Segment 8: When a Third World Came West

We stayed and talked for awhile and I watched people walk by outside the window, able to drowned out the R & B music that was playing so loudly towards the right end of the room, with girls in short dresses grinding with guys in sweating button downs, their shirts now nearly wet by now.  I turned to Sam and tried to make some small talk, but he said he couldn’t hear me.  He just kept putting a plastic cup of empty beer that someone had left, up to a silver beer tap next to Yeungling, lemons, cherries, limes in a black tray, and next to used hand rags that had brown beer stains on them.  My beer was gone by now and I wanted more but the people crowding the bar made it hard to get the bartender’s attention and I wasn’t one for yelling and demanding him to come my way.  I thought about my car and the speeding ticket that must be there, I sipped the last of the beer in my bottle and remembered that you had to pay a fee for a ticket by the yellow box building with buttons that asked you to put in your space number.  I didn’t do that.  I was too bent on meeting someone and checking out hot guys and getting drugs that I’d skipped away past the instructions without taking note of them or of where my car would go if it was towed.

About an hour later and after I’d searched the bar for Bobby, I hoped to run up to him and leave Sam momentarily, wanting to be able to balance a rendezvous with both.  I told Sam I was going outside to smoke a cigarette, but while stopping by some guy with a lighter and a pack of cigarettes from whom to get a light, I was also checking out both sides of the street, listening to the sounds of a siren on a red EMT medic truck, puffing in this Camel ultra light, and looking towards the Barbeque Bar for any signs of the red checkered pants that Robbie had dared to wear.  He was the weirdest kind of chiropractor I had ever met.  Ashes blew all over the bottom part of my Indian skirt.  I thought of the time or two when Robbie had made me come over to his office off Edgewater Drive, near or next to or five blocks away from Bishop Moore, and I’d walked through kids and parents in his waiting room and made out with him in the room behind his adjustment table.  I was pretty sure that most of the women out there had been schemed into believing he could fix their posture because he had at one time or another kissed them or done something more and gone further.

 I came back into the bar and sat down next to Sam, smelling of smoke and laying my brown clasp purse next to his plastic beer glass, asking him if he’d gotten something to drink while I was gone.  I had no way of getting back to Robbie’s house and I really could only find it from mine during the day when it was light. I didn’t really know the way back to it from downtown in the dark. Sam fingered my chin and yelled over the music, “What’s wrong?  What’s the matter with you?”

“I can’t find my friends,” I said, looking to both sides of the room and out the doorway, through the window.  I need to get back to my friend’s house to get my car. The bar’s closing soon.”  I thought for a second, I said “Maybe I’ll take a taxi. Yeah let’s do that.  You wanna do that? You wanna take a taxi with me?” I asked.  I searched for something to chew on, picked up a cherry from the black tray of condiment fruit, sucked it from side to side in my cheeks and  I said, “I don’t want to go alone.”

He thought for a second, he patted the back of his jeans and his pockets for cigarettes found them and put one up to his mouth.  He took out a lighter before I told him that he wasn’t allowed to smoke in here. “Yeah, sure.  Why not,” He said it in a tone that sounded like he was being made to go or pulled along.

            I  paid my tab, walked slowly out of the bar so that I could keep pace with him behind me, crossed over the curb and crossed the street and walked back to the corner of where the Bank of America building was.  I walked up to the ATM machine to grab forty more dollars and waited as he caught up with me and turned around to try and hail a cab from Central .  One came about five minutes later, we got in, and I glanced around at Sam smiling, as the cab pulled away and went in the direction of the interstate. I asked the driver to get off at the Princeton exit, but he didn’t hear me and he looked like he was about to pass it.  I turned to look at Sam and Sam yelled to the driver one last loud time and the driver made a signal that he’d heard us,  turned left from there onto Edgewater Drive.  I couldn’t remember how to get to Bobby’s house from there.


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