Saturday, November 9, 2013

clocks

Thursday night was for the swingers.  Desperado's owner, Zento, had made a deal with a local club via Craigslist communique and the word had spread through an extensive pervert phone tree.  The swingers club had no name, it was a loose collection of S&M and speed-fucking enthusiasts who had networked locally over the years.  They tipped ok.

Craig and Maria never missed a Thursday night.  Craig had a harem of willing desperate subs though Maria was legally his wife.  He'd strut in wearing black suede cowboy boots and a ten gallon hat, top shirt buttons undone to reveal a single tuft of anemic chest hair curling out of his v-neck tshirt.  I don't know much about that whole scene but I'd previously assumed that anyone marketing himself as a dominant must physically look the part, he was as willowy and hunched over as a broken reed.  Craig looked like a 35yr old pizza delivery kid. 

Maria would come in a few minutes later after parking the car.  She'd stand in the doorway and adjust her tits uncomfortably in whatever tight top Craig had her wearing, her light brown eyes scanning back and forth to pin his location before heading to me for their drink order.  Screwdriver for the lady and a Coors Light for the prick.  Now I was just a bartender, and a shitty one at that.  Any complicated drink order sent me leafing through the recipe book.  I made up for my slow service with hefty alcohol content, anything that took me more than thirty seconds to make would get a double dose of whatever went in.  I always gave Maria a little extra, I felt bad for her, not because of her choices or lifestyle, mind you, but because Craig was such a smarmy little bastard.  I could stomach Maria having to bang him, you see all types of cruel pairings in a bar.  But Maria also had to talk to him.

These swinger Thursdays weren't exclusive to Craig and Maria and their friends, the place was open to anyone who wandered in.  Desperado's was a neighborhood bar, karaoke on Mondays and Wednesdays and a band every now and then on Saturdays, dollar shot specials for five minutes at midnight and not a moment longer.  Zento was a cheap bastard.  There were a few local drunks who showed up every night seemingly oblivious to what went on around them.  They'd sit at the bar chatting with me and each other, "Someone's had too much!" and "It's five o'clock somewhere!", crusty men with grey stubble and stained shirts and worn carpenter jeans hanging from their bony asses. 

The regulars rarely tipped but acted like they owned the place.  That's how neighborhood drunks are.  And you let it go, because on a weekday in January or December or February when the snow is knee deep and the city trucks haven't plowed yet they'll be there holding down a stool.  And  because you don't mess with old timers.  This is bar etiquette.  Understand, when a young person goes to a bar they've arrived to connect, to be noticed, maybe get a little tail and have a good time.  These old timers, regulars, they've been dragging their stopped clocks around for decades.  They were in Desperado's when it was a disco club, they were there for the pop fueled eighties, they witnessed the bar full of kids in torn flannel swaying to angst ridden growls in the nineties, they saw the birth and death of Zima.  If you leaned in too far to talk to them, you risked falling into their dimension.  

A big part of Craigs deal, or fetish as he called it, revolved around his ability to command respect from women.  He'd explained it to me in detail over a few drinks while Maria knelt on the floor beside him, her head resting against his bony thigh.  Conversation is a job hazard for bartenders, there is no escape.  While Craig didn't tip me well, Maria always snuck back with a ten or more for me as they were leaving.  Even if she hadn't made their patronage more palatable, I'm not your classic sassy bartender.  I'd never have complained.  I like to get through my Thursday nights with as few mens room gangbangs as possible, maybe squeeze in a game of pool with one of the regulars, and get out with enough tips to cover my drinks. 

One of my regulars, Tom, murdered Craig in the men's room immediately following a gangbang two months ago.  I can't say I was sad or disappointed, though I was sorry to be dragged through witness interviews and the pre-trial and I was surprised that Tom had it in him. 

Tom had thought Maria was being raped, she was hammered and whimpering in a men's room while being railed.  That was his official story.  My official story was that I'd been serving customers when I heard a scream, of course I rushed to investigate, and found Tom helping Maria to her feet while Craig bled out from a gash in his throat in the stall behind them and a few slack jawed guys rushed out past me.  I could hear a chorus of cars starting in the parking lot as Craigs mouth opened and closed like a fish, "ba ba ba ba ba", over and over until his throat stopped pumping.  I've read up on this a little, when his carotid artery was severed he only had a minute of spurting like a strong water fountain, then the blood just came in tiny gushing waves that spilled down his neck to flatten his wispy chest hair.  Poor guy. 

Maria comes in with Tom every night now and sits among the regulars.  When all was said and done, Tom was hailed as a hero.  I don't pretend to know exactly what went on or whether Tom and Maria planned Craig's demise in advance, to be honest I can't tell if they're an item or not.  Tom must be pushing sixty five and Maria is in her mid forties, who knows?  The only thing I can say with certainty is that Maria's clock has stopped.