This is part two of the FFF challenge from last week. I figured the only fair thing to do was to not show favorites and write something using each sentence. So here is my take on Randal's sentence.
"But Vladimir Putin will always permit break dancing." Big Henry's manic face twisted into a grin as he said this. He leaned in close and whispered, "You know why Jack? Do you want to know why Vlad will always allow Homey Gee dancing in the former USSR?"
I had both elbows propped up on the bar and my hands desperately wrapped around my head which I was sure would explode at any moment. I stared blankly at Big Henry's face and said nothing. I was fascinated by the way his lips grew into huge flapping folds of skin when he talked. That and the way his eyes glowed. But Big Henry was insistent. He slugged me in the shoulder.
"Yo Jackson, wake up man, I'm spilling state secrets here. Do you or do you not want to know why Vlad the Man will always allow his comrades to break dance?"
"Mrmph", with a small amount of spittle as a modifier was all I could muster in the way of a response.
Big Henry seemed satisfied I was indeed interested in why Vladimir Putin would always allow break dancing. "Dude come on. It's obvious Man......Wait for it..... Just waaaaait for it........... Vlad's a Black Russian!" Big Henry roared with laughter and slapped me so hard on the back I almost fell off the bar stool.
I was on drunk time tonight. By the time our encounter had cut through the whiskey fumes in my brain and I pried my head loose from my hands to give his joke the attention it deserved, Big Henry was already at the far end of the bar sharing his joke with another drunk too inebriated to understand. I managed a sour grin and then turned my attention back to the shot glass in front of me.
This was my first and would probably be my last night experiencing the over indulgent chaos of "Wing Night" at Big Henry's Hog Heaven Bar & Grill. For the five years of Thursdays Big Henry has been hosting this event, I have ignored it on my nightly commute home from the bike shop.
Big Henry’s place was just another buried in the sticks road house in my neck of the woods hoping to draw some unruly types out for some good country style Hell Raising. All the chicken wings and beer you can handle for $15. As I pondered the shot glass in front of me, I realized I should have ignored it tonight as well. I was beyond shit-faced. My stomach had an anvil firmly lodged somewhere just North of my colon.
No way I would have spent all night here if Big Henry didn’t have that damn jukebox. But he did. And here I am closing another bar. Blues and Whiskey, well they are my weakness. I had experience with bars and honky tonks that never ran out of likker. But I had never once seen a jukebox with just Blues on it. I bet I dropped 10$ worth of quarters in it while I dropped more than $15 on food and spirits. Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, the King brothers, Albert and BB, and Big Mama Thornton all represented in their finest. Even some white boys playing their hearts out. Stevie Ray, Johnny Winter and Canned Heat. That was some jukebox.
I reached for my change piled on some crumpled bills. I picked up the jingle and held it close. Shit. No quarters. Grabbing the folding money, I start waving it obnoxiously. “OH BARKEEP! Hey!....... What’s a guy gotta do, who does he have to blow to get some change?” The bills slip from my clenched hand and fall to the bar. I shove them with a drunken clumsy hand in the general direction of the register. “Hey Goddammit! Some change here! Let’s go, lets go! Gotta play some Blues!”
Unsure of how he did it, Big Henry was suddenly right in front of me. Where the Hell did he come from?
“You know I appreciate your business Jack. But well, it’s time you hit the road. We lock up in 20 minutes.”
I hold up my shot glass and mumble, “Okay Henry. But how about one for the road and one quarter for the jukebox?”
Since my vision was not working beyond a one foot perimeter, it was hard to read the expression on Big Henry’s face. Apparently he was okay with my request. A shot of Rebel Yell magically appeared in front of me and in the background, Mississippi Fred McDowell began wailing “Levee Camp Blues”. For the next two and a half minutes I was in Heaven again.
Out in the cold of the parking lot, I attempted to button up my jacket against the frozen wind blowing in off of the ice on Mountain Lake. My fingers had turned into useless stumps. It dawned on me as I stumbled to the truck, I was in no way sharp enough to drive home. Yeah, it was only 2 miles to the homestead, but well, I couldn’t even tell which key was the one that fired up the truck. Not a good sign I thought. Being the logical guy I was, I figured a short two mile walk would be easy even if I was drunk.
I figured wrong. From what the officious asshole here in Limbo told me, it would be Spring before they found my body half way down a thawing snow bank covered in road sand and litter. Said something about me staggering in front of a logging truck heading to the Mill with a load of chips for their boiler. Made quite a mess, but the driver cleaned up the accident and shoved what was left of me hard into the snow bank on the south side of Rte 109. The driver left without calling it in. The officious asshole told me they would take care of that fall from grace when his time came.
Well that made everything okay then. “They” would take care of it when his time came? What about my time when it came? Handing me a one way ticket to Rap Town hardly seemed like I was being taken care of. Punished seemed more like it. The officious asshole wouldn’t even talk to me about Blues City. Said something about how I had lived the somewhat decent stand up life, but at some point I must have pissed the Big Guy off a little. Rap Town it was. “Hey”, the officious asshole said, “At least you aren’t headed South. Damned Hot in the South.”
It’s really not too bad here in Rap Town. The bars never run out of likker and they all have jukeboxes. The problem is nothing but Snoop Dogg, Hammer, Dr Dre and the occasional Eminem comes out of them. But if you want to see the fly-est white guy in the Heavens, you haven’t lived until you watch Nikita Khrushchev, grinning wildly from too much Vodka, do a head spin and then go right into a full split. He must be a Black Russian also.