Sunday, July 27, 2014

Words Have Meaning

         Yesterday morning I got my vitamin B-12 shot from Nurse Erica. Yeager, her very independent husky, seemed bored and restless as he prowled around the bar. Hawkeye trembled at seeing the long needle penetrate deeply into my once powerful arm. A lot has happened since I got back from my wonderful trip to Scotland last August, and very little of it good. My absence gave a group of conspirators time (and courage) to hatch their petty little plots, and then I was beset with one health problem after another, and of course I'm presently sweating out my next CAT-Scan in September. Don't get me wrong, I do grasp the humor in my situation and am not insensible to the joy and laughter my current woes are providing my intellectually challenged enemies.  If you dish it out, you gotta be able to take it. 

           I made a  great deal of progress on my prequel yesterday before I was impelled by a number of considerations - chiefly the fact that my brain was no longer functioning at it's normally remarkably high level, and so I decided to take a walk. My back didn't start to act up for almost an hour which is a good sign. Ranalli says that my back problem is nothing but old age and he himself is now slightly bent over and plagued by sciatica. It was not that long ago that I'd see Ranalli jogging through the park shirtless while working a set of dumbbells in his hands. 
          When I walked in the bar Ruben Four Toes said that D-Train had continued his irrational rant from the previous night. He does this occasionally although this time he has directed his ire at Gracie and Tobin. There's no reasoning with him when he's like this.
          I told Ruben that I saw Mrs. Clown on the street and she is not looking good. Something happened last winter when she was in Florida and since she's gotten back she's sort of thrown in the towel as far as personal appearance goes. What a shame.
           Hardware Nick was making very little sense and instigated a long debate on the meaning of the word privilege. Even when Door Man Dan provided him with a dictionary he basically insisted that a word can mean anything you want it to mean. I've encountered this type of semantic nihilism before and it never fails to puzzle me: words have meanings!
          D-Train, dressed in a black suit, black shirt and black tie came in with his earphones on and sat down and spoke to no one.
           
             *

           This morning Street Jimmy was sleeping on the sidewalk next to the side door. He looked exceptionally bad. I was going to sing him my Jimmy Smokes Crack and I Don't Care song but he didn't seem sufficiently alert to appreciate it. Buzz Kill stopped by; so far he doesn't seem to be overly concerned with his lack of a steady income. If I was in his present situation I think by now I'd be reduced to the brink of despair. Faggypants said that his mother told him he looked cute before she drove him to the train. Hawkeye stopped by. I can tell he's excited about his upcoming trip to Scotland.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Zelda And Gatsby

          Hawkeye is going to Scotland next Sunday. He says he hasn't contacted any replacement doormen yet. Interesting. I guess Johnny Ale can jump on this tonight. Hawkeye will be gone for most of the month and I know I speak for everyone when I say that we are going to miss him desperately. Street Jimmy said he saw Mrs. Clown without Clown at Burton Place. "She gots that drunk look."
          "Most drunks have that drunk look."
          Jimmy shook his head, "uh, uh, not tha' kinda drunk look, she always got that look on her face." When Jimmy speaks now he speaks in an unbroken monotone and seems to care very little about whether anyone is listening. What caught my attention was when Jimmy said that "a white boy brought a bomb into the bar las' night an' I tol' Lemar and he put him out."
          "A bomb! What kind of bomb?"
           After a few minutes of questioning it turns out that Jimmy was pronouncing bum as bomb, and the bum in question was a sneak thief.
           "Jimmy, your elocution has really deteriorated over the last year. Nobody can understand what the hell you're talking about anymore."
           "I always had trouble pronouncing words."
          "Not like you are now."
            Jimmy said, "I gonna turn over a new life, I'm tired of the way I be livin' , you see."
           "I think that's a good idea, I think you're going to need a new life because your old one is going to end pretty soon."
           "Wha' you mean?"
              "They're betting on the street you'll be dead by this time next year."
             "Who's betting."
              "Everyone."
                This information pissed Jimmy off and he launched into a passionate defense of his over all strength of character and would have continued his eloquence longer had he not been interrupted by a protracted fit of coughing. 

     *

       Yesterday afternoon I was sailing along on what I hope is final week or two of my prequel when Ranalli called me. He was  upset - his ex-wife, Julie, had just died and he wanted to know if I was at the Ale House. I told him that I wasn't but that I'd be there in half an hour. Ranalli got to the bar about fifteen minutes after I did. It was not a happy story: Julie had called him from Florida about a month ago, "I can usually tell whether she's on her meds and she was fine and she said that she just wanted to hear my voice and hoped I was okay and we talked for a while and now it turns out she called me on the day they told her that she had pancreatic cancer..."
           "Nobody told you?"
           "No. And so I hear today from her daughter that she died."
           I knew Julie before she went nuts and then after she went nuts. There was no reason to dwell on the negative and I told Ranalli that she was a beautiful women and a wonderful hostess. "I remember all the great Christmas and Thanksgiving parties you guys threw at you place on Lincoln Park West. She was a helluva interior decorator, too. Arthur loved laying in your bed propped up on those giant pillows and everyone would bring him his drinks and food..."
           For about five-years Ranalli and Julie were Chicago's F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda. (Actually Ranalli was more Gatsby than Fitzgerald.) And then things fell apart fast. When Ranalli describe how hard Julie could punch I nodded, "yeah, the night she broke out of the psyche ward at Northwestern and came here she showed me how she broke your cheekbone. Lucky for me my guard was up and it was only a glancing blow." 
           In spite of his tough dago demeanor Ranalli is really a softy and he was taking Julie's death very hard. I told him it had to be a consolation that he found Lindy, "she's a great broad and you're a lucky guy." 
          "Yeah, I am lucky."
          Like all old guys inevitably do, we  started discussing  our various health issues until Ranalli changed the subject to his hero Joe Dimaggio. I didn't have the heart to attack his premise that Dimaggio was the greatest player of our time, especially when compared to Ruth and Mays. Ranalli seemed in much better spirits by the time I finally went home.  

         

          

Friday, July 25, 2014

NURSERY RHYME FOR CRACK HEAD KIDS

            Jimmy smokes crack and I don't care, 
             Jimmy smokes crack and I don't care, '        
             Jimmy smokes crack and I don't care, 
             The policeman's on his way.

            Jimmy ran 'cause he ain't no snitch,
             He threw his crack pipe in the ditch,
            When the judge asked Street Jimmy why?
             He told the judge, 'cause I gots to get high! 

              Jimmy smokes crack and I don't care,
               Jimmy smokes crack and I don't care
              Jimmy smokes crack and I don't care, 
               The policeman's on his way.

                               +

              After an extravagant afternoon with Hawkeye I decided to   treat myself to a late afternoon lunch. Because of the unseasonably cool weather I opted to sit on the sunny side of the street. As I was approaching Burton Place I ran into Tribune John. He seemed delighted to see me; his amiability was infectious and when I congratulated him on his new job he said with a smile, "they just made me full time, I work from seven to three."
           "That's practically the same hours you had at the Tribune."
           "It's not the same money or the same responsibilities, but the woman I work for is nice and there may be a future in it for me." He said this with an effusion of feeling and a tone of high moral resolution. There's no question jobs are scarce and you have to admire Trib for adjusting to the new world order in which the haves are ruthlessly ripping off the have-nots and there are fewer and fewer crumbs for the rest of us to share. 
            Bistro Margot was practically empty and so I sat next to the open window and was quite comfortable until an elderly couple sat down next to me and the man started to hiccup. After a while the lady asked the waitress if she had any hiccup cures? The instructions were a hopeless mystery and the man continued to hiccup. I was reminded of the late Pope Pius X11: in 1953 he was stricken with what turned out to be a terminal case of the hiccups. My friends and I  found this highly amusing especially when we learned that the Catholic School kids had to pray for the Pope's hiccups every morning. When I insisted that he must have done something really bad for God to punish him like that my gym teacher sent me to the principles office. The principle was a bumbling, inarticulate man with a perpetual five o' clock shadow. It soon became obvious to both of us that he was quite incapable of offering young Bruce any worldly advice which had seemed to be his initial intent, and so he went straight to the point: "Bruce, it's not nice to make fun of peoples religions or sick people. " Having made this declaration he paused irresolutely before he patted my shoulder with a degree of familiarity that I found offensive,  and added with a wink, "no more hiccup jokes."
           A sparrow flew into the restaurant and pecked around on the floor while the poor old guy tried to eat and hiccup at the same time. 
            After I finished eating (it took me a long time because of my myasthenia gravis) I took a walk. My back started to hurt by the time I reached the Viagra Triangle and so I pulled up a chair and sat down in the sun. I'm glad I did because an interesting drama began to unfold directly across from where I was sitting. A very fat  black women with black stretch pants and a soiled T-shirt was sitting on one of the long black metal benches with a divider in the middle. She was a schizophrenic and was engaged in a lively conversation with herself. On the other side of the bench was a guy about sixty, bald, very tan , blunt features and who was trying to talk on his phone. If I had to choose which one was the most annoying I would have  picked the guy with the phone. Not only was he talking loudly, but he was gesticulating wildly and he seemed to curse after every three or four words. 
             The women seemed oblivious to the asshole man and continued to talk non-stop. After about ten minutes the guy, who was rather skinny and was wearing a red polo shirt and beige shorts yelled at the black lady, "will you shut the fuck up!"
           She did not turn and face him but simply looked out of the sides of her eyes and for a few minutes lowered her voice. I was not the only one watching them and sure enough about five-minutes later he screamed at her again. The women, who had a very short natural was not the least intimidated and continued talking to herself. When the guy finally could tolerate it no more he stood up with the aid of a cane and shuffled off muttering to himself. (He must have been a stroke victim because he could barely walk.)
           As I was walking down Division Street back to Old Town I was alarmed to see a really big, mean looking black guy charging across the street with a metal baseball bat in is hand. There was a crowd of people waiting for the bus and he stopped in front of a black lady with two kids, asked her something, and then ran back across the street and into a convenience store. A few minutes later he emerged from the convenience store and ran back across the street ( I had stopped to watch from what I thought was a safe distance) and this time the guy made the women and kids follow him over to Dearborn.  I hope he didn't find the guy he was looking for because this guy hardly needed a baseball bat to do  grievous harm. While this was going on a very old bent over Ronny Woo Woo walked by wearing his full Cubs Uniform.
           When I walked in the Ale House a sheepish looking Ruben Four Toes was sitting in his wheel chair. Officer Bill, who was sitting next to Ruben said, "I guess somebody has to tell you." He then proceeded to describe Ruben's latest gastrointestinal adventure: Street Jimmy had to push Ruben to MacDonald's so he could use their handicapped accessible toilet. Fortunately he got there in time. Unfortunately Ruben was unable to get up from the toilet. At this point Ruben took over the story: "The motherfucking  toilet is too low and there aren't any bars that I could pull myself up with."
           "So what did you do?"
           "Jimmy couldn't pull me up so I had him run and get Victor."
            At this point a highly amused Jimmy walked in the door and said, "hey, Bruce, you hear about Ruben couldn' get off the toilet. He so week he couldn' get his fat ass up."
            Ruben glared at Jimmy, "hey, you aren't so strong either, you needed Victor to help you."
             I'm sure the people in MacDonald's had to love this.
            Jimmy was now laughing hard. "Victor had to pull his pants up for him."

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Torture US Style

      Yesterday the temperature dropped thirty degrees. Faggypants said it felt autumnal and it did. I took my walk around six and it was quite pleasant except when the wind kicked up. As I was rounding the far turn of the lagoon boardwalk Michael Shannon came jogging by with his ever-present headphones on. The guy obviously seems motivated to stay in shape which is understandable now that he's a famous movie actor. I guess when you get as famous as Marlon Brando it doesn't make any difference if you pork up to five-hundred pounds. On the other hand, Val Kilmer doesn't seem to get much work these days now that he's three-hundred plus. One of my favorite Brando fat stories is  when the Comet Kahoutek was all the rage ten or  twenty years ago and there was a crowd of people on top of small mountain in LA; the spot was  famous for being a lovers lane and the comet watchers were shocked when  Brando suddenly appeared. He'd driven up with a tray of about a hundred chocolate chip cookies and passed them out to the startled crowd. According to  eye witnesses Brando was wearing a bathrobe over his pajamas and said that he'd just baked the cookies and didn't want to eat them. 
           Orson Welles was another big fatso famous actor. His most legendary feat of gluttony took place in Spain when he ate an entire roasted lamb and had to be rushed to the hospital. 
           When I walked in the bar I sat down next to Ruben Four Toes but had to move because at this time of the day the setting sun shines in the west window for about twenty-minutes and even with the bill of my Sox cap turned down it's  blinding. Ruben said Victor brought him some pork taco's that his wife made but that he gave them away to the guy sitting next to him, " I can't eat pork anymore." Ruben then went on to say that the guy he gave the taco's to was the same guy that gave him the wheel chair. "I told him that after we took the wheel off you tossed it out."
         "So you blamed me  because I didn't want a wheelchair with one wheel cluttering up the basement?"
        "Yes," Ruben nodded in his usual blunt fashion. 
        By Twenty-First Century standards Ruben's appearance is not prepossessing: he has  one leg when the current style runs in favor of two; his remaining leg's only function seems to be ornamental while his thin, carefully shaved mustache promotes a sinister appearance which is enhanced by the malevolent scowl on his overly large face. 
         Street Jimmy came in just in time to push Ruben's wheel chair outside so  he could - as Anya describes it - "feed the meter." Jimmy talked Gracie into a beer while Ruben was relieving himself. It's hard to gauge how much crack Jimmy's now smoking on a daily basis because he's been scoring so much money from his panhandling activities. Unfortunately Jimmy is no longer a man of great conversational powers nor is his articulation all that could be desired. Crack has clearly taken it's toll on our favorite degenerate drug addict. Fortunately for Jimmy crack seems to enhance his merriment and he was laughing when he pushed Ruben back in the bar. "Ruben tickle the shit outa me."
           Ruben, looking at Jimmy as if the little crack-head was a carnival freak-show attraction, seemed not at all displeased  at being made a figure of fun. After exhausting his customary plurality of strong epithets directed  at Jimmy Ruben told Gracie that he desired another  beer. Speaking more gently Ruben then asked Gracie to describe the lousy lunch she'd had that afternoon with Anya at some upscale Mexican restaurant. Not only was it lousy, Gracie confirmed, but it was extremely expensive. 
           Linda Kimbrough dropped by. She lives across the street from me and whenever I see her I tell her to drop by the bar. She is an outstanding Chicago actress and the first time I saw her perform was in the Seventies when she was starting out. Eleven, who had left the Charles Ludlum Theater of the Ridiculous group in New York, had started a similar group called the Godzilla Rainbow something or other in Chicago and Linda appeared in one of their plays. My Uncle Hugh was a huge fan of Eleven's and took me to the old Kingston Mines Theater to see the play Linda was in. She was marvelous and she continues to have a distinguished career.  We sat up in the window and had a delightful conversation.

          *

           This morning Street Jimmy was waiting for me again. He said he'd just eaten a sausage and his tummy wasn't feeling good. This surprised me as he normally has an iron stomach. 
        "Pork fucks me up sometimes."
          "You eat pork all the time, maybe you should go back to MacDonald's and tell them not to sell anymore pork today."
           This suggestion was not received with much interest as he commenced his sweeping. 
          Faggypants was a bundle of nerves and he soon worked up a sweat as he did his chores. After he finished his sweeping Jimmy pleaded with me to let him lie down and rest because of his stomach. When it came time for Faggypants to feed Jimmy I walked over to the bench where Jimmy was sleeping and asked him if he still wanted to eat?  He insisted that in spite of his stomach ache he was hungry. 
        "Okay, but I don't want you puking or shitting in here after you eat. Promise?"
           "Promise."
             When he finished eating Jimmy asked me for "mercy. Let me sleep some more 'cause I'm sick."
          "No mercy." 
           I then went on to describe for him the latest execution fiasco that took place yesterday in Arizona. "The guy suffered for two hours. There's supposed to be laws against cruel and unusual punishment in this country."
          "Yeah, but if he murdered somebody maybe he needed some torturing."
           Tobin had her I'm leaving town look when she arrived. 
           When I went home I took a nap in anticipation of Hawkeye's coming over to set me up with the partially edited version of my remarkable manuscript of Portrait of the Genius as a Young Man. He did not disappoint me and got to the condo around eleven in spite of the fact that he'd worked until four the previous night. He edited about a fifth of the manuscript and, after showing me how to hook it up he gave me a cut and paste lesson.
        
           
  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Blushing With Shame

         Although I wasn't starving yesterday afternoon I thought I'd at least be hungry after I took an early afternoon walk. A lot of people were bitching about the heat and the park was not very crowded. I have no sympathy for people who complain about the heat - if you get too hot jump in the fucking lake and cool off, I like hot weather and I hate cold weather. Once again my back started hurting me and so I had to sit down for ten-minutes about halfway through my walk. I don't know why this is happening but it's highly annoying, especially since I no longer have any shortness of breath issues (probably allergies) and my legs never get tired. 
            After my walk I sat down at an outside table at Topo and had a nice Scottish smoked salmon dish sans wine. Midway through my meal Buzz Kill walked by and didn't notice me. He had an alone and friendless look on his unhappy face. I made a mental note to remind Buzz Kill of the axiom, "laugh, and the whole world laughs with you, cry, and you cry alone." When my waiter expressed curiosity as to why I was sitting outside in ninety degree heat I said, "it's quite pleasant in the shade especially with this lovely breeze wafting about me." 
       After I finished dining I went home and worked some more on my re-writes.

        *

        When I returned to the bar around six-thirty Officer Bill and Ruben were chatting. A nice kid named Blake, who's a bar back at Corcoran's, was also sitting nearby. Ruben continues to have misgivings about his ability to handle an electric wheel chair. Blushing with shame he said he continues to feel guilty about not having taken the time to learn how to use his new plastic leg.
         "There is much to be done and so little time to do it," I cautioned. "Perhaps you should take your plastic leg out of the closet and reintroduce yourself to it?"
         For some reason this made Ruben laugh and from the look on his face he seemed to expect me to do the same. 
         When Hawkeye came in he announced that the editing on my manuscript had slowed down and thought he'd need another week. I never envisioned that it would take more than four or five days and when he suggested taking a  week off from work  in order to devote more time to it I said no. "If you don't get done, you can always return to it when you get back from Scotland." Hawkeye wants to stay in Scotland until the vote on independence from Great Britan takes place.  When someone broke a glass Hawkeye just watched passively as Grasshopper, who was bar tending, swept up the broken pieces. 

        *

           This morning Street Jimmy was once again confused as to the day and time. When I told him it was only six-thirty he seemed shocked; he even made me show him the time on my phone. He said that while he was in MacDonald's some stranger came in and bought him , " a orange juice, potatoes and sausage. I didn' ask him or nothin', he jus' bought it for me. There was a bum who come in an' he got shit stains an' they let him down. They keeps lettin' people outa the crazy house an' they all comin' down here."
          "I saw Frank writing up some bum the other day by Walgreens."
           "Yeah."
            "Yeah."
            "There was a fat lady on the bus yesterday an' she be scratchin' ", Jimmy demonstrated by scratching in the region of his genitals, "an' scratchin' an' she gots her legs spread open and peoples gotta sit on tha' seat after she gets up..." 
          Faggypants also arrived early. He said he hopes to see another movie today. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Sequel To The Prequel - California Jail Break

       Another nice day and another nice walk in the park. As I was rounding the north-east side of the lagoon two young lipstick lesbian's were making out. I always find this aesthetically pleasing and gave them a wink as I strolled by. I continue to have back problems and so now I'm considering increasing my medicine, maybe even going back to the steroids. 
       Ruben Four Toes said he  was feeling much better. Gracie, who was bar tending,  said that the four-hundred pound one legged Mexican wanted his diminutive compadre, Alphonso, to lube his sore ass for him. Alphonso, who was sitting in the corner giggled self consciously when I turned to him for  confirmation. Ruben said he needs something to rub on his ass because he sits on it all day.
          "Yeah," I added, "and you're remarkably fat and so that's a lot of pressure on both your ass and your wheel chair."
          Gracie seems to think olive oil is the answer to Ruben's ass problems although Ruben is skeptical: "I need something that absorbs through my skin, maybe liquid vaseline."
          "No," Gracie said, "olive oil would be your best bet."
           Ruben is nervous about his  electric wheel chair which is supposed to be arriving around the middle of August. He feels that an electric wheel chair demands a lot of responsibility on his part. "What if I fall out of it or get drunk and do something stupid." As he was describing his fears the sharp piercing sound of a fire engine siren split the evening in half with its shrill echo.
        Gracie was intrigued with the prospect of Ruben trying to navigate the mile from his apartment to the bar in an electric wheel chair. 
          Ruben also was intrigued by the prospect, "I would only need the Pace to take me home , then."
        "Yes," Gracie nodded, "and you wouldn't need Street Jimmy to push you outside for your piss runs."
         When the discussion finally ended about the state of Ruben's ass cheeks Gracie pointed at her ingenious method of catching fruit flies. She has two small glasses filled with wine and she insists hundreds drown in the wine each day. Hopefully it works because a large army of fruit flies have been assembling for the last couple of weeks.
         The subject of fruit flies seemed to bore Ruben and so he described his breakfast which consisted of something called purina as well as pancakes and salami. He said as a concession to his "diet" he uses "light" pancake syrup. He added that he's had several good "poops" and so he's feeling much better. His remaining leg does not, however, look  well - in fact it looks quite bad. When I told him about Touhy's problem with a catheter Ruben was reminded of his ordeal when the gorgeous African nurse fucked up his catheter at the nursing home and he had to be rushed to the emergency room.
         "She may have been a lousy nurse , but she was sure hot."
         "I told them not to have her fuck with me ever again."
          "You have to have some compassion for her, here she is, gorgeous, intelligent, she comes to the US to follow her dream and they tell her that she not only has to find your invisible dick, but stick a catheter in it. "
         "Fuck her."
          "I would love to."
           Victor is still entertaining his family so things are much mellower in the corner. We are all hoping the wife moves to Chicago so we don't have to see Victor anymore.
            When D-Train got off work Gracie enticed him into having a new alcoholic Twisted Tea that the Sam Adams rep dropped off. Lee, who was sitting next to me, loves it. D-Train accepted Gracie's offer of a free sample and said he found it refreshing. When Gracie told him it was only three-seventy-five as opposed to his normal five dollar glass of wine he said he liked it even more. Unfortunately a few minutes later Gracie said she'd misspoken and it was actually five-dollars. Upon hearing that D-Train said he thought he'd stick to wine. "I'm a wino - so I should drink wine, right."
         "Yes," I agreed, "the bottom would fall out of the wine market if you switched beverages."
          Ruben likes the Twisted Tea camouflage hat that Gracie gave him. 
           I could see Street Jimmy through the window. His purposeful walk was on full display when he crossed the street. He was a man on a mission and his mission was scrounging together enough money for a hit of crack. Gracie said that Jimmy likes the new ice tea, " the rep said they market it mainly to places like Seven-Eleven's , it's kind of a hillbilly drink. " Lee didn't seem the least bit offended about this marketing generalization. 
          When Hawkeye reported for duty we discussed my manuscript. He's editing it and he says it's slow going. The sooner I get it back from him the better. He said he'd come over to my place today and format my sequel to the prequel so I can commence work on it. I told him I'm excited about the sequel to the prequel because during my late afternoon walk I figured out a perfect way to start the first chapter. "I now have the first chapter figured out and the last chapter. That's huge. It's going to be more free form than the prequel."
           Hawkeye still doesn't seem to realize the honor I've bestowed upon him by letting him be the first person to read my eventual history making "Portrait of The Genius as a Young Man." He does, however, think I should spend more time in my prequel describing my feats of genius. Perhaps he's right, but I think I don't need to gild the lily.

         *

         This morning Street Jimmy was waiting for me in front of the bar. He seems to have lost touch with time as well as the days of the week. Just in the last year I've noticed an intellectual deterioration. He said he's been sleeping on a bench in the park behind the Historical Society, "an I been sleepin' good".
         When Buzz Kill came in, and after we finished discussing the mess in Ukraine as well as the even bigger mess in Gaza, he told me that I needed an editor for my blog, "there are a lot of fuck-ups..."
        "Yeah, but I re-edit at night when I go home and usually I get everything fixed before I go to bed. The first thousand people who read it are getting the rough version. I'm too intellectually spent by the time I finish my blog to do much editing." 
           Jimmy was delighted when Faggypants told him he'd brought food for him. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Old Guys Are Wearing Down

                     
          I executed my normal walk without incident until the last block when my back started to hurt again. The weather has been perfect for walking. Before I went home I stopped by the bar. There was a decent crowd and while I was chatting with Ruben Four Toes Mitt and Lynn stopped by for a minute. They were on their way to Coach's for a get together. Mitt was carrying two outdoor chairs. After I returned to the condo I worked on some of the re-writes I'm planning for Portrait of the Genius when I get the edited copy back from Hawkeye. 
       I went back to the bar around seven and was told that Ruben had to make a hasty exit. He's been having poop issues of late and so  instead of waiting for his Pace van Gracie said  he was worried that the tiny Alphonso wouldn't be able to push his wheel chair all the way to MacDonald's and called a handicapped accessible cab. His poop problems are a disturbing trend and Gracie promised to discuss it with him. Unfortunately Gracie has reverted back to her surly ways; we all had high hopes that her six months of doing corporate might have made her appreciate how good she has it at the Ale House but apparently whatever she learned has worn off. It's a shame but her mothers is seldom around anymore and there's not much I can do about it.
       Naomi came in with Grasshopper. She said that Grasshopper and her saw "Life Itself" Thursday and thought it was excellent. The only criticism the movie has received from anyone I know was from Ranalli who thought some of the Roger footage was too tough for him to handle. 
       Touhy made his first Ale House appearance since his knee replacement surgery. He was accompanied by a very stoic Miss Jones. The only way I knew that something was going on with Touhy was because Frenchy called and told me Touhy's eightieth birthday bash at the Billy Goat on Ogden Avenue had been called off because he was going to have a hip replacement. As it turns out Touhy had a knee replacement and it has obviously not gone well given how bad he's presently hobbling. For an old guy Touhy used to do a lot of walking but those days seem to have come to an abrupt halt. Not only is he hobbling but he said the surgery turned into a complete disaster because of some fuck up with the anesthesia. 
         "When I came out of it they had me on a catheter and then after they took it out I couldn't pee and so I ended up wearing it for almost two months and I couldn't shit either and if it wasn't for Miss Jones I don't know how I would have survived."
         Normally Miss Jones has a beatific smile on her face but not so last night - it was more of a forced,  self generated smile. Nursing Touhy has clearly taken its toll on her. Touhy, generally a stickler for his personal appearance, last night looked like an untidy, shambling old-man with an aura of defeat, confusion and general inefficiency hovering over him. 
         When I told him that his late wife Mikes bastard son Joe had been in the day before with some of Mikes in laws he seemed puzzled. After the third time I explained to him that one of the people was his former brother in law, Paul, his kids along with Joe, and Joe's son he looked at me like a petulant two-year old brat that wore eye-glasses. No matter how he focused he couldn't seem to differentiate between what constituted a cousin and an uncle. Miss Jones seemed flustered by his general inability to concentrate, puerile vanities, ungoverned appetites and out of control ego and I noticed a tear or two hovering in the corners of her eyes. 
         Touhy is an esteemed bar room character, although not a man of great achievement and I hope he overcomes his medical problems not just for his sake but for Miss Jones' sake.
           Mike, one of our bartenders, called and told me he broke his foot hopping a fence with flip flops on. It's an outside bone and he won't know the extent of his injury until he sees a specialist on Monday. A foot injury for a bartender is a bad thing and so the other night bartenders and Elvis are going to have to step up to the plate until Mike's ready to go again.
         Hawkeye described how tedious and brutal the editing of my magnificent manuscript has been on him when he reported for duty. When I suggested that he slow down he shook his head with determination and said, "I don't mind it. In fact I'm enjoying it." 

         *

          Although I got to the bar early Tobin and Street Jimmy were already at work. When Faggypants showed up he was his former exuberant self. He said he saw "Life Itself" and it was terrific." He then went on to say the special effects were fantastic because the movie managed against impossible odds to make me look great. He laughed inordinately at his witticism. "I think it should win the Academy Award for best documentary. And after I saw it I snuck into the movie about the kid that they kept filming over many years. It's the best movie I've seen all year. I went to Trader Joes before the movie and got some snacks and a small bottle of wine and had an absolutely wonderful day."
           Butkovich got a call while he was fixing our mens room toilet from Mona. His pit bull died and he was obviously saddened. He's now down to six dogs. All of his dogs had been abandoned at the deserted steel mill grounds not far from his house and he's taken them in one at a time over the years. He's obviously become very attached to them and so it was with an air of resignation that he told us he was going  home and bury his dog.