"Guess how much in revenue we did this year," he said. "Just guess."
"I don't know," I replied. "Maybe half a million?"
"Try $1.5 million," he stated proudly. "My company made over $1.5 million in revenue."
That was 7th time he's told me that.
Ron and I used to hang out in high school. We recently connected again after he found me on MySpace. He was a good chap, if not an outcast in high school, but I liked him and we had a good time back in the day destroying our brain cells on booze and spending money we didn't have on girls.
He asked me to meet him at a place called the Golden Steer on Saturday night. I arrived before he did and looked at the establishment. It was a rustic looking place with an old west feel complete with cowboy decor and a wood sidewalk that lined the building.
Oh no they're having karaoke tonight. For the love of all that is holy and good they're having karaoke.
I walk in there and order a beer. The bartender seems to recognize me.
"Don't you usually wear a hat?" she asked.
"No," I replied. "This is my first time here."
She looked dumbfounded and then asked for my I.D. She laughed when she saw my age.
"You do look familiar," said a girl sitting at the bar next to me. "You sure you've never been here?"
"Cross my heart," I said. "I look pretty generic so I get that a lot."
I took my beer and sat in an empty table. In front of me was an old couple. They sang old country songs like Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard. I was actually quite amused by how much of a good time they were having.
Enter Ron and Bernie. I've never met Bernie before, but he seemed like an affable chap. They were already pretty lit and told me this used to be their favorite watering hold. Ron grabbed the song list and browsed while Bernie told me how he loves his kid but hates his wife. Ron let me know that in Bernie's case adultery was acceptable.
This is going to be a long night.
They both asked me if I wanted to sing. I declined stating it was not something I do.
"If you don't fucking sing tonight," Bernie said. "Well then....you're fucked."
I can live with that.
Bernie started showing real class by hitting on most of the women in the place asking them to dance and chatting it up. I sat quitetly for the most part, but I couldn't help but overhear a conversation about the UFC.
Two girls sitting next to me were discussing the fights that I sadly missed. I walked up to them and asked them for an update. They kindly told me about them and I thanked them for their time.
As I sat down at my table I noticed we got a new addition. A girl in her mid-30s who looked surprisingly like an ex-girlfriend was sitting with us while Bernie was working his charm. I let the boys get their attention as I drank my Mac & Jacks.
More singing ensued and it was driving half mad. Some of my favorite songs were being bastardized, but all seemed to enjoy it. Thrashy couples danced, drinks were consumed, and love was in the air for these people.
Ron and Bernie were finally drunk as all hell. Ron proclaimed his love for his fiance numerous times as well as myself. We shook hands periodically as he seemed happy to be there with me which was cool. Both of them started acting up as they bounced in the seat and people started staring at us.
Finally the night was over and Bernie tried to get with the mid-30s chick. Ron went over and they all started talking. Both Bernie and Ron were stumbling and acting pretty obnoxious, but all were enjoying their antics. Both of them left and I approached the girl.
"Sorry for my friends," I said. "They're a little drunk."
"It's okay dude," she said as she grabbed my hand and let out an annoying laugh. She then hugged me while her friend looked at me.
"You gonna take care of them right?" she said.
"Yeah," I said. "They're in good hands."
"Good," she replied. "Cause blah blah blah blah."
I then noticed the girl wasn't releasing me from her hug. I tuned out her friend as I forcabilly peeled myself off of her. I then look for Bernie who'd chatting it up with some older lady.
Ye Gods he's going for the grandma.
Bernie excused himself and went outside with her into her car. I have the bartender call a cab.
Ron and I stood outside for what seemed like forever freezing. Fed up I finally go to her car. Bernie sticks out his head and tells me he'll be there in a minute. I say that's okay, cause I'll be sitting on the front bumper keeping warm. He wasn't amused.
Bernie angrily exited the car and walked towards his own. That was my cue to leave.
I woke up today with a wretched hangover. I had no idea how drunk I was. I slept in and out watching football and now I'm suffering from insomnia.
About a couple of hours ago I got in my truck and drove. Just drove. As I headed down Rainier Ave I saw pushers, pimps, and addicts all hanging out in front of boarded up stores and all night convience stores. Driving by barred up windows and graffit the city felt ugly and dark. I kept on going.
I finally drove up the waterfront on Lake Washington. Got out of the car and sniffed the clean air. Life felt good at that moment with a serenity I needed.
Then a cop approached me and told me I couldn't stand there at that hour. Fuck.
I jumped back into my truck and headed to downtown. The city was all but abandoned with few signs of life of homeless sleeping under awnings and doorways.
I go to a gas station and fill it up. I bought a cup of really bad coffee while the clerk had the radio tuned into "Wonderful Tonight" by Eric Clapton.
I drove back home and for the first time this weekend I felt my life was a good one thanks to the friends and family that love me dearly, even when I probably don't deserve it. I walked throught the door and decided to write this post, but broadcasting my weekend like this is a little dishonest as there was a lot more on my mind the past couple of days.
"Those days if you drove cross country and you broke down on the side of the road, and the sign says 200 miles to the next gas station, you knew you were so screwed." - Rob Zombie