I heard about this bar, or this club in Belgium a few nights earlier, and how it was becoming a hot spot, or at least a hang out with-out the significant hang ups like all the other Belgium clubs… such as the peanut bar, which has since been considered off limits, and was a hot place a million years ago before drunk GI’s went down there and ruined it for everyone, and now it was just gay… skinny euro girls sitting around smoking, skinnier euro half gay guys smoking… and some huge colored bouncer from the former democratic republic of Congo.
So there I was, lost driving around looking for something. Possible a better tomorrow and saw it, all the cars. Mostly American, there in parking lot and pulled in my Suzuki R wagon and I just wanted a beer. I want to get drunk. And make it what it used to be before 2002...
There were a lot of girls in there, and there always are in these new places, the new hip places for the girls to go where all the Americans started to swarm. Places to hang out and meet men and learn their language in pretend and their names and act stupid until they took you back to their barracks and index fingered you to be quite… the girls probably thought because there was somebody on guard, but the guys were just trying to keep their bases loaded… there were a lot of girls showing shoulder and breast and sparkles, something I never understood so I ordered a beer a huge beer, in one of those big glasses.
The music was entirely American three years removed from where we came from, and there was seven pool tables, a lot of neon lights, sort of like a half assed attempt of a sports bar… like, hey we are here for you, I’ve been to Florida on vacation… and I sort of felt good for a moment, like when I went to Mexico and tried to speak Spanish and they congratulated me, and I thought, I need to congratulate this, at least they are trying…
When did levies become so popular? I thought to myself. Fuck and the beer absorbed me rather than reverse and I started to get into it. And I did enjoy it and I thought I had half a chance because I was the real deal; I was an American in a country that was trying to claw their way out of the world and become everything that we were… I looked around and smiled, no I smirked. I was cool checking out my arms while sipping.
Dad where did you go?
I just left
Yeah, you were there, we were at amber’s and you just got up and left…
I just wanted to go for a drive and check it all out… I had a ticket by then… I was leaving in a week and I wanted to see the country one last time.
We had fun that night, we played this game called the worm where we took the sleeping bags and put them over our heads and played tag in the living room… you couldn’t see anything, and amber kept cheating because her sleeping bag was half open.
Yeah she is a half of a lot of things.
I remember you coming home and you got out the super soaker and just started squirting us awake… so I squirted the dish soap on you…
That was fun…
Anthony showed up around midnight wearing a red cap, backwards. Anthony was my recently met friend, who was dating angel, who used to be married to George, but I guess George yelled too much, even though he was one of my best friends, he yelled too much and they were having a hard time and finally, one night during a Saturday poker night he just went off on her, of course she wasn’t there, she was out with my wife at the peanut bar or something, and he went off…
“She thinks I will be nothing without her, fuck, she has no idea, I got my license, I can work anywhere, fuck all I do here is drive around generals and shit, I could be back in the states making bank on construction sites. Every site starts out the same, they need the ground work first they need me… fuck, if you like this guy, go for him, I am out of here, I am off to bigger and better things…” he drank his Life Blonds fast and we took all his money that night, and later Andy and Angle returned laughing.. and laughing their asses off until I carried Andy to bed and he carried her to the car. I always liked George.
Anthony was angels new fling… he was a cop, well not a cop but cop before they become a cop, he was an MP, and she was an MP and they met each other pulling over people and checking cars entering the base post 9-11. And Anthony was funny, and cute and young, and all the other guys, mostly black guys, that he worked with called him “Cadillac” because he drove a big red Cadillac all old school and shit.
Anthony also listened to rap music, even though he was from down south, shaved his head almost to the skin, talked funny to where you would have to ask him twice, and played softball. The mother of all evil.
I started hating softball back when my father played it. I must have been around 6, and he was one of those big crock strong mother fuckers, who somehow, back from sea was trying to become “involved” with the community, and got “drafted” into the softball league. I don’t remember much, I remember watching him swing, and being stronger looking than all the other suburbanites, I remember the fact that he was wearing a flannel work shirt cut off at the fore arms… and everyone cheering. I remember them cheering, and him running the bases, and me saying, “Dad, I need to go home, I am thirsty.” And my mother up until then telling me every time I was thirsty to drink water and my father walking me now, by hand over to the large cooler filled with Dr. Pepper, Mr. Pibb, Coke, and every beer you could think of and telling me to drink up… I must have sat there for about 20 mins, watching my father play softball, and everyone cheering at how good he was. And then I had to pee. I had to pee worse than anything in the world, and I was afraid because there was nothing there, nowhere to pee….
Dad I got to pee
What do you mean?
Dad, I have to go to the bathroom, can you take me home
No, I am playing softball
Dad I am going to pee my pants
Come with me
And him grabbing my hand, pulling me over to the wood-line, and whipping it out and saying…
Fuck we are men! We can pee anywhere we want to.
And this worked, I pissed, and went to school three weeks later when he was back to sea and I had to take a leak, I was on the play ground and whipped it out and let her rip… fuck was I wrong… plus no one was there to have my back.
Story has it like this, Anthony who was my new friend, who angel was with and who Andy was hanging out with a lot more… wanted to know if he could borrow my truck while I was back in the states. … you see I was heading back to the states to go on the monumental sailing trip with my father, Chris, and my son Gavin… in our heads the trip started out as a trip to Alaska, but then time and everything else weighed in and it became a trip to, well Canada… we were going to make a stab at Canada, about two feet from where I grew up in Friday harbor Washington… we were going to sail around and hit up the salt spring islands… maybe further north, all depending on wind, weather and time… but that is another story.
Anthony wanted to borrow my truck while I was gone so he could “move in” with angle, move all his Michael Vick dogs in with all her Michael Vick dogs and I said sure. Fuck it… I will be gone for a month, who knows, we are heading to Alaska, or at least Canada, enjoy my truck. And I left it with that. Trusting him, trusting angel, trusting my wife, trusting my whole entire life, as I went to Friday harbor to face myself.
I remember my sister Laura there. I was hung over, we went out the night before with frank, and somehow got drunk and secured a place at frank’s… the phone rang… It was six in the mooring, it was my father…
Jamie, where are you?
We are at franks
The boat is ready, are you ready?
No dad, we just got here, I still have to show Chris this place, and we need some shit
That can wait; you need to get out here
Just get your ass out here…
Dad, are you drunk? You sound wasted
A little… just get your ass out here, the clock is burning….
I hung up… I don’t know why, I hung up and Chris was awake and looked down from the top bunk at frank’s pad and asked me what was going on.
It was my dad, I think he is drunk, or at least he sounded drunk…. I don’t know
And then frank came into the room with Chris’ cigarettes which by now were probably packed with weed and he started to give Chris shit for working at Microsoft. Frank had a new computer and was a little worried that Chris with all his Microsoft skills would somehow hack into his little enterprise and take his money or expose him. It was just his way of breaking Chris down…years later Chris would break himself down, but that is a different story, much like this is.
It was a slippery slope.
The cars in my dreams, they were always going up a hill, and somewhere somehow those cars stared sliding backwards, like I was on ice or something… I would shift them into first and hit the peddle and the car would keep going backwards. I would try to look over my should, try to control it into everything that I knew was happening, but I couldn’t see well enough… fuck I wish I could see well enough… I aimed her for the point of least impact.
In my dreams
I remember him, in front of taco bell before I left
How is your wife?
What a weird question to ask someone…
And that is how I left. With Gavin and me and a ticket to the sliding backwards down a hill.
Anthony that faggot showed up. At that bar, at that one get away place, after this trip after all the funk that I have been through. He showed up…
E was there, the E that was fucking my wife. His friend. They gathered around the pool table and started playing pool right in front of my face.
Amber: you know what happened right
Me: what? Me at a Chinese restaurant down the road… a lunch break. Her my employee
Amber: we all came back to my house that night, me macro, Andy, E, angle and Anthony… we were hammered. We were eating frites and just riding out the night. Then Andy wanted to go then E said he would take her home… Anthony jumped up and said no she was drunk… and that he would take her home, and angle agreed with this… Anthony got into the red Cadillac with Andy, and E did too… they got there and E stayed.
Amber: E stayed with your wife, she was coming onto him all night what did you except?
I thought about my father, and I thought about Chris, I thought about my son, and the trip that we just took. A nightmare that was dipping itself into my skin. I thought about everything a father said to a son and everything my father said to me, and I didn’t have much to work off of.
And there they were. In front of me, god I was trying to get away, but there they were…
Every emotion that a man could feel ran through me right then and there… and I walked up to Anthony, my used to friend, that probably drove my own truck to this very club, and who defiantly drove E home, to my own home to fuck me own wife at that time… I walked up to him and said…
“Hey man, I am sorry about all that has happened…
I was older, I was in more control. I thought, hey this was the way to work it out… shit was getting bad, I mean, my wife was fucking this guy, that he was hanging out with…. I thought I am older and more in control, I am married… I don’t know what I am looking for; I had a few of these beers… I am from Friday harbor. I can let it go, I get it, you lose your place in turn… another guy comes along just understand, be my friend and shake my hand….
Anthony just looked up at me and asked me to step away… not to talk to him, get away from him and walked away, walked back to E and his group of friends laughing…
Laughing at me… drunk. There at this place, this bar, this new hip place.
I could have killed the whole room that night, I could have swung away… jumped up on the pool table and start just kicking cue balls into faces from the only safe vantage point…
Instead I went home, somber and defeated to squirt my son in the head with a super soaker…
Two weeks later I was hanging out at a softball practice with a baseball bat with shit coming out of my mouth as E, and my wife and Anthony played a friendly game of base ball..
Andy called me that night and with an Ace up her sleeve said…
“If you ever pull any shit like that again you will never see your son again”
It has been many years and I have seen my son all the summers in-between, but I guarantee you this, if I ever see those guys again…. “Well you know”
I will most likely do nothing.
Because this is something, but don’t push me…