Friday, April 9, 2010

September 1, 2007

It was our five-year wedding anniversary. We finished dinner and headed down to the Lava Lounge. As anticipated, Greg was there tending the bar, drunk again. He’s remarkably functional when he’s drunk. I don’t know if he’s necessarily developed an especially high tolerance. I believe that he’s simply gotten proficient at working while inebriated. Perhaps it’s a combination of the two. I ordered a double of Knob Creek, on the rocks. Greg poured me what must have been a triple. Some ice and bourbon clear up to the lip of the glass. My wife got some bizarre sort of girlish cocktail. He neglected to charge us. Initially I thought this was because he was being nice, but then it occurred to me that it was more likely because he simply forgot to charge. I wasn’t about to remind him. I saw it as an anniversary gift. Then the free shots started. Glenlivet for Greg and I. My wife got a complicated girl shot with a weird, playfully obscene name which I can’t remember. A beautiful man I had never seen before entered the bar. Greg seemed to know him. I’m not really very gay, but I can identify a gorgeous man when I see one. Pale, blue eyes, striking features, curly light brown hair, sideburns, clean-shaven, about 6’ and lean, lots of nice, well-done tattoos. He was wearing a yellow polo shirt. He had a small pizza under one arm, and he sat down beside me to eat it. His name was Nathan. He and I talked about literature while he ate, while Greg talked with my wife. He had excellent taste: Henry Miller, Charles Bukowski, Hunter Thompson, William Burroughs, and lots of writers I’d never heard of. We were all showing off our tattoos and talking. He was familiar with Occam’s Razor, and thus understood the tattoo on my shoulder. Periodically one of us would dart over to the Internet jukebox and add some songs to the playlist. I played “Albatross” by C.O.C. Everybody approved. I followed it up with “Fairytale of New York” by the Pogues. It got even more approval. Greg and Katie started singing along with parts of it. There were more free shots. I followed the Pogues up with “First We Take Manhattan, Then We Take Berlin” by Leonard Cohen. Greg got so excited that I thought he was about to offer me a hand job. He declared at that point that we were brothers. There were more shots, and more toasting. We all became family. My next song came on, “Captain Jack” by Billy Joel. Everybody more-or-less approved politely, except the other bartender, who pulled it. That was the last song that I played. Nathan had to go. Katie had to tend to other patrons. The conversation began to disintegrate, and it was time to move on. Somebody played “Africa” by Toto, and they all sang at our backs as we walked out the door. We walked down to the Moose, and didn’t see another soul that we knew.

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