Notes From a Dive Bar - Odysseys

Jimbo arrives, desperate. He’s tried everything. Hair dye, acting classes, orthodontics, bodybuilding, goatee, and liberal politics. Zilch. Evolution has set me to exclusion, he says tonight, yesterday, last week, last month, last decade, tomorrow. I just can’t find myself a wife. He gobbles down a bowl of cabbage soup, slurping and burping.

My friend, the transvestite dumpster diver, pulls in with his wares. He earns a dollar for fascinating finds. An album of Scottish bagpipe music. A street map of Pyongyang. A small, golden harp. Sold to the bartender for no good reason. It’s amazing what you find at the bottom of dumpsters, he says, smelling of it. He pulls a light saber from his jacket, and turns it on, scavenging the air, Obi One Kenobi in a frock. May the force be with him. He departs to the call of all that is thrown away.

Charlie’s liver. He looked like death warmed up last time I saw him. Face traduced with ruts and folds of yellow skin. Jack and cokes every night for decades. At least his family has money and he won’t end up in the street. He is a smart person, astute. His burden, awkward and shy, and owned by sadness; he, too, never having found someone to love him. No one waits to welcome him to Ithaca.

After closing, I’m painting over graffiti tags on the wall, bright red. A fire engine blazes past, sirens.

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.
CONVERSATIONS