Bent Words

Bent Words

December 21, 2020

He was wearing dark fucking glasses in a dark fucking bar.

I walked in like I owned it and made the half circle trip around to the opening of the bar, the vantage of scoping out who’s who and who’s where. I scanned the room without turning my head, ordered a drink and laughed out loud when the tar bender asked where I was sitting.

“Figuring that out now,” I replied.

She nodded her pink and blue pig-tailed head and I turned to look directly at the man who was staring at me.

“Mind if I sit there?” I asked, eyeing up the only empty seat in the house.

“It would be my pleasure,” he replied.

The game was ON. Eyes facing front, I brought out my notebook and jotted down a note or two. I passed on the shots and clapped at first downs. Dude to my left ordered a Fat Squirrel or four and the dude to my right kept tabs on my pen. He started to put his shades back on when I exclaimed,

“Two-minute warning, in case you can’t see that far.”

His hair fell heavily over his face as he pushed one hand through it, turned toward me and returned his glasses to the top of his head.

“How the hell did you know these were prescription?” he retorted.

I smiled.

“I’m Nils.”

“You’re WHAT?”

“Uhhh, Nils. My name. Like November, indigo, ummm, l S. That’s… well that’s a hell of a handshake.”

I told him my name but he would forget and call me Lauren. I hate that. Even though I do the same thing – mangle and forget names – I hate that.

But I love a good conversation with a man who has had almost too much to drink. Everything you do is fascinating, every time you head to the bathroom you can feel eyes staring you down and you’re always up a word or seven in that thesaurus of a brain. In the smoky darkness, you’re more than a mom, more than overworked, underpaid and too tired. You’re not too old or entirely too young and no one knows how much baggage you have unless you divulge (and so you don’t). Maybe you’re married but that doesn’t seem to matter because whatever’s beyond the game doesn’t matter much anyway.

He told me that he drinks too much and rides his Harley home despite that fact.

“Smart,” I said, absolving his yearning for eye contact.

“Bikes don’t want to go anywhere but forward so actually, being drunk on a bike isn’t that big of a deal.”

“Right… You wear a lid?” I asked.


“Natural selection.”

“Awwww. You ever ride on a motorcycle?” he asked.

Do I ever ride ON a motorcycle…

Pompous is funny. Assumptions are sumptuous. So many angles of entertainment to be had!

“Owned a few, yeah.”

“’Owned a few’? Really? You are fascinating.”

SEE!? Fascinating. I like football and beer (but vodka is getting more attention lately), motorcycles and trucks and a thesaurus turned to a page filled with words. I like songs and summertime and staring at men’s hands. I am into anything I’m up for and I’m up for just about anything. But that’s not fascinating. It’s humanity. We all have our things, we all do our stuff and we’re all unique. Unless you’re seated next to someone at the bar who’s had too much to drink and suddenly you’re ‘fascinating’!

“Just hanging out, Nils.”

As the night grew nigh and the game was about to close, I closed down my tab and scanned the room. Just, one. More. Time.

“Who are you looking for, Lauren?”

Before I could answer the owner and I exchanged hugs and love. She told me to tell the family hello. She told me to squeeze all those babies. She told me good luck and get home safely and I said I would.

“Babies?! Do you have an infant at home?!”

“Just gets more interesting from here on out, yo!” I said.

“Do me one favor,” he exclaimed. “Find me on Facebook.”

For what, I’m not sure. I don’t need to find anyone but myself these days. But it is fascinating when someone – anyone – sets that amount of attention upon you. It’s a little validating. It’s a little reminder of what you were when you were something. It’s… probably just the alcohol but plus 40, you take it anyway. Even from a DB on a motorcycle who thinks he’s seen it all.

Cheers, Milton. Or whatever your name is.

Written at 7:34 p.m.