There is a dive-bar somewhere in the Midwest that several of my friends claim makes you pay the cover charge in teeth. When considering the usual clientele, this seems less like a joke and more like a plausible assumption to make. If there is a location on planet Earth that has a severe tooth deficit, this was it and I had spent several late evenings drinking there in my youth. The only draft beer they have is Old Milwaukee and it arrives watered down in tiny mugs. Everything else comes in a can. You can hypothetically ask for a cocktail, but the bartender will act confused if you order anything other than a shot. The bathroom doesn’t have a lock, a sign, or even a smell that differentiates it from the nearby closet. It swings out so there is no way to protect yourself from being interrupted or exposed for everyone to see.
Even though I am well known for my adventure seeking behavior and love for quirky places like this, I had promised myself never to return to this particular bar. But, with a little encouragement from my friends, I found myself breaking that promise. When I showed up, a woman wearing a stained t-shirt as a dress winked at me before I could locate my friends. Once I actually joined them, I couldn’t help but notice how out of place they looked. Even at a normal bar they would be considered interesting and attractive, but here they must have seemed like ethereal creatures other-worldly in their beauty. Two men had already descended upon them and I inadvertently sat between them while the older gentleman was off buying six bags of chips and a can of diet cola to split with his wingman, who I’m fairly certain was his son. Their heads were small and spherical like honeydew melons. I dubbed them “the egg-men” by writing down on a nearby napkin and tucking it into a back-pocket. Then I watched a four-hundred pound man in flip-flops sing with the voice of a baby angel sing for us while they made the table reek of barbeque potato chips and got all giggly before finishing their second beer.
The girls were relatively unfazed by their advances. They had come to enjoy the spectacle and act ridiculously during karaoke. They did the latter with exquisitely. It is funny how watching a person be totally comfortable in an act, no matter how ridiculous or mundane the action might be, makes them all the more attractive as a human being (there is old footage of Hitler playing with dogs that illustrates this perfectly). The egg-men squealed with delight when either of the girls went up to sing, and told me how impressed they were. At one point, both of the women began incorporating dance breaks into their songs and I got a little sucked into the magic myself. The two round headed gentlemen had fallen in love and I went outside for a cigarette.
The back exit was the most crowded area of the bar. It was a narrow alleyway that bottlenecks immediately, trapping people and smoke against the exit. The smoke ranged from standard leaf based classics, like marijuana and tobacco, to slightly more exotic blends of crystalline substances requiring the usage of glass pipes. Occasionally you’d see a syringe on the ground. A woman began hitting on me using some fairly graphic language until another guy told her she was the sexiest thing at the bar. She snickered and said that she is regularly confused with someone half her age. Unless that age was two-hundred, I found that claim to be fairly dubious. Saying that she just survived a meth-lab fire or a direct hit from a cruise missile would have been much easier for me to swallow, but I didn’t allow myself to dwell upon it. Some hairy gentleman complemented me on my jacket, saw my “The only American motorcyclist will be on a Harley” shirt and asked what kind of bike I rode.
“A Suzuki.” I said earnestly.
After being momentarily distracted by a man throwing up in the ally, he laughed and then asked me what I really rode. When I told him that was the truth he frowned and called me a communist faggot. I’m not entirely sure why, but a lot of stuff that happened at that bar will forever be mystery to me.
It was a decent night.