When I was working in transportation in the early nineties the bottom, for a time, fell out of the commercial real estate market.
I mean it fell out...they even stopped building some projects that had started. Partially constructed. Sitting as monuments to capitalist folly for many years to come.
In the shadow of one of these lay this odd little street named by a fucking expired dogooder
And on it was this total dump of a bar where the guys who worked on the road would hang out.
This was a dump. I don't know why I ever went in there without a fucking Hazmat suit.
Full of smoke, smelling of stale beer, piss and puke, bargals who thought they had got off easy if it only turned out to be genital warts.
All right in the heart of the financial district!
Some of the poor fucks even ate there. Claimed the food was great. I wouldn't have given a flying fuck if Julia Child had been flipping hash behind the counter, there was no fucking way I would have eaten anything served up there. Not had it been the last joint in town.
Now I was an office lad and normally we didn't hang there.
They didn't want us.
But I was an exception as I had fixed a couple of problems for the boys over the years.
The last night I ever went was an August Monday. It was hot. The kinda hot you felt all over, especially if you had an asshole for a boss who substituted requiring us to wear suits all summer for medieval torture implements.
Oh, he wasn't so bad. Just old world.
Anyway, I was hoping Nora would be there. All skinny and skanky.
She was the cat's meow.
And she had the virtue of not yet being a regular.
No such luck, gal blew me off.
Instead there was some gang of losers from a competitor and Darren.
That guy was a genuine rat bastard.
Built like a brick shithouse, so he could get away with it.
The second I walked in I knew he was in one foul mood.
Guaranteed an interesting night though, so I sat down.
Seems he and some truly ugly fucking lanky biker looking guy at the other table were having words.
They weren't exactly Emily Post.
Trouble was that Bob's your uncle had four friends.
Darren was one of mine, so I had his back.
Nonetheless, not good odds.
Then the fella made a mistake, as dumb fuckers often do, and actually got up by himself and went to the bar.
Darren never missed a chance.
Jumped right up behind the guy and slammed his face on-down, full force.
Shattered his nose.
His buddies were fast and all, but the fortunes had shifted and after some circling and a little church talk they scurried out of there, their fight all done and their pal pretty rough.
Night went on.
Many, many beers.
I kept hoping Nora would drift in.
Instead, only a couple of old timers every now and again.
3 am rolled around.
Trish our less than stellar server had had enough.
Darren stands to go and falls right over. Like he'd been hammered by Ali. Table down, broken glasses, you know the rest.
Trish just furious.
Laughing he bounced up and, no shit, out with the car keys.
Look, I am as big an opponent of law in general as the next guy, but you must be joking.
It took me fifteen minutes to get those keys off of him. I had to block the door. Beg. Yell. Wrestle.
He called me every name known to man. And a few not.
I felt pushing his sorry ass into the cab was a personal victory.
Handed the driver twenty bucks.
Somehow found my way home.
Next a.m. I could barely get out of bed. My head hurt so fucking much I thought it would explode.
Stumbled into the office. Must of reeked like a Front St. brewery.
My mouth Sahara parched.
When I saw Lisa crying I was sober quick enough.
Everyone looked so fucking glum.
Jake was a prick but he was the first I could find who would talk.
It's that driver Darren
Dead, what the fuck do you mean he's dead?
Got out of a cab at 3:30 am last night and a blind drunk bastard ran him over as he crossed the street to his house.
Well, fuck a duck.