The last time I went to a bar was well over 6 years ago. It was my “I’m going to rehab party”. I had to report to a rehab center as a condition of my probation. It was that or go to prison to finish out my 2 felony counts of 2-20 years.
I chose rehab.
I got disgustingly drunk that night off of whatever was put in front of me…..which not only included booze but various other illegal substances.
I barely made it to the check in for the rehab center before a blue warrant was put out on me.
And that was the last time I was in a bar.
Until last Friday.
I journeyed to the great city of Chicago for a wedding.
The pre wedding party was at a bar. This particular bar was closed down for regular business to accommodate the wedding party, family and friends. Roughly 60-70 people.
The floodgates to “Booze-a-palooza” were opened at 7 pm.
Final tab- $7500
Complete sentences were hard to come by after about 9:30.
Me….I indulged with 1 coca cola…on the rocks….sans the straw.
I am not sure if that was on the tab or not.
The wedding was beautiful. I cried….. It was my sister that got married….therefore I was allowed to.
After the champagne toast ( I had a lovely Sprite in one of those fancy flutes), cocktail hour began.
It was a great weekend for those whose indulge in the spirits. The booze just kept coming.
Of course as the night went on the music began to change from-
Dinner music to Billy Joel to Guns and Roses to 2Pac.
Nothing like seeing women over 30 do the Axle Rose dance or white men over 30 act like Gangsta rappers.
Alcohol has that effect on some.
Next came the rooftop party at the hotel.
Without going into too much detail here are the high (or low)lights of the fiesta-
-one of my family members was refused entrance into the party for bring too drunk….my sister gets him in about an hour later….he then gets booted out for being too drunk.
-one of the grooms friends, drops his pants and urinates on the bar……then falls into a glass table. He doesn’t get kicked out and the table is quickly replaced with another glass table.
-the previously mentioned family member is wandering the streets of Chicago in a drunken stupor texting other family members telling them it will be their fault if he gets murdered while wandering the streets of Chicago.
At 6:30 a.m. I receive a call from said family member asking if I can let him in.
He survived the streets of Chicago with only shame and embarrassment to show for it.
My drink tally for the night-
1 coca cola
2 glasses of water
1 cup of coffee
Brunch at a patio bar….
The events of the night before are the joke of the day.
Are the drinks of the day.
Me…I got Starbucks before brunch.
That pretty much sums up my experience at “booze-a-palooza”,
I had fun with the family that I hadn’t seen in a while.
My sister now has a new last name.
And I have my first experience being in a bar sober.
And that experience reminds me why I remain sober.
A 23 year old woman was booked for a domestic dispute and charged with assault in the small town I call home.
She hurled an 11 inch butcher knife at her live in boyfriend…..while he was holding their 9 month old child.
Her response to police while being questioned on why she would do such a thing……
“He didn’t bring me cigarettes on the way home from his job…I had none when he got here…..and then he said I didn’t need them when I haven’t done any cleaning of our mobile home…..I told him when he went to work I needed to catch up on Duck Dynasty….so no, I didn’t do any cleaning. Then I threw the first thing I saw at him. It happened to be the knife I was using to clean my toenails…what would you have done?”
No listing of a response from the officer who took the statement. Except,
“Put your hands behind your back, we have some silver bracelets we would like you to try on.”
I love living here.
Disclaimer- knife for toenail cleaning was added for dramatic effect…the rest is true.
The child was not harmed during the incident….the boyfriend has moved out and vowed to do his own cleaning from now on.
My stepson came home from the weekend at his Dad’s.
Usually he is not in a good mood upon returning. There isn’t much to do at the trailer park his Dad lives in…squirrel hunting season is over and he is still recovering from the NASCAR event he went to last weekend with his girlfriend. He brought back gifts for the kids.
Autographed t shirts from the guys in Duck Dynasty.
Anyway, my stepson gets home and is bouncing off the walls in a great mood.
And he won’t stop talking.
He is talking about nothing in particular….continuously….what he ate all weekend, what he wore…
He asks if he can go hang out with his friend, who lives down the block.
We said no, because of his grades and laid down some pretty harsh rules as to what we expect in the coming weeks.
I was waiting for the fit throwing, the you are ruining my life speech and various tantrum techniques that he uses to attempt to get his way.
We got none if it.
All my wife and I received was
“Yes sir and yes ma’am. I can do that.”
After he left the room and we pulled our jaws up off the floor, my wife looks at me proudly and states,
“Our little boy is maturing and taking responsibility. He is growing up.”
“Nah, I’m pretty sure he saw boobs this weekend……there is no other reason he doesn’t care about being grounded or punishments…he saw boobs. Now he has time to plot when he will see them again…..you are right he is maturing and growing up….”
The picture is not of my stepson….it is from Google. And coincidently is the universal “I just saw boobs look” that every male has when he first sees boobs….
It’s the look that happens each time a man sees boobs.
This is part 5 of Neeko and Trotter for the previous posts….search “Neeko and Trotter” with the search key.
Trotter pulls his head up from the ground. There is a knot on the back of his head from the gun butt that Rasta struck him with. He rubs it and checks for blood but there is none. He sits for a minute to gather his senses and decides he needs to check on the hangman. He did after all hit the button on his walkie talkie before he handed it over.
There were no signs of police and the apartment looked quiet. He headed up the fire escape and reached the window where he normally met him.
He knocked on the window the same way he did before.
The hangman spoke from behind the glass in a low, dry voice.
Was all he said.
Trotter opened the window and climbed under the blind. After entering, he looked up to see the hangman tied to the chair with a gaping wound in his chest.
Rasta sat in the recliner and smiled at the returning occupant.
“You got da big balls…fat boy…not only did u alert dis piece if crap but you come back afta I knock you out. Big…brass..balls.”
Trotter looked at him without emotion and made a few gestures.
He pointed at the dying man in the chair, then pointed to himself, then made the money sign by running his thumb against his first 2 fingers.
Rasta chuckled and shook his head then spoke,
“You come back for what is owed to ya? I like dat….Dats why I am here, too, mon. Tell me….what he owe you….”
Trotter put up his right hand and made a four then changed it to a five.
Rasta watched the child stare at him emotionless, seemingly without fear. Then looked at the hangman tied to the chair and shook his head.
He got up out of the recliner, walked over to the hangman and slapped him upside the head….HARD.
“Dis boy watches for you and you pay him $45? You steal from me and won’t pay him enuff to watch da grass grow? Dis is bad karma….bad karma, mon. Sit down boy.”
Trotter continues to stare at him and doesn’t move.
“I SAY SIT DOWN….BOY!”
Trotter does not take his eyes off Rasta, and slowly sits down exactly where he stands.
Rasta reveals a sly smile and begins to reach into his jacket pocket.
Neeko nears the address that Trotter had requested they meet at.
The closer he gets, the more uncomfortable he gets.
Big, long limousines line the streets. Men in expensive tuxedos, women in fancy evening gowns.
Walking through the crowd that smells of expensive perfume, cigars, and alcohol looking like the homeless child that he is.
He hides in the bushes just away from the address and awaits Trotter, still wondering what the heck he is doing here.
The time is 11:32
Rasta pulls his revolver out of his jacket. The chrome barrel glistens in the dim apartment light. He smiles as he turns it over in his hand. Then rests it on the table.
He reaches in again and pulls out a wad of cash.
He pulls out $45 and tosses it to Trotter.
“Dis is wot e owe you.”
Trotter glances at the money but does not pick it up.
Rasta’s sly smile gets larger. He goes back to the cash wad and picks out some more bills. Then walks over to Trotter and kneels in front of him and speaks,
“And dis is what a watcher dat works for me get. U take it. Is for having brass balls. If u want to work u come see me. Der be no more work fo da hangman…..only fo Rasta. Now go, I got to finish MY bidness.”
Trotter took the money from Rasta and picked up the $45 from the floor. He then stood up and backed his way to the window and climbed out without taking his eyes off Rasta.
Before he was completely out of the window he nodded to Rasta.
Rasta nodded back without the smile. A chill ran up his back and the hairs in his neck stood up. He shook it off and turned to the hangman to finish his business…..after he knew Trotter was out of the way.
Neeko spotted Trotter coming across the street. He came out from the bushes and met him.
They both looked at each other and almost at the same time pointed at the other and gave each other a concerned look.
Neeko had scratch marks from the cat and bruises from the old woman on him. Trotter just looked ragged and dazed.
Each shook there head, more or less confirming to the other that it was just another day on the streets.
Trotter led Neeko to the back of the enormous building and knocked on a service door at the back.
An old man in a janitors uniform answers the knock and looked at the 2 boys.
“Damn, quiet boy, you look like you been put through the ringer. Who’s your friend?”
Trotter pulled out his pad and pencil and wrote-
The janitor read the note and said,
“Well ain’t you just 2 peas in a pod….we don’t have much time before it starts. I’ve got new, clean clothes that were donated earlier today…probably some that would fit you both. Lets get you 2 to the back dressing room showers. But be quick…there is not much time.”
The janitor led them to a back dressing room and let them go through the donated clothes and got them in the showers. They probably had not had one in weeks.
When they came out they looked like different people.
The janitor looked at them, smiled and said to Trotter,
“I put an extra chair in your spot under the stage. It’s ready to go. Enjoy, young one.”
Neeko just watched. He wasn’t used to people being nice to him. He followed Trotter under the stage and sat down. He looked at him and frustratingly tapped Trotter and put his hands out and made a stern face.
Seemingly to say,
“Ok…what the hell is going on?”
Trotter pulled out his pad and started writing again. When he finished he handed it to Neeko-
The janitor used to be homeless. He likes to help when he can. He knows I like to come here because he brought me here when I felt like giving up. He lets me come sometimes. Tonight is special because its a midnight session. Just wait.
Neeko read the note. Before he could reply he felt a ruckus in his body caused by all the movement upstairs.
Neeko looked at Trotter in frustration and motioned
He pointed at himself
Shook his index finger
Pointed at his ears
“I CAN’T HEAR”
Trotter smiled and motioned back-
Shook his index finger
Pointed at his ears
Closed his eyes and pointed at his heart.
Neeko made a quizzical look then closed his eyes as the show was about to start.
He was startled by the initial vibrations that were sent through his body.
The sound waves awakened every part of their being.
As the movement continued the typically emotionless boys were both brought to tears…of joy.
2 homeless boys surviving endless nights, hungry days but finding inner peace with timeless music.