Chapter 14

Two bands at Dempsey's!

Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 01:49:12 PM EST


 
Married Lady has been pressuring me to get my locks shorn, so considering my total and utter lack of anything remotely resembling sex, I decided to take her advice. Maybe that's what I needed; someone at K5 said that old guys with long hair look “creepy.”
So, since my transmission has not magically repaired itself, and the money necessary to repair my finances has not magically appeared in my banking account, I walked on down to Married Lady's hairdresser, the “Magic Comb”. $5 haircuts, the sign says. If they screw it up I'll just shave my damned head.

 

 

 



The sun was hot as I walked down there. I passed a big Catholic church, where bells were ringing and scores of young people dressed in suits and tuxedos were milling around outside. Ah, June: the month where the moon rhymes and young women dream of fairy tales, and young men dream of young women who will magically stay beautiful and fuck their brains out forever.
I tried to stay in the shade, as it was damned warm. Not too easy.
There is an old woman slowly walking in front of me. I go to walk around her, and she turns to walk straight into me. After nearly falling while trying to avoid knocking the senile old biddy down, I do my impersonation of a gentleman and say “excuse me”. She looks around as if she didn't see me, and continues walking in the direction she turned.
I go into the hairdresser's, and it has the awful organic chemical smell that ladies' hairdresser shops always have. The barber is probably forty but looks much older, a homely, ungainly woman.
There was a woman in one chair who looked like she was on the other side of a hundred, curlers in her head. A young man with curly black hair was in another chair. A too plump, matronly looking thirty something woman waiting, with a little girl that looked about eight or so. I sat down.
She told the little girl to sit in the middle chair and asked how she wanted it cut. The old woman I had almost collided with came in.
“There are two or three ahead of you,” the hairdresser told the old woman. She punched a button on a stereo, and modern country music came out. “I should have been a cowboy” the radio crooned, with incredibly stupid lyrics.
She finished the young man's haircut, and he left. She cut the little girl's hair in about two minutes, and they left. I sat in the chair as she worked on the relic some more, and she asked me how I wanted it.
I told her short, I wanted it out of my eyes. I added, “I'm recently single, make it so the ladies will like it.”
The old women seemed to get a kick out of that, especially the centenarian. We talked about teenagers and how they know everything, the barber talking about how she takes off work to take her son to his baseball game and gives him money while he cusses her.
Somehow the conversation turned to how the world is going to hell in a handbasket, with the hundred year old woman talking baseball and how terrible it was that Sammy Sosa got caught with a corked bat.
I pointed out that there have always been liars and thieves and scoundrels, and reminded her of Shoeless Joe Jackson. I said goodbye and left, with the three women still talking about how horrible those kids are today.
I had five bucks left in my pocket and nothing for Sunday breakfast, so decided to walk down to Oscos, where I could buy groceries with a check and get cash back.
It's a lot farther from McArthur than home. And it was getting even hotter. I started sweating a lot. By the time I got to Osco's, I was sweating profusely, weak, and was shaking. I'd been walking in the sun too long.
I went into Frankie’s. After all, in a bar they're used to people passing out.
Thankfully, Frankie wasn't there. There was an attractive young woman behind the bar instead. I asked for a beer, some water, and chips. I drank the water down before the chips came, she refilled it, and I gave her a tip.
The jukebox was playing. “I should have been a cow, boy...”
By the time I finished the beer and chips, I felt almost human. She asked was I doing OK, and I told her I was going to finish my beer and go next door to the store but would probably be back for another beer. I wasn't ready for more walking yet.
“I'll put one in the cooler for you and get it really cold.”
We like our beer cold here in the midwest, unlike Europe and everywhere else in the world. The first beer was almost frozen, and tasted like heaven. There's nothing like an ice cold beer when you're about to pass out from heat stroke.
I got some pastries and some almost food you can cook in the microwave, and went back to Frankie's for another beer. The cow boys were gone, and some Rolling Stones were playing.
A blonde haired boy maybe ten or twelve ran in the back door, sweat streaming down his face. There were about three women there, all of whose maternal instincts took hold. It seems some other kids were chasing the boy. The other kids must have been terrorists, because this boy was terrified. By the time I left, they had called the police to take the boy home.
I went home and my daughter, of course, wanted money. So I gave her a five, and she wanted more. I thought of the old ladies in the beauty shop. She then said she was going to Walgreens for some “girl stuff” and then going with her friends. Sigh. Why couldn't I have had boys?
I nuked the almost food, and ate it with another beer. Man, cold beer sure tastes good when it's hot. I took a bath, and decided to walk on down to Dempsey's.
Before I got as far as Walgreen's, my daughter came walking down the street toward me. “I thought you were going with your friends?” I asked.
“They weren't there, I'm going home and IM them.” She didn't have her key with her. So I walked back with her. Before I left, she had gotten hold of her friend, who was going to come pick her up. So I stuck around, sitting on the front porch, and when her friend showed up I asked her for a ride to Monroe Street.
Patty was mad that I had asked her friend for a ride. They dropped me off at the Capitol building, across the street from the newly named Gwendolyn Brooks Illinois State Library that “teh terrorists” had thankfully for me failed to bomb Friday. I could hear music coming from Dempsey's. They were starting early – it wasn't even 8:30 yet, and the music usually didn't start until 10:00.
I walked in and waved at the band, whose only audience so far was the bartender, Mandy. Mandy walked up with a big grin. “You got your hair cut! It looks good!”
I thanked her, and she got me a beer. I sat down next to her at the bar. I told her that my daughter had taken part of the twenty I usually spent there, could they cash a check for me? She said they wouldn't let her, but if things picked up later and her tips were good she'd cash one for me.
The band was rocking. Everyone but Mandy and I were missing a good show. I asked why they were starting so early. “Somebody fucked up,” she said, and they were double booked. This band was from Columbia, Missouri. They'd played down in St. Louis Friday night.
Mandy had just broken up with her boyfriend. Again, she said. We compared tales of exes. I thought she was drinking water, but she said it was vodka. “But it's only my third one.” It was a six ounce glass.
Joe Frew, the singer from Subaudible, a Springfield band, came in and grinned. He ran his hand over his crew cutted head and said “looks good. The women will probably like it better.” I told him that was the main reason I had gotten it cut.
He started playing a videogame on the bar, and I went back to talking to Mandy. As it started getting dark outside, people started coming in. “Write me that check now before it gets too busy,” she said. I wrote it and she cashed it for me.
It was a much better night than Friday. I had fun, listened to good music, talked with folks. I didn't get laid, but you can't have everything!

 

 


Chapter 13
Index
Chapter 15

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