Fiction


Tuesday, May 18th, 2010


The Never Ending Cycle…
Gonzo Michael Palmer


They all know my name and call it out in unison when I enter. It feels good to be wanted, or at least known. A Miller High Life is my beacon. It guides me to my seat, the one in front of the mirror, so I can stare at the stranger that stares back at me.

I can always remeber coming to this place, but rarely remember leaving. I always come alone and leave even lonlier, even if I leave with some barfly that has temporarily landed there and decides to take a "regular" home.

Ghost of people surround me there. They are not dead, but they are certainly not living. They drowned in the bottle a long time ago. I feel as if I am one of those treading water in a bottle of booze. I could have sworn I heard someone yell, "MAN OVERBOARD!", many moons or noons ago.

Sounds of bells from the fruit machines mix with the clacking of billiard balls. I put money in the jukebox to drown out not only these sounds, but the voices of people who only reside in my head. They talk a lot of shit, but some of the things I hear makes perfect sense. That's what scares me. Waylon and Willie will serenade me and drown out all of the sounds that make me uncomfortable, at least until the credits run out.

I won't let the bartender clear away the bottles or shot glasses. I like to make skylines with them. Bourbon City. High Life Lane. The Russian Quarter. I know this city well. You won't find it on any map but you can follow me to any bar and visit it with me whenever you like. Tours start at noon.

Sometimes the bartender gives me the eye. I sometimes dance with her when Otis Redding or Sam Cooke plays. She pulls me close and rests her head on my chest. She is in a unhappy marriage and looks to me for escape. Coming to me for compassion is like going to the homeless for real estate. Never a good idea. She knows this, but is willing to take that risk.

Cougars are always in season here and they are on the prowl. Their skin has had too much sun and their make-up only makes it look worse. I use to be one of their prey but age has put me out of their leaque. Their cheap perfume still lures me towards them and I invite them to Bourbon city.

I fell victim to a cougar attack on more than one occasion. The last left me in Lake Tahoe for three months. She was the ex-wife of a bass player from some 70's rock band. Groupies never grow old, they just learn more satisfying posistions, anal mainly, all other orafices are too worn out.

The cougars are avoiding me tonight. The buzzards have already moved in. The barflies still still swarm, but I call it a night. Leaving lonlier than when I arrived, I stumble onto the sidewalk that will eventually lead me either home or to oblivion. I suspect the latter.

Hookers with addictions persuade me to take them home for an hourly retreat. Their company is cheap but not satisfying and I wake up alone and do it all over again. Maybe I should justt stop treading water and drown. Maybe I already have...



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