Monday, September 10, 2012

bad day

I thought I was having a bad day. I lost some of the money I had worked so hard to win the day before in the same poker room. I lost because I played poorly. That was basically it. No suck outs really. Just me braying. So rather than compound my folly I walked out of the poker room with the few red chips I had left and what I thought was a serious thirst. I should have known no amount of rum could have slaked the particular dryness I was experiencing.

Business was slow at my local watering hole. The brunette bartender had her hair down and was looking pretty. She asked if I wanted my usual draft beer and I told her I was way beyond that. “I figured you might be,” she said, flashing wisdom with her smile.

I ordered Myers and pineapple juice. Now “they” say alcohol kills vitamin C but I never fact-checked. I figure let the alcohol and the C fight it out if they must. It tastes good and the pineapple juice comes in these tiny cans so it’s always fresh and unadulterated. The rum, well, is the rum. Dark, flavorful, not overly distilled like those much ballyhooed white varieties.

I told the pretty bartender my tale of woe and in the interests of fair play asked about her weekend. She showed me pics of her kids. Adorable. When some customers showed up she headed to the other end of the bar.

Sitting alone, I replayed in my head my most egregious mistake from earlier at the poker table: heads up against a weak player I folded to his lesser hand, giving away about 50 bucks. I almost reraised but hesitated for no good reason except a doubt which I could not substantiate. In such a case you must trust your primo hand, ness pah? Ness pah.

Now the pineapple juice was taking hold and I was no longer interested in poker post mortems. I told myself, “Ahh screw this,” in silent mimicry of the cop in “Die Hard” who thinks he has been sent to Nakatomi Plaza on a wild goose chase.

Buoyed by the vitamin C, I gave the greeting of the day to the cook and other staff as they went about their business. When T. came up to the waitress station to grab drinks for one of her tables I asked how she was.

She was having a bad day, she said. Her best friend had been murdered. T. told me the horrible tale of a 24-year-old woman killed by her husband, who then committed suicide. She was crying. We embraced. I wished I could console her. It was a terrible and sad story. Sadly, it is not an original story. How many times does this kind of murder play out? What is wrong with a man who would kill a defenseless person, let alone the woman he supposedly loved?

T. brought the drinks to her table. Later she returned and spoke of her friend’s two small children so brutally orphaned. I told her she was beautiful and asked if she had ever done modeling. It is true that T. has the angular features of the stunningly beautiful. But my comment was not meant as a creepy come-on, just a desperate attempt to shift the mood, maybe win a thin smile. “No,” she said.

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