Monday, May 13, 2013

Nurse the Hate: The Dry Spell




Leo P. Love, drummer extraordinaire of the Whiskey Daredevils, is single right now.  I am a big fan of the periods of time when Leo is single.  This is primarily because of Leo’s willingness to bravely head into any adventure, completely confident of a good ending when the obvious signs are posted around him that it will end in utter disaster.  Leo has a somewhat charmed life, primarily because I believe that some sort of good karma swirls around his signature twisted innocence.  He is a kind soul and always manages to find the good in any seemingly horrible situation.  This quality leads him directly into relationships with some of the real flotsam and jetsam of the general population.  The payoff for me is to be consistently entertained with great stories told in his unflinchingly honest voice.

Prior to Leo’s marriage, he went through a “dry spell” that provided Bobby Latina with more joy than a boy finding a new stack of Christmas presents every single morning.  The absolute glee that Bobby would find in watching Leo strike out with any and every woman he came in contact with in a seven state area is a joy he probably didn’t experience again until the birth of his children.   The first hour of a drive in the van to some gig in the Midwest was usually spent hearing the recap of Leo’s night of failure at Quotes, a sad little strip mall bar that featured a “ladies night” on Thursdays.  He would go with his loyal wingman Kevin, a friend on a similar dry spell that so captured our imaginations that we nicknamed him “Dusty”.  If a woman made the error and spoke to either of them, they would pounce on her like sharks with the scent of blood in the water, dooming each other to yet another night of Baywatch re-runs, lotion, and Kleenex.  (“What are you doing down there Kevin?”  Nothing Ma!  Nothing!  Don’t come down!  Don’t come down!)

It was during this period of time that I invited Leo to a party at a friend of mine’s house.  These people were normal “citizens” and not used to the cast of characters that Leo would dredge up.  However, Leo is ALWAYS a good time, and I figured an outdoor bar-b-que would hide some of the social awkwardness of people like “Nice Guy Mike”, “Dusty”, and “Pop Bottle Pershon”.  This was one of those suburban deck parties where ladies in sun dresses sip white wine and their husbands knocked back light beers while speaking in ever increasing enthusiasm about their quest to secure the elusive assistant regional manager’s job at work.  I was walking up the driveway when Leo pulled up outside in his blue pickup truck with Nice Guy Mike in tow.  What surprised me was a second car, a beat-to-shit Toyota with an equally beat-to-shit peroxide blonde that may have been a meth addict behind the wheel.

It seems that while Leo was gassing up his truck on the way over, he chatted up this woman at the next gas pump over.  Being a friendly guy in the depths of a horrific dry spell, he decides to invite this woman to the suburban deck bar-b-que.  This woman would not be a real good fit at this social gathering.  In fact, this woman would not be a real good fit if she walked into the Greyhound Bus Station downtown.  She was, shall we say, “damaged goods” at best.  However, as she must have had a limited social calendar that Saturday, she decided to drive on over to this party.  Oh well, let’s see what happens…  I bring the crew with me to the backyard.

Leo knew a few people and walked around getting their names wrong with great enthusiasm.  “Oh!  Hello!  Yes!  I remember you!  Your name is Jim, right?  Oh!  Steve?  Very good!  Very good!”  The neighborhood folks did what well-heeled suburban folks do and were very pleasant to the new guests, while still maintaining a comfortable distance from Leo’s compatriots.  The ladies in particular looked on with smiling faces and said terrible things about this woman under their breath.  Seriously, who could blame them?  They were expecting a nice night out with friends, not getting up close and personal with a dangerous drug addict.  The woman fired up a smoke, pulled a beer from the cooler, and got down to it.  She knew this was not her crowd, but you could tell she figured a free beer is a free beer, right?  She was pleasant enough, but about as rough around the edges as you could get.  I quickly abandoned them all, and did my own thing.

It didn’t take long for Leo to disappear with the woman.  At first, I feared he was doing something terrible in my friend’s house.  I can only imagine the ugly conversations that would have ensued regarding their need to fumigate the home because crabs had worked their way into the upholstery.  The good news is that Leo had left the party with the girl.  The bad news is he abandoned “Nice Guy Mike”, who was now staggering drunk and holding court on the front porch.  I decided that Nice Guy Mike was now my friend’s problem, not mine, and I slunk off into the night without a word to anyone.  This is apparently known as “The Irish Goodbye”, and I have been a practitioner of this technique for years.

Leo drove back into the near West Side with the girl.  She had an apartment relatively close to where those women were being held captive for a decade.  It is not Cleveland’s most exclusive real estate market.  I’m not sure of how the logistics of the domestic situation worked out, but I do know that for some reason it was Leo, the woman, and her 18 month old little boy.  I have no idea if that kid was held in a cage while she went out to drink and smoke, if he was at a neighbor’s place, or what.  All I know is that it was the three of them in that apartment. 

Things progressed “romantically” with Leo and the woman.  She took off her stained tank top and led him down the hall to her filthy bedroom.  I recall Leo telling me about the overflowing ashtrays and cigarette butts on almost every available surface.  The child was placed inside a playpen which was inexplicably placed in the hallway to stay within eyeshot of the mother.  Why she thought it was a good idea to have the child view his mother do unspeakable things to an evil leprechaun, I cannot say.  Perhaps the hope of his not crying and “spoiling the mood” if he was left alone combined with the rationalization that he probably wouldn’t remember seeing his mother rammed from behind by a stranger  made that seem like an excellent form of child care.  I do know that Leo plowed on ahead, unashamed and undeterred by the setting.  This is his particular gift.  Still, even Leo has his limits.  After a certain point when he was involved with a certain act that is probably illegal, he made eye contact with the boy.  Thinking quickly, he reached out with his foot and slowly closed the door on the unblinking staring boy.  The boy stared blankly as the door shut on his face.  Leo completed his task, and left soon afterwards never to see this woman again.

That story and others yet to come are why I am excited that Leo is single.  Wouldn’t you be?
         

1 Comments:

At May 18, 2013 at 6:19:00 PM EDT , Blogger Cannon said...

"The Irish Goodbye"is also known as a"French Dip". I am a fan. Au Revois!

 

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