Chapter 9

No music no music no music

Sat May 31, 2003 at 02:55:56 PM EST


Civic functions in Springfield suck, but I had fun last night anyway. By popular demand I shall attempt to turn an ordinary night in an ordinary life into something somebody might actually want to read. Besides, I promised a pretty lady I'd report on how I did with the opposite sex without my glasses.
Married Lady said yesterday that not having the glasses made me look younger, but I think the real reason I got carded last night - twice - had more to do with stubborn bureaucracy than my handsome, youthful face. I haven't been carded since before I was a dad, and I was a dad before a lot of K5ers' dads were dads.




I was happily cruising through K5 last night, and it occurred to me that maybe it was time to start walking. There wasn't supposed to be a band at Dempsey's, so I thought I'd try Marley's.
I locked the door to my house and started walking down the street, and stared in amazement at sheer beauty. Wondrous beauty. Eye popping beauty. Breathtaking beauty.
No, you fucking sex maniacs, I'm talking about the sunset. There were thunderheads in an infinite variety of reds and oranges, and grays and blues. It was an incredible sunset. I complimented God on His artistry. That's probably some kind of a sin, but I'm a sinning fool.
There were birds flying around in the beautiful sky. A flock of geese was heading north in their patented, copyrighted, and trademarked V shape, turned around, flew back toward me in a big M as if God were telling me this show was for me only (or that I was a Maniac with a few screws loose). The patterns of the geese flying became letters of some arcane foreign alphabet I didn't know and they went away back north.
I looked around at the people in their cars, and a few on foot with their heads down, all frowning, and not a single one of them noticed the show. What in the hell is wrong with people? They'll pay millions of dollars for a piece of cloth stapled or tacked to a wooden frame with some paint smeared on it, but they won't bother to look at beauty no human artist could ever dream of coming close to matching. I just don't understand.
So the sky's colors fade as I get to Marley s, and I see the dorky kid bartender from Dempsey s, only instead of the backwards hat, he's wearing a white shirt and tie, yelling into a cell phone and gesturing wildly, completely oblivious to his surroundings. Listen goddamned it you fucking asshole, I'm going to have all your fucking teeth pulled out, you got me? Now get the goddamned shit straight and no more fuckups!
There are some guys carrying musical equipment back and forth across the street, cursing. Damn it! God DAMN what a shitty day this is, one guy putting a case into a car exclaims.
Dude, you're the band, I say. That doesn't exactly put me in the best partying mood, you know?
Fucking shitty day job, ya know?
Yeah, did you see that fantastic sunset? I ask.
I ain't got time for no fucking sunsets, man! I gotta work!
So I ask what kind of music they're playing, he says jazz. Yeah, the RIAA sure is doing this guy a service. Poor sap. I tell him I'll probably drop back to give it a listen.
I decide to go back to Dempseys for a glass of water.
More suits. Suits and ties everywhere. As I get a beer and a glass of water, Frank Sinatra is playing on the jukebox. Old farts. They're probably not much older than me, but I feel young. Only a couple of ladies, and they are with men, except for three tattooed ladies, one with an arm band tattooed on, one with a small tattoo on the small of her back, and another with a tattoo above one breast.
Tattoos on otherwise good looking women, wtf?? I see it more and more. It's like marking up one of the paintings in the Sistine Chapel with a crayon.
I finish my beer and walk down to Bread Stretchers. It's a sandwich shop, but they have beer and sometimes have a band. But there were only the two twentysomething guys working there, and no band. I get a Grand Moo and a beer.
Elton John is coming from the radio. As if reading my mind, one of the guys working there says something about the shitty music. I suggest they change the station. He says it's a CD, I tell him to hit skip . A different shitty song comes on. He says fuck! Fucking god damned shit and must have hit CD skip, because some real music comes on. Phish, I think.
So I finish the giant sandwich and the beer, and amble back on down to Marleys. Nobody's taking covers. I go in and get a beer, the bartender says there's no band tonight. Shit. I finish my beer and leave.
The jazz band is playing next door, where there are a bunch of people wearing ties and dressed nice . I don't go in.
Somebody must have some music, WTF?? It's Friday night!
A young woman is walking down the street and I smile. She says hi. I say hi. A guy comes around the corner. Oh there you are, he says frowning. I ask them if they know where there's any music.
The Underground.
Bottom of the Hilton.
The Hilton. A huge, round shaped building towering over every other building in town, five or ten times as tall as the next tallest. You can see it from Highway 55 heading north ten miles away, a temple of the green god known as Mammon. The Hilton is otherwise known as the prick of the prairie .
So I walk down there, find my way in a door, and the place looks empty. I finally find some bellhop looking guy, who tells me how to get to The Underground. I start to go in, and another guy asks for my I.D. A guy coming out that looks older than me calls him a fucking moron. I tell him I'm flattered. He wants three dollars. But the band doesn't start until 10:30. I tell him I might be back, and leave out a different door.
And I hear music.
I follow my ears, and there's a band in the street behind a construction barrier. So I walk around the building. Two attractive women are getting into a car across the street. I smile at them. They hesitate, exchange words with each other, and leave.
I go around the corner and Washington street is blocked off by a dozen police cars and maybe fifty chopped Harleys. The music is loud. There is a line of people to get past a table at an opening in the construction barrier.
Five dollars. It's the same band that was at Marley's last week for three, named K5. No, that's not right... F5. Not quite good enough for a K I guess.
They want to see some picture I.D. too. Gee, such flattery, probably to make up for the shitty way they're doing things. 21, you get an arm band. That means I can drink? Must be an all ages show, with the slutty looking girl singer who looks like she's had a few tokes of crack too many and a ruby in her navel, all these biker types... actually, there are all kinds. A few children.
I go buy beer tickets; it's a really stupid thing they do at these civic functions. Buyer be damned, who gives a fuck, bleed them and herd them and treat them like shit, the cows will still come. You can't buy a soda or a beer, you have to buy tickets and trade the damned tickets for your drink. It annoys the hell out of me. Tickets are a buck apiece, and a soda is one, a 12 oz draft is two, a sixteen oz bottle is three. And all they have is Miller Lite.
I hate Miller. But I get a bottle anyway. Fuck it, it's beer. Or an almost reasonable facsimile thereof.
I walk around, find a place to stand. A young chubby blonde walks up next to me and smiles. I say hi, she smiles bigger and says hi . She looks nervous. She looks 13, but she's got an arm band, a cigarette burning, and a beer. I feel like a pedophile. Here by yourself? I ask. No, she says, and looks over at her two girlfriends who are laughing nervously.
I can't think of anything else to say. So I raise my beer for a toast, she clinks bottles with me and I walk off. She didn't even look as old as some of my teenaged daughter's friends.
When my beer is almost gone, I go stand in line for tickets. I get my beer tickets and think well, now's about time to piss.
There aren't near enough porta-potties. Long lines for them. I take the last drink of my beer and decide I'll leave to find a toilet or an alley or something, if they'll let me back in.
Will this arm band get me back in?
No, we'll stamp your hand. Stupid fucking bureaucrats.
I walk back to the bar where the jazz is playing, and it's packed with these people who were dressed nice before their ties got loose and their blouses and shirts started getting sloppily half tucked in to their trousers, and use the rest room. Too packed to get a beer, so I walk back down to the stupid city-sponsored thing. Nobody even bothers to check my hand stamp.
I wind my way back to where the beer is. I ask for a sixteen ounce. They're sold out. I sigh. OK, give me a draft. What am I supposed to do with this damned ticket? There's a harried looking woman searching her purse, I knew I had another ticket...
So I gave her the ticket. At least it didn't go to waste.
I walk back up close to the band, kind of almost dancing and drinking my beer, and somebody grabs my ass! I turn around, and there is a group of laughing, drunken women. But I couldn't tell which one grabbed my ass, or I would have pinched her tittie. So I turn back around and watch the band, and this fat chick sneaks up behind some other guy and grabs his ass. The poor guy jumped four feet in the air, fat chick scurries away laughing. Poor guy whirls around, fists ready, anger on his face. I could read his mind... I mean, not that there's anything wrong with that...
I finish my beer and get the hell out of that madhouse. Joe's band, Subaudible, is playing at Dempsey's tonight. Joe's good, but I haven't heard his band.
I'll be there.


Chapter 8
Chapter 10

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