507. The Big Journey
One night, four ladies in the east met at Compass to discuss going west.
I have to go to San Francisco on a book tour.
You wouldn't go to the Upper West Side. Suddenly, you're going to San Francisco?
They're making me. Apparently, I'm very big in San Francisco.
You mean, Big is in San Francisco.
Okay, yes, perhaps I'll see Big. Guys, I need to have sex. It's been too long. Lately, I've been having these dreams where I run. I run up to complete strangers and just start kissing them.
No need to go across the country for sex. Go across the restaurant. Those guys have been checking us out ever since they sat down.
- Cute. - Boring, boring and boring. Like these scallops.
- I love the food here. - Same old, same old.
Same old? It just opened last week.
Scallops are scallops, and bachelors are bachelors.
Sounds to me like you might be experiencing a "been there, done them" existential crisis.
It's not me, it's New York. Nothing is ever really new. In fact, they should change the name to "Same York."
You're nuts. These scallops are fantastic, and those guys are cute.
You should go say hi. May I?
No, I don't want to say hi. I want to say: "Could one of you lie on top of me for a while?" I need to feel the weight of a man on me.
At times like this, I wish women could go to male prostitutes.
No, only in bad screenplays and first novels.
That is an incredible investment idea. We should open a brothel where the men are cute, and the sheets are 500-count Egyptian cotton. Samantha, you can be the madam.
At least it's something new.
We could put one in every neighborhood, like Starbucks.
Such a place doesn't exist in reality because women don't think about sex like that. It's not an animal urge. We need to feel things. We need a connection. Isn't that right, Carrie?
No, Big is my male prostitute. I am mixing business with much-needed pleasure. And my relief is just a train ride away.
A train? Why don't you just fly?
No, flying makes me nervous. I get uneasy seeing the National Guard go through my makeup case. Besides, it'll be fun. Especially if Samantha goes with me. Please, come on, it'll be hilarious.
Two gals on a train. Very Some Like It Hot. And the whole trip ends with a luxury suite in a fabulous four-star San Francisco hotel.
Why didn't you invite me?
Because Samantha is the only one who's bored enough to do it.
- So what time do we leave "Same York"? - I'm gonna get laid.
More and more single women of a certain age are looking for a certain thing. And that certain thing does not necessarily involve a certain ring. We may have traded the little black book for a little black dress, and replaced the Ferrari with a Fendi. But in view of certain evidence, I had to wonder: Are we the new bachelors?
What did Big say when you told him?
I haven't yet. I'm gonna wait till I get there. You know, "Hello, guess where I am." Very casual, very...
That's one approach. I would have called and said: "I'm coming, and I won't be the only one."
I think I'm getting a pimple. Can you see anything? Right here, above my freckle.
Good, the last thing I need is a big, honking zit when I meet my prostitute.
This may be just what I needed, if I can stand the train for three days.
Think of it as an adventure. "It's not the destination, it's the journey." A journey in adjoining, first-class, deluxe sleeper berths.
Truth be told, I've always wanted to take a train. It's so sexy.
You never know who's going to be getting on and getting me off.
We were supposed to have the deluxe, first-class sleeper.
This is the first-class sleeper.
And I suppose the regular class sleeps in what? A tuna can?
Right here, you have your door to the restroom.
Wait. You shower over the toilet?
I'm starting to understand why there was a murder on the Orient Express.
And in a far less crowded space...
- Delivery from Bloom & Goldenblatt. - I thought they'd send a messenger.
Do you know what we'd charge you for a messenger to make a 12-block drop?
So, a partner personally delivers my divorce papers?
- Sure, why not? I needed the walk. - Okay. I was just gonna go work out, but come in.
It's hot. Excuse me?
Outside. I'm schvitzing like a pudding at a picnic. This is the pagoda we've been fighting over. It's impressive. I can see why you'd never want to give it up.
- Actually, I'm thinking about selling. - After what we went through to get it?
It's too big for one person. I'm putting the word out. If anyone knows a great apartment...
I got a buddy who has a place. It may be a little too bachelor for your taste.
I can change that. You should've seen this place earlier. It was where plaid furniture came to die.
- I could set it up so you can get a first look. - Okay.
Done. So let's get you divorced. Sit, and sign.
Do you have a handkerchief or something? You're still sweating.
Sorry. This never happens. Thanks.
- That's it? - That's it. You are no longer Mrs. Trey MacDougal.
- How do you like that? - I like it.
- You have some tissue stuck to you. - I'm a fucking mess today.
Somewhere outside of Pittsburgh, Samantha and I decided to get out of our twin cans and go for a classic train dinner in the club car.
This is it? I thought there'd be white linen tablecloths and Bing Crosby singing at a piano.
- Excuse me, table for two, please. - Just sit anywhere that's open.
Sorry, the train zigged. Okay. Excuse me. Sorry.
Really? Hello. Thank you.
I'm eating with the Amish? Are you aware, every time we stop, good-looking people get off and more ugly people get on? I'm serious, this is the train to ugly. There isn't one man on this train I'd fuck. What about you?
Don't ask me. I'm horny. And nine hours of train-rocking hasn't helped. Sorry.
If she has a problem, next time she can take a buggy.
How would the Zagat Guide rate a place that lists potato chips as an appetizer?
Don't even say "potato chip" to me. This zit is getting bigger by the hour. Can you see it now?
- Let's just say you're starting to look like you belong on a train. - Really?
- What can I get you? - A martini and an airplane.
- What's safe to order? - The club sandwich.
And a martini. God, I need a big old drink. Again, sorry.
And speaking of martinis...
- A zebra-skin rug. - I told you he was a bachelor.
- But a bar in the bedroom? - You ain't seen nothing yet.
You seem to know your way around here.
I sublet while I was going through my divorce. Wait. Surround sound.
I can't believe that men think it takes all this stuff to get a woman into bed.
- What does it take? Charlotte. - What?
I think you are the sexiest woman I ever met.
Harry, don't be ridiculous, I'm wearing my glasses.
- It makes me crazy when you say my name. - Then I'm definitely gonna stop saying it.
- What a putz your ex-husband must be. - Trey was not a putz.
He was a putz. If I was lucky enough to have you in my bed, I would never take my hands off you.
Ever since the first moment I saw you, I can't think about anything else. I'm fucking Romeo over here.
God, it's hot, I'm sweating. Can you open the window?
I fantasize about your lips, your perfect pink lips.
Two days, two toilet showers, and too many club sandwiches later...
- Hello? - It's me, and it's still bad.
The trip or the pimple?
Both. I tried to squeeze it somewhere outside Oklahoma.
Here's a helpful hint: Never give yourself a train facial.
If this thing doesn't deflate by Colorado, I'm not even calling Big. Hold on, someone who used to be Samantha just came in.
Rumor has it a group of guys not resembling the Elephant Man just got on, and are having a bachelor party in the bar car. Get dressed.
I can't go anywhere with this pimple.
I got on a train for you. You are going to the bar car with me.
I have to go to a bachelor party.
And back in New York, Charlotte found herself sandwiched between some confirmed bachelors.
How can a person have really hot S-E-X with someone they don't even like?
You're spelling "sex" in a place with a go-go boy on the bar?
- I'm serious. - Why? Oh, my God, Char. You?
I don't know what happened. He's my divorce lawyer. I don't even like him!
Some of the best sex I've had is with people I can't stand. Details. This is so exciting.
He was showing me this bachelor apartment. I think it was all the leather and music.
Leather, I get it. Go.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, we were kissing and then we...
Fucking? Oh, my God, Char! This is so exciting. How was it?
- Unbelievable. - Cosmos for everyone!
- No, it's not good. I don't want to date him. He's not very attractive. - Ugly sex is hot.
No, he's sweaty and pushy. No, I could never date him. But maybe just for the sex. How does that work, exactly?
Okay, listen up. You have to be very clear about the rules. It's just sex. You can't act romantic at all. You have to talk just sex talk. "Fuck me, and get out."
- Isn't that rude? - No, it's hot. Hello! Where's my drink?
Things are looking up. They are pretty cute.
This blush is worse than a pimple. I look like I'm in a high-school play or something.
Come on, follow my lead. Hello. Aren't you boys a sight for sore eyes? So, what are we drinking?
We can do better than that. Sir, a bottle of champagne, please. I'm sure one of you gentlemen will help me pop my cork.
And just like that, we went from Some Like It Hot to Some Like Us Not.
- I thought I was looking pretty hot. - You are pretty hot.
- Not according to them. - Champagne.
Excuse me, but what kind of bachelor party is this?
We're not really bachelors. We're all married. Except Bri, he's the last one in the gang to bite it. Yeah, we're taking him to the Giants game in San Francisco.
My friend over there has come on this very long trip as a favor to me and I was hoping that one of you fellows could oblige her in a little harmless male flirtation.
We're trying to be good. Promised our wives.
As far as a pimp, I was a total train wreck.
They love their wives.
You were right, Carrie. It's not New York that's the problem, it's me. I am having an...The midlife thing, you know.
This thing has roots.
And I don't know what I'm gonna do. I mean, I already fuck younger guys and I don't want a sports car. Oh, God, parking in New York is a bitch.
I'm sorry about the train. This was a terrible idea. It's all my fault. All because I had to get laid. There. Popped it.
All right! Let's get another bottle to celebrate.
One very long trip later, Samantha and I dragged our cabooses into a bookstore near the Golden Gate.
Impressive turnout. I guess you are big in San Francisco.
- Hi! - You made it in one piece.
That's debatable. Wow! I can't believe it. All these people came to hear me read?
They're not all just for you. Mr. Winkle's here.
- Who's Mr. Winkle? - He's making an appearance right after you.
You're opening for a dog?
They had a chance to get Mr. Winkle, and they jumped at it. He's huge on the Internet.
Lily, I can't be the opening act for a dog.
What can I say? The West Coast sales rep totally fucked me on this.
- Lily, hi! - One sec, I'll be right back.
You know, maybe...
Thanks, but don't even waste your energy. You know, go back to the hotel, and get in that giant tub and relax. I'll see you later, we'll have a meal.
Later? Aren't you going to call Big?
Between the pimple and the puppy, I'm not up for it.
- Are you sure? - Yeah, go. Take a long bath.
- I may never get out. - Bye.
This book tour stuff is rough. That's a cute top.
"As I walked home, I couldn't help but wonder: Was it Mr. Big, was it New York or was it me?" Does anyone have a question? Yes?
When is Mr. Winkle coming out?
In a mere moment. So, if there are no other questions about my book...Yes, I see a hand, but I can't see the man. Could you shift? Sorry.
Yes, I have a question. This Mr. Big character, does he have a real name?
Yes, but I can't reveal it. I have to protect his privacy.
I no longer cared about Mr. Winkle. I had Mr. Big.
- Samantha! - I'm taking a bubble bath.
- You have to get out. Big's here, I need to have sex. - I'm taking a bath.
- I got you a smaller room all to yourself downstairs. - I can't get in another small room.
Please. I have to get laid.
You better fuck him good. I'm not gonna go through this again in another six months.
Can you hurry? I told him to come up in about half an hour. So, snap it up. Faster. Okay, bye-bye. Thank you, sweets.
- God. Hey, you. - So, did you hide the body? - What body?
Or whatever it was you had to do that kept me wandering around the hotel gift shop for half an hour. I got you some gum. Big Red. The clerk recommended it.
- Aren't you something? Want some? - Sure.
- Nice digs. This will set your publisher back. - Yeah. You look good.
- So do you, kid. - What?
My gum. Christ. You surprised me. I swallowed it.
Sorry. Here, let me kiss it and make it all better. How's that?
- We better go. Dinner reservations. - I'm not hungry.
We have to go. I promised my partners I'd make a vineyard connection with the restaurant owner. So let's go. We'll have a nice meal and catch up.
So, I'm walking through the mall, and I see your book.
Wait, you were in a mall?
I live in America now. You've gotta go through them to get to the outside. Anyway, I pass a bookstore, and there you are, right in the window next to the real books.
- Sir, you are too kind. - Good cover. Cute. Sexy. - Sexy?
So, I go in. I bought it, drove right home, sat on my porch, lit up a cigar, and I read it cover to cover.
- Porch? - Screen doors and everything.
What do you think?
I had no idea that I hurt you so much. I gotta say, it was tough to see it in print.
You've read my columns.
Not all at one sitting, one reading, one right after the other. I really got how much I hurt you.
Come on, that's fiction. I embellished.
No, some of that stuff really happened. Word for word.
It's just writing. It's all in the past. Let's forget all that and talk about something else. How's the wine business?
- Great. - Yeah?
You know that chapter about my apartment key? Was I really that big of an asshole?
Oh, my God.
"He was like the city itself, cold, infuriating and exhausting."
Suddenly, it became clear to me: This was not my best-laid plan.
See, that's what I'm talking about. When have I ever been cold? Am I cold?
No. You're hot. Very hot.
- What about Chapter 3? - That was all years ago. Can we please stop talking?
- Wait. - What?
- I just don't want you to get hurt again. - I won't. It's just sex.
According to this book, it is not just sex.
What happened in New York was all my fault. I didn't read the signs. You were unavailable, and very clear about that. It was all me. Now, please, kiss me. Or at least lie on top of me.
Carrie, I think it's very clear from this book that when it comes to me, you do not have good judgment. Now, look at Chapter 3.
- That's fiction. And it's not even a bestseller. - Here, page 39.
Oh, God. I can't believe this is happening. Are you involved with someone else? - No. It's the pimple, isn't it?
I just don't want to do something here that I'll be sorry for later.
I'm fine. Look at me. Put the book down and look at me. I'm fine. Just fine. Don't I look fine?
Let's talk just a little more. Now, look, page 39. This part.
- I love making love to you. - No. That was not love. That was just sex.
Charlotte, you are so beautiful. Your skin is so soft. So smooth.
And you... have a hard dick. Now, put your pants on and go. Is that okay?
Whatever you say.
There they were: The bachelorette and the beast.
What about dinner Saturday night?
- This is just sex. We're not a couple. You're just...a great fuck. Is that clear? - Clear.
- Hello? - Good morning, it's your wake-up call.
- What time is it? - 7:30.
- What time did I say? - 7:30. - Okay. Thank you.
After my wake-up call, I got my real wake-up call. Thanks to my book, nothing was ever going to happen with Big.
Where are you going?
I have two book readings this morning, before I head back to New York.
- Not so fast. Come here. - Now? What about last night? All that talk? All those concerns?
Fuck it. You'll need material for the sequel.
"Like that freckle on my face that he once told me he loved. I could do my best to cover it during the day, but at night, after I washed the city off my face, there it was, a tiny brown dot near the tip of my lip. And I wondered how something so small could suddenly seem so big."
- Here you go. - Thank you.
- Luggage in the car. Car at the curb. - Thanks for doing all that.
- So, how did it go with Big? - We had sex. Hallelujah.
Yeah, but it was not as simple as I had hoped.
What does that mean?
The question-and-answer section of this reading is now over. I'll tell you on the train.
Train? Get real. American Airlines, first-class, and some Valium. I cannot wait to get to New York.
- What about the midlife crisis? - Honey, who's midlife?
And sometimes it's not the journey. It's the destination.