Midnight at Mad Murphy’s
This story starts out 1 beer in with terror in my bowels sitting on an unfamiliar toilet: failing to relieve any pressure… Opening the stall door, I saw a pale man, my age, wearing an extra long T-shirt, earrings, and a baby blue cap, apparently cheering his friend at the urinal, “Hey Tin-eh!”
He slurred. As I washed, his eyes focused on my nose, “yes, you tiny-ee.” I met his gaze anud walked past, “Hello.” He’s taller, but not stronger. He stumble-leaned forward and accused, “you looking to fight Ti-” The men’s room door cut his speech mid-sentence.
Outside of the bathroom, my suspendered co-worker began to rile up the night with harmonic growling. The many-hatted bar lass served me a second beer. An old mustache brilliantly hummed maybe 25% of the lyrics to something. So Joyous.
Then it was my turn. Still nervous.
All Star, a childhood favorite, seemed appropriate for my first time at karaoke. The opening lyrics appeared, 4 little boxes disappeared with the rhythm… Something was wrong… ‘Sing’ was the only audible word. DJ and Suspenders repeated, “sing, SING!” I started mis-timed on the second stanza inaudibly shouting every lyric. The mic was too far away. Several screaming minutes later, the song ended. I request redemption via, “Pretty Fly For A Whi…no, Get a Job!”
After that wonder-fail, I ventured upstairs. Wow! 2 pool tables! “May I get next game?” I asked the room. A tan man replied, “Sure,” as he twirled his goatee. “Thanks, and nice to meet you, I’m Andrew.” We firmly shook as he said, “Jesse.” Jesse beat his opponent then sat out to let me play the loser. While waiting for a turn, a lighter fire drew my attention to a familiar red-head. She helped me hang a piece of art for my ceiling. We chatted. A gangling lurker looked nowhere in particular, or at us. That guy was bigger, and possibly stronger. I won with just the 8-ball left. Jesse beamed, “I’m glad you won, he cheats!” Then he offered, “Want to play again?” I declined, “Not yet, my song’s coming up.” He inquired, “Karaoke?” I responded with my next song, “Yeah, Pretty Fly For A Whi… no, Get a Job!” He chuckled. I didn’t sing either…
Suspender’s was just finishing Bohemian Rhapsody as I got to the floor. During the applause, the beat of Sir Mix-a-Lot accompanied a 60+ year-old black woman in military uniform pulling me. We danced. Her daughter was filming, and her husband cheered us on. But hey, “even white boys got to shout, ‘Baby Got Back!'” The song ended, I offered a feigned handshake, and hugged.
Maybe more billiards?
The upstairs crowd thickened and a 20-ish guy wearing a pilot’s jacket brandished his stick. His personal stick. He sought opposition. “Sure,” said I. His eye glinted, “And loser buys beers.” I hesitated, “What kind of beer?” He answered, “what ever tonight’s special is.” His grin looked plastic while I nodded. “I’m Jesse, that’s my partner,” he waved to tan goatee Jesse, “and he’s your partner,” his neck tilted at a glazed-eyed man supporting himself with his poolstick mid-hiccup. Cautiously I stipulated, “In the unlikely scenario we lose, he [Hiccup] has to pay half.” Pilot Jesse shrugged, “K.”
It turns out Pilot Jesse dominates the local league, is ranked 8th in the state, and is very happy about the situation. I pocketed a ball in one of my two turns of a quickly progressing game. The Jesses’ needed one more stripe and the 8. Swaggering forward slouched a guest shooter, a pale man, my age, wearing an extra long T-shirt, earrings, and a baby blue cap. He pocketed the shot, his lips curled for a moment (did he smile?). He positioned himself to shoot on the . Pilot Jesse interjected, “Andrew, you’ll scratch.” Pilot Jesse placed a chalk square on the table’s rim, Andrew obediently tapped the cue ball near the target. Up next, Hiccup ignored my defensive advice and failed to sink any of our remaining 6 balls. He did however set up Pilot Jesse for an impressive game winning shot. “Nice shot!” I complimented, but was gleefully ignored by Pilot Jesse touching arms, clapping hands, and snapping fingers with the crowd.
I reached to shake his hand, but clasped only dangling fingertips; he looked especially smug pointing his chin at my noise. His tips wiggled when I asked, “I will buy you a beer then?” He leaned, raising eyebrows, neck arching to my ear as he further asserted, “2 beers.” Without hesitation I raised my index finger, “I’ll get 1, and he (pointing to Hiccup) will get either him (other Jesse) or him (other Andrew) 1. We had 2 players (which I indicated with a peace sign), but you had 3 (At this point lifted my ring and pinky, sort of like how people indicate 3 in Germany. I also put down my index… Did I just flick off the mob?) Pilot Jesse’s eyes unfocused in what I assume was thought. I sidled from his field of view. I vacated to the downstairs bar, well aware that gangle-lurk and Andrew blue-balls watched me descend and awaited my return.
My friends had left, so there was no back up if things went sour. I bought my 3rd beer from the multi-hatted lass. Just before exiting, I left the full bottle on top of its receipt on the mantle near the door. On the receipt, in my handwriting, was the following note:
Great playing Jesse.