I was supposed to meet them at this bar, Cane’s, a place where, when I was younger, old weathered men with weathered skin in denim and in flannels predominantly red and blue used to gather during the day, and presumably not disperse until it retreated and returned. Now those men were gone, dead or moved on, and all that remained of the interior of their former haunt was a barely usable dartboard, tucked away in the corner by the bathrooms, and beside that a framed, black and white picture of a woman sitting on the hood of a car with a man standing beside her, each looking at the other, not at the camera, not at us. The back of the frame was home to a number of names and numbers in columns and rows–scores–surprisingly legible, even when drunk, that we sometimes competed with. The rest of the place had been stripped down and cleaned, stylized into simple necessity, and now we drank tequila and whiskey there with people our age, often in flannel and denim, but more colors.
And I was running late because Jeigh had wanted to have sex again before we left, which was fine and great, but then we had to shower, and she only showers alone and she was rushing to make a dinner, so she went first. By the time I finished my three-minute room-temperature wash-and-rinse she was gone, and I was an hour late. I wasn’t sure if they would still be there, or if they had moved on, but I headed over for a drink regardless.
It was still early, around nine, and the weather was nice. I rode my bike down empty Wednesday streets, too late and too early to have much company. Palms wrestled and whispered above and around me as I pedaled toward the beach. Cats were running these streets, sitting on cars and walls and trash cans, letting me pass. I nodded, and made my way.
I locked up out front of the place and walked in and over to their table. They both looked at me while talking to each other, and continued their conversation as I sat down.
"You know what I think about her? I think that she has good shoulders under her head."
"Ha. Maybe dude. But she’s lovesick. Romantic. I mean, every time she’s around a deck of cards she takes the two of hearts. Seriously. A couple weeks ago Sam saw at least ten when she knocked over her purse."
"Well, that’s what he says."
"I’m just saying."
"Jesus. When did everybody start masturbating in public?"
"You know what I mean."
"Caspar, what do you think of Blaire?"
"I remember you used to call her a ‘dumb ram doll’ for a while whenever you saw her after she turned you down last year, which was kind of fucked up," I said. "Why? You haven’t given up?"
"I succeeded," Nate said, and smiled.
"They fucked last night, and now he has a crush on her," John said. "It was taco tuesday man, not dinner and a movie. You were both drunk."
"Alright," Nate said. "Anyway."