“We're putting a new bar in,” Rier said a month or two ago at Dempsey's, his tavern. “We're taking out this big, round one and putting in a bar that will stretch from here to down there. Ought to give us a lot more room.”
A couple of weeks later, I was in Dempsey's, and one of the off-duty bartenders had a t-shirt that read “MoJo's.”
“Only a few more days of Dempsey's,” Rier said. “I'm changing the name, too,” pointing at his barkeep's shirt.
“Mo’ Joes?” I said. “That's what you're going to call it?”
“Or is it,” I said, looking at the pretty female bartender (the on-duty barkeep) “the Spanish pronunciation? Mo' Ho’s?”
She blushed. The off-duty bartender laughed. Rier made a face.
A week ago Saturday, Inspected By Twelve was playing. Good band, I should make them the Rudies.US “song of the week.” Can't do it right now, though, as I have the two Quake Christmas MP3s there, “I Saw Mommie Killing Santa Claus” and “Rudolph The Four Legged Stroggie”, both sung by my then 12 year old daughter. So as I have extremely limited space these days there's no room left for 12, they'll have to wait until next month.
Rier looked wistful. “This is it,” he said. “Dempsey's last night. No more Dempsey's!”
“As long as you have mo' hos,” I said. Rier made a face. “Mojo’s!” he said.
Last week as I was driving down Monroe, I noticed that the awning outside Dempsey's that was also its sign was gone, and the door was propped open. I parked and stuck my head in. Rier was inside with some workmen. The big round bar was gone, the place dirty, dusty, and ugly.
“Wha's happenin'?” Rier said.
“Just seeing how it's coming along.”
“The bar's gone!” Rier said.
“Well, yeah, you said Saturday was the last night.”
“No, the bar!” he exclaimed, gesturing to the big empty space where the bar had been.
“So, when do you get the new one?”
Dempsey's closing had a bit of an effect on me. It was responsible for my trading my nerdy, out of style coke bottle glasses for contact lenses. I recounted the story in another diary last year. Or was it the year before? At any rate, there are a lot of new K5ers since then.
It was a drizzly spring night, and as was my custom then, I walked downtown to have a couple of beers and listen to a little music and lost one of the lenses to my glasses behind a heavy cooler.
At the time, I hadn't met Rier, and he hadn't yet bought Dempsey's. I was still living in the big house on 7th street, so I could walk downtown and get as shitfaced as I wanted without worrying about a DUI.
I miss those days. Now I have to drive, meaning I have to limit myself to a couple of beers.
That's one more reason the mcgrew diaries aren't as good as they used to be. I'm not quite as tame when I'm drunk. I stopped taking the Paxil right before my house was foreclosed, and was in a really, really, really shitty mood for a couple of months. I mean, it's bad enough getting off of an antidepressant, but getting off of them when life is kicking your ass will really spoil your mood.
At the time I got off of the Paxil, I wondered if my writing would suffer, especially since the muse seemed to have left as well. It seems to have; but giving it more thought, I don't think so.
My old long abandoned site was “The Springfield Fragfest”, so named because the online game Quake involves running around in virtual nightmare scenes, shooting people and running from people who are shooting at you. These games were called “frag fests”, and getting killed was called “getting fragged”. I understand the actual term “frag” came from Vietnam, where tossing a grenade at your Com-manding Officer was known as “fragging” him. The Fragfest was fairly popular in its day, back before all you millions got on the internet. Lacking any inside knowledge of “teh game industry”, rather than news I ran “nooze”, which was a rather warped perspective on computer gaming news reported elsewhere, as well as the goings on with other Quake web sites. Often I would have the then excellent, now utter crap PC Gamer magazine's mascot, Coconut Monkey, battling Stroggs. Often I battled Stroggs myself, sometimes in a Coconut Monkey Quake skin. Sometimes, of course, in a Kenny skin or a Baal skin or even a Santa Clause skin.
As an example of what “nooze” was, there was a fellow named “Nacho.” I'm not sure if he's the same Nacho that posts here at K5; I don't think so. At any rate, one post had me visiting him and his friend “Tikki God,” who was complaining about how the shambler pissed all over everything. I'd have to look the post up, but I had them smoking something that smelled funny, and shooting rockets at Tikki's shambler (a “shambler” is one of the monsters in the Quake game) because it pissed on the couch. Or something. At any rate, gamers ate it up, and I very often got links from Blue's News, Planet Quake, sCary's, and just about everybody except Old Man Murray, who was always jealous, mean, nasty, and hilarious.
The Fragfest was especially popular in December when the Christmas page ran. The Germans especially liked it, site logs showing as many folks coming from German sites (.de) as dot coms. I used to call the Germans “Danes” just to see if anybody would correct me. Nobody ever did.
As long as I was having fun writing, people were having fun reading it. And then life started kicking my ass and I stopped being amusing and got all grouchy, and my audience left in droves. Later when things in my real life got better, the writing improved again and a lot of the old fans came back. Not all of them, though...
At any rate, if life would stop kicking me in the ass my writing would probably improve, as it did with my old site. That won't likely be any time soon, as my daughter has become a nightmare. And no, I'm not going to go into detail. But things will get better. They always do. Everything seems to go in circles.
But I digress... I do that a lot, don't I?
“So when do you get the new bar? When do you reopen?”
He said a couple of days.
Last night I was sitting at home, flipping through 72 channels of worthless, uninspired, boring drivel and decided to drive down town to see how Demps... er, MoJo's was coming. Besides, I ran out of beer.
I had planned on stopping if they were inside working, but the new awning said “MoJo's,” the lights were on, and the beer lights in the window were on as well! MoJo's was open for business, it seemed.
Rier was behind the bar, Kat was tending, and a half dozen or so folks sat at the bar, including Rier's investment banker, who had sold him the bar in the first place.
Rier saw me come in and waved.
“Hey,” I exclaimed, “Mojo! Buenos Noche! Que pasa?”
Rier made a face.
“Rolling Rock?” Kat asked. “Hmm,” I said, “I've been getting back to drinking Busch, 'cause the price of Rolling Rock has gone through the roof.”
“Not here,” Rier said, “It's still two and a quarter just like all the other domestics!”
A year ago, a six pack of Rolling Rock at the gas station was twenty cents more than a six pack of Busch. Now a twelve pack of Busch is twenty cents more than a six pack of Rolling Rock, and with my daughter running up hundreds of dollars worth of cell phone bills every month I can barely afford Busch.
“Oh, come on,” Rier said, “Have a Rolling Rock.”
Indeed, he only buys the stuff for me and maybe two other regulars.
His banker was drunk.
A coconut monkey sat near the ceiling behind the bar. I eyed it warily. “Is that a nice coconut monkey or a mean coconut monkey,” I asked the drunken banker, remembering the PC Gamer's Coconut Monkey fragging my ass mercilessly when playing Quake.
I guess I got home about 8:30, having bought a six pack of Rolling Rock on the way home. I opened one, sat down, and fell asleep in the chair before even sipping any. I woke up and went to bed a couple of hours later.
How disappointing MoJo's was. Rather than having mo' hos, there weren't any hos at MoJo's at all!
I'll be back tonight to hear The Station play. Perhaps there'll even be a few mo' hos.