Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Five-Second Germ Theory

             D-Train looked a little down in the dumps when he walked in the bar last night. 
            "D-Train, would it cheer you up if I gave you a hug."
             "Not unless you have tits."
            "Well, maybe Ruben should give you a hug then?"
             Ruben said with characteristic good cheer, "it would be an impertinence for me to do otherwise."
               D-Train, other than an occasional fit of madness, has been been warming up to his upcoming change in work hours. He's even decided against getting a gun permit. "I live close to my bus stop and at five in the morning the 22 Clark St. bus should be on schedule."
             Hawkeye is displeased with the beers Gracie has been selecting. He was especially unhappy with Pumpkin and Shandy.
They both sound awful but I know that Gracie hopes to satisfy every taste. When I told Hawkeye that I would let Gracie know how unhappy he was with her ordering he shook his sallow head in despair, "please don't."
              Hawkeye went on to describe how hungry he gets around three in the morning. After removing a strange looking plastic bag from his satchel he said, "these are hermetically sealed hard boiled eggs. I got them from Walgreens." With a lewd smile he added, "feel them, they feel just like a set of testicles."
              He was right, they did.
               "I don't know Hawkeye, I would have to be extremely hungry before I'd eat hermetically sealed hardboiled eggs from Walgreens. Actually pretty much everything that is marked Walgreens is subpar."
                 D-Train and Hawkeye then proceeded to get into an argument about how many eggs a week it is healthy to eat. Hawkeye's position was "the more the merrier" while D-Train was of the opinion that eggs were responsible for prodigious amounts of cholesterol. 
               Shaking his virtually hairless head Hawkeye said, "it's the good cholesterol."
              While attempting to  illustrate his point Hawkeye spilled the bag of cashews he'd just opened on the floor. He immediately bent over and picked up the twenty or so cashews off the dirty floor, and then in what I perceived to be a serious lack of decorum proceeded to eat them. When I expressed my revulsion D-Train rushed to his defense, "if you wait five-seconds all the germs will be dead."
            "What about poop germs?"
             Both D-Train and Hawkeye seemed to think the possibility of poop germs on the cashews to be of trifling importance. I told the two men that I did not share their disregard for the practical aspects of life and that I felt poop germs were nothing to make light of.
           I think the reason that Hawkeye was in such high spirits was because he'd talked to Pub Crawl Liz the previous night about his idea for a Scottish pub crawl tour. Liz seemed enthusiastic and they planned on having further discussions soon.
              "Denise and Mike seemed interested..."
               I nodded, "I bet they would be. And I know the Inventor and the Defense Attorney would be up for it, in fact I bet I could easily find ten more people - "
               "Right now the direct flights from Chicago to Edinburgh are almost half. We would leave July 31 so we'd be there for all the fests!"

             *

             I was late this morning. Fancypants was already
busily at work. Buzz Kill continues to be demoralized by the vagaries of life. When Jimmy arrived he made no effort to conceal his unhappiness, " I lost all the money you give me yesterday."
          "And I'm sure you put it in your right front pocket."
           "I think I left it here."
             "If you left your fifteen dollars here I would have seen it."
             "Where else could I have left it?"
              "You're a degenerate crack head, who the fuck knows where you leave your money. Your brain is so scrambled I'm surprised you can still cross a street without getting turned into a pancake."
               Because it had been a bad night it took Jimmy less than ten minutes to sweep the floor as well as the sidewalk. When he acted pissed off that I only gave him five bucks I said, "you didn't do anything, numb nuts. I'm practically paying you a dollar a minute and quite frankly Jimmy, you're barely worth a dollar an hour."
             When a grumbling Jimmy looked like he was  going to take a nap I told Fancypants to fix him his food. After Jimmy was finished eating Fancypants let out a yelp, "Jimmy, you didn't drink your tomato juice!"
              "'Cause I hates tomato juice."
              "You're a moron."
               "You're a bigger moron."
               Before matters escalated I stepped in. "Danny, you know he hates anything vegetable, why waste perfectly good tomato juice on him, you should know better by now. Ruben won't eat vegetables either."
                 "They're idiots."
                 "Fuck you Danny, you an idiot."
                 "Jimmy , time to go."
                 "Danny cuss me out."
                 "Jimmy, a more disagreeable, unpleasant companion can scarcely have ever lived than you. You are an ungrateful little shit fly. Hit the road."
               He mumbled all the way out the door. I'm pretty sure the mumbling was  directed at me, and it wasn't flattering.               

Monday, October 20, 2014

America's Best Bars TV Show Visits The Ale House

               Yesterday I managed a quick nap before I had to hurry back to the bar to watch the Bear game. As I was crossing Sedgwick Street I ran into Street Jimmy. He was upset about Buzz Kill and was telling me why when a semi-decent looking blond about thirty was staring at us. She had violet eye makeup which gave her a hooker vibe. She interrupted Street Jimmy and said to me, "excuse me, I'm two dollars short for my car fare and I wondered if you could help me out?"
             Not surprisingly both Jimmy and I turned on her instantly: "you want two bucks for the fucking El," I exclaimed, "do I look like a complete asshole to you because if I do I would appreciate your being candid with me..."
            Jimmy was less polite, "who the fuck you think you is talkin' to bitch? He ain't gonna give you no money, you come 'round here in my territory an' askin' my boss for money? You're lucky I don't fuck your ass up."
            A women of less breeding and self control probably would have said something in response to Jimmy's harsh words but not the blond and she simply turned and started walking in the direction of the El station.
          The Bears were unusually bad. We were expecting a TV crew from America's Best Bars around one-thirty and by the time they arrived the Bears were hopelessly behind. The first order of business was getting everyone in the bar to sign releases. The producer explained the gist of the show to me: Two comics sit down at the bar and interview people. They miked Gracie and me as well as a customer named Ally. Tobin didn't want to be on camera. There were about fifteen members of the crew. Ruben Four Toes was politely asked to move down the bar and out of the range of the camera. Apparently the idea of a one legged four hundred pound Mexican in shorts wasn't as exciting to them as it is to us. 
         Fancypants was there and he was reasonably sober. He was wearing a tight black Gracie designed ale house shirt, a Gracie necklace and black pants with white stripes. He's rarely in the bar this late in the day and so he was doing a lot of socializing. D-Train was comatose which was hardly surprising. The bar was unusually crowded for a Sunday afternoon. I was surprised Liz Garibay, who does the bar crawls, wasn't there; she's the one that told the TV show about us and I thought they'd want to interview her.
            Gracie went on first and talked for about twenty minutes and then I went behind the bar and not only regaled the two comics, Jay Larson and Sean Patton, with my wit and humor, but did some impromptu drawings of the two of them. All told the TV crew was in the bar for about three hours. The show is on the Esquire Channel and will be shown sometime in February or March.
             While the TV crew was setting up a surly looking brunette walked up to the bar: "Why's the TV crew in here?"
            "It's for a TV show called America's Best Bars," I answered.
             "What's so special about this bar?"
              "That fact that you have to ask that question suggests that you are either retarded or from Indiana."
              "I've never been here before."
              "You have eyes, look around you. You are in the presence of greatness, embrace it."
               If she was angry she didn't show it.
              
                *

              This morning I overslept. I stayed up late watching Anthony's program on Vietnam. It was one of his best. Unlike Paraguay, all of the Vietnamese food looked spectacular. One would think that the Vietnamese people would hate our guts after the senseless war we inflicted on them. Quite the contrary; the people Anthony talked to seemed quite philosophic about their history and their place in the world. Most of the American men I've known who fought in Vietnam are still bitter. You still occasionally hear the ridiculous rationalization:  "if they would have just let us win..." In order to win we would have had to kill everyone in Vietnam and would that really have been winning?
            Buzz Kill beat me to the bar again and  Street Jimmy finally managed to be on time. He was making a grotesque snorting sound and when Buzz Kill - who's been very short-tempered and hyper critical of late - could take it no longer he yelled at Jimmy, "for christ sake blow your fucking nose."
          Faggypants  said he had a fun time yesterday and particularly liked the two comicsSean and Jay.
           Monday is the day Jimmy cleans the mats. The hardest thing about cleaning the mats is dragging them up and down the basement stairs. After he'd cleaned the mats and swept the inside of the bar and the sidewalk he collapsed on the bench and said, "all tha' cleanin' shit wore my ass out."
           "Hmmm, " I said, " you've worked less than an hour and your ass is dragging. Mexicans do that ten hours a day."
           Jimmy shrugged and said, " I ain't tryin' to compete with no Mexicans."
            "Maybe you should. They work all day and all night and they don't bitch..."
             "Dumb muthafucka's."
              

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Street Jimmy On Time

                 A very animated, extremely defensive Street Jimmy confronted me in the bar last night: "The reason I didn' come to work this mornin' was 'cause when I be sleepin' dude snatch my bag an' I caught him an' so I knocked  his head on the iron bar an' so I had a cash bond - "
              "So you were in jail?"
              "No," Jimmy shook his head,  "no, 'cause a lady seen him snatch my bag an' so she told the po-leece tha' he took my bag an' so they hadda call an ambulance for the dude."
              "So you weren't in jail."
              "Uh...no."
               "Then why didn't you show up because we needed you. The place was a fucking mess and Fancypants had to clean it up himself."
             Jimmy seemed stumped for a moment. "Well...it tooks a long time to straighten all tha' shit out. I lucky the lady was there or I woulda been arrested for sure."
             After giving Jimmy a long lecture on the importance of punctuality when it comes to be a valued Ale House employee he promised to be on time Sunday morning, and he was. No sooner had I turned the lights on than his distinctive knock could be heard. Not only was Jimmy on time, but he managed to be on time in spite of the work being done on the Brown Line.
           "I waited my ass off, three Green Line trains come by and two Blue Lines and I'm sayin' where the fucks the Brown Line train?" Jimmy then went on to explain in great detail the logistics of getting from one line to the other. "I hadda duck under the turnstile at Lake Street an' everybody be lookin' at me funny an so a dude says somethin' an I tol him, 'hey, I gots to get to work. Those trains fuck peoples up, 'cause it makes them late for work and they gets fired."
              When I offered to give him a hug for his dedication and loyalty he declined.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Does D-Train Really Need A Gun?

                        Oh where oh where, 
                        Can Street Jimmy be,
                        Oh where, oh where
                        Can he be?
                        With his cash very short, 
                        And his crack all gone,
                        Oh where oh where
                        Can he be?

              Even after repeated warnings Street Jimmy was once again a Saturday morning no show. The only two days a week that we really need him are Saturdays and Sundays, and those are the days he's most likely to miss. Why? My guess is that he scores the most money begging on the street on the busy weekends and so he smokes prodigious amounts of crack and is therefore cracked out of his mind until sometime in the afternoon. I guess we can mark it down as one more of life's little ironies.
           Buzz Kill was prompt. Being an early riser he has become a regular at the end of the bar while Fancypants and I get the bar ready for action. He's still looking for a bar tending job; personally I think he needs to think out of the box. If his car is too old to drive for Uber then perhaps he could deliver pizza's. Howie survived delivering Chinese food and pizza for many years. (No word on Howie since he moved to Denver.)
          Fancypants has been up lately. After his bike accident several weeks ago his leg has been bothering him, however, he says it's feeling better now. I injured my back yesterday taking something out of the cooler and I can barely walk. It feels the same way it did when I tumbled down the hill at the Dunes three years ago. I understand why it hurt then, but to simply bend over and feel excruciating pain saddens me. This happened last week too and so now I'm going to have devise a stretching routine.
       Not only is Fancypants' leg hurting as well as my back but Buzz Kill's leg is causing him a great deal of distress, too. Fancypants described the three of us as "the walking wounded."
        I forgot to make the deposit yesterday and so after I finished with the bar I had to drag myself back home and get the deposit. It was raining which made things even more unpleasant. I drove back to the bar in order to lessen the agony. Just before I left the bar for home Son In Law, Gracie and the dogs arrived. 

     *

        Last night at the Old Town Ale House D-Train explained his bizarre behavior last weekend. The reason he was upset is that he got his old work schedule back. This might seem strange to some people who don't know D-Train because for the past several years he's been whining about his new hours and yearned for his old schedule which enabled him to get to the Ale House in time to watch Jeopardy. Knowing D-Train as I do I wasn't the least surprised about his reaction to getting exactly what he wanted. 
        The best analogy I can make regarding D-Trains semi-nervous breakdown after getting the good news would be to compare his behavior with the nut case air controller that upon hearing that he was being transferred to Hawaii  blew up the air controller facility in Aurora last month. 
        As he was sober and alert when he came in last night I said:"D-Train, can I ask you a question that's been troubling me?"
          "Yes."
         "Why do you need a gun?"
          "May I speak freely?"
           "Please do."
           "I'm going to have to get up at four-thirty in the morning and it will be dark, and I'll be a sitting duck while I'm waiting for my bus."
         Lee, who was sitting next to him seemed bewildered. 
         "Have you ever shot a gun?"
          "Yes."
           "Have you ever shot someone?"
           "Not for many years..."
            "If you get a gun permit someone will just take your gun away from you."
             Mitt came in while this conversation was taking place.
             "D-Train, " he smiled,  "I'd love to take you gun shopping."
             Ruben Four Toes said that he hoped D-Train got a gun. There was a look on Ruben's massive face that was meant to emphasize his sincerity.
            "Ruben, " I said, "would you like to be sitting in a bar knowing that D-Train was armed."
            "Well," Ruben said thoughtfully, "now that you mention it...it would be a  cause for anxiety."
           D-Train closed his eyes in order to focus more carefully on his reply, "I wouldn't bring a  gun into the bar because you have a sign that says no guns." The manner in which he said this suggested that he'd given the matter some thought.
           Juke Box Joe was in fine fettle. When Joe's around there's a great deal of affection on display. When PP came in, Officer Bill turned his back on Juke Box Joe and ignored his  good friend. I could see that Juke Box would need a good deal of cheering up so I regaled him with some of my favorite golf stories. The evening had been a festive one and soon Juke Box was again his old self.
           After Juke Box left I had an interesting chat with Jacob about the theater in general and acting in particular. After talking to him for a half an hour there is no doubt in my mind that he has the necessary tenacity to succeed. He certainly has the talent.

Friday, October 17, 2014

No More Danny Faggypants!

             This morning when I discussed an upcoming TV show that's going to be doing a segment in the Ale House soon Faggypants said that he'd be on the show, but he didn't want to be called Faggypants anymore.
            "How come?"
             "I just don't want to be, especially on TV."
             "Well," I said in rebuttal, "you are famous as Faggypants."
            "I don't care," he replied promptly.
               I was mystified, but took no offense at my friends candor: "Well, how about if we change your name to Fancypants, that's what Roger wanted me to call you."
            "Roger Ebert wanted you to change my name to Fancypants?"
              Feeling that a word of explanation was called for I said: "Yes, every time he mentioned you on his blog people jumped up his ass and accused him of being homophobic."
             Being a man of determined character Fancypants pressed on: "a lot of my gay friends don't like the name Faggypants, either." Perhaps thinking that he had not made himself sufficiently clear he added, "and I really don't like it either."
            Nothing could have been more politely phrased. Not wishing to incur the righteous wrath of the Twink community in Chicago I was compelled to modify my views on political correctness, "then Fancypants it is."
            Street Jimmy had the giggles and after listening to the two of us discussing Fancypants' new name his giggles  turned to guffaws. On my way to the bar this morning he was in Dunkin' Donuts when I stopped by for my croissant. He had several black ladies laughing at something he was saying. As the two of us walked down the street he said, "when I was sleepin' on the El jus' now I fell asleep on some ladies shoulder..." Jimmy seemed to find falling asleep on some strange ladies shoulder one of the funniest things that had ever happened to him. "She look at me real funny," more laughter.
          "If I was a lady and you fell asleep on my shoulder I would have felt compelled to grab your dick."
           "Why you say tha'?"
           "Because it would seem to me that you wanted to get romantic." 
          When I unlocked the door to the bar I saw a dollar laying on the floor and picked it up. "Look, Jimmy, this coulda been yours."
           "Damn."
            "Being a humanitarian I'm giving it to you because you are the sweeper and the sweeper should always have first dibs on money on the floor although if I find a hundred I might ignore that policy."
             I then made up a new Street Jimmy poem:

              Jimmy be shifty, 
             Jimmy be slick,
             Jimmy smokes crack
             Through a candle stick.

            Jimmy shrugged indifferently, "I don' know too much about poetry."
            After we got done with the bar I asked Faggypants if he wanted to go to Trader Joes with me, "Gracie said I can buy good frozen fish there. I've run out of food and it takes too much of  my time to go to restaurants."
            "I'd love to go to Trader Joes with you."
             I thought I knew where it was but it wasn't where I thought it was. Fancypants insisted it was on Clybourn Street and for a change he was correct. I should have checked more closely on some of the items I bought because the halibut needs to be cooked in the oven; however I think I can handle the other items in the microwave. Fancypants bought some vegan crapola and seemed quite pleased with his purchases.

           *

           Yesterday I made a great deal of progress on the second draft of California Jail Break. When my calendar is clear I seem to get a lot more done. I rarely receive phone calls these days and most of the time I'm all alone at home. This is  conducive to increased productivity .  
           Ruben Four Toes occasionally pushes his wheelchair away from the bar much like a sea lion climbing a rock to sun himself.
It's a remarkable sight. When he does this an explosion of disorganized fat spills out from his wheel chair. Because he wears shorts (it makes it easier for him to piss) when he spreads his stump and his leg apart his gargantuan balls sometimes make their way into public view. Gracie seems to find this amusing.
          "Ruben," she said pointing at his gigantic testicles which resemble two deceased baby moles, " at least their not all black like your stub."
            Ruben stroked his chin thoughtfully and said, "they'll catch up."
           Before she left for the Dunes Gracie said that the sink in the basement was plugged up and there was a sickening black fungus in the water. "I don't think Jimmy should wash the mats anymore because he leaves the sink to messy."
           When I told this to Jimmy this morning he seemed confused so I took him down in the basement and showed him the clogged sink that Gracie was so upset about. Without even rolling the sleeve of his extra large coat up he stuck his hand into the fetid water, searched around briefly and then extracted a bottle cap from the drain. The water immediately sucked down the drain and the major plumbing problem Gracie had alluded to had been solved.
          I then took the hose and sprayed the foul smelling black fungus with steaming hot water and the sink was as good as new.
           When I told this to Gracie she asked if Jimmy had washed his hands afterwards?
             "No."

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Lost In Skokie

            Yesterday evening I was filled with determination as I fumbled with my seat belt and started the engine of my car. I was once again on my way to the Northlight Theater in Skokie to see Linda the Actress in The Commons Of Pensacola. Unlike last week when some retarded truck driver got stuck under the North Avenue bridge and brought traffic to a hellish crawl - and I had to abort going to the play - this time the traffic was light and I got to the theater almost an hour early. The only problem I had was navigating around the Old Orchard Shopping Mall and finding the theater. I once wrote a play which was never produced entitled Lost in Skokie. (I hope I can find it because now my interest is piqued and I always liked the title.) The Northlight is not one of those improvised, low budget theaters you often find in Chicago, but a shiny new facility next to a big hotel. Fortunately there was a concession stand where you could buy booze and after I bought a beer (I would never chance wine in a situation like this, plus now that I've jacked up my medicine I don't seem to have a problem with just one or two beers) I sat down and people watched. 
           I don't know what a typical Skokie theater crowd looks like but these people were for the most part middle-aged to old and very casually dressed. I saw several excellent face jobs. They have what they call rush tickets for only twenty-bucks on the day of the play and so I decided to risk it. My seat, although to the side, was right up front and as it turned out smack-dab in the middle of the stage action. Although Linda has appeared widely not only in Chicago theater over the years, but also in TV, the last time I saw her was in the Godzilla Rainbow Troupes Shanghai Gesture back in the early Seventies. My uncle Hugh was an enormous Eleven fan - Eleven (aka Gary Tucker) was the creative force behind the Godzilla Rainbow Troupe and swiped the concept from Charles Ludlum and the Theater of the Ridiculous - and Hugh made me go with him to a former burlesque theater on South State Street to see Shanghai Gesture. It was about the tenth time he'd seen it. I remember clearly how Linda stood out among her exuberant, cross dressing colleagues. 
           Around five-years ago she was in the Ale House and when Grasshopper mentioned that the blond women talking to the affable guy with the white hair was Linda Kimbrough  I said: "you mean Linda Kimbrough the actress?" and he nodded. Of course I introduced myself and then was equally surprised to learn that she lived across the street from me. 
              The play is loosely based on the Bernie Madoff scandal. For those of you with short memories Madoff was the scumbag money manager that bilked thousands of people out of their life savings. When I say loosely based, I mean very loosely based. The action takes place after the father is in prison and his wife, Linda, is hiding out in an ocean front condo in Pensacola Florida. Linda is a real pro and even though the playwright and the director stacked the deck against her she managed a compelling performance. When the play ended I imagine I was just as confused as the people sitting around me were. The reaction was not one of an audience that was pissed or angry, we were just collectively puzzled.
           I met Linda after the play in the lobby. She had another friend waiting for her beside me. Her name was Deanna Dugan and  I knew of her through her reputation as another long time, highly regarded Chicago actress. We went next door to a bar and chatted for over an hour. For anyone interested in the theater in general and Chicago theater in particular, it was a unique experience and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Listening to Linda and Deanna break down the play from an actors perspective was fascinating. 
           Amazingly both women are sports fans. This I would never have guessed. They both admitted to listening to sports talk radio. I used to be a huge sports fan, but this is no longer the case. When Deanna, in the friendliest of manners, expressed optimism for the Cubs upcoming season I reflexively reverted to my opinionated, arbitrary, autocratic all around unpleasant self and launched a full scale attack. This took her aback and she suggested we change the subject. I simply don't know what gets into me at times like this?
          We had all driven in separate cars and realizing it would take me forever to find my way back to the expressway when I saw Deanna drive by I followed her car. I got to the Ale House around ten-thirty. All the seats at the bar were taken and so I leaned against the bar at the TV end and had a glass of wine. Mike, who was bar tending, introduced me to a spectacular looking young chick who was with an Asian guy. The chick, who spoke with an Eastern European accent, was admiring my art. When she bent over to show me something by an artist friend of hers on her iPhone I noted that she had  spectacular tits. When she stood up she was at least six feet. It turned out that she's Russian and very much into art. The Asian guy was in the sign business and we discussed the difficulties of doing anything that's really original in todays internet access world. 

           *

         This morning Street Jimmy was waiting for me. He seemed unusually clear headed and said that he didn't smoke any crack yesterday. He was rather glum because a nameless "partner" of his was having a funeral today on 83rd Street and he didn't have any clothes to wear to the funeral.
          "What time is the funeral?"
           Jimmy shook his head dejectedly and said, "I dunno."
            "Well, if you don't know your partners name, and you don't know what time the funeral is, do you at least know the name of the funeral parlor?"
              "It on 83rd Street. An' I knows his name, just not his real name. They calls him Whiskey."
             "Well , that clears it up nicely."
               I made Faggypants fix Jimmy his food as soon as he walked in. It's easier to work when Jimmy's not out cold on the bench.
            When I not only made Jimmy leave after he finished eating, but wouldn't give him a second bag of chips, he accused Faggypants and me of being racists. 
              I then recited my latest Jimmy poem:

               Little Street Jimmy, sat in the alley
               Smoking his crack all day,
               Along came the Man , 
                In a blue and white van, 
                And scared poor Street Jimmy away.

         Not only did Jimmy say he didn't like the poem, he accused yours truly and Faggypants of being racists and when he left he said, "so long , white boys."
             

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bad Boys

                        Hey you, Street Jimmy,
                        Have you any crack?
                        Yes sir, yes sir a three rock sack.
                         One for me, and one for my bitch, 
                         And one for the white boy,
                         Who's stinky ass rich!

            There's been a great deal of poor behavior going on at The Old Town Ale House in recent days: This weekend D-Train exceeded his normal self-indulgent, puerile, extremely annoying attempts at attracting attention to himself. Saturday night, according to the bartenders, he came in late and edged his way next to the door to the basement and buried his face in his hands for at least an hour. When asked why he did this he mumbled, "I need a job."
           Sunday he took the best TV seat for watching Bear games and did the same thing. Michael, who was subbing for Grace,  told him he couldn't sleep at the bar. When D-Train resumed his semi conscious trance I also told him to cease and desist. He ignored us and continued holding his face in his hands for the entire first half. At the beginning of the second half he started mumbling about needing a job and then said he also needed a gun. I've known D-Train for a long time, and I'm hip to his antics; surprisingly, a number of  regulars fell for his nonsense and actually believed he'd lost his job. Even after I assured them that he was just being a dick-wad some regulars continued to believe him. 
           Monday he showed up at the same time he always does after  he gets off work. He was a bit sheepish when we attacked him for his mendacity - but only a bit - and in the end he was unable to hide the self satisfied smirk he deploys on these occasions. However, in a rare outpouring of candor he confided in me: "Bruce, have you ever awakened in the middle of the night, cold sweat pouring down your face, your heart racing, and a voice in your head telling you that life is a farce and that you've been living a crude, practical joke?" His eyes were now gleaming with a strange, otherworldly light.
          I sympathized with his distress. "Yes, D-Train, almost every night. That's why I sleep in a fetal position and continue to suck my thumb even though I'm 74."
         When he came in the bar last night I told Lee to frisk him. The thought of a deranged D-Train with a fire arm is enough to strike terror into any civilized society.  I think in the future we might need to monitor his alcohol consumption  more closely on weekends. 
            On a positive note D-Trains brown Nike jacket that had been missing for several days turned up. When he once again bemoaned the loss of his jacket, Blake, who was seated next to Lee said, "is this by any chance your brown jacket?"
           During the weekend a drunk Arnette called and wondered if he'd left his jacket at the bar. Blake, who is Arnette's roommate, thought D-Trains jacket was Arnette's and took it into custody; when Arnette said it wasn't his jacket Blake started wearing it. D-Train was thrilled to get his jacket back. 
            Street Jimmy has also been especially annoying. The colder and rainier the weather the harder it is to panhandle. Even when I'm present he sometimes hustles in front to the bar. When he's really fucked up you can't reason with him. He's obsessed with the  black women that is the new assistant manager at McDonald's. "The fat assed bitch don' like me. I don' know what she gots against me. Maybe 'cause she new she thinks she gots to show how tough she is. I tol' the manager an' he says he gonna talk to her. It pisses me off 'cause I ain't never done nothing to her."
            "Jimmy, you do stuff to everyone. You've been kicked out of McDonald's a million times. Of course you did something to her."
            "No I didn't."
            Ruben Four Toes continues to have tummy troubles. His tummy troubles didn't prevent him from being displeased when he learned that because Tobin was once again out of town there would be no hot dogs for last Sunday Bear game.
            Hawkeye also has been unusually cranky of late. He's become a total contrarian and disagrees with everything thats said in his presence. It clear that most of his negativity is just to piss people off. 

           *

            This morning Faggypants brought the red stocking cap with the Black Hawks logo on it back to the bar. The previous night a young, extremely pretty young lady came in the bar looking for her hat. She'd left it the night before and it was obvious that she was very fond of it. After thinking for a moment I remembered that the hat in question was next to the cash register when I showed up in the morning. When I started counting the money I placed it on the bar. When we couldn't find it there was only one suspect - Faggypants. Gracie immediately called him and demanded the return of the red stocking cap. 
           Faggypants excuse was that he thought somebody had left it for him and that's why he took it. I told him that in the future to not take anything home unless he discusses it with me first!