Daniel Cardona Ochoa
The concert ends. Drunk people leave the bar singing the themes of the looser band that shook the night. Hundreds of bottles of beer, some whole, some in pieces, decorate the Foufoune dance floor,
a legendary bar where Nirvana once played when they also were a looser band.
Andy walks unsteadily with his tool, a plastic box destined to accommodate the bottles dispersed around the place. From time to time luck smiles at him and he finds a remnant of alcohol
inside the opaque containers, drinks the contents in one gulp and continues his task.
He looks sloppy, his long hair does not know the existence of shampoo, his beard seems too thick and his clothes smell like a dead cat.
He picks up the last piece of glass and sits on the bar, next to a young man with expensive shoes and italian accent.
- You stink, you need a shower – says Vittorio, the owner of the bar, before giving to him a pair of bills.
- Water is for them fucking plants – Andy says with his typical irreverent pose
His day is over. Andy leaves the Foufoune without saying goodbye. He accommodates a dirty backpack on his back, takes his old bicycle and pedals up toward the Cactus, a seedy bar that opens its
rusted doors until dawns.
It’s just a small station, a cold beer to ward off the fatigue. His friend Satri waits for him at Deadcat Café and we should never make friends wait, especially when they are experiencing one of
those bad times.
Satri is the only friend he has in this fucking place and that is what friends are for, to take care of your back, or at least to put their own fingers in the same fire where your hands are burning
The gorilla guarding the entrance looks at him with a murderer face. He “requests” to show him what’s in the backpack.
His breath makes Andy dizzy. A gorilla only needs his arms, that is enough, he does not need brains nor good looks, a murderer fist and the smell of death are the perfect weapon to keep ghosts away
and put the enemy off.
The gorilla opens the bag of the usual and not always welcomed visitor. He put his big hands between the Jim Morrison poem’s book, the case of Italian glasses that Vittorio gave him a few years ago
and the DVD of Depeche Mode he has heard ad nauseum.
After wallowing his belongings the animal gets out of the way and lets him go.
Andy passes close to the table where Alanis is drinking a glass. Her skirt is an invitation to rape, but he ignores her, walking past in the direction of the bar.
He sits at the end of the bar, lights a cigarette and hums the theme that hits his ears, The Passenger by Iggy Pop.
The music is too loud. Almost crying he orders a bottle of Corona to the bartender. She drops the knife that cuts off green lemons and turns. Turns again and places the bottle in front of his face.
She knows him too well and serves him on the condition of not getting into trouble tonight.
Andy looks at that leather-wrapped human being from head to toe, suspicious cat eyes, punk hairstyle, sharp nails and that unreadable Celtic inscription on her back.
He leaves her a two dollar tip. She smiles falsely getting the coin in her pocket before reminding him again that this night he must behave well.
She returns to her knife, her lemons. She sensually dances under the Iggy notes. Her sharp knife is an extension of her evil nature.
For the first time she turns her eyes and moves her lips. The music is too loud and she knows it. That is part of her game, her twisted nature.
Andy points a finger to his ear to make her understand that while he would rip her lips, he is not trained to read them.
She takes a pen and writes on a napkin. “What do you want to listen?”
What he would like to hear is her voice whispering in his ear but he knows that her question has other connotations.
“Closer” by Nine Inch Nails is what he writes on the same paper.
The girl lifts the thumb as “everything fine baby”. She turns and Andy stares at her back while she searches for the CD of the band from Cleveland.
Andy takes the napkin. Looks again and again at her handwriting. The notes of NIN hit the walls of the Cactus with its erotic notes. He writes her something while he watches her dancing to his
favorite song. Andy tries to give her back the napkin but something tells him that is not a good idea.
Andy drinks a huge sip, this is one of those nights when the thirst is trying to kill him. He holds the beer an instant in his mouth. He does not know why. You are not supposed to do
mouthwashes with your beer. He opens the valve and lets the beer settle in his stomach. It is an evening with the smell of Corona, lemon, loneliness.
He would like to exchange some few words with the bartender but this bar is not designed to talk. The volume of the music condemns communication to sign language, drowning any possibility to spit
his wishes, to throw his thoughts.
Here music reigns over words. People must only observe the bottle of beer and watch that vulnerable girl hidden behind a sharp knife. This bar is not designed to discuss and perhaps she neither.
Maybe that’s why Andy frequents this place because no one likes to hear the speech of a stranger whose existence depends on impossible hopes. This place is a temple where prayer is prohibited,
where the goddess part lemons on the altar, where comfort is the last thing people can expect.
Alanis rises from the table. Takes her drink, walks to the bar and sits beside him. She stares at him without saying anything, is her way to provoke him. But that’s not the kind of provocation to
which Andy succumbs. It’s an awkward silence, eternal. Andy does not lift his eyes from the bottle. Its Alanis who yields. Its she who breaks the ice.
- How was the concert? – The girl whispers to Andy’s ear while caressing his silver chain in an attempt to get a couple of words.
- As bad as one of your blowjobs- responds without getting his eyes of the bartender’s ass.
Andy’s lips distill enough poison to kill an elephant and Alannis has not yet developed such immunity. Andy finishes his beer and gets up from the bar toward the door.
A skin head at the other end of the bar yells at him “such a fag”. Obviously he does not know him. The last guy who insulted Andy has not yet come back from coma. Andy ignores him, he
promised to stay out of trouble. Besides his friend Satri awaits at the Deadcat and we should never make friends wait, especially when they are experiencing one of those bad times.
He leaves Cactus. The gorilla looks at him at the entrance with his usual aggressive face. Andy takes a last look inside. She sees Alannis flirting with the skin head but tonight nothing matters,
only his friend Satri.
Looks at his watch; it’s later than he thought.
He takes his bike and pedals furiously. Sweating beer and humming “The Passenger” he devours the deserted San Dennis, a street normally boiling with people at this time of the night.
Iggy’s theme is driving him mad, can not get it out of his head. Begins to sing really loud and accelerates his speed.
The green eye of the St Catherine traffic light and the appearance of a ghost car are the last pictures that his brain processes before fading to black.
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