Yesterday there was supposed to be a birthday party after work for a woman turning 50. I didn't go. It was hot, threatening to rain, and the party was at Chantilly Lace, a couple of miles away.
I took a shower, opened a beer, and drank it on the porch before walking downtown in search of music.
The sunset was pretty, although not spectacular. The big Catholic church on 6th Street was letting out, and the sidewalk was crowded with people milling around.
There wasn't any music scheduled at Dempsey's, but I thought I'd go by there just to make sure. Sometimes they get their bookings confused.
As I walked past Bread Stretchers, a band was setting up inside, and it was packed with people, most of whom looked like teenagers. A young fellow was collecting a three dollar cover at the door. I asked him who was playing. “Three New York bands, and a local band.” I told him I might drop back later.
Dempsey's had no band. I used the restroom, and asked the bartender if there was a band “scheduled tomorrow.” He looked in the book, and said no, but there were two bands next week. I decided to try Marley's.
The doorman wasn't set up yet, but a band was lugging equipment in. I sat down and got a draft and a glass of water. Two plump young ladies walked in. A fat, geeky looking fellow a couple stools down said “I got dibs on the brunette.”
The ladies sat down around the other side of Marley's roundish bar, and the bartender brought the fat guy a big plate of food. The plump blonde laid down a pack of cigarettes. I talked with the fat fellow for a while about women, smoking, and woman smokers and decided to go back and check out Bread Stretchers.
As I left Marley's, the doorman asked “coming back?” I said yes, and he stamped the green “M” on my hand. No cover for me tonight, I got there early enough, and stayed late enough.
I had promised myself not to go chasing women tonight, and here the fat guy had my mind on women.
The band at Bread Stretchers was rocking, so I gave the door guy three bucks and squeezed in. I squished through the way too full sandwich shop to the counter, and got a beer. I squeezed back through, looking for a nonexistent chair. There were none, so I sat on a big drum case.
This was truly an “all ages” show. There was one boy dancing who couldn't have been over ten years old. A few older folks, and mostly what looked like teenagers.
I had forgotten to take my Paxil Thursday morning, and took it after work. Yesterday, Friday, I remembered in the morning. So my dosage was off. I had only drank two beers and sipped out of a third, and the people started turning into cartoons, although only slightly.
A very young woman, probably a teenager I figured, sat down on the drum case next to me, almost falling down in the process. “It has wheels,” I remarked intelligently. She laughed. “Yeah, I found out.”
She was a caricature of a very pretty woman. Very cartoonish.
I chatted a while with this pretty girl who was obviously way too young for me, and with her friends who were sitting on the other side of her. One pulled out a camera and laughed and pointed at me. The girl smiled and got closer to me, so I put my arm around her and smiled at the camera, which then flashed.
They were seventeen and eighteen year olds; legal, yet still too young. Two had just graduated from high school. Catholic girls; that was probably what the shindig on 6th Street was about.
I told them I wished I could get a copy of the picture to make my ex jealous. They promised to bring one to Bread Stretchers next Friday at 8:00.
I finished my beer, the band finished their set, and the young girl and I got up so the drummer could have his box back. I told the girls I would see them next week, and left, getting my hand marked so I could come back without a second cover charge.
I walked back to Marley's in search of less youthful female company. Fat boy was gone, but the women he was ogling were still there. I sat down next to the smoking blonde and ordered a beer.
The chubby blonde cartoon studiously ignored me, the band played, I drank my beer and continued watching the live version of Cool World at Marley's.
Did I mention that I like Paxil?
My empty beer bottle glared at me angrily, the band took a break, the blonde cartoon's cartoon smoke danced and smiled and winked, and I decided to see what the next band at Bread Stretchers sounded like.
As I walked past Jake and Elwood's, something told me to go inside.
Annie was in there, standing by herself. “Annie!” I exclaimed. “It's Amy,” she said. “Amy?” I asked. “I thought you said your name was Ann?” No, Amy. Oops, sorry.
I asked her about Heather. Tuesday was the first time she'd ever seen Heather.
I chatted with Amy about her brother, who had just committed suicide. She had mentioned her brother's death at Dempsey's Tuesday. I told her I was going to get a glass of water. “Get me one, too,” she said. So I walked up to the bar and got a couple of glasses of water. I gave hers to her and we walked outside, where people were milling around.
Somehow a lit joint wound up in my hand. I hadn't even smelled it. I hit it, and as I inhaled its green smoke it whispered “give me to Amy, she's cute.”
I offered it to Amy, and she declined and went back inside. Heather would have hit it. Ah, shit.
I walked on home.