The Living Room III
by The Finn
Previously in "The Living Room"
Pine street... There's a serious chill in the air and my breath condenses as soon as I exhale. Glad I have the whiskey in me to keep me warm.
The town’s too damn quiet for me in my current state of mind. If I'm gonna shake this funk, I need loud music and 24 hour party people to spend some time with. People who yell "Whoo" in a bar and order rounds for the entire bar. People I usually can't stand. Exactly what I need. The complete antithesis of everything I look for in a bar. And from here, it's about 10 blocks to Old City, where every bar is an expensive party and every restaurant is a "dining experience". Because I'd never go to a "dining experience" under normal circumstances.... But maybe that's what I need right now. Something I'd never do.
Walking down Pine in the wee hours is a beautiful and surreal experience. Old row homes, loving cared for, so that there’s not a brick or leaf out of place. So much tranquil glamour and quiet on a lonely little street is this dirty, busy, town. Ten minutes later, I'm standing on the same corner as a crazy homeless man who keeps holding the side of his face like he has a toothache. He's screaming into a 7-11 cup like it’s a megaphone. Apparently the CIA took over his life and now he needs a dollar to buy a bullet... This is precisely where I needed to be.
I wander down Market Street for a block or so, but can’t bring myself to go into any of the bars. They’re too clean and way too full of pretty people. Looking in the windows as I pass, I can see them giggling and pointing at of another. The women coyly checking out the men that are giving each other high fives. The bartenders smiling as they put another phone number into their pockets. Cosmopolitans, single malt whiskey and not a single unhappy face in the bar.
These are not my people. I need dirt and desperation and a jukebox that doesn’t contain Justin Timberlake. I want a slightly sticky bar and barely any overhead lighting. I want surly bartenders and a wait staff that doesn’t give a fuck if I’m having a good time or not. And I am obviously not going to find it here.
I turn off Market and pick a random side street, digging into my pocket and pulling out my smokes. Lighting one on the corner, I notice a sign a little further down the street. A coffee joint I’d never been to. I walk down the alley a little further, trying to fully make it out, cursing the lack of streetlights and my own bad eyes. About halfway down the block, a blonde thing comes out of nowhere and slams into me, almost taking me off my feet. She ends up on her ass.
“Aw, fuck,” she says, looking up at me, ”I think you broke my ass.” She’s a skinny little blond thing sitting on the cobblestones in front of me. Holding up her hand so I can help her up. She’s clearly loaded, but she’s not one of the pretty people. So where’d she come from ? I mumble a couple of apologies that I don’t really mean while I help her back to her feet. Once she’s there, she’s still pretty unsteady. She kind of waves in and out of my field of vision while I scan the side street, looking for…
There. There’s a bar in the old sugar refinery ? Well, I’ll be damned. The blonde thing starts asking me if I’m listening to her. I continue to ignore her rambling and walk away, towards the front door of the bar that I didn’t know, on a side street I’d walked past a thousand times. I open the door and head down the stairs.
Basement bar. Concrete floors. Brick pillars doing more than their share of holding up the fifteen or so stories above me. A little dirt and some cheap heavy stools. Prayer candles written in Spanish are the only source of illumination and a there’s jukebox playing The Pixies. Carnival and religious memorabilia lining the floors and walls. And there’s a couch along the back wall and a table for my laptop.
I belly up the mostly empty bar, checking out the drunk playing the Megacrack on the end. Cigarette dangling from his lips, eyes bleary and face badly lit by the LCD screen. “What do you want, buddy ?” he asks. “A porter,” I say. He gets off his stool and sways just a little, heading to the cooler for my beer. I stop telling myself to keep moving and find that I’m actually very comfortable in this dingy little joint.
Honey, I’m home.
thefinn like to have a beer now and again... Sometimes while sitting in a disused bumper car. Archives