I met Ashe during my senior year of college, in August of 1988. He came over on sweltering hot day when even one’s eyelids might be sweating. He was a friend of my brother, Ben, our friend, Rick, and a couple other guys who helped me move to a new apartment in a 72-foot school bus, shortly after my first husband and I split up.
And, yes, I said a school bus… 🙂 – which had been the motel on wheels for Maleki, a local metal band. Maleki had just returned from a tour of every rock n roll dive south of the Mason-Dixon line. Rick played guitar, and Ashe was a roadie.
Ashe was one of those people who consumed the atmosphere. He was 6′ 4″ tall, weighed over 260 pounds, and he was sporting 52″ shoulders. However, as soon as Ashe lumbered into my house, I took an immediate dislike to him.
After Ben introduced us, Ashe nodded and barged into the kitchen. Wondering what the hell he was doing, I glanced at Ben, who just shrugged. However, my brother’s expression betrayed a hint of trepidation.
I started to ask him what he was so afraid of when he turned to Rick and said, “Probably should start with the couch.”
Rick nodded, and everyone got busy moving furniture and boxes when I realized that Ashe was still in the kitchen, so I walked in to make sure he wasn’t stealing my silverware or anything, LOL…and…
I found Ashe staring into the fridge, his arm leaning on the refrigerator door, making it sag a bit.
“What’re you doing?” I asked.
With a furrowed brow of disapproval and a hint of disdain, Ashe asked, “Are you a vegan or something?”
“No,” I said, laughing. “Why?”
“There’s no meat in here, nothing for a sandwich except this,” He replied, holding up a slice of American cheese, still in its wrapper. “What gives?” he asked, smiling.
“Ya know, Vegans don’t eat cheese.”
“Really? Are you serious?” Ashe asked, rather wide-eyed.
“It comes from cows, so-”
“Oh, my God, that’s fucking hysterical!” he said, with a loud guffaw. Then, he tossed the cheese into the fridge, shut the refrigerator door and shouted, “Hey, Rick, did you know that Vegans don’t eat cheese?”
“They’re outside loading my couch into the bus.”
“So, maybe, you could-”
But before I could finish that thought, Ashe sauntered into the living room, and heaved my antique and monstrously large wing chair – over his head as though it were a box of Styrofoam. After an explosive BELCH, he set the seat of the wing chair on his head. I watched him steady the weight of the chair by holding onto its arms and swagger out of the house.
I shook my head wondering what in God’s name this guy was going to do next. All went surprisingly well though despite the sizzling 95-degree heat that day as everyone lugged all my worldly possessions into the bus.
Two hours later, I was putting a box of my dishes into the trunk of my car while Ashe, Ben, and the other guys were carting boxes of books when we heard the scratchy, cartoonish song of a…
“The ice cream truck! Oh, my God!” Ashe shouted, rather excited. “We need ice cream!” He said, handing Rick the box of books he’d been toting, so he could literally run up the street toward the sound of the truck, waving his hands and screaming, “Over here, Mister Ice Cream Truck! We need ice cream!”
You couldn’t help but laugh at Ashe’s antics. A second later, the truck bearing the twirling ice cream cone – became visible while navigating an alley across the street…when Ashe, who was 20 at the time, turned around to me and fervently asked, “Buy us some ice cream, or milkshakes!? PLEASE!!”
I glared at Ashe because I was already springing for pizza and beer for everyone, and I was an atypically broke college student at the time and only waiting tables part-time to boot.
“Pretty please, it’s so damned hot,” he whined, noticing my slightly annoyed demeanor. “You know you want it,” Ashe said, and, everyone laughed, including me.
Reluctantly, I smiled and said, “I guess.”
“ALL RIGHT!” Ashe yelled, his eyes lighting up like Las Vegas Boulevard at midnight – as he galloped across the street toward the truck where the driver was serving several ten-year-olds.
With dairy treats in hand, we set off for my new apartment. When I hopped in my Nissan, Ashe appeared in my passenger seat. “There wasn’t enough room in the bus,” Ashe said smiling, “with all the books.”
I nodded, but I just knew that Ben had purposely arranged everything so Ashe would have nowhere to sit – just to piss me off, which was Ben’s favorite form of entertainment when I was around. As soon as I started the car, Ashe took a long, noisy slurp from his banana milkshake. Then, he reached over and switched my radio station from Rock 105 to God knows what.
“Hey! Don’t touch that! I love that song,” I snapped, punching the pre-set button back to Rock 105. A song I really liked Sweet Child of Mine by Guns ‘n Roses had been playing, and I couldn’t believe the nerve of this guy.
Yet, ten seconds later, he grabbed the knob on the radio and began flipping stations again across the crackly FM band with his very large paw.
“Do that again, and you’ll lose a hand, asshole!” I blurted out, smacking his hand with a whack.
He laughed saying, “Okay, okay,” holding up his hands in surrender.
I cranked it back to Rock 105 just as Sweet Child of Mine was ending.
“Man, you’re really uptight, aren’t you?”
“No, my car, my radio. Didn’t your mother teach you not to bother other people’s stuff?”
He grinned and said, “Maybe.”
The rest of the three miles to my new digs, he talked about how great it was being on the road with Maleki. “They played at some really shitty places, but most everybody loved their music except for this one place near Nashville.”
“Country music fans?”
“Yeah, I hate that bullshit. It’s sounds like someone’s chewing on aluminum foil over a loud speaker.”
I laughed. “Yeah, not my favorite either.”
I didn’t reply at first…didn’t wanna reveal any common ground. Who knows how he might’ve overreacted to that…”Though I was forced to listen to Blackfoot once when they opened for Van Halen.”
After we unloaded all my furniture, I pulled Ben aside and whispered, “Don’t ever bring that dickhead to my house again.”
Ben instinctively knew I was talking about Ashe. “He’s actually a really nice guy once you get to know him.”
“Yeah, uh, huh, just like a Doberman on steroids,” I grumbled.
Ben laughed. Then, surprise, surprise, less than a week later, guess who started working at the Rock ‘n Roll Cafe where I’d been working for several months? Yep, Ashe was now the full-time bouncer.
Ben knew the manager of the Cafe pretty well, so he recommended Ashe. I wasn’t thrilled about it. But I decided since Ben had vouched for him, that, perhaps, Ashe wasn’t a complete lunatic, but I wasn’t holding my breath. He certainly was entertaining.
A week later, Ashe sat down beside me while I was on break.
“This is all I have,” and he said dropping two quarters and a penny on the table. “Buy me a beer? ”
Frowning, I looked away. My tips were down. Business was always slow in the summer when most college students went back home. Employees’ drinks were half price, but still. I needed every dime for my electric bill.
“Aw, c’mon. You’re getting a shitload of alimony, Ben said.”
I laughed. “No, I’m not. I’m getting child support for my two-year-old, and it isn’t nearly enough.”
“Please, I’ll buy you three beers when I get paid.”
I sighed and bought Ashe a beer on my tab anyway.
“Thank you,” Ashe said smiling. “So, I’m thinking we should get married, you know, just for the weekend, get a divorce on Monday.”
And, remember, this was way before Britney Spears made the weekend marriage/divorce trendy since she was in diapers at the time…
I nearly choked on my laughter and Bud Light, “I’m sorry, but did you just say married?”
“Yeah,” he said with a big cheesy grin.
“I’m already married.”
“I thought that was over. That’s why-”
“It is,” I said, “But the divorce won’t be final until October.”
“Oh,” he said, nodding.
Not that I had any interest in dating Ashe. At the time, I preferred a skinny musician, who preferred to cheat on me or treat me like shit…☺
“Yeah, well, either way, I’m the one you’re supposed to be with,” Ashe said with the most charming grin I’d ever seen…
Again, I laughed, thinking Ashe had some seriously big jewels. I was beginning to think I’d misjudged him, but he was still persona non grata on my dance card.
However, on June 1, 1990, Ashe and I got married. Seriously…below are a couple of our wedding photos, etc.
Though our marriage tanked, and our divorce was final, oddly on June 1, 1995, we were always great friends. And I was devastated by his sudden death from a diabetes-related heart failure on December 26, 2005. He was 37. Therefore, ladies, NEVER say never. That maddeningly obnoxious co-worker/neighbor/pizza delivery guy could turn out to be your ex-husband #2 🙂 :)…
Over and out from fucked up central…