You do not talk about Spite Club.
It’s a beautiful night. Spring had started to rear it’s sleepy head, finally melting the 3+ feet of snow still lingering in filthy mounds at the edges of the streets and taking up valuable real estate in the local strip mall parking lot. The weekend was a fantastic 70 degrees, pretty damn high for any point in March, bringing out the sounds of kids playing in the streets, hard-thumping stereos cruising up and down the block, and of course, the titties. Titties hibernate in winter, too, and the reappearance of titties is always a welcome sign of the seasonal change.Their song is sweeter than any birds.
I had woken up for work a little early Sunday night. It took about 5 seconds of breathing in the fresh night air, cool enough to sleep well but warm enough to leave my jacket at home, before I decided to ditch my shift at the factory. After being cooped up for most of the winter, leaving only to pilot my van over giant drifts of snow to get to my hated job or to go to the local Wal-Mart for provisions, I really wanted to get out. I’m not really an outdoorsy kinda’ guy…Let’s be honest, there is ALWAYS something good on TV if you look hard enough and are willing to lower your standards…But a nice, clear, cool night makes me feel like doing something. Just what, I dunno. My options were limited, being a Sunday night, 10PM…I guess a bar. It had been a while since I’d been to a bar, the loopholes in PA’s smoking laws allowed most smaller places to keep lighting up, which kept me away. And for the larger Sports bars that obeyed the laws, well, they weren’t what I was into either. Overpriced drinks, bitchy waitresses, giant TVs playing whatever game was on that day, or some nimrods talking about the game, and a ton of meaningless (to me, anyway) sports bullshit lining the walls, none of that was what I looking for this side of a long day in Hell.
Still, with limited options, I settled on stopping by an old hole in the wall haunt I used to hit in my single days, in between breakups, a little Irish shot and a beer bar called Seamus’. It was small enough to be way under the radar, and legendary for serving High School kids because the cops rarely went into it, other than to break up the occasional fight amongst the old drunks. I am sure it was a great looking place back when it was first opened back in the late 80’s, but a lack of proper upkeep and revolving ownership had pretty much decided it’s place in the local bar food chain as a home for divorced, jaded, blue collar drunks. Mismatched bar stools, a floor worn and stained from years of use and abuse, cigarette smoke-tinted plaster, and those old plastic red and white checkered tablecloths covering the busted up old tables all added an air of desperation to the place. It was a safe place to go if you’re feeling down, because if anyone else is in there, chances are, they’re feeling down, too. It wasn’t a happy place.
I wasn’t going there because I was unhappy, though. More of a little slog down memory alleyway. Cheap beer, a TV, and probably, no one to bother me. It sounded like heaven.
It was still a few hours before last call when I got to Seamus’. It was just as I remembered, and so was the bartender. Old Man Bob was a big guy, not just tall, but heavy, too. Not sloppy fat, but he had a giant round beer belly, and broad shoulders, with huge arms. I don’t doubt he was a bad ass in his day, and even now he would probably be a formidable individual, but one thing held him back from being intimidating. He wore these thick, I mean THICK, glasses, you know, the kind that are so thick they make a person’s eyes look like they are trapped within the lenses, like goldfish or something. He was angry, he yelled a lot, threw people out occasionally, but it was so hard to take his threats seriously with those googly eyes blinking back at you.
There were several people scattered about, more than I expected on a Sunday night. An older guy at the far end of the bar, a skanky looking couple playing grab ass around a pitcher of Bud in the back corner, and off to the side, a couple kids that were probably too young to be there, and who were trying just a little too hard to look inconspicuous.
“Hey now, Bob, how you been?” I said as I drifted up to the bar. It took three tries to find a decent bar stool that didn’t wobble when I sat on it.
“Fine ’til you got here, sport.” he replied. Always happy to see me.
“I expected a warmer reception than that, Bob. It’s been at least a year since I been here, come on, how about a big kiss?”
“A year ain’t long enough to kiss anything but my ass, kid. Whadaya’ drinkin’?”
“Lager, please. And the TV remote.” The bar had two old tube TVs on either end, suspended high above the liquor shelves. There was a mass of wires and a digital converter just dangling beneath it, not attached or even sitting on anything. No one seemed to be watching the one closest to me, so my claim was laid.
He opened my lager and handed me two remotes. “You need two, the one is for the TV, the other is for the damn box that the cable company makes us use.”
“You couldn’t get the one to do both?” I asked.
“Shut up and drink yer beer.” He shot back, and shuffled off.
There wasn’t much on TV anyway. I stopped on Adult Swim for a minute until I saw it was an old episode of “King of the Hill” that I had seen a bunch of times already. I finally just left it on CNN. If I can’t be entertained while I drink, I might as well be informed. I was about 2 beers deep when something popped up that caught my attention.
“The House of Representatives passed Health Care reform tonight with a final vote of 219-212. Republicans were unanimous in their opposition, along with a number of dissenting Democrats. President Obama….”
The talking head on TV lost my attention as what I heard sank in. After all this time, the debating, the controversy, the fucking Tea Baggers picketing and whining, the bill actually passed the House. I didn’t think I’d see the day. “They did it.” I mumbled to myself. “Those useless motherfuckers I voted for FINALLY got something done…”
“Oh, they did something alright…” An old familiar voice came from behind me. I spun around to see an old drinking buddy of mine, a local guy I used to see here at Seamus’ all the time.
“No way! How are you, man?” I asked, and extended my arm for a hearty handshake. “It’s been forever!”
“Hell yeah, it has. I ain’t seen you since you got married and moved.” He replied, as he drug a stool over to sit next to me. “Hey Bob, shot of Jameson, and keep ’em coming.”
He took a minute to situate himself on the seat. Bob came over to pour his shot and left the bottle, and opened me up another Lager.
“You see, the reform bill passed?” I asked him.
“Yup, I heard it in my truck on the way over…” He paused to gulp down his first shot and pour a second. “…With all the bad press and wasted time, I didn’t think they were going to get it done.”
“Me either. The Dems have been damn near useless. They’re in control, but they still act like a bunch of scared little kids when it comes to dealing with the republicans. It makes me fucking sick.” I took a good long swallow of my beer. “And the republicans just eat it up, they yell and scream and shake their fucking fists, and act like every little thing the President does is going to destroy the world.”
He sipped his second shot a little slower. “Well, the right is still stinging over losing power. They’re doing everything they can to huff and puff and blow the house down. “Holding the line” is how a buddy of mine refers to it. They’re holding the line, trying to keep the left from advancing. All they are really doing is wasting a lot of time and a lot of money to look like they’re a bunch of tough guys, holding the President up from getting anything done.”
With all the conservative crap I hear on a daily basis, it was nice to talk to someone that I agree with for a change. “Yeah, I kind of wish Obama would bare his fangs a little more. He seems to be sitting back and playing the nice guy, trying to get everyone to play well together. A good “shut the fuck up” every once in a while might go a long way to getting shit done a little faster.”
“It wouldn’t fucking matter, anyway. The whole system is a mess, politicians as a whole are a bunch of greedy, corrupt motherfuckers. They make their living arguing about shit all day, not serving the public. If they serve anyone, it’s the special interest groups, the lobbyists and shit. They are the ones that run the fucking country, with cash and a handshake.” He punctuated that thought by tipping his head back to finish his second shot. “The whole fucking system should be brought to it’s knees…”
Ah, a fellow optimist. “It needs an enema for sure…” I gestured to Bob for another beer.
“…and it is only gonna get worse…” he continued, pouring his third shot a little sloppier. “…You hear about that Supreme court ruling? The one that reasons that big fucking corporations have the same rights as individuals? So they can contribute unlimited funding to a political candidate? THAT is going to cause some shit. Now we’ll see candidates posing for pics wearing Adidas or drinking Pepsi, or on a billboard pushing a car insurance company. ‘A vote for me is a vote for Geico!’ Pols’ll have fuckin’ ENDORSEMENT deals helping them get elected.” Again ending the sentence with a shot.
“Yeah, I did hear about that…” He’s getting a little angrier with each shot. I think that was his fourth.
“Big corporations, special interest groups, banks…Man, the fucking banks! All that bail out money they got to fix the shit they fucked up and they’re gonna go doling out fucking bonuses to employees!? FUCK THAT. They shouldn’t have been allowed to order a box of fucking paper clips until they had paid that money back. Some of them are back in the black now, doing better than they were before the bailout. But if I am late with a credit card payment or something, they are on my ass, calling every day, sending letters. They should have let some of those banks go the fuck under.”
“Well, that would have made the economy even worse…Not to mention, there would be that many more people out of work…” I was trying to reason with him a bit, bring him down. He was really on a tear.
“…And I keep hearing this shit about ‘personal responsibility’. ‘Why were these people buying houses they couldn’t afford? Why are they buying all this stuff they don’t need?’ That is certainly true, but where is the fucking bank’s personal responsibility? They have the rights of an individual now, they should have to face the fucking music like individuals do. Let me call the bank president at all hours and tell him he’s late with a payment on something.”
“OK, you should calm down a little, dude. You’re ranting. You might wanna slow down with the whiskey…” I was just a hair away from drunk myself, with 5 empty beer bottles in front of me and another half full one in my hand that I didn’t remember getting.
He drank another shot and slammed the glass down. “You need to get a little fucking angrier, man. Seriously. This shit goes on all around us every fucking day, a system that is supposed to be working for the people but is constantly fleecing us, keeping us all…” he trailed off.
“Down? The system is keeping us down? Tell me you weren’t going to go there, dude.”
“No, not down.” He shook his head. “You say that shit, or ‘conspiracy’, or whatever, and people look at you like you’re insane. But it IS! The people in power stay that way by keeping us in our place, working our jobs, paying our taxes, so they can keep not doing a god damn thing. They keep us…Ignorantly placated. All this shit that people are into- entertainment, sports, religion, the fucking internet and all the insanity that comes with it, porn, exercise, cigarettes…” He pauses for a moment to finish off his latest shot, “…Even alcohol! All this shit that we care about MORE than we care about how the people in power are jerking us the fuck around through our entire lives!”
“I agree, to a point. The nation is pretty polarized right now over politics, so people are certainly not ignoring it. And with movements like the Tea Party…”
He cuts me off at the mention of them. “FUCK them, dude! FUCK those low rent, racist, homophobic, hypocritical wannabees in their fucking ear! They’re a grassroots organization that can afford to pay that worthless piece of shit Sarah Palin a hundred G’s to spout off talking points in an easy chair!? She hasn’t said or done a damn thing to deserve all the press she gets. Just because you put a dumb cunt in a pants suit doesn’t suddenly make her a smart cunt.”
I almost spit out a mouthful of beer with that one. As crude as his comment was, I’m not a big fan of ‘Oh, golly gee’ Palin myself, and had to agree with him.
“…Her, and those fucking Tea Baggers, they’re all just mouthpieces, cheerleaders, for fucking Fox News. THAT is a place that should be bombed into splinters, fucking Fox News. So help me, you put me in a room with Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and Bill O’Reilly, give me a .38 with 2 bullets, and I’ll walk out of the room 3 minutes later leaving 2 corpses shot in the head and one bludgeoned to death with the ass end of the pistol.”
I chuckled at the thought of beating Sean Hannity to death. I’m not a fan of him, either. And Glenn Beck is just insane, I don’t know how he can walk around in public without being put in a straitjacket. Bill O’Reilly isn’t as bad as the other two, though, he’s just an egotistical ass.
“And with Palin on their staff, and that new ruling that allows unlimited campaign funding from corporations, I guarantee that Fox will be holding her up as the new messiah, building up a base of support among its mindless, racist fucking drones, giving her more and more air time as the 2012 election draws near. She’ll play fucking coy about running, meanwhile getting all the free publicity Fox News can shovel on her, and when she does decide to run, which she’ll do on the air in some special interview or something, Rupert Murdock will personally fund her fucking campaign out of Fox’s pockets. We’ll be the United States of Fox News, no one will have health care, corporations will own people that owe them money, and we’ll all be led to our deaths by a dumb cunt in a smart pants suit!!” He was actually panting after that little performance, which allowed me to get a word in.
“OK…NOW you’re crazy, dude. Seriously. You’re gonna have a stroke or something.”
“Well, at least it wouldn’t be a preexisting condition.” He took one more shot. “I gotta hit the shitter, man. I’ll be right back.” With that, he spun around and stumbled to the bathroom.
I was over six beers deep myself at this point. I kind of lost count, since Bob came by in the middle of that last rant to stare at us and take away the bottles. It was getting late, and I needed to get some air to help me sober up a bit. I gestured to Bob to get his attention.
“Hey Bob, I think I’m ready to even up on my beers, here.”
He gave me a sideways stare. “Just on the beer, what about that liquor? Half the damn bottle is gone.”
“Oh, my buddy was drinkin’ that, he’ll pay for his drinks.”
“Yer….buddy?” He kept staring at me.
“Yeah, he’s in the shitter. He’ll be right out.” I drunkily gestured towards the bathroom.
“This…friend of yours have a fucking name?” Bob seemed to be getting more impatient by the second.
“He goes by WreckedUm.”
“Rectum? Like, an asshole?” Bob was leaning over the bar and staring hard at me, those giant cookie monster eyes floating angrily. “Yer imaginary friend’s name is Asshole?”
“He’s been called that, too.” I replied, before realizing what he was saying. “Wait, what do you mean by ‘imaginary’….?”
Bob was fuming now, and started shaking one of his huge meaty sausage link fingers in my face. “I don’t know what kind of game yer playing here, kid, but there’s only been ONE asshole on this end of the bar drinking beers and whiskey tonight. I was content to let you sit here babbling to yerself for the last couple hours because it was a slow fuckin’ night and you weren’t botherin’ no one, but there is no fuckin’ way in hell I’m lettin’ you leave here without payin’ yer full bill. Yer payin’ for the beers ya’ drank, AND the liquor ya’ drank, or don’t come the fuck back into this place again! You got that?!”
“Uhh, yeah, yeah Bob.” I stammered as I pulled the cash out of my pocket. “I got it.”
He snatched the money from my hand, almost tearing my arm off. “Now you, and yer asshole, get the fuck out of here!”