Wednesday, October 11, 2006
The walk past the general store today was nice. I could smell the grass mixed with fertile soil after the rain. Virginia said she was going to leave me. After 12 years of marriage. I kept walking all the way to Dave's up the huge hill and past the parking German Shepard. I need a beer. The front of the bar is red brick. Built in the 1920's the bar used to be an old speakeasy. Bootleggers used to hide out in the basement that contains many tunnels.
The neon red sign to DAVE'S buzzes over my head as I walk in. Even at eleven in the morning the sign still acts as that beacon for the lonely. The solace for the disconnected and displaced.
I walk in and sit at the far end of the bar.
"Hi Walt" the bartender greets me.
"Hey" I wave to him.
Andy Stillmen is a large roly-poly of a guy, huge gut hangs like a shear cliff over his tight brown belt and a big dark brown beard wraps around his huge face. Combed over grey salt and pepper hair tries and camouflage a bald spot. He’s been a bartender here for 22 years. I look to Andy as my therapist. I talk he listens. He’s my Buddha. He gives me my redemption every time. I’m waiting for that one day when he looks at me and says. “Walt, your fucked”
I take my dark brown jacket off and hang it on a coat rack near a jukebox that plays Neil Young’s “New Mama”. I sit back down on the stool.
"So what will it be?” Andy asks.
"Just a beer...Pabst."
He reaches under the bar and slides open a cooler pulling out a beer.
He pops the top and hands the cold beer to me.
I take a swig.
I look around the bar.
Almost empty except three other lonely, lost, horny, screwed up, junkie, poor people sittin at the bar.
As I look around the bar I catch my reflection in a mirror that lines the back wall of the bar.
It all stinks I think. She’s been out late the past week.
I’m not a hard man to live with.
She say’s she needs her freedom. That she’s doing stuff for us while she’s out. Making deals for me. Shmoozing.
What can she be doing?
My last book didn’t sell very well.
I’ve done five talk shows and some stupid ass fuckin filmmaker wants to do some kind of documentary about me.
Looking at my mug for what an hour? Two hours?
I mean what can I say? I’ll feel like some kind of trained monkey.
“Another drink Walt?” Andy chimes in. His breath bouncing off my nose.
My god brush your teeth. I think to myself. I don’t want to embarrass the guy.
“Sure” I say.
“Whisky” I point to the good shit against the far wall.
I catch my reflection again.
I’m really fuckin old.
55 years old.
My skin sags around my neck. My hair is just about all fallen out.
My nose looks huge with all this saggin flesh.
My god what does Emily see in me. Good. I’m glad she’s gone.
She says I ignore her. She says I take her for granted.
I told her she’s getting things confused.
It’s the other way around. She takes me for granted.
I told her to get a good lawyer.
So she left.
And now I’m here. Lookin at myself in the fuckin mirror.
Suddenly a clean cut young man around 35 comes in and sits next to me. I can tell he recognized me and wants to say something.
Finally he gets the balls to say something. “Hi I really like your work, very honest writing.”
“Great” I say back. “Good” I scratch my left arm pit.
I take a drink. The whiskey going down smooth and warm. I can feel the warmth all through my body.
“I particularly like the book that you wrote about living in Los Angeles.”
“You do, do you?” I answer back. I’m annoyed. I want to be left alone during my crisis. I want to wallow.
“Why the fuck do you like that book?” He looked surprised that I responded back the way I did. He started fumbling with his words.
“Well I just like how you talked about everything…I mean I used to live in LA and…well it seemed very real.”
I fart really loud. A fart that shakes the bar. I think even the folks sitting across on the other side of the place heard me. Fuck. The people upstairs heard it. The dishwasher heard it and dropped and broke several mugs onto the ground. Women were running out of the joint.
I just smiled.
The poor kid got up and left without even saying good-bye.
Hummm…was it something I said?
To be continued
Posted by Antony Berrios at 10/11/2006