(Swift's Hibernian Lodge, e4th street)
Macready at the ready - the junk shop along near
Houston Street was getting cleaned out. 'No more
of that for us here.' The big guy with the two beers,
he said, 'we've been ready for this for a long time. It's
just a shame this city loses its flavor little by little.'
'Well, sit you down, fella, and order up another round -
it's late afternoon, I've got nowhere to go, you're seeming
fine, and I love talking to old-timers, denizens of the
neighborhood, all that, you know. It's on me, OK.'
Then Belinda came over, the barkeep, the girl who'd
replaced Bernadette, who moved to Hawaii with some
guy she just met. Right here too. I gave her a ride on my
motorcycle once, she was really thrilled, and then I pretty
much drank for free the rest of that day - but I screwed
myself up too. Wobbly enough, I left her a twenty
by mistake - having meant it to be but a five.
Belinda said : 'Don't listen to that wheezebag (he'd gone to
the men's room then), he's full of shit; and two months ago
he wasn't even around here.' Nice thing for her to say. I'd
just bought a round and a pitcher, and the two Irish guys at
the end of the bar - they too were getting interested, and
loose enough to stay. I realized the position I was in.
'That's OK, I said. Around here, bullshit pays, and so do
I evidently - but whatever, I'm having fun and I'll take
me this one chance at glory. Something good always
comes of mysterious circumstances, no?' All she
said back - with that crooked smirk of hers, was