Sharkeys is a dismal bar full of dismal lives. If I had a dollar every time some overweight middle aged man played an ACDC song on tree jukebox, I still wouldn’t have any money because I’d just attract that many more bums.
You go to Sharkeys as a male for four reasons. You’re green and nobody told you about the place yet. You just broke up or divorced. You’re wanting a divorce. You like the fact you can smoke inside.
I walk in. Though I am divorced, I am not a regular. Nobody looks at me from the bar, horses at a trough, the stranger’s beer on each side of them the blinders, with bad posture due more to chosen resignation than burning decay.
What’ll it be, honey? Asks the bartender. She has a Cheshire grin. Thirties. Redhead. Attractive.
A Lucky Seal ale.
She hands me one and I close the tab.
I take a seat at the corner table. Back in Black plays on the jukebox. There is no conversation I cannot hear. Everyone yells here, even the quiet ones. It’s a Thursday night so there is not those with regular jobs or proclivities. Restaurant workers, truckers, coast guard newbies, and professional alcoholics. I sip and wait.
There is a theory about how time is merely an illusion propagated by memory. We live in the illusion of time because we can remember. If we are honest with ourselves, all we have may be this eternal now. The issue of memory follows though. Her yelling at me. Me leaving for two days. Her drinking all the wine. The head hurting. The doctor. The affair. All these memories are chains keeping us down below the surface. We are in the ocean. We are drowning in time.
The source isn’t here. I see no-one who fits. All belong on a duck dynasty or a before photo for a rehab commercial.
Hey, yells a drunk old guy, play some ACDC.
We just played that, says the bartender.
Play it again!
Screw it, says an old guy.
One minute to nine. I stare at my drink. The bubbles dance.
A song comes on. It’s not ACDC. It’s softer guitar. Louder now. Drums.
“Jenny, Jenny, who can I turn to? ”
I look up. There, at the jukebox, is the bartender. She looks straight at me. Smiles. I raise my glass towards her and nods. She points her eyes towards the bar, and walks back to make more drinks. I walk over and find a corner chair at the bar, away from the Yosemite Sams.
She comes over.
She says, How’s the drink?
Never better. How’s the job?
Better now. Love this song.
How will the Asians like it?
Did you bring a selfie stick?
Good, so you’re not just trying to pick me up?
Who said that was the goal at all?
You walked over here pretty fast.
I just like talking to a woman with good taste.
I’m sure you do. We’ll talk later.
Special drop off spot somewhere else?
No, she says as she walks away, I gotta clean up some piss.