667 WAYS TO F*CK UP MY LIFE
"New girl-crush alert, her name is Dag and she's done gone full on funny as hell bad girl! This is the woman you want to be friends with and secretly want to emulate...Bottom Line: This is a really fun and funny read! You'll simultaneously throw a mental "you go girl!" and clench your cheeks in sympathetic embarrassment for our heroine. Stellar job, Ms. Woodhull!"
--Delta, The Romance Reviews
"As my very first book, and certainly not the last, 667 Ways to F*ck Up My Life was a killer introduction to author Lucy Woodhull. This fast-paced book was loaded with laughs, a few tears, and characters I would love to have as friends. I think I may have just found my new go-to book and author when I need a pick-me-up. As for my recommendation -- Read. 667 Ways to F*ck Up My Life. Now."
--Jacque via The Jeep Diva
"Laugh Out Loud funny. Taking a bunch of bad situations and making them work is the premise of this hilarious story. This book was so much fun to read. I may have to read it again."
--Mollien via Alpha Book Club
"So maybe we should take control. Grab a glass of wine or beer, some tissues because you might laugh so hard at Dag's life and her changes that just complicate things a little more that you find yourself crying. This is a great read for anyone. It adapts to every lifestyle because after what Dag goes through sometimes life isn't all that bad. Good for the beach or just if you need a laugh. You won't want to put it down once you start."
--Romancing the Book
"This is the first book I've read by Lucy Woodhull and I'm hooked. It was so good that I couldn't put it down and finished it in a single reading session."
--The Concordium of Cyliena.
Sometimes, there's nowhere to go but f*ck up…
If you love Broad City and Bridget Jones, you'll adore Dagmar Kostopoulos…and her colossal fuck-ups.
Twenty-something Dag has always been the 'perfect' woman. Responsible, honest to a fault, hard-working. Even her bras are no-nonsense. And for what? Her boyfriend dumps her for being boring, and her boss fires her for not sucking on his nether regions to get promoted. What's a perfectionist overachiever to do? A complete one-eighty.
To heck with rules--Dag orchestrates a spectacular fall from grace by deciding to ruin her life six-hundred-sixty-six times, and finally has a little naughty fun. Some scandalous Spandex and a few bar lies later, tame little Dagmar becomes Giselle, ballsy siren.
The wild thing is…it works! Dag gets a better job and meets the sexiest man she's ever known. Well, Giselle meets him. Dagmar doesn't exist. Except that she does, and her escapades just became a ticking time bomb, one that might blow her heart to smithereens.
Join Dag for her irresistible and hilarious fuck-ups, because every good girl needs to inject a little bad girl sizzle into her veins.
F*ck-Ups One through Four
Come on, Mel, Let's Just Give Up
If there's anything more calamitous than being fired by a scumbag, it's having to be polite about it. I bit back all manner of choice words, lest a barrage of 'screw yous' and 'blow it out your asses' smack the venerated editor Carmichael Burns in his florid face. He was the king of choice words, after all. What could I say to him that he hadn't already spewed across the New York Times bestseller list?
Besides, sweet Dagmar Kostopoulos never, ever used words like that.
"But… But…" I did manage to get out, my mouth as dry as his pretend ennui. "You're promoting Jazmine into my role? How can that be? I have a Masters in English from Columbia." And she had a certificate from the Brooklyn Irony Emporium.
Carmichael laughed at my earnestness, as he always did. He pitied me because I actually did my job studiously and worked hard, even as he told me I kept him honest. And why shouldn't he chuckle? Jazmine had banged this ponytailed ball of pretension the moment she had gotten the job as his secretary, and now she'd 'earned' mine as editorial assistant. She wouldn't know a good nonfiction book platform if it bit her on the butt. She'd let him bite her butt, though. I cracked a mirthless smile at my stupid inner monologue, then sucked in a breath because…horrors-I had just lost my job.
The whole room went hazy. My head spun like water down a toilet bowl.
"You're too expensive for me, Dag," declared the man who'd given me a raise not a month ago. "Jazmine has a certain…flair for this work. You don't need a degree to develop je ne sais quoi."
I didn't know je ne sais quoi was French for 'showed her thong like it was 1998'.
No-I would not be angry at Jazmine. Or her thong, which had been hella cute. We'd both known how to get promoted in Carmichael's office. Hell, the entire publishing industry understood that you gave head to get ahead with him. She'd been willing to go there, and I hadn't, for I'd thought my stellar performance would bypass his editing-couch antics.
The blame lay entirely with him.
He who smirked at me anew and said, "I know you'll land on your feet, Dag. I'm really doing you a favor. You can do so much better than me." His modesty rang hollow and dull. His last four books had debuted at number one everywhere-tell-alls from globetrotting manly adventurers, over-sexed Instagram stars, and jailed politicians.
"No!" I chirped. I smiled my summa cum laude, brilliant-girl smile. "No. You need me, Carmichael. Promote Jazmine, of course"-that last bit came out a little teeth-grindingly-"but I am an essential part of this team. Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to get back to the business of selling books."
I stood and buttoned my navy blazer. Yup, in a year and a half on the job, I'd found a future bestseller myself from a long-lost Kardashian cousin with a combo sex/Mason jar recipe blog. She made great salads, although I hadn't ever tried one naked in a hot tub as Khandye had recommended.
He said, "I do."
I blinked sweetly down at him. "What?"
"I do mind. You're fired, Dag."
A thousand rational arguments crowded my brain and I had to squeeze my eyes shut to form them into dynamic sentences that showed, not told, him how absolutely necessary I was.
This was not happening. Not happening!
"Carmichael-" I blinked and realized he no longer sat in front of me at the rugged desk that used to belong to Ernest Hemingway. He was now perched outside the office on the arm of Jazmine's chair. Her cackle blew into my ears on a frigid breeze.
Carmichael had called me frigid. He'd grabbed my boob at the Christmas party and called me a frigid slut when I wouldn't advance my career by screwing him. I'd asked him how one could be both frigid and a slut. Probably a bad move, since he was now firing me four days later.
Rage bubbled through my gut, into my throat, a wave of heat that nearly knocked me over. I clenched my teeth and willed myself to call him what he was. An aging hipster douche sniffing the pretention of his own backside while selling bullshit to the lowest common denominator for only fourteen ninety-five.
Not that it hadn't been super fun while it lasted.
I couldn't find the words to defend myself, to talk him out of it. I performed excellently at my job. I'd found talented writers and changed their lives for the better. I'd worked endless hours, putting aside my own personal life in the process.
All for nothing.
I squeezed my eyelids shut as I shuffled past them. Jazmine sing-songed, "Bye, Dag-marred."
The eyes of the entire floor bored holes into my back while I gathered my purse and coffee mug. Nobody said a word-the Swiss cheese would stand alone.
What the heck did I do now? I'd never gotten a B, much less a pink slip. And my colleagues needed the largesse of Carmichael-they couldn't afford to anger him or Jazmine now. But Dagmar, well, Dag-marred was literary roadkill, so Don't let the door smack your backside, darling. I had many friends and amazing colleagues in this building, and I knew we would stay in touch, no matter the manner of my departure. I waved to them all without being able to meet anyone's eye.
Moments later, I shivered in a gently falling snow, not even remembering the trip down in the elevator from the lofty sixty-third floor. I pulled out my phone and dialed the first number, the tears already bubbling from my face. "I got fired, Blade."
"I'm in a meeting, babe, I'll have to call you back. Wear something sexy when I get home-I've got great news." The line went dead.
Snotcicles formed in my nose and I wondered what he'd heard me say. At least one of us had good news. We'd just moved into our first apartment together, and yesterday I'd thought that my life was going perfectly.
Maybe Khandye Kardashian would give me a job stuffing Mason jars with dildos.
I hailed a cab, reconsidered the expense since I'd lost my income, but decided that I would economize another day. Right now I was blubbering on Fifth Avenue while clutching my 'You Have as Many Hours in a Day as Beyoncé' mug.
Time to slink home.
* * *
Four hours later, nose raw and eyes aching from the world's longest scream-cry-punch-a-pillow fest, I greeted Blade in my only Spandex dress. I'd never actually worn it-my friend Mel had forced me to buy it-because it was just so tight, you know? I could see a rib through it, and I wasn't really a 'revealing ribs' kind of girl. But getting dressed up for no reason had offered a little comfort. It'd been preferable to rage-stroking over Carmichael the @#&%.
Blade picked me up the moment he swept into the apartment and I clung to his wide shoulders and soft blond hair. He was a doctor, just as my dad always wanted, so I had that going for me, which was nice.
He set me down and said, "Break out the champagne, baby. I've got a new job at the hottest plastic surgery practice in Beverly Hills!"
Surprise melted my knees and I nearly collapsed onto the hardwood floor. "What?" When had he applied for this? "What?"
He trotted into the kitchen and I followed behind. With a satisfied smirk, he said, "Got the word this morning. I'm going to be a partner." Pop went the champagne we'd bought to christen our new place. He drank straight from the bottle. "Sun and fun-no more of this snow shit for me."
Blade hated the snow so much that I always had to shovel out his car for him.
I leaned against the kitchen counter for support, my stomach regretfully empty from not eating all day. "How stupendous! This is perfect timing." I laughed and took my swirling head (and the rest of me) to the cabinet to fetch our two champagne glasses. I held them out for him to pour. "Carmichael fired me today. Can you believe that? Fired me to promote Jazmine." Blade knew how I felt about Jazmine. Even though she wore the best shoes-always tall and vibrant, like she was a Sex and the City character. If I were an SATC character, I'd probably be Miranda's work ethic.
Blade pulled a face at my news and didn't pour the champagne. "Guess you shoulda slept with him, huh?"
"Ha ha." My arms shook as they still held the empty glasses. Man, did I feel queasy. I'd skipped lunch in favor of crying. He took another pull of the booze and still didn't pour it. I put on my best happy face. "But now it doesn't matter-we're moving to L.A.!"
"I'm moving to L.A."
That queasiness seeped from my stomach to my arms, legs, throat. I opened my mouth to speak but, for the second time today, nothing came out.
He took the champagne bottle past me and into the living room. I took a deep breath. Another. He was just being oblivious, he hadn't really meant what it sounded like. He could be that way-selfish. But it was because he worked hard to save sick people. From their lumpy noses.
With a forced laugh, I followed him. "Blade, do you know how that almost sounded? It sounded like you were moving to L.A. without me."
"Oh." He turned around and tilted his head, a sheepish smile on his magazine-model features. "Yeah."
I waited for more.
I waited for more.
My heart started to race and I waited for better.
He nodded his head and said, "Yeah."
"Yeah, what?" It came out so shrill, and I tried never to be shrill with Blade. Guys don't marry shrill-that was one of my dad's words of wisdom.
Blade plopped onto the couch and shrugged. "I'm sorry about this, babe. But there's literally nothing I can do."
My shrill increased by twenty percent. "That's not how one uses 'literally'. Blade, I lost my dream job today. My job that I've been working years to get, and thousands of hours to keep. I've yearned to work with books since I was a little girl."
"Look at it like…it's a whole day of new beginnings for you. And for me. You're not really an L.A. kind of girl. I mean, you're a brunette." He chortled at his 'joke', and I lost my grip on reality. The world clicked into fast forward and I slipped to my knees. I fought the hot vomit simmering in my throat.
"Oh, geez, Dagmar. Why can't you be happy for me? This thing with us hasn't really been working out anyway."
What what what what what? "This is some kind of mad joke. We just paid first and last on a new apartment!" I screamed.
"Ugh, I hate it when you get emotional." He thunked the champagne on the coffee table. "So you'll find a roommate. Maybe then you'll stop bitching about me doing the dishes." He held up his hands. "I told you, I can't do chores because I must save my hands for surgery." Then he disappeared into the bedroom.
Clarity. My entire existence became a camera lens shifting into focus:
My hard-nosed, perfectionist boss hadn't been pushing me to make me a better editor, he'd just been an abusive asshole, embittered that I wouldn't bang him.
My focused, intense doctor boyfriend wasn't absent because he was working hard, he'd been avoiding me and seeking a job three thousand miles away.
I cleaned up after these two men not as a supportive, brilliant helpmate, but as an overachiever desperate for the approval that was abundant in the beginning, in order to snare me, but that had stopped flowing long ago.
How could I have been so impossibly deluded?
I threw up, all over the hardwood floor that I would, apparently, be paying for solo with funds from my non-existent job.
So I heaved even more, accompanied by the plaintive cry of "Ew, gross" from the douchebag who'd had sex with me just this morning.
No telling how long I lay there next to the puke, throat on fire, while wearing my sexy dress. Blade passed me on the way to the kitchen several times, once craning his neck to look up my short skirt.
My cell phone rang. Could it be that somebody loved me? That someone cared enough to call and check on me? I got on my knees and crawled to the coffee table to answer. "Hi, Dad," I said, tears slipping out with the words.
Blade yelled, "You gonna clean this up? It's nasty! You see-this is why you'll never get a man to stay, Dag." He breezed by with another bottle of booze.
My dad sighed on the other end of the phone. "What's wrong, Dagmar?"
"I got fired and Blade is moving to L.A. without me." I sank next to the coffee table and set my forehead on it. "I can't wait to see you in a few days." Christmas was next week, and the plan was for us to take the train to Connecticut to visit. "Hey, maybe I should just come right away. I've got nothing here, anyhow."
"Well…" It was the way he said it. It was the way everyone had said things to me today-hesitant syllables with a side of two-by-four. "I'm going to Hawaii with your sister and her family. They bought me the ticket, isn't that generous?"
Without my go-ahead, my cheek slid off the table and I descended slow-mo style to the floor. This is where I would reside now-me and the floor that would never move to Southern California without me. My butt stopped fighting gravity and sank all the way down. "Dad… Can't I come?"
"They can't really afford you too, Dagmar. Not with two kids and his parents. You'd know that if you had a family."
"I do have a family. You and Vanessa are my family."
More sighing. "Dagmar, you never get it. She has children. A husband. She's doing something with her life. I just don't know why you twins turned out so different."
We weren't twins so much as actors in the sad melodrama The Golden Child and the Scapegoat.
I wanted to cry and hurl again, but, apparently, I'd been drained dry. The hollow ache that used to be my eyes twitched, but emitted nothing.
My loving father kept talking. "All those degrees of yours, and for what? You don't have a job anymore? Selling those vile books?" He didn't wait for a reply. "And Blade is a man, Dagmar. He wants a wife who's supportive, who will give him children. Children are the most important thing you can do in this life, not gallivant around New York doing…whatever. Reading other people's writing? What is that? Get with the program, and then you won't be alone on Christmas."
As talks went, this one ranked up there with, "At least the play was funny, Mrs. Lincoln."
"Thanks, Dad," I whispered.
"You should spend the holidays thinking long and hard about what's important in life and make the right choice for once."
He hung up. He hadn't even invited me on my own dime. Neither had Van.
I turned onto my back and stared at the ceiling. It had those little sparkles in its craggy white peaks. Laughter erupted from my dry, cracked lips. It kept coming, and coming-the cackle of the damned. I'd been fired. I'd been dumped. And I was worthless because I didn't have a husband and babies. Twenty-eight years old, and every single dude in my life had given up on me.
All my life, I'd worked endlessly in schools and jobs to achieve, just as Beyoncé (of my coffee mug fame) had told me to do. The more Dad lauded Vanessa for being prettier, the higher my GPA. The more cars he bought her, the more I volunteered at the soup kitchen. I'd been praised by guidance counselors and bosses as a paragon of hard work. Valedictorian of everywhere. I was going places!
What was the frigging point? No, to heck with being so namby-pamby. What was the cock-sucking point?
Or non-cock-sucking, as it were.
It was like…I'd gotten so used to the unhappiness and the withholding of affection that I thought it was normal. That I deserved it. My stomach twisted with self-hatred. Self-hatred, even now! Even when I knew I should hate them instead.
I managed to get myself to my knees. Blade called out from the bedroom, "Clean up that gross shit, Dagmar. I'm not gonna tell you again."
My eyelids closed and a peace soothed itself into my angry shoulders. My inner 'give a crap' bucket stood depleted and empty. For perhaps the first time in my life, I didn't care anymore. About anything.
And a plan formed in my vacant heart.
I walked, calmly, into the bedroom. Blade lay on the bed, texting. He didn't even glance at me. I proceeded into the closet and took stock. The back corner of his side was filled with expensive suits and cashmere. Blade had always been a snappy dresser-I'd noticed right away the night we'd met two years ago at a New Year's Eve party.
I hugged my arms around his soft, expensive sweaters and snatched them off the rack.
I returned to the bedroom.
Once again, I wasn't worthy of a turn from his noble, blond head.
I dropped the cashmere onto the floor and opened the window. We were three floors up. I leaned down and grabbed every single stitch of Ralph Lauren and Hugo Boss.
With a grin, I tossed them all out of the window. They sailed downward, colorful arms flailing in the breeze.
No sound of protest, so I returned to his expensive closet corner and started in on the suits. They seemed to plummet to the street much faster. I didn't know how much faster, because I wasn't a science person. I was a language person who'd read instead of getting married.
A wide grin bloomed once again on my face, but I didn't look at him. I bolted back into the closet and went for the shoes this time. Blade had his shoes flown in from Italy.
I let his shoes fly into the setting New York City sun.
He lost his mind, screaming and yelling. Men-so emotional. He told me no one would ever want me because I was such a bitch. Dagmar the boring, the plain. Living with me was like screwing an accountant's ledger. Then he ran downstairs to reclaim his stuff.
After he left, I hollered down to the faces upturned toward me on the sidewalk. "It's the wardrobe of a douchebag! He talked me into an expensive apartment rental and now, three weeks later, is abandoning me to move to L.A.!" I spread my arms wide. "Take it aaaaaaaaaaall!"
I got applause from a group of women strolling by in suits and sneakers. They ran to grab the sweaters just as Blade made it down there.
I closed the window and sprinted into the living room. Splendid-he'd left his keys in the decorative bowl next to the front door. This was the first good thing that had happened to me all day. I slipped in vomit on the way to the deadbolt, but I deliberately chose not to care. I slammed the door-blam!-and shoved a wooden chair from our dining set underneath the handle for good measure.
Next, I cleaned the ick off my foot and flew to my laptop. Two months ago, he'd finally convinced me to obtain a joint bank account. We'd done it, but I hadn't closed my old, single-girl one. They were with the same bank. In three minutes, I'd transferred the bulk of the joint account into mine, then I severed the connection.
At least this money would buy me a little time. Two months' worth, perhaps, but it was better than nothing. A smile of surprise graced me-shocking that he hadn't done the same thing to me before he'd cut me loose. He rather had, though-I'd wanted to save more money before we moved into a pricier zip code.
Bang bang bang! He beat on the apartment door and hurled curses upon my head, but hell would freeze into Ice Capades before I did one more thing for that jackass.
His words sniveled through the door. "Dag, what the hell is wrong with you? You'll be alone forever, you bitch! I tried so hard to love you, but you're just-just a boring fucking nothing! Let me in!"
Well, that wasn't very nice.
Drink. I needed a drink. Why not? I was unemployed and alone. I'd always had a rule about drinking on weeknights, but to heck with that.
I ignored the throw-up again as I splashed his expensive, twelve-year-old Scotch into a glass. My pool of sick seemed a fitting representation of the day. Just this morning, I would have freaked over such a mess, but now? Now my insides had snapped loose and flailed about my ribcage.
I took a huge pull of the strong stuff and nearly breathed fire from it. The taste soured my whole mouth, but it warmed my gullet all the way down to slosh in my empty stomach. Why did I have a rule against this? Monday drinking was excellent, damn fine stuff. I drank another swallow, another, and finished the glass.
I poured again.
Leaning against the counter, I drank and considered the stupid rules I'd followed all my life. Be the best, the most efficient, no wasting time, no slacking off. I did my taxes on January first. I went to bed at ten p.m. I drank eight glasses of water a day. I hadn't consumed a donut in ten years. I was a serial monogamist who'd slept with only two men. Two men in twenty-eight years-what a wild woman.
I poured another drink and came to a realization-I was boring. Just as Blade was currently screamed in the hallway.
I'd never traveled to Vegas. I had no idea what happened there, because it stayed there. I wore khakis and sensible blazers in professional colors. My bras were all beige and black. My hair remained its natural hue. I followed every single rule from The Basic Bitch's Guide (a tome Carmichael had edited).
And for what?
I sank down the cabinet face, bounced off a drawer pull, and fell onto my butt. I was twenty-eight years old living like a sixty-year-old woman. Not even! Mrs. Delgado, my downstairs neighbor, was sixty-three and had two boyfriends. They played strip poker and all spent the night once a week, after Wheel of Fortune.
Oh, wow. My head really started to swish now. I grabbed a bottle of cleaner, a roll of paper towels and my Scotch, and crawled out to the vomit puddle. I drank and cleaned and listened to Blade rant outside. He was now threatening to call the police.
Let him. Let him call the police. Following the plan of my life had failed spectacularly-maybe if he called the police, they'd arrest him and give me a medal for Locking Out a Plastic Surgeon Who Literally Deserved It.
Once I'd finished with the vomit-soaked paper towels, I gathered them into a plastic bag and took them into Blade's office, namely the second bedroom. Into his gorgeous, hand-tooled leather briefcase they landed with a disgusting, wet splat.
My phone dinged with a text message. Hopefully, my sister calling to remind me that I was the short one with the bigger butt and the empty uterus. 'I've birthed two miracles, and I'm smaller than I was in high school, lol.' Yes. I had actually received that text. On our birthday.
Nope-thank God, it was Melanie.
Holy fuck, that piece of shit fired you?
I called her. "I'm on my way," she blurted by way of greeting. "We're gonna get you so drunk."
"Done and done," I replied. "Oh, and Blade dumped me. He's moving to L.A. to give Jennifer Aniston bigger tits. And my dad is flying to Hawaii for Christmas instead of seeing me."
She uttered a sound of total comfort and commiseration, something along the lines of "Uuuugggghhhhhrrrrrrrrrr-oooooooohhhhhhhhh-aaacccckkkkkk."
My heart swelled. "Thank you."
"I'm one block away. We're going to order every kind of greasy food known to man, cut the crotches out of Blade's pants, and leave one-star reviews on Amazon for that asshole's books until you're too blotto to stand."
"I love you."
"I love you too. You're going to get through this."
"Be careful of Blade. I locked him out, and he's screaming and yelling in the hall."
"He needs to be afraid of me."
We hung up then, and I just sat there, drinking, unfeeling. Un-feeling, as in trying to 'un' my feelings.
Mel worked for another publishing house. We'd met in Columbia undergrad, and she was truly the bright spot in my existence now. I'd grown up being told that women were catty and hateful, that we were in competition with each other for only one thing-men. But I'd fallen for Mel's friendship the moment we'd been tossed together as roommates. She'd taught me that women were here to support one another. I mean, if I was smart, and she was smart, then it stood to reason that ladies were wonderful, right?
A knock sounded at the door and I scrambled to my feet to answer. When I swept it open, I spied Mel standing over Blade, rolling on the hallway carpet and clutching his balls. "He attacked me, officer," said my best friend in her most drawling Southern accent.
I cackled. I waved her in and snatched Blade's wallet from the side table. Whap! My tipsy aim was true, for it flopped open over his mouth. "You're staying elsewhere tonight. See, you already have clothes." Only about half of what I'd thrown downstairs lay in a pile beside him. He started to curse me more, but we slammed the door in his face.
"I've never kicked a man in the jewels," I said to Mel.
"You should totally try it! It puts the 'ball-busting' in 'feminist.'"
She threw her arms around me and I started crying anew as I sank into her embrace. Soon, her equally non-L.A. brown hair was wet with my blubbering. My every muscle screamed in tired agony and I sobbed until I'd expressed every emotion known to woman, and probably a few heretofore only available to bears.
Later, who the hell knows how long later, I lay on the couch shoving egg rolls into my mouth. Mel told me that the news of my axing had run through every editorial staff in the city. They all felt sorry for me, for I'd earned a reputation as a great editor.
"What's the point of being great?" I asked her drunkenly, and also rhetorically. "I'm tired of being Polly Perfect while horrible men use women like Kleenex and then sneeze their snot into them."
"Ew," offered Mel.
I shoved a wad of chow mein noodles into my ravenous maw. "Carmichael will go to his cushy job tomorrow. Blade will soar to L.A., straight into a model's bed, no doubt. But not Little Miss Dagmar Boring. She'll send out tasteful résumés and meet a Wall Street wanker who'll cheat on her with an artist from Williamsburg."
"It's not fair," Mel agreed, with a pat to my leg.
I sat up and leaned against the arm of the couch. I really had no choice, for my bones no longer functioned in their proper, rigid manner. "I'm done with it. Done. Every good and sensible decision I've ever made has flopped. I'm in debt up to my eyeballs from school, and my own father thinks it's a waste."
"Yeah, well your dad lives in 1952, and his treating you like shit is nothing new. Sorry to say, hon."
Mel was the only person in the universe who could call you 'hon' or 'sugah' and you wouldn't mind. She couldn't sound more Georgia if she sang about midnight trains.
I waved an egg roll. "I'm not following the rules anymore. I'm gonna get some shitty job I don't care about. Because caring only hurts you. And then-I'm gonna bang the boss."
She cocked an eyebrow. "Well…at least choose a hot boss."
"Duh." I switched to a sushi roll and pondered aloud while I chewed. "Den, I'mf gonna bang shome other guy. Wish tattoos! Mayshe I'll get a tattoo."
She nodded. "Careful-you're spitting tuna on the couch."
I swallowed. "It's Blade's couch. He can take it with him. No-maybe I'll keep the couch and have lots of nasty sex on it. I've never had nasty sex. I've had very polite, sensible sex because that's what I learned from the book I was given about sex when I was thirteen."
She gasped as if I'd just admitted to wearing double-knit polyester.
I leaped to my feet, fell down, and got up again (more slower-ly) to find my notebook, the one I usually used for grocery lists and reminders to collect dry cleaning.
Notebook and pen in hand, I plopped next to her on the floor. I ripped out a page with a list of chores on it, and another with a packing list for Christmas.
At the top of the fresh, new page, I scrawled Ways to Screw Up My Life.
A giggle escaped Mel. "I like where this is going."
"Wait-girls who don't care don't say 'screw.' They say 'fuck' in a most unladylike fashion." I scratched out the 'screw' and printed in all caps FUCK.
"How many ways?" Mel asked. "You should aim high so you don't quit."
"But aiming is for achievers, and I'm not doing that anymore. I'm giving up, Mel. I'm giving up." I waved my notebook around. "I'm fucking giving up! No more shoes with sensible two-inch heels. No more washing my bras after only wearing them once!"
"You actually do that?"
I sniffed mournfully. "By hand."
She whooped, and I whooped, and we whooped. Then it came to me. "Six-hundred-sixty-six. I'm going to do six-hundred-sixty-six numbers of fuck-ups."
"Damn." She placed her hand over her heart. "That's a fuck ton of fuck-ups."
"It's the devil's number. If assholes always prosper, which they do-they always, damn it, do!-then I shall become one."
"Don't sell your soul, though. Gotta leave room for a deathbed recant. Just in case."
"It's what an asshole would do."
And we clinked Scotch glasses.
I added my numerical goal to the top of the sheet so it read 666 Ways to Fuck Up My Life. Under this non-lofty title, I put the first item on my bad-girl list:
1. Get shitty job I don't care about
I left the period off the sentence, because who cares about grammar and shit? Nobody else in the world did. They abused punctuation as if it were a hard-working underling.
"Bang boss," Mel reminded me.
2. Bang the boss
3. Use him to get ahead
"What's the point of the sex if you're not also taking advantage?" I said of number three.
"That's just good sense." She grabbed the pad and scribbled a few words after number two. I turned the page and blinked until my drunky eyes focused. She'd put and have nasty orgasms in inappropriate places after bang the boss.
I crooked my arm around her head. "That's an excellent point."
"I have another one." Her green eyes danced as she offered me the last of the spicy tuna rolls. "Let's do what a dirty attention whore would do…what Carmichael Burns would do. I think you should start a blog."
4. Start attention-whore overshare blog
What could go wrong?