Quiet pints will be the death of me.
Let’s start at the end: a quaint neighborhood where respectable people walk their children to school and drink pH 9.5 Ethos water at $3.50 a pop at Whole Foods. I’m sprawled on the couch, dying. I awake from the dead. I rush to a tap, apply my lips and with the jaws (my own) of life, I suckle the teat of the tap, which is undoubtedly connected to the squalid L.A. River.
Nectar of the gods.
How did I get there? How do we ever find ourselves on couches with a world of hurt between our ears? The story is always the same: a quiet pint.
I met a friend for a quiet pint in a quiet bar on a quiet street at the quiet hour of a quarter to 8:00 p.m. I had a pint, alright. But this particular night, the pint was Irish whiskey. Nary a hop or barley in my glass due in part to it being Thursday.
We clanked glasses. Tried to keep our mangle-faced waitress at bay, Leave the drinks and be on your way, love. That’s girl. And keep ‘em coming. For some reason my friend had adopted an Irish accent. It may have been the whiskey. It was likely the whiskey.
The clock struck an hour that was undoubtedly early as we had arrived early. And having arrived early, and delighted that it was still early, we decided to do what any men, half-sopped in whiskey would do. We decided to go to Cheetahs. For a night cap.
Cheetahs… you’re a cruel mistress.
She taketh, and she taketh, and then she points out that there’s an ATM in the corner so she can continue the take.
But by nature she nurtures. Need a shoulder to cry on? You’ll likely find yourself buried in a set of surgically enhanced tits. Mind you, they serve liquor at Cheetahs so the tits you find yourself nuzzled among will be concealed, or at least obscured by a bit of cotton.
The girls are friendly. The girls are foreign.
The girls like my friend much more than they liked me. Breathe a sigh of relief. The attention of strippers is not only emotionally and physically taxing, it’s also a fiscal burden. Not unlike a war. With no end in sight. Want to keep an eye on things in a country you don’t govern? Want to have a night cap in a room full of naked women you don’t love? It’s going to cost you, pal.
Me? I made new friends. A South Korean and Syrian who were speaking Spanish with an Argentinean accents. They had done time together in a town called Rosario. Now they were doing time together in a strip club in Hollywood. I drank their Blue Label. I laughed at their jokes. I took their picture. I made some new friends who invited me to jump in their car and take a ride to another locale.
THANK FUCKING GOD I DIDN’T GET IN THAT ESCALADE AT 1:59 A.M.
I lost my friend, the one who’s a hit with the girls from Lithuania, Iowa, Russia.
A half dozen girls born after the fall of the Berlin Wall take my hand and promise me the ride of my life. I’m no shape for it. I search my pockets. I find the Korean’s business card. I dial the number a hundred times and berate myself for not jumping in that S.U.V. and undoubtedly missing the 3:00 a.m. of a lifetime. Like I said, I was in no shape…
I scan the room: skin heads, suits, strippers.
I enter the V.I.P. room. You’re familiar with mechanical bulls. They heave and hoe and toss drunk people to the floor… for fun. Well, there was no mechanical bull in the room, but my poor friend sat at attention while Electra from Slovenia rode him like she was bare-backing a malfunctioning mechanical bovine. She hung on for dear life. I was sure she was going to throw her back out. She looked like she was having a fucking seizure on my friend’s thigh. Mind you, Electra’s in the best shape of her life and I’m no position to judge her ability to crush a pelvis. All I’m saying is it didn’t look like a good time.
Of course, the man paid for the ride so I let the rest of the song play. I interjected before she could offer him another round of whiplash.
At this point, the night was no longer young and our pockets were no longer full of the promise of a good time. Spartans we had been or so we thought, but it was time to hang up the blunt object that was our pickled brains. It was time to face the dawn. We made for the exit. We let down a lot of nice young girls who were just looking to take all of our money. We promised to come back soon.
Quiet pints. Quiet pints will be the death of me.