Hot Summer Night
by The Finn
I got to the bar a little early on a way too hot summer evening. I’d ended up walking all the way down from the shop (thirty or so blocks) and by the time I got there, all I wanted was a cold, cold beer and some Tom Waits. A humid South Philly in the summertime is not so fun (and it smells kind of odd). What I got was an amazing blast from the past and a fantastic friend…. Back. Kinda.. You’ll see.
I was supposed to meet the Scumbag for a few drinks before I went to a show up in Old City. A few other people I knew really love the headliner, but in typical finn fashion, I was more interested in the opening act. I figured I’d meet the Scumbag, have a few drinks, walk up to Old City, take in the show and end the evening in a basement bar that wasn’t far from the venue. Because Odin knows I hadn’t walked far enough that day. But, five minutes after I’d arrived, the Scumbag called to let me know he’d be working late and wasn’t going to make it. I cursed his boss (and my own forgetful mind, as was the one who’d assigned him the project and given him a deadline that I knew was too short), and resigned myself to a quiet early evening of beer,Waits and the Murakami book I had in my bag. I pulled it out and slapped it onto the bar, waiting for the bartender to come over and ask me what I was reading. She always seemed to feign interest in whatever I was reading and I could never really tell if she was hitting on me.
But, this time, she wasn’t about. I could hear her talking to the guy ho came in a few minutes after I did, at a table behind me. At least I hoped she was talking to him. He and I were the only ones in the bar. “No, no, no… “ the male voice behind me started, “You’re missing the entire point of the clockwork castle.” After listening for another minute or so, I realized he was talking about The Watchmen. It’s a fairly fantastic read story wise and the art is littered with symbolic references that really reinforce who the characters are. At on point in the story, one of the characters creates a clockwork castle out of the dust on Mars and… Just read the damn book. But a good many of the points that the male voice was making reminded me of a conversation I’d had years before with someone I’d worked with in the bookstore. So I turned around on my stool and wasn’t too terribly surprised to see Mr. Wilson talking to the bartender about a comic book.
Mr. Wilson and I had fallen out of touch for absolutely no reason. And it was a shame, really, because during our tenure in the bookstore, he and I had become pretty close. Not “close” in a “we work together and I know small bits and pieces of your personal life” but actually close. Like getting arrested together close. Talking our way out of ugly biker bars close. He came to my first wedding and shared many a bottle with me. But, for the life of me, I couldn’t give you one reason why we had stopped talking to each other after I left the bookstore, except for the one I usually use. I’m crap at communicating with people.
So when I turned around and said “Hey, Mr. Wilson!”, he looked just as surprised as I did. It had been years since we’d seen each other, but it felt like about ten minutes. We sat and talked and drank for a while before I had to go. And it was just like it always had been, back in our younger days. The more we sat around a talked, the more I missed those old days. I made it a point to tell him so, and we made plans to see each other and hang out the next week. It’s not often you run into someone you haven’t seen in a long time and still have your relationship feel like old times. And when it happens, go with it kids… If I hadn’t run into him again, I wouldn’t be married again or have my little Uberbeast. You just might be surprised what you’ll get out of the deal.