"she looked like she needed it more than you," chuck says of the stool. he'd moved my mug to the other side of him.
when she lifts her noodle-arm to her mouth -- her mouth either making the O of a yawn or an opening for a geyser -- i tug chuck's stool closer to mine.
"she's gonna blow," i say.
the bartender looks at her, looks at us, looks at her: "i didn't do that," he says. "she came in like that."
the girl looks at chuck, eyes unfocued, and asks for his cell phone.
she asks the bartender to use the phone. he ignores her request and goes back to studying the surveillance camera, trained now on the back hallway.
finally the bartender says to the girl "listen. you have to leave. can i call you a cab?"
she rolls off the stool, sobbing. she hugs strangers. a woman pushes the girl's hair out of her eyes.
when i look again, she is gone.
for awhile we watch the 50 biggest sports bloopers on FSN. here "sports" is a broad term. a top five blooper features a kid fainting during a spelling bee. first his eyes get wide, like a giant fist is squeezing his entrails, then he sways a bit. this goes on for awhile until he finally totters. just one other entrant stoops over him to help.
he stands up and attempts the word, again. but without sound, i'm not sure if he got it right.
we've seen this show at least a dozen times. enough to know that when that gymnast is running toward the vault, he is going to take a misstep and get socked in the gut by the pommel horse. and before we got there, countless players of countless sports were socked in the nuts. that dog is going to emit an ass flood right in the middle of the dog show.
"how many times have you seen this show?" i ask the bartender.
"a zillion," he says without bothering to look at the screen.
he sets the remote control in front of us.
"we can watch whatever we want," chuck says, picking it up.
"yeah! just like at home!" i say.
we take a cab home, and have a dance party in the living room, listening to records: the pixies, the cars, jesus & mary chain. i love nights like this. [the next day, chuck points to a crudely drawn demon on the inside cover of the book i'm reading and says "that was what you looked like dancing last night." all hunched over, talons at the ready.]
he finds a single pbr in the door of the refrigerator for me, mixes himself a drink of blue sky root beer and whiskey. something that has always surprised me about chuck is that he carefully measures one shot, with an actual shot glass, per drink. more careful with quantity than a bartender from grandma's saloon.
then there is a little bit of whiskey left, but no mixer.
"let's order a pizza, and have the delivery guy bring us coke for mixers!" i say.
"it's 4 a.m.," chuck points out. "there is no pizza delivery."
the cruelest hour.
instead, we empty have a bag of frozen strawberries into the blender. add some chunks of ice. we squeeze two oranges, and a lemon into it. chuck points to a mango. "i kind of want that, too." we slice it open and drop mango cubes into the mix.
he empties the whiskey bottle into it, and blends it.
"this is what is going to keep us from being hungover," i tell him.
it's delicious. i drink mine from an old jar of curry simmer sauce. [today the floor is sticky, and the fruit rinds were scattered across the table.]
we collapse into bed and crank up the movie "my girl" and are asleep before vada gets her period.