Posts Tagged With: drum roll

*Keyser Söze’d (well, sort of)

Thinking back on that afternoon of two autumns ago, I should have stuck with the wine and the brunette. But, like they say, hindsight is 20/20.

Susan liked to spend one Saturday a month getting up early, going to garage sales and flea markets, then lunch, al fresco, with a drink or two, weather permitting. I always looked forward to being her cohort for the day. Not because she drives a kickass BMW, but because she lets me drive her around all day in her kickass BMW.

Anyway, we’re at Café Ba-Ba-Reba, drinking the best sangria in town, getting a pretty good buzz going (she lives two blocks away, so her car was parked for the day), and who walks up? My old neighbor Joel.

Joel was always the guy that would add a spark to any occasion. This night would be no different.

He sits down and proceeds to mesmerize us with stories of his recent trips to India and Hungary. Within thirty minutes I could close my eyes and imagine myself being 007, dashing through the streets of Budapest or on the back of an elephant, slowly parading down a market street in New Delhi. I knew I didn’t have a chance to hook up with Susan, but I knew I had a very good chance of hooking up with a hottie while carousing with Joel. So, I told Susan that Joel and I were going to hit the bricks and paint the town red. Sorry, but a man’s gotta do, what a man’s gotta do.

We jumped in a cab and headed over to Kelly’s Pub to begin our journey. As we rode other there, Joel was telling me about a beautiful woman he fell in love with in Udaipur. Gandhali loved him too, but her family forbad any interaction between the two. Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately), he went on to tell me that he had just found out that she had moved to Chicago, right here in Lincoln Park.

So, I had to ask him why in the hell he’s sitting in a cab with me, and he tells me that she refuses to return his calls. I started to suggest that we just go over to her place, but that drum roll started up in the back of my head, and I’ve learned to change directions whenever I hear it.

We ended up spending about two hours drinking shots of something I don’t really remember, and the entire time he’s calling this woman. I’d say he must have called her twenty times. No messages, just calling and hoping she’d pick up. Yeah, I know, but I was waiting for his typical magic to appear. I figured it was just a matter of time before he started in with his J. Peterman stories and a couple of smooth legs appeared.

Well, the magic never appeared and I was now very drunk and very hungry, and when I suggested that we go grab something to eat, Joel stood straight up and said that we should go up to the Udupi Palace. MF’r, I might as well have stayed home today and walked over there. Now this fool wants to take a thirty-minute cab ride to eat curry, when we have a boatload of restaurants within three blocks?! But, I thought about it and decided that going up there might be a good thing, as it wasn’t too far from my place and I could always just go home after eating. Yeah… if life were just that simple.

Once there, we gorged on curry chicken, lamb, rice, some dessert I’d never had before, and two bottles of Riesling. My gut was busting and I thought we were just about done for the evening, when my phone rang. It was Susan. She had locked her keys in her car and needed to me come down with her spare, as she didn’t want to go through the hassle of calling AAA, yada, yada. What else could I do but go back down there? Besides, maybe I’d sober up and light a fire under Joel.

So, we got back down to Lincoln Park, dropped off the key and we’re walking down Sheffield, when I had the great idea to go to Ambrosia. In hindsight, smoking some Code 69 and drinking more booze may not have been the smartest thing to do after all of the boozing and eating we’d already done. But the next thing I know, Joel has captivated two coeds with a romantic tale of sorts of some place called Cinque Terre in Italy. Now I had just started to angle my way into the conversation, when in walks a woman of Indian descent. Her family might have lived in Pittsburgh for the last four generations for all I know, but her dark hair and eyes (plus a lot of booze and a broken heart) made Joel think about his lost love and he immediately stopped talking and called what’s-her-name. At this point, the only thought running through my mind was that she’d better look like a freakin’ goddess, swallow, and make a great Rueben.

Needless to say, I had had enough of his JV approach to seeing the broad, so I grabbed him by the arm and said we’re going straight over to her place and get this over with. The first thing I thought about once the cab started rolling was that it’s been a solid six hours of eating and/or boozing, and I gotta push one out like nobody’s business. That said, I needed to focus on something else and Gandhali’s crib was only ten minutes away, so I coached up Joel on his approach if she answered the door.

So, we get out of the cab, and before I could pay the guy, Joel is racing up the back stairs, like there’s free money being passed out on the roof. I can barely waddle at this point, but I made it up to the fourth floor in about three minutes, which I thought would be enough time for this dumbass to at least knock on the door and see if she was home. Instead, I found him leering into one of the windows. I had taken two steps towards him and was about to tell him to get away from the fuckin’ window, when a woman from three doors down yelled out to us that Joel’s not supposed to be here and she’s already called the police. WTF?!

We both take off for the stairs, Joel trips me up, I fall face down, right on my stomach, get back up and make it down the rest of the stairs and across the parking lot, the best I could. Then I got between a dumpster and a gangway, squatting down so I wouldn’t be seen by anybody. Holy cow, this dumpster smells like shit. Anyway, I gave myself maybe ten seconds to collect my thoughts and to calm down, and then it’s off to catch a cab. I guessed that the neighbor didn’t get a good look at me, so it should be safe to catch one on Fullerton. So, I casually walk through the gangway (my knees, back and wrists killing me from the fall) and I’m standing there on the curb waiting for the cab and people are walking past and looking at me like I’m from another planet. Before that thought could completely register with me, I hear a siren.

Well, I’m thoroughly committed to running this one out if need be, so I take off back down the gangway, where I now see Joel standing by my dumpster. At this point I wanted to knock him out, but that would only make matters worse if a cop was about to pounce on us, and I also didn’t want him to get caught and subsequently drop a dime on me.

With that in mind, I called an audible. I grabbed him and said that the sirens are coming from that direction and we’d better go one block down and.. then Joel took off like a scared rabbit and I had to make sure he didn’t get pinched. So, I took off behind him and we made it maybe four blocks, when we realized that we had been running in the same direction as the siren, which was attached to an ambulance that was now turning the corner towards us.

Whew, I figured that we were safe as long as we got a cab. So, I’m standing there bent over, panting, with sweat running down my face and back, thinking that I’m gonna have a coronary any second, while counting my blessings, when I notice tears rolling down Joel’s face. He says that he’s gotta be honest with me and proceeds to tell me that he actually never went to India, etc. He had moved to Dallas because he had a restraining order out against him from Gandhali, whom he went to Downers Grove South High School and Butler University with. He’s been seeing a therapist, yada, yada. I then said that as long as we’re being honest, I have to tell him that if he ever mentions my name to her, her family or the police, I’m gonna make him wish that he was never born.

This is where things get sticky, literally. I didn’t expect him to do or say anything that would decisively prove that he’s nuts, but he very calmly looked at me, pointed to my backside and said “Oh, you shit your pants”, then walked away. He said it like someone would say “Oh, your shoe’s untied”  or “Oh, something fell out your pocket”.

Remember the fall I took on the stairs? Although, it’s a great story in itself too, going into detail about how I got home with a shred of dignity would take another thousand words, so I’ll leave it to your imagination.

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Categories: Naked, Northside View | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Voleu fer el favor de callar

I was recently at Best Buy checking out an Xbox thing (I don’t know too much about those things, I’m buying one for some kids down the street  since their old man hasn’t been around for a few years) and I ran into an old roommate I hadn’t see in a while. Max lives the life most of us would like to live for a month or so. He is pretty much a professional gambler. Although he collects a pension of sorts from the Navy, he also collects Social Security (I think that’s what it is), and it’s enough to subsidize a normal wage from a normal job. However, Max doesn’t have a normal job because Max can’t keep a normal job. To know him is know that he is the ideal Streets and Sans guy.

Max takes his pension, etc, to Harrah’s each month and turns it into a few grand, as in 4-5 grand cash each month. Yeah, 4-5 grand cash a month. The guys never hurtin’ for cash. Well, Max wants to hook up for lunch and catch up, maybe grab a few beers. I was feeling flush with cash since I just got the check from the insurance company (for the cab that hit me last February) and I figured why not.

That was my first mistake. My second was actually going through with it. Max has an ace up his sleeve and that is an uncle of his used to train cops at the academy. So, most any cop over 35 knows his uncle. Dropping his name saved our asses more than a few times. I should also mention that Max himself, is  a former Navy Seal. So he’s very athletic, intelligent and can be abrasive to say the least.

Anyway, we went to Paddy O’Splaines for a bite and few beers. After a few beers, Max starts to run off at the mouth and began jokingly dissing the Blackhawks (a couple of old timers were wearing some gear) and then took a wrong turn and said that Payton was no better than the 5th best running back ever. OK, you might get away with saying one guy was better than 34 in this town and that’s Jim Brown. But Max has to list Barry Sanders, Gale Sayers, and Emmit Smith as better RB’s than Payton. He wouldn’t stop and these guys didn’t want to hear that shit and soon enough it took twenty minutes to get a beer. Thanks Max, I remember why we don’t hang out any more.

I suggested going to a place closer to home, but Max really wanted to go to “Bar X” a couple of blocks away. I’ll call it Bar X because it’s a fucking cop bar and I don’t need some cop reading this and having his cousin at MIT finding out who I am. Really. I’m all for these guys having their own place to toss back a few and beat up whatever clueless fireman walks in, but not me.

So we walk in and are immediately greeted with the “Who the fuck are you and what the fuck are you doing in our bar” look from 8 ½ sets of eyes. I’m ready to turn around and leave, but Max is pushing me from behind to continue. We sit at the bar, order some beers, and having sized up who was who, I looked over at the old guy with the eye patch and asked what game this was on the tube.  See, I wanted to humanize myself with the top dog and Patch Adams looked the part. Patch said it was an old expose of sorts from ESPN, one of those they do every spring for each team.

Me: “Oh, you’re a Giants fan?” (see, act interested and sincere)

Patch: “No, my little brother was in their minor league system”

Me: “Oh wow, did he ever get called up?”

Patch: “No, he passed away”

Ok, see, this is where any rational person or fucking alien from a far away galaxy would know to say “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that”. That’s it. Don’t ask, don’t probe, change the fucking subject and walk out of there with all your teeth. Oh-oh, is that a drum roll I hear? Oh shit, yeah, Max is walking over to the jukebox while Patch is reminiscing about his dead baby brother. I’m thinking to myself that I will be the first one to kick Max’s ribs once he’s on the floor, but luckily the bartender was smart enough to switch off the jukebox from behind the bar. Now these guys are looking at Max like he’s the wounded antelope. They looked at him and then each other, then to Patch.

Max comes back and asks where little brother played high school ball and Patch says Brother Rice. Hmmmmmmm, Brother Rice has had a strong program for decades, so Max can’t say shit, but where is that drum roll coming from? So Max says “Oh, we used to beat their ass all the time”. Oh shit, I gave Patch a look of “sorry, man” and shook my head side to side. Then I asked where the restroom was. One of the guys looked at Patch, then told me. I figured I would take a leak and to get us out of there before we ended up face down in one of the train yards. So, I’m in the restroom for about one minute, come back to the bar and Max is nowhere to be seen. In fact, five of the other guys are also gone. So, I stood there for maybe 1.5 seconds digesting the situation before I walked sideways, very slowly to the door and out of that fucking place.

I called Max about three days later, since nothing was on the news of a body being found, and he said they all went down the street to another bar and he told the bartender to tell me. Yeah, right. So, I told him we should go out that night to throw some darts (he could never resist that), but he declined saying he felt like staying in, which meant he still had knots on his melon.

Categories: Northside View | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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