Ellen’s Long Shot


Here’s another story from my youth. This took place about five years after I got off the road. At the time, I thought I had settled down, but I guess not, because this stuff kept happening to me until well into my 60s. Believe me, I’m enjoying my retirement from the crazy. So, here goes:

Ellen Long was beautiful. Ellen Long was hip. Ellen Long was my lover, and Ellen Long could sure get herself into big trouble for such a little girl.

I don’t remember how I came to know Ellen Long, but I do remember shortly after our first meeting we were in bed devouring each other’s bodies. For a couple of wonderful months, we ran together. I must admit, I was smitten. Although, once I got to know her a little better, it was obvious this was not going to be a long-term relationship. I took my cues from Ellen Long and decided to enjoy her while I could.

To give you an example of her way of thinking—which was very progressive for the time—two days after a weekend in which we locked ourselves on my boat and did nothing but drink and make love, she called to say she was having trouble recuperating from the intensity of our sexual adventures. She went on to inform me she had told her sister all the salacious details and, seeing as how she was going to be out of commission for a few days, would it be alright if her sister came over that night. The sister wanted to find out what all the fuss was about; well, that was the first of the five women Ellen Long sent my way.

With that sort of attitude, it’s no wonder the relationship lasted only two months. However, once the sex stopped, we remained close friends. She had no choice. I drank at whatever bar she was working. At least I was assured of decent—and most of the time free—drinks.

Every time Ellen Long had a new lover, I heard about it in great detail. There was the time she told me of the guy who was flying her to England. My only comment: “Make sure you get a round trip ticket.” Wouldn’t you know it? She called me a week later and said, “I’m stuck in London, can you send me a ticket?” I made sure there was one at the airline counter within the hour (this was long before the internet). Then I didn’t hear from her after that. No phone call to say I’m home, no phone call saying thanks … no nothing.

I finally ran into her at a bar we both frequented, and the first thing out of her mouth was the fact she had a new lover. She went on and on, telling me of his great beauty, his gorgeous skin, etc. After a few minutes of that shit, I started referring to him as “Pretty Boy.”

At that point, I had had enough of her crazy loves, so I feigned business elsewhere and excused myself. I should not have been so hasty. If I had waited around and met Pretty Boy, we might have averted the defining moment in Ellen Long’s and my relationship.

Fast-forward two weeks:

The loud, incessant ringing of the telephone brought me out of a sound sleep. I looked at the clock next to the bed … 4:07 a.m. Putting the receiver to my ear, I heard, “He’s going to kill me; he just tried to throw me off a roof!” This was 1978, a time long before cell phones, and the person on the other end of the line was Ellen Long.

In a whispering, scared voice, her words came tumbling out of the receiver so fast it was hard to grasp what she was saying. I was barely awake. Eventually, she slowed down enough so that I could understand her.

She told me she had been riding in Pretty Boy’s car, and he had become enraged when she told him she didn’t want to see him anymore. He drove into the parking area of a nearby apartment complex, pulled her from his car, and dragged her up the stairs and out onto the roof.

Ellen Long was a bartender; she’d had plenty of experience dealing with drunks, so she thought she could handle this nut job. It wasn’t until he had her at the edge of the roof and she was looking down at the hard asphalt so far below, that the seriousness of the situation struck her. It was then her training kicked in. Somehow she convinced him that everything would be all right if only he would allow her to first find a bathroom. Then she’d go with him wherever he wished.

On the way down from the roof, the first door she knocked on was answered—as luck would have it—by a nice, little old lady who had no problem letting two strangers into her apartment at 4:00 o’clock in the morning. Really!

Once inside, Ellen couldn’t tell of her predicament without putting the nice, little old lady at risk. By then, the nut was mollified enough to allow Ellen to leave his sight, although he stood guard at the door as she went to the back of the apartment where the bathroom was located.

Instead of going into the bathroom, she slipped into the bedroom, picked up the phone, and called me. She said she didn’t have the exact address, but she gave me the intersection of two streets and asked me to come to her rescue.

As I rushed off my boat and got behind the steering wheel of my car, a voice in my head said, “She gave you the wrong location. The place she gave you is miles from where she’s at. She’s on the opposite side of the island” (Miami Beach). Then a mental vision of her location popped into my mind. Really!

Starting the car, I decided not to go where Ellen Long had told me to go. Instead, I went in the opposite direction. When I got to the place I believed her to be, I saw Ellen and Pretty Boy standing alone in the parking lot of the apartment complex. She expected me—he did not.

She calmly walked up to the car and said, “Hello,” like we were meeting accidentally in the middle of the day, and not the early hours of the morning. She then introduced her “friend,” and while his attention was momentarily diverted in my direction, she ran around to the other side of the car, dove through the open passenger-side window, and yelled, “Get the fuck outta here!”

It took Pretty Boy half a second longer than I to realize what was happening, and that half second was all we needed to effect our getaway. The only thing he could do at that point was grab onto the side-view mirror and scream at us as loud as he could. Though slight of stature, he was so enraged, he had the strength to tear the mirror from the car and throw it at us as we sped away.

As I drove her home, she told me I had arrived just in the nick of time. She had stalled him as long as she could. Just as I drove up, he was about to drag her into his car.

I never saw Ellen Long again, except once about a year later, for a few short minutes, in a real dive of a bar. She was with friends, and we were both genuinely glad to see one another. After saying hello and hugging me, she turned to her friends, and said the following: “This is Andrew. He saved my life.”

I had finally made an impression on Ellen Long.


13 thoughts on “Ellen’s Long Shot

  1. She was definitely lucky to have you as a friend. Reminds me of a verse in a Guy Clark song I love, called “Stuff That Works”:

    I got a pretty good friend who’s seen me at my worst
    He can’t tell if I’m a blessing or a curse
    But he always shows up when chips are down
    That’s the kind of stuff I like to be around


  2. This lady was is real piece of work! I’m not sure it was related to the times – I’ve known some women like that by repurtation. Although she certainly entertained you, I think you were well rid of her. What if Pretty Boy had a gun?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am amazed every day that the year is 2023! How the hell did I make it this far into the future. There have been so many close calls in my life (some, if not most, of ’em self administered) how the hell did I make it this far? Just three years ago, I was in the deep woods and I would have died if it was 1978. But I was rescued because of a technology that did not exist in the ’70s.


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