Friday, October 09, 2015

After the gig Jesse, Kevin, Jake, Mark and I went to a little bar on 6th Street off 2nd, next to Jesse’s place, apparently the only establishment on the block that wasn’t a bodega or an Indian joint. It was one of those cozy, garden-level spaces, off the beaten path. Felt like you were entering some sort of secret lair. There was an old-timey bar to the left with a big mirror behind it, a few stools and that was it. Maybe a table or two, but maybe not. The whole place was bathed in a lime-green glow.

The bartender knew Jesse and poured us free drinks for hours. Kamikazes and mudslides, mudslides and kamikazes. Each drink seemed to fortify us somehow. Who knows what we talked about, but we talked. Who knows what was said. We were the only ones in the place, I’m pretty sure.

Finally we left, back up the little steps and out on the avenue. Someone shoved somebody, who knows who. Might have been me doing the shoving. Probably not. But I shoved back. Soon we were all hitting and slapping each other, zigzagging all over the sidewalk. Someone carried a sweatshirt with him. Someone else grabbed it and threw it into a bum-piss–filled puddle in the street. The owner—was it Mark?—retrieved it and swung it hard across the thief’s head. Now we were all grabbing at the sopping-wet shirt, taking turns slapping each other with it. When I got it in the face it felt cool and very heavy, a little grainy, deeply insulting. It made you stagger. It made you fall to your knees.

I think someone humped a car for a few seconds but I might be making it up.

We hit each other all the way up to 13th Street and walked back in the bar. The headliners were packing up, it had to be past four. I let the lead singer patronize me about our band while he wrapped up mic cables. I nodded and thanked him like a little bitch. I felt the glow of the good, hard beating I’d gotten on my neck and face, the alcohol in my brain, the filth from the gutter on my cheeks.