L

The Warning: Part Four

In The 80's on March 12, 2012 at 2:02 pm

We exit the record store- when Finn stops to talk to Jolly Jim, an old, decrepit gambler who hangs out in front of the OTB window, which is diagonally across from the record store. Jolly Jim looks like a mangy Pop-eye….covered in a layer of grime, dirty brown ski parka, ripped dungarees. He’s about 70. He still thinks he’s going to win the big one, and who knows? Maybe he will. When he laughs, (inappropriately loud) you can’t help noticing  that most of his teeth are gone, and that his breath is at least 80 proof. Finn gives him a high five along with a dollar, and tells him ‘That’s for the Wheels bus, Jolly. Don’t you go buying beer with it!” Jolly gives us the thumbs up and an exaggerated wink,his chin jutting out and mouth falling in like the Man in The Moon. We wave good-bye and walk towards the King Liquor store, where our friend Tom works, to pick up some beer. On the way, I point out to Jess that if anyone really needs a drink, it’s got to be the lost souls like Jolly Jim and why do people give a shit what a poor, homeless person buys with your measly single dollars and loose change?)

Tom’s working the register when we walk in, bagging up the Saturday afternoon liquor booty for a small line of customers. There’s a huge tower of Budweiser six packs stacked in the middle of the store with a giant sign that reads ‘Budweiser. $2.29!! Stock Up!!’ “We should just do beer tonight” I say, and Finn agrees. Enough with the ‘fancy’ mixes and crazy concoctions. Tonight it’s back to (cheaper) basics. We each pick a six pack off the Tower O’Bud, hoping the whole thing doesn’t topple like some bizarre beer can Jenga.  We then head to the back of the line and wait for our turn to pay. The line moves quickly-and soon we’re face-to-face with Tom. Tom hangs out with my brother Rob. He’s always using big words that none of us understand. Not normal words (as a voracious reader, I’m quite literate) but rather, the kind of words you’d see on a “Word-A-Day’ calendar, or that might be used by a snobby old man with an english accent and a monocle. For instance,  if Finn said he was still looking for a band to play with, Tom might say: “Oh, how I admire your juvenescence!” to which Finn will say: ‘Thanks!’ Or if I’m wearing a ton of jewelry he might say “Madame-let me see your hand, for I am a master of dactylology!”. Or, upon looking for a new apartment because he can’t stand living with his brother anymore might lament: “Oh, I must find a place soon, I simply cannot live much longer around such lestobiosis!”. When I first met Tom (whose brother happens to be the one and only Trey-my ‘gang’ buddy from middle school-good old Nathan Hale, the Junior Jail! I would pretend to know what he was saying, and if I could even remember the word- I’d look it up afterwards. But now-a couple of years in, I just sigh and say flatly: “OK…what does that one mean?” rolling my eyes. I finally realized that no one knows what he’s saying, so I’m not playing anymore, but I don’t mind learning new words-even though most of them don’t stick, and are never heard from again for that matter. 

“What’s crackin?” Tom asks, grabbing a bag and lifting a six pack, giving it the once over. “The usual” “Not much”…..Tom rings up one of the six packs, but puts both in the brown paper bag. “Hey! You don’t have to-” I say, but Tom just laughs. “Have a drink on me!” he says.”Libations!” I say with gusto , an attempt at impressing him. “Ah! And you, Miss- must then be my God!” he answers. Huh? We bid him good-bye and head towards the door. As we’re walking out  we hear ‘Heads Up!’ and  turn around. I throw my hands up and catch a mini bottle of Absolut. ‘THANKS!” I yell,grinning back at Tom. I hand the small bottle to Finn who throws it in the bag. “What was that all about?” asks Finn as we stroll towards the mall exit. “Ummm- do we ever know?” I answer. “Maybe he’s getting religious?” guesses Finn. I shrug my shoulders. “Could be.”

 

We walk through the Mall doors, and are assaulted by the glare of the sun off of the snow. Plus it’s freezing. The wind is doing awkward things to my hair. I’m pulling it out of my eyes and mouth. Finn straightens his posture and does a weird scissor-leg fast walk towards the car. Good luck getting in when I have the keys, pal. He’s holding the bag of beer and turning in circles outside the passenger side door when I catch up to him. “Come ON!” he yells, teeth chattering “I’m dyin out here!” I pop my driver’s door lock open, jump in, lean across and pop Finn’s. He throws the beer bag in the back with a big thud and slams his door shut, as I’m starting the car. Power on, heat blasting. We put our hands up to the vents for some straight- on warmth. “I’m so fucking sick of the winter!” Finn says. Me too. It’s only January, albeit the end of. I rock the Scorpions, turning up ‘Lovedrive’ as we navigate the busy parking lot. The biggest decision we face is where we’re going to go tonight.When it comes to committing to a particular bar or activity on a Saturday night-, you have no idea the pressure!  It comes from all sides: Who drives.Who’s playing? How much is the cover charge? What to wear. Who comes with. It’s a whole thing!

Where should we go tonight? What a dilemma!

“Hey-don’t you have next Friday off?”Finn asks. As a matter of fact I do! (Yesss! High Five!) The Tennis Club is closed for renovations.

“Ok-listen….I need you to drive me somewhere. To pick up a friend of mine” he says.

Finn has a license, but still no car. It’s an issue. He always give me gas money though- enough that I rarely complain.

“Where?” I ask.

“Bridgeport” he says.

“Really? Who do you know there?” I ask.

It’s about a thirty minute ride north. Finn looks at me sheepishly. I know him like the back of my hand. I squint my eyes in suspicion.

“WHAT?!” I ask. “Why are you looking at me like that?!..Oh, man, what?”

 Finn starts laughing. Then he clears his throat and  pulls an earnest expression across his face, wide-eyed and solemn.

“OK-but don’t freak. I have this friend.We have to go get him from jail.”

“Oh, jesus!” I say “that is soooo lame! I don’t want to go to a jail! And pick up a prisoner!” I yell. What do I look like over here?

“I’ll give you fifteen dollars for gas and pay for the new import tapes next week!”Finn says, sweetening the pot. I’m so easily bought!

“Do we have to go inside?” I ask.

“Hell no!”….”Okay…What time do we have to be there?”I say.  Something tells me this isn’t a wise idea, but I rarely listen to my own advice. Even if it sounds really loud- like a warning.

 

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: