Notes From a Dive Bar XXIV


Phones ring in the neighborhood...

The pizza joint next door does a good slice of violence. An argument mushrooms. The cops on speed dial and paramedics export an unsatisfied customer to the hospital. Something about pepperoni, some kind of insult, I hear a metal pipe over the skull settled it. Not sure if that will appear in the Yelp review.

On my break, I go to the Palestinian brothers for their deli selections. From my seat, a view of the Mitchell Brothers, the famous strip joint, where Hunter S. Thompson worked as the night manager. More flashes. The paramedics rush in. And rush out. A bulging middle-ager in a shirt and tie on the gurney. He's visiting town for a conference but has a heart attack instead during a lap dance. Later that morning, a phone rings in a suburb of Chicago, and a wife answers, and the children can never be told.

The guy who owns the massage parlor on the block, he's on his phone in his tinted, big SUV, and women with nimble fingers appear from behind the mirrored door, and climb in. The phone rings in the bar, I answer, do you do Karaoke? And I sing a few bars of Tom Jones, She's a Lady. Then hang up. This guy in front of me, four drinks in, his iPhone pings, and he declines the request for that's not his girlfriend he is talking to on a bar stool.

Once, only the bar phone rang, and she shouted, Tell him I'm not here, and the bartender complied and lied as the bartender/patient relationship is inviolable. But these days, no one gets to lie, for the phones find you, and catch you, and you're done when your Ring Ring blurts out songs and sounds like the Siren's call.