miss Nomer bites her pencil eraser in disgust. “I suppose you lie about your income, too, don’t you?”
“Standard procedure!” His eyes lock on her pencil. “Nibbling on the end of your pencil huh? Intrigued by the sent your nostrils picked up. Am I right? My real ace in the hole is the pheromones that I bought off this Indonesian company. I heard their ad on the radio and realized that it could only help me.”
“Well it comes in this lotion like paste that I rub on my chest after a shower. The pheromones proactive molecules seep through my shirt and attack the woman’s nostrils. Then they travel through her blood steam to her brain where they tell her I’m interested in making out. I always spray a heavy dose of “Steer for Men” on my shirt to add to my potency. I can’t help but notice that you eyes are watering.”
“Do you even know what a steer is?!”
“A type of wild buffalo right?”
Miss Nomer released a sharp breath. “Let’s back up. You said the pheromones let prospective ladies know you’re interested in getting together. Does it really take a chemical to let these women know that some bar fly is interested?! Isn’t it just safe to say that any guy propped against a bar on a Friday night is interested?”
“Listen my peppermint pretty, I think it’s important to make it plain. I don’t like beating around the bush. In fact, I always let a girl know what I’m willing to spend on her before I expect some smooch time. She can order as much off the value menu she wants but I expect to make out later.”
Miss Nomer couldn’t believe her ears. “What?! Is there a girl out there that would go for that?”
Here Mr. Bovine appears a bit exasperated. He reverts to his low voice and speaks slowly. “Lonely. Tipsy. Wealthy older man. Fast food after midnight. Indonesian pheromones. For a reporter, you’re a little slow on the pick up.”
Miss Nomer scribbles a bit of profanity on her notepad. “Next question. What’s your success rate? Be clear, what are your chances of walking out of here tonight with a girl on your arm?”
Randy Bovine brings a hand up to his face rubbing his graying stubble. A second later, he gives Miss Nomer a heavy look. “Well, my little strawberry parfait, you look like a girl who knows her way around the extra value menu. Care to split a McSteamy with me?”
“Are you serious?”
“Hey, just like me, they’re only available for…” He makes quotation marks in the air. “…a limited time.”
“Well, I prefer a McBeefy but I suppose a McSteamy will do and I do have a few more questions.” She pauses and studies Rodney Bovine. The combination of “Steer for Men” and foreign pheromones must be very potent – the image of Rodney Bovine handing her a McSteamy didin’t seem so bad. “Alright, but if you call me another desert, I’ll pound you.”