|Confessions of a Fuck Up Artist
||[Sep. 15th, 2017|12:44 am]
September in Vampire Country and the season of ghosts is almost upon us. |
We're at the Admiral's Grave, the Princess and I, with the woes we exchange feeling clunky as swords heavy with the regret of victories never again to be fought. More than friends, we serve each other as witnesses, living reminders that the dead we name are not ours alone to carry. For there is one truth this world does offer and that is you are never truly alone so long as there remains one friend who can put a face to each grave stacked on your back.
I'm drinking alone as the Alcohol Demon bites each of us a little different, more of a pothead whiskey hits me German Maudlin and Italian Sentimental. For the Princess... there's a beast there waiting to kill the vital spark with just a absentminded sip. This makes her sad but she likes coming here because it's a good kind of sad, like seeing a kid that could've been the kid you had if you weren't a consummate fuck-up, and she's wearing a t-shirt of your favorite punk band and for a moment you can only smile because you're sure you're seeing your daughter from a parallel universe where all the necessary chances didn't come until too late. The last ditch hope of the fuck-up artist is that somewhere out there in endless parallel universes is a world you made good on the potential and opportunities given.
So I tell the Princess about a time long ago, a time before Magpies and Teddy Bears and stage frights and e DJing electric Kabuki funerals for drink ticket plus a plus one. A time here at the Admiral's Grave, sitting in this very same booth we're sitting now, only with Jimmy and Germ and one of them Stopper kids squeezed in with us. Germ had been out 'spanging' (his gutter punk portmanteau for 'spare changing') earlier in the day and ran into some Normie Georgia Tech geek looking to cop a QP of weed. Germ calls the Stopper Kid (I see you now you who I will not name you with your Billy Idol pout on a body that stopped growing at 13 with your Mohawk dyed 'swamp monster' yellow) who in turn calls Jimmy to set up a meet. Jimmy figures he can get rid of some Brown Frown dirt weed he got stuck with and mark it up on the fuck. Since I'm couch surfing at his place and running the books for him as well, Jimmy wants me to come along as an extra pair of eyes. I protest, as the whole thing sounds sketch as fuck, but he insists that my combination of constant paranoia and introversion make me aware of what others miss which might come in handy.
"Just read the prick like one of your books and tell me if we're talking to a narc."
"Whaddam I a mind reader, man..."
"You the one with the bald head, Professor X." Jimmy grabs the top of my dome and gives it a good rub.
Well, as I did enjoy surfing the man's couch and smoking his weed and watching his Run Run Shaw flicks off a stolen DVD player I couldn't exactly decline the offer.
So we're sitting here at the Admiral's Grave, not much later then than it is now, and the Normie's a no show, clocking close to an hour late. Well Jimmy's fuming, pounding back Guinness's like they were water, and you can see he's ready to kick somebody's ass. Thing is we're hoping to move this QP of Brown Frown and use the profits to connect with this cat ready to meet us at Spring 4th ready to put some quality creeper in our hands for a song. So Jimmy's got his pager wailing away, along with like, every punk rocker in the 404 needing a hook up or back up all while his woman, Winter, is waiting for him to come home for Simpsons and Quality Meth Sex.
We're ready to call it quits when Germ's pager goes off (that's the 90s for you, when even the gutter punks had pagers) and he gets the code that the Normie is en route .
So, like fifteen minutes go by, and nothing.
Jimmy's like fuck this and getting up when this dude waltzes through the Admiral here on a cell phone that looks like a Walkie Talkie and with a Fighting Yellow Jacket Jersey. Germ makes him for our guy and is about to get up out of the booth to get the deal going when this old biker gets up out of the booth behind us and screams - "Mother fucker, I told you what would happen if you ever showed your face here again".
Okay, so like holy shit, right, because the Biker is like this old dude built like a barrel of explosives that's been drinking steadily since 1975 and he looks avenge the fallen pissed. The Normie recognizes the Biker, makes the universal Bro sign for 'It's All Good' but that's as far he gets before said Biker punches him right in the face and sends the poor fuck reeling back.
"Good news," I tell Jimmy lighting a smoke, "we're about to find out if he's really a cop."
From there a beat down proceeds and impossible as it sounds no one is doing a damn thing about... except Jimmy. Eventually. Who, clearly exasperated, shoos me out of the booth so he can get up, makes Germ confirm that this is indeed the droids we're looking for, and then wades on over to Fist City happening right there where the front bar adjoins with the now no smoking section to make the condo scum happy.
Jimmy intercedes by tapping the Biker on the shoulder.
Said Biker turns around with a fist coming straight for Jimmy... who and I swear to fucking god here right... catches that mother fucker with some old Caine from Kung-Fu shit. Jimmy and the Biker take turns looking at each other and the punch frozen in fist and m'man says, and I'm totally paraquoting here but the gist is legit - "I don't give a fuck what you do to this fuck, but he was about to buy a lot of weed from me and he's already an hour late. Long story short, if I don't come home with the money my woman is gonna kick my ass worse than you're kicking this fool's right now. So we good here?"
The old biker looks at Jimmy, looks at the bloodied and bitch weeping Normie, and looks back at Jimmy to give him a nod indicating that we were, indeed, good here.
Jimmy releases the fist, the Biker returns to his booth, Germ helps the Normie to his feet, Stopper Kid wakes up out of a Xanax and Draft nap, and me holding a To Go Box filled with a QP of Dirt waiting for the Law to burst in or the staff to kick us out.
But no, this is Jimmy, and ushering the Normie to our booth we make the deal not so sub rosa. Under the table I pass the To Go Box and accept a wad of bills slipped to me in return. I do a quick count, I'm not good with my fists or flow with the charm, but numbers, like words, come easy to me. The Normie's good to the last bill and I give Jimmy the nod. Jimmy informs the Normie that he'll be picking up our tab as a Save Your Sorry Ass fee.
Of course he gets zero argument.
We exit the Admiral's Grave, right there where I'm looking now, invincible, cash loaded, ready to go the club to drink some more and smoke ourselves some real weed finally.
"That didn't really happen," the Princess tells me here in the present as Katya and her man and the Sex Hobbit as well stroll in.
"Sure it did," I laugh in that way you can only laugh in Vampire Country, "you saw it all happen."
"What?," the Princess sips her Sugar Free Red Bull, "when?"
"Just now," I gesture around the Admiral's Grave, "in your head."
She laughs for the first time tonight and it feels good having someone to make laugh.
I finish my drink feeling the thirst in the blood for another but denying it purchase, the Princess picks up the tab and we make our way out.
And for a moment there, between the glass door, I turn around and can swear Jimmy and Germ and that Stopper Kid are coming up right behind me.
Just a moment though and behind me lays that home no longer mine beyond the briefest of visits.