….So, yeah I have been getting pestered lately about not having a new post. What can I say, the Muse has deserted me , fled in the night. Hoping to kick start the process I wandered into the local bar/slash biker hang out looking for inspiration, or at least entertainment. This place is really a dive-you know the kind. Kept dark so you can’t see the roaches skittering between the tables, acting as tiny busboys on the cheesy vinyl table-tops. Food…well if you are brave enough one of the bartenders will slap together a greasy sandwich and toss it your way. Or there are always the tidbits in the bowls at the bar. But do you really know what those crunchy things are that you are biting into?
The patrons of the establishment are right out of “central casting” (“send over 8 extras to work in the bar scene”) down to the writer in the corner gathering material. The men were all casting a hungry eye toward any female that walked through the door. Each was clad in jeans that hadn’t seen a Maytag in months…baggy in the rear and dragging at the heels. That was where the uniformity ended…the shirts were a mash-up of tight t-shirts with adverts for their favorite defunct band or patterns that were popular in the 80’s straining at the buttons over the waist. Greasy hair of an indeterminate color and unshaven, scruffy faces finished their look. Yep, real keepers, everyone of them! Most were working on a pretty good buzz; easy enough to spot as soon as they tried out their pick-up lines with the women, words slurring and volume loud.
The women! Ah, what can I say but that they were a perfect match for these guys. eHarmony couldn’t have done better. Aging nymphs, wrinkled and bleached, apparently without a single mirror in their home, or at least one that told the truth. As they prowled through the door they were scanning the scene for a leading man. Alas, there are none, only two-bit character actors fooled into thinking they might catch the ingenue`when in reality they, if lucky, will win the consolation prize of the chain-smoking withered cougar. And both will fool themselves for one night, waking with regret in the morning.
Overseeing and orchestrating this whole play were the two bartenders, one guy, gay but still in the closet, so of course all the women flirted with him totally unaware of the futility of their efforts. One gal, long past her prime, but still sharp and able to talk rings around the stool jockeys. She could insult them, putting them in their place and they would still tip her! She had a couple years of community college, just enough to make her look like she was “uptown” and these jokers didn’t know the difference. Together this dynamic duo slogged through the night making boiler-makers for the guys and whiskey sours for the women, hoping that tips at nights end would see them through one more week.
And I, silently watching from a darkened booth, scribbling bits of observation as I gloweringly rebuffed glances that happened my way. What story would I glean from this? What made these people any different from the freshly scrubbed wholesome couples at Olive Garden? After a few Mojito’s (said to be Hemingways favorite) I realized that I was never going to pen The Old Man And The Sea sitting here. I also realized that these people were not, in fact, any different from all the other swarms of people trying to connect in the wee small hours of the morning. Everyone was looking for human contact, a way to validate their existence on earth. So with that thought amplified to importance by the alcohol in my brain I bid adieu to the last act and exited by stage left.
As I walked back up the street littered with glass from broken street lights, I realized I still hadn’t come up with a story. What excuse could I give other than lack of inspiration? And then I remembered my friend Harry had said….”Why don’t you try fiction?”
***Those of you who know me have already realized this as a total work of fiction.