Friday Night: Notes From a Dive Bar XXXXVIII


There really is no fun on drugs, says Martin. I shrivel.

He installs solar panels and enjoys New Age ambient music. Early evening, he has failed to fire up the engine, again. Soon, he will be lying down in his bed listening to his Flutes of the Andes CD, all whistles blaring. My neighbor told me I was waking her up chopping blow on the table at 5am, he says, so I just turned up the volume on the flutes.

Conversation ends right there. Wave after wave of drinker floods in. The whole world is at sea, heads popping up like buoys. My eyes act like a lighthouse beam, catching theirs. Windy booze fills the sails. My smile sets on the horizon. I'm slammed but not gloomy. I don't have to talk to Martin no more. Out there, the drinkers are topsy-turvy. Behind here, I'm lashed to the mast. Turning like a corkscrew, pulling bottles from the rail, grabbing the soda snake's head. The hiss spits tonic on the gin. People are dancing, joyously drunk, the wondrous booze wave sweeps over us and carries us to the shores of oblivion. Even those sinking get some happiness, and one thinks of the Titanic and those who continued to drink their martinis as the horror went vertical.

People downing Red Bull and Jagermeister depth charge shots in record numbers. Austria and Germany. Hammers and slammers. It's a Teutonic coupling, a one-two, a fizzy red turned quickly black like a German opera. The tip jar over floweth like a fountain of George Washingtons, his teeth made of wood. The other two bartenders sneak off to smoke. Randomness, boundless, groundless, pointless, happiness.

Two are ejected at the one o'clock hour, screaming like hyenas, wild eyed and fried, and muscular, and as I bundle one out, he flashes anger but it fizzles. Anger is too exhausting. Martin is the last to leave on his flying saucer eyes. I can't believe it. He's been here all night long? Where? The floor sweeper finds a ten spot. Maybe he finds other things sweeping up the flotsam and jetsam. The lost and found box fills with abandoned jackets on their way to the fabrics' graveyard. Few return for their lost items. Most won't even remember being here. Someone has scrawled liberte, egalite, fraternite on the wall. The New Age continues in a few hours when the first Martins arrive.