Friday, February 23, 2007

cue adrenaline rush ...

you look at me, you think i'm a hack. that i think a pool cue is just a funny prop i pretend to whip and ride when the song "save a horse, ride a cowboy" plays on the juke box. you think the last time i powdered my hands, i was a b-level gymnast with sweaty feet and a leotard weggie, sniffling, then leaving a trail of snot on a blue mat as i negotiated a back handspring. that i think it is funnier to put a circle of blue chalk on some drunk's nose -- perhaps even my own -- than on the end of my stick.

and for the most part, you are right. except the hack part. i'm no hack. i'm pretty fucking accidentally good at pool. i can bank, i can make combos, i have a firm comprehension of the rules and i don't play slop.

"i find your adherence to pool rules ironic," hank once said.

i once had my own pool cue. her name was "lady liberty" and i schooled all sorts of people with it in front gaping audiences of white trash, stunned with disbelief. the running monologue, the video playing in my head, was of myself eventually making some sort of pool tour shown on ESPN2 at 4 a.m.

but sometimes (read: last nite) i suck at pool. a ball perched seductively in front of a pocket and i duff the shot. i miscue and try to jam the stick down my throat with competitive rage.

"are you trying to trick me by looking hot and playing badly?" he asks.
(i tell you this merely for the part of the sentence where he says i look hot.)

meanwhile, chuck is jumping balls with smug satisfaction and beats me. it had been my idea to play because i needed that victorious adrenaline rush. typically i kick his keister with a sort of feigned surprise.

the only consolation is that a tap of grainbelt premium at the tower avenue tavern costs just a dollar. it is such a good sale price that even the new bartender cannot believe she is giving me 18 dollars in change.

i win the next game. finally. and we settle the tie breaker with golden tee 2007. and despite some shoddy putting, i win win win win win.

***

everytime someone walks into the tower avenue tavern, someone yells "LAST CALL!"
believe it or not, this is as funny at 10 p.m. as it is at 12:30 a.m.
i blame the dollar taps.

***

some young 20-something hot shot, probably a shortstop for some bar league softball team, is performing some sort of justin timberlakeian dance maneuvers despite the lack of a dance floor. he grips the bill of his hat and spasms. boys' dance trends are so funny. i immitate him without caring if he can see me.

***

i perform some subtle gesture of affection. maybe a tiny hug while chuck is at the juke box.
about four people yell: "get a room!"
unbelievable. they should see how we act at builders saloon on a new year's eve.

***

i suggest to chuck that we hit the hammond spur on our way back to duluth.
i think i saw tears beeding in the corner of his eyes; spittal forming at the corner of his mouth.

***

the hammond spur is one of the greatest places on earth, and is especially pleasing to the palate after paying just a dollar for a tap of grainbelt premium. from the outside, it resembles a standard spur station: gas pumps and cigarette advertisements and seedy characters scoping the parking lot for short skirts and cleavage.

inside is a bevy of fried food, glistening with oil behind a window. you could catch acne by just inhaling this shit.

this place teems with people after last call. patrons forming a line that winds back to the toilet paper aisle. this is actually fortuitious. unfortunately, most drunk people can't see past the jalapino poppers to the morning-after effects on their digestive tracts. four police cars directing traffic in the parking lot.

"i've had a LOT of great moments here," i tell chuck.

***

one night chavens and i were about mid-line when we noticed the woman in front of us had the name "sylvester" tattoeed on her wrist.

"i'm gonna ask her who sylvester is," i tell him. "i bet they aren't together any more."

he agrees. i ask.

"its my baby's daddy," she tells me. i smirk at chavens.
"you still together?" i ask her.
"no," she says.

we give each other a high-five with our eyes.

***

one time, after a very superior christmas, my landlord, hank and i were hunkered over the booth satiating our drunken needs.

a tour bus pulled up full of long hairs.

"look, its whitesnake," hank said.

it wasn't. but at the end of the night, after the rush, the gas station attendants gave us two bags filled with the leftover food. my landlord took it home and put it in his freezer and at it all the following day.

***

when fannie comes to duluth, she requires a stop at the hammond spur. i like this about her.

***

one night the woman who budged in front of me had a bottle of dr. pepper. she ordered about one clogged artery worth of deep fried mushrooms and mini tacos and cheese sticks and fried potatos.

"i only have a dollar," she told the cashier.
"okay. that's good enough," the cashier said.

***

"lets get mini tacos," chuck says.
"and tacoitos!" i say. "do you want cheese sticks?"
"duh," he says.
"and we'll take some poppers," i say.
"and jojo potatos," he requests.
when we get back to his house, i learn that they ommitted the tacitos and i'm filled with rage.
"i'm going back across the bridge," i tell chuck.
"really?" he asks.
"no," i say.

***

we settle in to watch the breakfast club, but he can't find the video tape.
instead, as we drift off to sleep, he repeats, verbatim, the first 15 minutes of the movie with unbelievable accuracy.

"now you don't need to see it, kay?" he says.

i consider his skill. i may never watch another movie.

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