Chapter 1

What a long, strange trip...

Sun Apr 20th, 2003 at 08:13:36 PM EST

Sex, drugs, rock and roll...
It's just a jump to the left
and then a step to the right...
It's a filthy drug and it will drive you insane
Lets do the time warp again!

Only this time, the time warp needed no acid. Just the right bar, the right music, the right people...




My oldest daughter has spent the last month with her mother. My other daughter asked to spend the night with her friends last night, so I had the house to myself.
I put in a tape and watched an episode of Star Trek. Paramount would probably consider my taping episodes of their property for later use piracy . They can go to hell. I imagine they probably will.
At any rate, sitting alone with the tube and a beer was boring as hell, so I decided to troll the bars and see if I could find conversation with female company. Maybe I'd even get lucky.
You can't throw a beer bottle in any direction in this town without hitting a bar with it. Actually, in the entire state, unless you live in a dry county. So I walked down to Duffy's, about four houses down the street. I'd been looking forward to it, since they were supposed to have some biker thing going on. And I like biker chicks. Most of the bikers look older than me by the time they're 30, and I like younger women. Runs in the family I guess; my dad's wife is ten years younger than him, and my grandmother, who married at 17, was eight years younger than my grandfather.
Duffy's was doing pretty good business, and there were some very attractive young ladies in there. Some rock and roll was coming from the jukebox, not very loud. I ordered a draft and started sipping.
The jukebox stopped. It was apparently redneck karaoke time. Yeer walkin' own the fatin' sad o' meee... if you don't love it leave it...
The place was nearly empty before he finished that first Nixon-era Pro-Vietnam propaganda song. About five old cowboy wannabes were all that was left. I didn't even finish my beer. I think I'll find some place where the music doesn't suck so bad, I told the pretty bartender, and walked on down to the Track Shack.
I like the Track Shack. There's always good music coming from the jukebox, and pretty girls usually wind up sitting next to me. I wish I could remember how to pick them up... I was married way too long.
But last night it was pretty empty, and no ladies. There was a baseball game on, drowning out the jukebox. I drank a beer and left. East a few blocks, or North a mile? I hadn't been to the bars east, but the nearest has a big Nascar Sunday sign out in front, and the rest probably have exclusive black patronage. And the only kind of music I like less than country-western is rap. So I walked north.
There was a bar I hadn't been in before, named Dempsey's , so I walked in that direction. It was doing fair business with what looked like college aged folks to me, some 1970s rock was on the jukebox, they had Rolling Rock for a buck a bottle, and a band was setting up. I got a beer and wandered around, unsuccessfully trying to flirt with the pretty ladies. All the women in there were attractive, some looked like supermodels to me. There weren't many available chairs. There was a table with a couple of young women at it and I asked if I could use the chair. The lip-pierced woman said sure and when I sat down they proceeded to studiously ignore me. I saw a couple of open chairs by the bar, close to the band so I hung my coat on one and sat down.
It's been a while since I ve heard any live music, except the music that comes from my own guitar. The bartender said they had live bands every Friday and Saturday. Live band, cheap beer, no cover. I think I've found my new favorite bar!
The band started playing. It was a Grateful Dead tribute band. I'm no deadhead, but I like their music OK. Strange most deadheads are older than me. But these young folks were getting into it. And the ladies seemed to be flirting with me.
It was a magically weird night.
The old joke goes, what's the difference between a dog and a fox? About four beers. But the more I drank, the more ordinary these women looked. Indeed, one thin and fit looking young lady looked petulant. I told her to cheer up.
There was a woman on the other side of the curved bar wearing glasses, who had a bit of a nerdy look to her. I think I fell in love... or in lust, anyway. Glasses on a woman turn me on as much as extra poundage on one turns me off. I'm a very thin man who can't ever seem to get enough to eat, and anorexic women give me wood. This lady had perhaps five extra pounds, which somehow made her that much more desirable. Weird. Normally that would turn me off. Beer is funny that way. Anyway, I stared and smiled. She smiled back.
People were dancing, and I was getting excited by the ladies dancing, and smiling you would have thought I was a really good looking guy instead of a skinny nerd with chipped coke bottle glasses. The nerdy looking woman seemed to be by herself with nobody much noticing her except me. She grinned hugely every time she saw me watching.
The crowd stared changing, people leaving and people coming in. The dot-com looking yuppie types with the expensive glasses and hundred dollar designer jeans seemed to be disappearing, and more longhairs in Levis were coming in.
It struck me that I was back in the early 1970s again. There is a war on that seems as if it will have no end (Afghanistan, Iraq, probably Syria next...), a self-serving right wing conservative in the white house, sappy boo-hoo music on the radio, recession and here I was listening to the Grateful Dead with a bunch of long haired youth!
And then I smelled something I haven't had in quite some time. And then I saw it a small, blue ceramic pipe. I stared at the pipe, which a fat bearded fellow seemed to have produced. He had handed it to what was probably a very ordinary looking woman, but who looked pretty damned good to me.
Especially holding that pipe. I looked at her, the pipe, and her again. She handed it to me. I filled my lungs and held it.
A couple of guys walked past, and I knew without a doubt they were the Secret Police; or plainclothes policemen as the mainstream media euphemizes it, not wanting the docile populace to realize that they live in a police state. I have no idea why I thought they were cops, except perhaps the paranoia pot produces. I don't think I was the only one who noticed, as fat boy and his pipe were nowhere to be seen and everybody seemed to be giving the narco type fellows a wide berth.
A few minutes later the cop types were gone and I had the pipe again. I got an even better toke. The herb tasted wonderful as I said, it has been quite a while. And this tasted like some grade-A bud.
And... the music changed. No, my ears changed. The dancing crowd became a surreal artwork, beautiful in its movement. I was in bliss. The girl who had first handed me the pipe kept looking my way and smiling. She seemed to be trying to avoid the fat fellow who owned the pipe, and the fat fellow kept giving me dirty looks.
The song says even the losers get lucky sometimes , and this was obviously my lucky night. I was going to get some!
I made the decision to let fat boy have hippie chick. I felt I owed him. It was the first time in a long, long time I had gotten high, and those two tokes got me wasted. To take over the woman he was trying to pick up would have made me feel like a huge asshole.
And then an overweight woman who looked older than my mother started hitting on me. Now I know how the twenty somethings feel when I try to strike up a conversation with them. And understand the looks of revulsion on some of their faces when they see me eyeing them hungrily.
A couple of gays tried hitting on me. My stomach got a bit queasy and I kept staring at the nerd girl, dancing by herself, and the hippie girl who obviously appreciated the pipe but oddly seemed to prefer skinny men to fat ones.
They ran out of Rolling Rock. I switched to water and left a tip on the bar. Then they had last call. And people started leaving. Hippie chick was in fat boy's arms. And damn nerd girl was being hit on by some normal looking guy. I walked out, thanked the band for a great show.
The three gays were outside arguing with each other. I saw nerd girl crossing the street alone, and crossed it myself. I tied my shoe, and she was gone.
I know I've found my new favorite bar. I'll be back. I hope all the folks that were there will be, too. Especially hippie chick and nerd girl. Well, I won't mind if Granny and the Gayboys stay home...


Chapter 2

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