Lonely Man Chronicles: The Watering Hole

by admin on November 4, 2010

Lonely Man Chronicles

The Watering Hole

The neon is of the cheap variety. Instead of the usual bright letters of red, green or yellow, the name is placed on off white fiberglass in black letters with dull white lighting, providing the “neon” affect. Not effective for many miles away, but the locals know it by heart. Kanam’s. He is sure he knows the history behind the place, how long it’s been there, who owns it, etc., but it escapes him at the time. The only thing he could remember is the dirt cheap drinks and the greasy pretzels that are served complimentary during happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, year-round. Another good thing is that it is only a block or so from his house. Five minutes tops walking, 10 minutes staggering home pissy drunk and singing.
Arriving at the entrance, pulling on the steel reinforced door, it gives way with a pain filled grown and he steps in. Immediately the smells of sweat, cheap perfume, and cigarette smoke attack his senses, temporarily causing his eyes to water before adjusting themselves to the dull lighting provided by four overhead fans with lights connected to them. Through the low wattage light, a haze of bluish white smoke faintly covers everything inside including him. At first glance, the U shaped bar seems completely full. There are four couples, intimately engaged in conversation, oblivious to their surroundings. Occasionally, the shriek of laughter coming from one of the women from the couples breaks the monotone drone of everyone, causing the bar chatter to drop down a decibel or two, quickly returning to its original level and then some over the jukeboxe’s loud playing of The Eagles, Journey, or some local favorite. Looking further, he also notices an older woman hidden on the end of the right side of the bar, entranced with one of two electronic miniature trivia games situated on each end of the bar.
There it is, his seat. He makes a beeline for the vacant wooden stool with authority in his steps. Sitting down between one of the couples and the game lady, he readjusts hiself on the rickety stool (which he notices is missing a rung, so his feet hang down), and waits patiently for the bartender to acknowledge his presence. It’s a Friday night. The place is packed. Between the locals and happy hour, the bartender is swamped. After about five minutes, a finger is pointed at him.
“What can I do you for?”
Decisions, decisions.
Behind the bar is a man in his late 30s. Muscled and decked out in a Kanam’s T-shirt (on the wall behind him, a shirt hangs exactly like the one the bartender is wearing, advertising that they are available to the public at the low, low price of $10!), with his black hair slicked back with perspiration, obviously due to the amount of work he had already put in earlier during his shift.
Dewar’s and soda.
He reaches for a high ball glass, scoops ice from some unknown place under the bar, hidden from eyesight and reaches behind him to grab the Dewar’s White Label bottle. Filling it to the brim with a splash of soda, he places it on a white beverage napkin, moving on to attend to the ever-increasing crowd gathering behind the man he just served.
The first sip always goes down rough, as if treading on unfamiliar terrain. An instant burning travels down his throat settling in his stomach. Charred peat and aged barrel oak melded together in an alcohol laced symphony. The inside of his mouth becomes coated with a glycerin glaze of the 80 proof scotch. Damn, he needed that. There will definitely be a second quaff in his future. Time begins to slip away, slowly at first, then with greater urgency as the sun sets and his quarter of the world brings on the night.
At four drinks in, nature calls. He starts towards the back of the room where the bathrooms are located. Pushing the wooden door open, he accidentaly bumps into a fellow patron, ignoring the profanity laced insults said in passing, determined to relieve his full bladder. The walls and stalls are painted institution white, complete with obscene drawings and graffiti in various colors of ink. Two stalls, two urinals, a gunk smeared mirror over a cracked porcelain sink (apparently, the previous patron didn’t believe in water conservation as both faucets were still running), and one of those old cloth towel dispensers made up the men’s facility. Add in the stench of old urine and overpowering disinfectant, and you have one complete small-town, hick, dive bar bathroom.
A urinal will do.
Stepping up to the left hand urinal (there is a sign above it that reads “please don’t eat the large white mint” with an arrow pointing down to the disinfectant puck), relief never felt so heavenly. This is lasting longer than he anticipated. If some one was to be waiting, he surely would have apologized, probably offer the man a drink for monopolizing one of two freestanding urinals.
Washing his hands with the generic pink soap provided, drying them vigorously with a portion of the towel, he prepares to dullen his senses further.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike Chiavaroli 11.15.10 at 7:53 pm

good story…I want more.

Nancy Thomas 03.31.11 at 9:46 am

I like the “big white mint” comment. Did you think that up on your own? lol

Nancy Thomas 03.31.11 at 9:47 am


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