Monday, August 31, 2015

Street Theater

             I decided to go for a relaxing walk yesterday afternoon after watching Jason Day win the first leg of the Fed Ex. The golf course the tournament was played on was in New Jersey. It was a marvelous Donald Ross classically designed tract. I hate the new golf courses that are either fake links style, or housing developments posing as golf courses. The classic courses with tree lined fairways are set up for walking, and the tees aren't hundreds of yards from the greens. Jason Day is part Filipino, part Aussie. He has an impressive game. (I'm going to have to google him and find out what the illusions to his troubled past are all about.)
          I'm essentially done with my final edit of Last Night At The Old Town Ale House. All I need is to have the paintings downloaded and inserted on the proper pages. Mitt and Charles are not available until Friday. Charles is going to Seattle thanks to a Bill Gates grant. Mitt just got home from Mexico City. Tobin thinks Elvis might be able to help me. I know all kinds of computer whiz's so I'm not worried. 
              As I was walking past Treasure Island,  I saw crack head Don aggressively panhandling. He's been completely out of control since he got out of prison a few months ago. The reason he was in prison is rather interesting: One of the preachers at Moody Bible, a black man, tried to help Don. He got him a job and a  place to stay on the South Side. Don repaid his kindness by burglarizing his office. There was a camera and so Don was easily recognized. The preacher told Frank the beat cop, and Frank busted Don. He must have done at least two years. When I first noticed him on the street ten years ago he was extremely passive. He'd just sit in front the chicken joint on Wells Street with his hand out. Gradually he became more aggressive. Whenever I chased him away from the Ale House he was never particularly belligerent. Don is about six-two, thin, and around fifty years old. As I approached him in front of Treasure Island his gestures suggested something both violent and odd. When he asked me for money I shook my head with an air of polite condescension. 
             "You got money, why you so selfish…"
              "Don, I wouldn't piss in your mouth if your heart was on fire."
               And so it started. Don had a lot of fresh prison material; I assume the prisoners have a lot of free time to work on their insults.  We immediately became engaged in a lively bout the "nines." References to mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers were frequent. A number of bemused onlookers, including a group the workers trying to repair Second City from the fire damage last week, seemed to be particularly enjoying our war of insults. Don was speaking with a peculiar pitch of voice which I found highly irritating. He seemed sensitive to insinuations that because he was a well known "punk assed bitch," he must have had a lot of dicks up his ass in the joint. A couple of times I thought he was going to take a swing at me. Normally I wouldn't have  worried too much, but he's probably got a few of his prison muscles left, and I am 75. I really would have liked to have given him a good shot. I told Mitt that I was pretty sure if I'd gotten the first punch in I could've handled him. Don seemed preoccupied by my relationship with Street Jimmy. "You're taking advantage of drug addicts. You got him on TV an' he  don' have a place to stay. You makin' money off him, etc…"
             When I dared him to put a finger on me he leaned forward inches from my face and said, "you're lucky Bruce, I feel mercy on your sorry white ass an' I'm gonna spare your life,  mutha fucka…"
All in all our noisy confrontation lasted a good five-minutes. In retrospect, I think it would have been unwise getting into a fight with a deranged crack-addict on Wells Street. He is bigger than me, at least twenty-five years younger, nor did I know what he had in his pocket. (Occasionally I hurt my back simply tying my shoe.) Nevertheless, I really would have enjoyed smashing my fist into his face. He's not long for the neighborhood given his out of control behavior. Street Jimmy said Don punched the manager of McDonald's last week. He's on parole so it won't take much for him to fuck up. About ten years ago he pulled a gun on Fancypants in Lincoln Park. 
              The weather was pleasant so I walked along the Lake to Chicago Avenue and then doubled back. When I got to the bar Tobin was bar tending. She said her best friend in the entire world had to come and pick up her attack dog because of all the commotion in the bar. She'd made pulled pork for the customers and it was quite tasty. 
            Just as I was about to leave a couple of cute chicks asked me about my paintings. Desiree and Susi both had something to do with interior designing. Susi liked my governor Sandford painting so I gave her the poster. Susi had especially nice tits. I was very tired  when I got home.


                               Scotland after the Ceilidh dance

             We had plenty of beer left over from the Ceilidh dance. The Swedish Sailer and the Irish Milk Maid invited everyone to their hotel room for a night cap when we got back to Plotkin. Liz, Bonnie, the Colonel, Hawkeye and I all accepted their kind offer. The girls were great fun. When I could no longer keep my eyes open I crossed the hallway and went to bed. The following day was going to be the conclusion of the Regatta and our final night in the Highlands. The Fling Band was going to perform at the Plotkin Inn and I told everyone to come early in order to get a good place to sit. 

            Tomorrow, our final day in Plotkin

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Ceilidh Dance At Glenelg

              A goofy guy and a pleasant middle-aged women came in the bar yesterday evening, and sat down next to me. The guy had an unpleasant, raspy voice. He told Anya that the only reason he was in the bar was because of Anthony Bourdain. "I saw his show and I came here to see what is so  great about the Old Town Ale House." Anya, instantly realizing she was dealing with a major asshole, gave him a wry smile and asked what they wanted to drink. The guy said he'd have to think about it. After a few minutes he looked over at me and asked if I was a regular. I nodded. The guys manner of speaking, and gestures were clearly meant for effect. He said he was living in Southern California, and his wife was living in D.C. "we decided to meet in Chicago." The guy, who spoke in an unpleasant undertone,  had a list of the places that were on Anthony's Chicago TV show. When he asked me if I was present when Anthony did his show in the Ale House I nodded again. 
              After the guy ordered a couple of beers he looked around the bar. "I'd love to meet Bourdain. Of all the people on TV he's my favorite…"
               "He would not like meeting you."
               "He dislikes assholes."
                The guys wife smiled.
                 "You're calling me an asshole?"
                 "I'm sure I'm not the first person to call you an asshole."
                   His wife continued to smile. My words seemed to astonish him. After a few minutes a smile slithered over his face. He seemed to be one of those unique types of men that were amused by sarcasm directed against themselves, no matter how mean spirited. "I get it, you're just trying to be funny."
                  "Of course, " I said turning my head to the Bears game on the TV.
                  After the they finished their beers the couple left without tipping Anya.


                                Trip to Glenelg

                 Liz and Hawkeye sponsored a Ceilidh (pronounced Kay-lee) dance in Glenelg. Two years ago we accompanied the Chicago Stock Yard Kilty band to Glenelg. They went to take part in a benefit for the Glenelg ferry; we stayed afterwards for the Ceilidh dance and it was great fun. Liz had sent money to arrange for a local band to play, and told the people in charge that the entire village was invited. My only problem with visiting the quaint village of Glenelg was traversing the mountain. There were only two ways in and out of Glenelg, over the mountain, which was on a single lane road (when a vehicle was coming from the other direction, one of them had to pull over in designated areas. I think the vehicle coming up the mountain had the right of way.) This was frightening enough, but the what terrified me the most was the thousand foot drop. The other way of getting to Glenelg was on the ferry. Hawkeye said that the ride to the ferry was almost as perilous as the mountain. We originally planned on the ferry, but our bus driver said that the ferry was not running because of the tides. 
               I had taken a seat in the front of the bus. If I was going to die an ignominious death falling off a Highland mountain, I wanted a birds-eye view of just how I died. The bus driver, who had driven us two years before, was an interesting fellow. He said that his company provided bus service to the school children in Glenelg. "Five days a week the children take the bus too and from school over the mountain. We pick them up at a quarter to seven and they don't get home until after six. " The thought of going up and over the mountain twice a day, five days of week was too  frightening for me to contemplate. 
            The weather was nippy, and the sun only made a few brief appearances as we ascended and descended the mountain. Boswell and Johnson made the trip on donkeys. I think I'd have preferred a donkey to a large vehicle.
            The plan was to have dinner at the Inn in Glenelg before the Ceilidh dance. We all squeezed together on two large tables in a smaller room connected to the main dining area. The food was quite tasty. I tried to eat sea food the entire time I was in Scotland; when none was available I ate Indian food. I don't recall having a bad meal. After we finished our meal we walked over to the town hall. Liz had made sure we had plenty of beer on hand. At first I thought the town had abandoned us. The band which consisted of two very hot, very young girls, an older women and two middle aged men seemed to be impatient to get going. Finally the locals started filing in. I remembered the women in charge from two years ago. She was a smoking hot brunette. I told the Inventor that she was so hot she made my toes hard. He agreed, and pointed at her marvelous legs as she marched around in a pair of stiletto heels. She had full lips, a sexy smile, an imperturbable ease and good humor that took my breath away. 
            As the local residents started to fill the hall I was once again reminded of the similarity between the American hillbilly and their Gaelic forefathers. There appeared to be a lot of inbreeding in the Highlands and as a result you get a more than a few musty looking lads with eyes really close together or extremely far apart. I remembered several of the older ladies from the previous Ceilidh dance. Hawkeye had danced with them, and I had been impressed with his precision and over all pizzaz. Hawkeye told me the hot brunette had divorced her husband and was now banging the tall guy in the band. The band was extremely good.
           A Ceilidh dance is a traditional Gaelic social gathering where Gaelic folk music and dancing take place. American square-dancing is a direct off-shoot of Ceilidh dancing. There is a lot of repletion in the dancing. I had no intention of being anything more than an observer but the Colonel had other ideas. She dragged me onto the floor and soon I was gasping for air as I was being tossed around like a rag doll, in the midst of the thirty or forty dancers. I felt triumphant delight in my exploits as I sat back down next to the Inventor and quaffed another beer. The Colonel had blushed with pleasure as we did a sort of dry hump polka. I'm not a dancer, I have no sense of rhythm, and at the time my dancing with the Colonel had seemed like the sudden impulse of a mad man. 
             As we sat drinking beer the Colonel pointed to the Sourpuss' and their friends and said, "look, they're actually smiling." She was right, the Sourpuss' were not only dancing, but laughing. This was indeed newsworthy.
             A woman drove up back to Plotkin on the bus. I wasn't as frightened in the dark. As I pointed out to the Colonel, you can see cars coming at night easier because of their headlights, and I can't see down into the abyss."

            To be continued.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Confrontation With Bovine Thugs In The Highlands

                Hawkeye paid 75 dollars for a Barbour scarf in Portree. The Defense Attorney ratted him out. As I confronted him about this absurd purchase he stood in front of me, arms folded, impenitently and smirked. I've never understood his foppish obsession with impractical finery. We were at the bar in the Plotkin Inn talking to a couple of old Plotkin sisters, Mary Jane and Katherine. Because Hawkeye had worked on the Skye newspaper for two years he knew a great number of interesting people. A hike was planned for the following day in Skye at the base of the Coolin Mountains. I told the Colonel I'd be going on my own hike. "There's plenty to see around Plotkin…"
             After everyone climbed aboard the bus back to Skye I set out on my hike. I walked in the opposite direction of the RR station. At the top of the hill is the high school. My plan was to cut over to the loch. I assumed there had to be a path along the loch and back into the town. I probably should have asked somebody from the town before I set off. There was a road that led to a small landing strip. I suppose it was technically an airport. Along the way there was a chicken farm. The various chickens were definitely free range, and were segregated by breed. The same went for the cows. I asked a small kid on a bike if he knew of a trail to the loch. He said, "ai," and pointed at a barbered wire fence. "How am I supposed to get over the fence?" The kid pointed at a series of rocks that had been arranged for the obvious purpose of scaling the fence. After I climbed the fence I started walking down the middle of the landing strip. About halfway down the landing strip a young man waved at me and said I was in danger.
             "There'll be planes landing today because of the regatta."
             After I asked him to direct me to a trail to the loch he pointed back in the direction I'd just come from and said, "go back along that path on the other side of the fence, and when you get to the Caravan make a turn and there's a wee path."
              The Caravan turned out to be a few squalid Gypsy trailers. The Gypsy's eyed me suspiciously as I turned down the muddy path. A gypsy boy about sixteen with his jet black oiled hair elaborately combed in a style I was unfamiliar with, nodded to me with a polite smile. A ragged urchin came out of another of the trailers and pointed at me. I have never felt more like a stranger in a strange land than I was now feeling. The path was narrow and muddy and I was hemmed in on both sides by the forest. About halfway down the path I ran into two tremendously large bovine creatures. There manners were not agreeable. I tried to look Chicago tough. Nothing. I slapped my hands together. The cows eyed me suspiciously. I was engulfed in gloomy shadows. The path was entirely blocked and walking into the thickly wooded forest was out of the question, because even if I fought my way through the dense brush, the mud was ankle deep. So there I was staring at the two thousand pound behemoths in the middle of the Scottish Highlands. One of the cows had a look of exceptional dulness. I couldn't understand what the hell they were doing in the woods. The pasture was a half mile away. Once again I tried to stare down the lead cow. I gave him (or her, I wasn't certain exactly what I was dealing with) my most determined look. Unfortunately the look in the black and white cows eyes implied a strength of will I was  not prepared to deal with. As I turned around and made a  humiliating retreat I carefully avoided any self-questioning thoughts. The gypsy boy was working on a small motorcycle when I walked by his trailer. After crossing the landing strip I turned down the path along the farms. The chickens were hopping about the muddy yard clucking. As I passed them I said aloud, "fancy feathers make for fine birds." I had no recollection of where I might have read those words, but they seemed appropriate. 
             When I got back to the inn I took a lovely nap. After a hot shower I felt completely restored from my harrowing encounter with the obstinate barnyard creatures. When the gang came back from their Coolin Mountain hike I was sitting in the Plotkin Inn bar. It turned out Rita, who had recently had hip replacement surgery, had taken a tumble along the muddy trail in Skye. Luckily the Swedish Sailor, who was a paramedic, was along and knew exactly what to do. Rita was shaken, but okay. Another noteworthy  incident happened after the hike. They'd stopped at a restaurant and had lunch. After lunch the Inventor had to make an emergency trip to the closest toilet which happened to be in a grocery store. After taking care of his emergency he realized their was no toilet paper. A resourceful man, the Inventor walked out into the store, bought a roll of toilet paper, and retreated back to the toilet.
             One of the locals, a middle-aged man with a serious, kind face, and a trace of a lonely past hidden in his blue eyes, described Plotkin's history to me between beers. It had originally been a fishing village, "but then the herring ran out and then soon after the potato famine, now it is mainly for tourists…"

               To be continued.

Friday, August 28, 2015


                    I was disappointed to learn that BOC tried to come in the Ale House on the night of Ruben's wake. He told the bartenders that Gracie had given him permission. (Gracie's been out of town for two weeks.) BOC's been barred for several years as a consequence of his drunken escapades. Once again his intelligence had not been sufficiently keen to foresee the consequences of his repeated attempts to get back in the bar. Deep down I don't think he's a bad guy, he's just a colossal fuck up and should never drink or sniff illegal substances. Had the sad-sack just walked in and said, "could I have one drink to say goodbye to Ruben," the boys probably would have let him. The guy needs help, and I hope his few remaining pals reach out to him. 


                          The Scottish Highlands

         When we got off the train in Plotkin we had to walk about a mile to the Plotkin Inn. We made an odd procession as we pulled our suitcases down the hill toward the tiny village. It was with a bit of nostalgia that I looked up at the music school dorm that we stayed at during our last visit to Plotkin. The Colonel seemed fascinated by the Sour Puss's, who were walking in front of us. "They never smile, have you noticed how glum they seem?"
            I nodded, "they don't seem to be having much fun, do they."
           The Colonel, in spite of her short legs, was a fast walker.    
            Some of the rooms were above the Plotkin Inn bar, and some were across the street. Hawkey and I ended up on the first floor across the street. The Irish Milkmaid and the Swedish Sailer had the room directly across from us. The rooms were commodious and I didn't have to move any furniture around to insure that my bed was a safe distance from Hawkeye's flatulence. I really liked the idea of being in the middle of the little village. It was a twenty minute walk from the school dorm, and walking back and forth two years ago became tiresome after a while. Now we were in the thick of things. 
            As I sat in the bar of the Plotkin Inn chatting with a man about my age with iron gray hair, he described what he called the worst summer in memory. It was a good ten degrees colder in Plotkin than in Edinburgh. 
            "Well," I said quaffing my beer, "we didn't come here for the weather."
             He was an angular, hollow eyed man, and spoke with a thick Scottish accent. With formal politeness he raised his glass and said, "to a pleasant holiday."
              The locals that gathered at the pub nightly were a lively group. I soon learned that carpet baggers from England and Saudi Arabia were buying up land in and around Plotkin.
            "Ai," a man with a  rather shrunken appearance said leaning toward me, "they come down here and buy cottages and then only spend a wee bit of time here when it suits their fancy. The prices are going sky high. Half the cottages are empty most of the year."
              Well in advance of our arrival, Pub Crawl Liz and Hawkeye had made dinner reservations at what seemed to be the only three restaurants in town. Because of the regatta all the restaurants were booked solid which necessitated splitting up the group. The first night I ended up with the Milk Maid, the Sailor, Hawkeye and the Colonel. It was a fine dinner, and the conversation was lively. It was obvious a giant weight had been removed from Hawkeyes not very broad shoulders. The giant weight, of course, being Donny O. Once again Hawkeye was comporting himself with martial erectness, and his manners were scrupulously correct. Hawkeye is at heart a man of infantine simplicity. Although he is afflicted with exotic, impractical longings, and a thirst for adventure, he is more than content to share a meal with interesting people in the land he loves so well.
               After dinner we went into the pub and a couple of the Fling Band lads were playing Scottish music with several men I'd never seen before. I exchanged hearty handshakes with both Wilfer and Neal. Some of us were planning on going on Neal's fishing boat in two days. I didn't go the last time we were visiting Plotkin because it was raining and I wanted to write my blog. Everyone said it had been a pleasant excursion and they ate scallops minutes after they were plucked from the loch. 
               The following morning everyone was finishing breakfast when the Defense Attorney made her appearance. She was a conspicuous figure with her hands on her hips,  as she stood in the doorway eyeing her fellow traveling companions.
             "Defense Attorney," I said looking up from my scrambled eggs, "you're too late, they're not serving breakfast anymore."
            "We'll see about that," she said turning to the pretty young women who was serving us. The young girl was clearly not disposed to dispute the Defense Attorneys unreasonable demands, or in any way oppose her wishes, and assured the Defense Attorney that she'd bring her a hearty Scottish breakfast post haste. The Defense Attorney often confuses cheerfulness with haughtiness. Although she has an affectionate disposition, she insists on imposing her will on the most trivial situations. The fact that she was hungover also enhanced her unreasonableness. 
            We were going to take a bus to Skye and watch the Highland Games in the town of Portree. It was a cold day, and the dark, gloomy clouds kept shuffling rapidly overhead before ducking below the Coolin Mountains. We arrived in Portree just in time to observe the Skye Pipe Band marching into the town square. Compared to the Highland Games in The Bridge Of Allen, this was strictly a minor leaguer affair. Liz had gotten us all tickets and the whole town lined up to get into the small open spaced park situated high on a bluff. After watching some of the local lads attempt to shot put I was tempted to go down and give it a try. The lads didn't even know how to reverse their feet when they put the shot. The high jump was even more troubling. There was no landing pit so the boys and girls had to use the stone age technique of scissoring. I quickly became bored -- plus I was cold, and there was no place to sit down -- so I walked back to the village. On the way I bumped into Hawkeye who suggested that we go watch the bag pipe competition at the local city hall. The pipers were quite good, but after a while I headed to one of the local pubs. 
            Because of the nippy weather I would rather have spent the afternoon traveling around Skye in the bus. On our way back to Plotkin I was sitting in the front seat right behind the driver. He was the same man that drove us around two years ago. He said as we approached the bridge out of Skye, "the best thing about Skye is the road out of it."

           To be continued.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fire Across The Street From The Ale House

                   Rubens cousin Becky called me yesterday and asked what would be a good time to return to the Ale House the paintings and silk screens I did of Ruben. Tobin had brought them to Ruben's wake. Several people have asked me where the painting of Ruben looking out from under the brim of his cap, and the baby Ruben portrait of the toddler with his martini glass and cigarette were. I'm fond of the pictures and will put them up as soon as the girls return them tonight. I was struck by a quote Rick Kogan sited in the first of a series of articles on Chicago taverns he's writing. The quote was from the famous Scottish biographer, Samuel Johnson: "There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern."  Ruben was living proof of this sage observation. Old school taverns are more needed now than ever given our so called advanced state of morality. Television was harmful enough to civil discourse, but with the advent of iPhones and texting, ear phones and all other electrical devices, we have become a world of zombie, dullards  and anti-social bores.
              Ruben's life revolved around taverns. And now that he's dead there is a void that cannot be filled. I remember kidding him that we should keep a camera behind the bar for a few hours every night and have a reality TV show where Ruben interacted with the patrons and bartenders. I think it would have been a big hit but Ruben was not a chivalrous character, nor was he troubled much by abstract questions concerning morality. Ruben's favorite conversations were the ones where verbal anti-personal bombs, land mines, and exploding hand grenades were employed in take no prisoners discussions. Ruben observed his fellow bar patrons with great acumen, and was never shy about giving advice.  Gracie was the recipient of a great deal of his shared wisdom. I told Ruben more than once that he had missed his calling: "Amigo, you should have gone to California and started a religion. The people in California are remarkably gullible, and susceptible to charlatans and fraudsters. I could help you with the religion. You could call your religion Zotarianism. Zoty Zotar could be your god. It could be a religion devoted to pleasure seeking hedonists. You'd be the Buddha like leader."
             Ruben had no objection as long as I did all the work. Work for Ruben and myself has always been the deal breaker. Work tended to take much too big a chunk out of our day. It's a shame we were both so preoccupied with having fun, because Ruben had the persona and the verbal dexterity to become a tremendous religious figure. His girth would not have been a disadvantage -- in fact, he could have played up the Buddha angle. I'm sure Gracie could have designed several impressive articles of costume for him. Ruben approached drugs, alcohol, and food with a keenness of interest no theologian could possibly have exceeded. The bright look of happiness that swept over his face -- which was the size and shape of an inflated pigs bladder -- when he was engaged in eating, is unforgettable. 


          I was just waking up from my nap yesterday afternoon when Tobin arrived at the condo and told me that there was a bad fire across the street from the bar. The sound of helicopters had disturbed my slumber and now I knew why. She said she had to close the bar because of the intense smoke. "I drove Kim home because the busses were a mess. As soon as we can open, Kim will come back to bartend." After I got dressed, we walked back to the bar. We had to get there in a circuitous manner because North Avenue was blocked off, as was Wells Street. We had to loop around and come down Weiland Street. Because Tobin had let some of the firemen and cops use the bars restrooms, they let us through the barricades and into the Ale House.
             There were firemen, and fire trucks everywhere. My worst fear was that Second City was on fire. We get a whole lot of customers from Second City and if they had to suspend classes and shows for any length of time, it would really hurt us. I knew one of the fireman who was stationed in front of the bar. His name was Ron, and I used to play golf with him at Jackson Park. He told me that the fire started in the Adobo restaurant. It was a grease fire and quickly spread to the next building. A three thousand pound air conditioner had fallen through the collapsed roof. Ron introduced me to some of the other fireman. Three of the old timers knew Fireman Rick. He's been on disability for a couple of years and they asked me if he had finally retired. I told them that the only way Rick would leave the fire department would be if they dragged him out of his firehouse kicking and screaming. 
         The smoke was now less intense. While I was talking to Ron, who is an affable black man, Anne Marie came by. Frank, who was the policeman stationed at the corner of Wells, had let her through so she could get to Sedgwick Street. She seemed a bit tipsy. After I introduced her to Ron, she told him, "Bruce hates me."
           "No," I said shaking my head, "that's not true, she hates me."
            Anne Marie and I have not had a civil conversation in about five years and so this was a break through moment. I have a lot of fond memories of our former adventures together, and have been saddened by our current estrangement. After giving me an air kiss on both cheeks, she stepped over the maze of fire hoses and continued down the street. 
             At around five o' clock the fire trucks started rolling up their hoses in preparation for leaving. Jerry, who's now a paramedic, also was on duty, and he said hi. When they started letting people cross North Avenue on the west side of Wells Street 
I walked over to survey the damage. Adobo was gone. It was located in neat old white stone building and I doubt if they'll be able to save it. Some of the people who worked at Adobo were regulars of ours. I hope Alphonso wasn't cooking when the grease fire ignited.
            The Second City offices were destroyed, but one of the fireman told me the theaters were okay. I hope the classes are functional. The problem is the smoke damage.  When the bar finally opened we got a decent crowd. While I was talking to the Defense Attorney and the Inventor, who should we see walking down the street, but Dave and Rita from our Scotland trip. They came in and sat down in the window with us. The Defense Attorney is extremely fond of them and doesn't like sharing them with the rest of us. We had a fun conversation. While we were conversing, Rick the pilot came in. I hadn't seen him a year or two. He's living in a remote town in Ohio. He says he's got a place in Florida, too. I was exhausted so I went home for the first time all week before ten.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

                   Tobin called me and said there is a fire across the street at Second City. The smoke is so bad she had to close the bar. This is not good news.

Scottish Highlights


           Things seem to slowly be returning to normal. Street Jimmy says "Ruben is at peace." Fancypants has a dental appointment which is always stressful for him. I haven't heard from Gracie in a couple of days. The crazy Russian lady stopped by last night. I find her sexy. She didn't speak to Hawkeye when he reported for duty. A lovely young Scottish girl and her Brit boyfriend came in. Hawkeye gave her the full Hawkeye welcome. I'm a sucker for the Scottish accent and at Hawkeye's urging I gave her some of my silkscreens that I had in the basement. While Hawkeye was chatting  with the young couple he had his back to the door. I don't get it. 
              Touhy made his second appearance in as many nights. He felt I should have had a more prominent role in the Ebert movie. I would have liked my description of the booze and beer tossing fight Roger and I got into over the chick with the big tits included, but I told Touhy I understood the time constraints.  
             A week ago bartender Mike got stuck in the outside storage locker where Fancypants and he keep their bikes. He sat in the tiny dark storage room until eight in the morning when he called Wheezy from the hardware store. There is no door nob inside the storage room and when the door accidentally closed he couldn't open it. Instead of calling me he waited until the hardware store opened and called Wheezy. She came over and turned the outside nob and freed him. What's so bizarre about his story is that I was in the bar at seven. And when I told Fancypants about Mike locking himself in the storage locker,  Fancypants told me to close the door on him. In thirty seconds he was out. "I just stuck this metal spike in the door and opened it." He said the metal spike was on a shelf inside the storage room.
            The Incredible Fling Band has been a big hit on the juke box. It's been the most popular album for the last week.


                                 Back To Scotland

            I would have loved to have spent more time in Glasgow. It was poor planning to make it only half a day. Hawkeye has often accused me of having a "Glasgow face," and I now understand what he means. I saw so many dead-ringers for my parents, aunts and uncles as I walked the streets that for a moment I thought I was at a weegee board family reunion. At the first bar Donny O took us to I sat down next to a woman with large, serious brown eyes who reminded me of my late mother when she was in her thirties. Because she stared at me as one might do an intrusive rodent I deemed it judicious to moderate my enthusiasm. Her heavy Glaswegian accent was certainly like nothing that ever came out of  my mothers mouth. 
           The pubs Donny O took us to were interesting, but certainly no more interesting than the ones we visited in Edinburgh. What was interesting were the people. Glaswegian's tend to be grim-faced, serious folks. According to Donny O there is a resentment against people from Edinburgh, "take the art museums, the government subsidizes Edinburgh museums, but not the ones in Glasgow…" As we walked about Donny could not contain his churlishness. He wanted assurances of more money, and was not shy about letting me know this every twenty-minutes. The man was determined he would not leave things as he  found them. 
          The Irish Milkmaid and the Swedish sailor were game for anything. The Irish Milkmaid confessed to me that she was back to being heterosexual after living with a women for the previous ten years. I think that is a good call because she's a very sexy chick. The Swedish Sailor is a tall, stunning blond who is definitely not heterosexual. She has a real  eye for the ladies and spent much of the trip trying to score.  I found their company extremely entertaining as I did the Colonel, and Rita and Dave. The Colonel got loaded our second night in Edinburgh and when Hawkeye tried to sneak back to the hotel without her the Swedish Sailor sprinted after him and made him come back to the pub and take charge of his now staggering cousin. The Inventor and the Defense Attorney fit in perfectly with the gang. The Defense Attorney got along with everyone and the Inventor put on another eating and drinking show that was quite impressive. 
           Before we left Glasgow and said goodbye to Donny O Hawkeye took up a collection for our surly guide and I reluctantly chipped in thirty pounds. Everyone but the Sourpuss gang kicked in generously. For what ever reason the Sourpuss' and their friends only came up with five pounds even though they made it abundantly clear they were rolling in dough. The money boosted Donny O's lagging spirits immensely. Before we dropped him off at his home he showed Dave the house his father was born in many years ago. This meant a lot to Dave. 
           His pious discoursing concluded at last,  Donny shook my hand and said, "thanks for everything, Scott."
           On the bus ride back to Edinburgh I told the Colonel that although  Donny O had faults to numerous to mention, he had a lovely singing voice, and his poetry was not half bad. She agreed.
Hawkeye confessed that before he gave Donny O his tip money words had been exchanged.
           "Donny told me he was not happy with my threats of physical violence."
             "Well, Hawkeye, the man pushed you to your limits with his constant whining. You would have been perfectly within your right to have given him a bitch slap or two."
               Pub Crawl Liz was a trooper. Not only did she have to deal with drama queen Donny O, but the Sourpuss' made it clear that they were displeased with their lodgings as well as much of the itinerary. I told her everyone else was having fun and to ignore the negative vibes.
            While we were walking in the park in front of the hotel the Defense Attorney told me that what I thought was heather was not heather. An argument ensued even though I knew she was correct.
             After several days in Edinburgh we all marched over to the Waverly Station. We were going to take the train to the Highlands. There was a snafu with the tickets. Pub Crawl Liz said something happened to the stations ticket printer. We all waited nervously while Liz handled the situation. When Liz arrived with the tickets at the last minute, in his haste to get on the train Hawkeye almost knocked over a portly older women. I apologized to the women and said, "he's a typical thoughtless American.We are a nation of clowns, freaks and drug addicts. We behave like ghouls, vampires and vulgar swine. It's in our DNA. Once again I'd like to apologize for this abject reptile." The women' teeth were visible and her lips curled up into what I perceived to be a smile.
             I'd taken the train to Plotkin once before and it is a lovely way to see the Scottish countryside. Before we arrived in Inverness, where we were to change trains, the Colonel and I got into another political argument. I found patronizing her rather than my normal direct assault on her intelligence the most effective way of getting her goat. Fortunately she's not a grudge holder and by the time we got off the train in Inverness we were pals again.
             The Colonel confirmed my thoughts about advancing up the ranks in the military. "It's not who you know, it's who you blow."
                 Next, our stay in Plotkin.