My Posse – Meet Ken

My Posse – Meet Ken

My Posse, Meet Ken. the messy badass Ashley Allyn

For every good story (or horrifyingly embarrassing story, of which I have a plethora, a gaggle, a drove) a person needs a solid cast of characters. Fortunately, and foolishly, my friends have agreed to be featured in my blog. That way, I can refer to them in posts with a convenient frame of reference or possibly links. (Too late to turn back now… haha!)

First up, meet Ken.

No, that’s not his real name. Are you kidding me? That would just be too good to be true. But for fun, and because I very much enjoy mocking the people I love, let’s call him Ken. It wouldn’t be the first time he’s heard the reference, not by any stretch of the imagination.

You can first witness me write about Ken in my diary in October of 1993. I was 13 and totally boy crazy. My journals are completely filled with unrequited loooove. It’s ridiculous. Food (like Little Debbie’s Swiss Rolls, which you can read about here), my weight, and boys. Ugh. The shame.

So embarrassing, right? But I’m all about transparency to the point of humiliation these days, so we might as well get a chuckle out of it. And perfect? Wow. Let’s just pretend I never said that.

And then you can see here, after my 14th birthday, when I realized, much to my dismay, Ken was 16 years old. That’s like several decades when you’re a buck-toothed, chubby, fairly geeky teenage girl. My hopes, dreams, and visions of squeezing, and cuddling, and calling him my own were shattered to smithereens. Plus, he was obviously much less impressive without a driver’s license.

Years passed before I realized my hopes were never destined to come to fruition, despite the age gap. I could have been a Playboy Playmate with luscious, glistening breastsesses and he wouldn’t have looked twice. Yes, that’s right, ladies. He bats for the other team. It’s just not fair is it? Of course, men this attractive have no interest in the ladies. It’s a complete travesty.

Wait! Before I continue, let’s pause to take note and admire a few ravishing, handsome specimens who refute these unfair laws of attraction. It feels good to remind ourselves sometimes. I don’t want to infringe on any copyrighted material, so we’re just going to have to use our imaginations here. Jason Momoa, yes, he’s all the rage right now, and rightly so. Charlie Hunnam, good stuff. Brad Pitt, aging like a fine wine. Michael C. Hall..

Okay, the last one might just be me. There’s just something about Michael C. Hall in Dexter that does it for me. Don’t judge.

Anyway, back to Ken. We trained in Karate together, and somehow, we became friends. Maybe it’s because I was like a little lost puppy following him around everywhere, and he got used to it. Eventually, he even grew to love the puppy. That was me. Little puppy Ashley.

Eventually, once I got to know him, I no longer found him attractive. (This sounds horrible, but it’s really not. I swear) Not because he wasn’t attractive, but you know how it is: when you’ve been friends with someone long enough, they become like your brother/sister. Needless to say, I’m not down with that. Not that it mattered, as I’ve already pointed out.

At first, my dad was also clueless. He didn’t realize Ken had zero intention of deflowering his precious, getting-no-action-until-out-of-high-school daughter. He was not a fan of Ken. Not one bit. He saw an attractive, charismatic, older boy hanging out with his daughter and his fatherly instincts kicked into overdrive. Under different circumstances, his concern might have been valid. He was off the mark with this one.

One year, late in my teens, a group of my friends, including Ken, went camping with my dad’s buddies to Lake Jameson in Washington State. The camping trip was a tradition, but it was the first year I was allowed to set up my own campsite – away from the adults. (I use the word ‘adults’ loosely here: these drunken, Jack Daniels-infused men who passed out by the fire, melted their shoes together, face-planted into the dirt, and slurred stories about how they accidentally gave their mom crabs by sleeping with a girl who had crabs in their parent’s bed, barely classified as adults. Man, those were the best times. Good sh*#.)

Of course, we brought booze. My dad’s group was too busy stumbling around their campsite and ‘burning shit to high heaven’ to notice or care that we were drinking.

I think maybe four of us, all in the same tent, were just drifting off to sleep when my dad’s loud yell rumbled into the night, echoing throughout the canyon and jarring us from our pleasant, tipsy slumbers. The tent started shaking, hands slapping at the fabric. It felt like a tornado had descended upon us and we were going to lift right off the sage brush littered dirt patch. In our haste to begin our illegal imbibing, we had carelessly failed to stake down the tent.

“Get the f#@k out of there!” my dad yelled, over and over.

Anyone who knew my dad remembers him as a very calm man who rarely even spoke, let alone yelled, so the explosion was terrifying.

It took 2.5 seconds for the buzz and grogginess to dissipate before we recognized the reason for the fervent, frenzied outrage.

Ken scurried out of the tent with my dad on his heels, clambered into his Suburban, and promptly locked himself in. I’m pretty sure he hid on the floor. My dad pounded on the door of the Burb several times for emphasis, yelling profanities, before slowly retreating.

That night, afraid to exit the security of the Suburban, Ken peed into a Gatorade bottle.

After the camping debacle, I explained to my dad that his irrational outburst was unwarranted. Nothing was EVER going to happen. The confession changed the course of how my parents felt about Ken. The camping incident also created some kind of strange, primitive male bond.

It’s my opinion that when men get intoxicated and make fools of themselves, they forge some kind of bizarre bond with the witnesses. Anyway, whatever the case, Ken became family. He traveled with us, celebrated holidays with us, and is now my most long-time friend. We don’t see each other much anymore, but it doesn’t erase the history, nor the stories in which he will surely be featured here at The Messy Badass. I’m sure he can’t wait. 🙂

It was Ken whom, many years ago, sitting at a barstool of a local dive bar, sipping vodka sodas while listening to me lament about my lack of writing career and hopes for the future, bluntly told me to ‘shut the hell up’. He said he was sick of hearing me bitch about writing while doing absolutely nothing about it, year after year. At the time, I kind of wanted to throw my cocktail in his face – but I’m not one to waste alcohol.

But I thought about what he’d said. He was right. I was all talk and no action.

Not too long after that, I wrote a book. I submitted it to agents. No one wanted to sign me, so I wrote another one. It garnered some interest, although not enough to secure representation. I self-published the book and, to my amazement, a few people actually liked it.

I took it down from Amazon after my father passed away because I just couldn’t complete the sequel. It was a brutal cliffhanger. I still feel guilty. (Sorry to anyone waiting for a resolution. All 50 of you.) Yet, I did it. I wrote.

I thought about Ken when I started this blog, too. Not only is he a part of the stories I want to share, he was the first friend to tell me to stop bullshitting and get to work. We all need friends who are willing to tell us the truth, even when it hurts to hear. For that, I will be forever grateful. Even if he never wanted to sleep with me.

Now you’ve met Ken.

Next up, Grandpa. We’ll save that for another day.

Thanks for reading.

– Ashley

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