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Thursday, 26 July
Godzilla Vs. Bambi

This is a loser's tale. Refreshingly, this time it isn't me! Sort of. I'm not the main loser.

When I graduated from college, I immediately put my theater degree to good use by getting a warehouse job in my roommate's dad's paint sundries company. It was there that I met Mick and Mike. (I'm abandoning my usual policy of masking people's names for this one, since I'm pretty sure these guys are both either dead or incarcerated.)

Mick was--of course--a hard-drinking Irish guy who was given to quoting Castaneda at me, for some reason. Mike was this little guy--I'm not quite five ten and weigh in at a whole 150 lbs., and I had fifteen pounds on Mike--who was . . . how to put this? Mike was pretty stupid.

Mike once filed an invoice for a GI Joe's store under "E."

"Mike!" screamed Gary, our boss, once he found it. "Why the fuck was this invoice filed under E, for Christ's sake?"

Mike looked genuinely puzzled. "E. E for invoice," he said.

That was Mike.

Another day, "You Can't Always Get What You Want" was playing on the always-on classic rock station. I encountered Mike in one of the warehouse aisles, and he lifted his head up to the ceiling quizzically.

"Who in the hell are these guys?" he asked. I stared at him.

"Ahh, kind of a one-hit wonder band called the Rolling Stones," I said.

"Huh," said Mike.

(The classic rock thing was a near constant until a few of us bitched about it enough that on Fridays we could turn the fucking radio to another station. One Friday, while "Call Me" was playing, Mick approached me and accusingly barked, "Is this Blondie?"

"Yeah," I replied.

"If I wanted to listen to a white junkie bitch scream at me, I'd go home," he said flatly, and stalked off.)

I've told that story before, but frankly, I never get tired of thinking about it.

But anyway. We drank a lot, us warehouse guys. Usually three days out of the week, we'd go out for beers after work. Mike came along sometimes, and we'd beat him stupid at pool, because most of the time Mike was attempting triple bank shots and in general just playing slamball in the hopes that something, anything would fall in, only to be crushed when something did, since he routinely forgot that we didn't allow slop shots.

One day at work--and I'm unclear what sort of terrible events led up to this--Mike decided to issue a challenge to Mick. Mike declared that he could out-drink Mick. I think we were on lunch break. Anyway, I do remember this odd combination of feelings rushing through me when he said that; it was some strange mixture of electrification and utter dread. Mick squinted at Mike.

"Are you fucking stupid?" asked Mick. Before a reply could be made, Mick continued: "No, I know you're fucking stupid. E for fucking invoice." (This by now had become warehouse legend, which are of course the finest legends to be found anywhere.) "Are you serious? I'll fucking kill you."

Mike stood his ground. "I can take you, man! I can drink a fucking lot."

The rest of us just sort of looked at each other. Mick was a guy who, when a doctor told him that he was a little worried about Mick's slight liver enlargement, said, "Look at my fucking name, man. My name is Mick." Then he demanded to know where the closest bar was.

(And he really did have a junkie wife. He also had a little girl who was four years old. Mick occasionally confessed to me that everyone was kind of worried that the child refused--or was incapable of--speaking. She was always going to speech therapy. Once when I had had one too many, I suggested that maybe they should try silence therapy, which Mick roared at, thankfully, since he might as well have cheerfully torn off my head.)

So that Friday was set as the date. Mike vs. Mick. We all had to watch this.

We went to the Black Cat, the closest horrible dive bar to the warehouse, and the festivities commenced. Mike and Mick would match each other, beer for beer, and in between beers, a whiskey shot apiece would be administered. They went to it. We watched, fascinated, and drinking.

You would expect that Mick--ropy, grizzled Mick, no-collar anti-hero--would dominate this poor chimp with the unfortunate pussy-tickling moustache that surely would never tickle an unpaid-for pussy; that Mick would so thoroughly destroy this hopeless homunculus that he'd likely be left in some truly dire state of vomit encrustation and renal failure that he would require hospitalization, dialysis and a long stint inside an autoclave; that Mick would cheerfully be tossing back shots while Mike was owlishly trying to urinate into a pool pocket.

That's basically how it all turned out. I don't even think it lasted two hours. Mick looked as alert as a Hollywood divorce lawyer--well, one with greasy, shoulder-length hair and Coke-bottle glasses--while Mike looked as if someone had gotten halfway through with installing a spinal block before distractedly wandering away. In fact, the dedicated staff at the Black Cat--flinty-eyed women with alarming tattoos--refused to serve him.

"Are you kidding? He looks like a trout. He's cut off." Mike's eyeballs drifted independently of one another; I wondered if he could see his own brain. I hope not, I thought. Mike really doesn't need to see that. I bet it looks like a dead, hairless Tribble.

What could we do? Well, for one thing, we could unceremoniously dump Mike into the back of a pickup, which we did. We could also go to another bar, which we also did.

We went to the Yukon Tavern, another favorite of ours, mainly for the owner, Viv, a dyed redhead who was also half-deaf and approximately the same age as the Magellanic Clouds. We of course dragged the thoroughly miserable Mike in with us and propped him up on a barstool. Barely hanging onto consciousness, Mike's head dipped and bobbed towards the bar as if dowsing for the used chewing gum concealed underneath. Viv eyed him contemptuously.

"I ain't serving him!" she hollered. She hollered everything. We nodded and ordered beers. Viv poured them and served us, giving poor Mike another poisonous look. Then she went over to him; Mike did his unlevel best to meet her gaze, and was intermittently successful.

Suddenly Viv screamed, "ARE YA TIRED? WHAT'S 'A MATTER? YOU TIRED?" Mike flinched at this assault, and spun around on his stool spasmodically. Then he fell off his stool in a noisy, boneful clatter. He wheezed on the floor while everyone laughed.

"I hate amateurs," Viv yelled to nobody at all, turning away from the awful spectacle of writhing Mike. "Who wants Li'l Smokies?" she screamed. The only food Viv served was cold sandwiches and Li'l Smokies.

Eventually we left, once again pitching the now-consciousness-free Mike into the bed of the pickup. Viv glared at us the whole time. "Don't you boys be bringing in that kid any more! He ain't fit to drink with you all!" Here she pointedly jerked a thumb at Mick, who grinned widely. "Is he even of age?" she wondered loudly to the aether. Viv had a fairly cavalier attitude about serving minors. Or anybody.

"That boy is a shithead," was Viv's final benediction on the evening.

He sure was! Here's to you, Mike. Or, better yet . . . maybe you should just have a soda.


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Comments

That's a beautiful story.

Comment number: 014567   Posted by: chaz on July 27, 2007 02:03 PM from IP: 125.237.228.230

Can't. Stop. Laughing!

Damn you Skot, that one had tears rolling down my face. I hope you're turning this shit into a book or something.

Comment number: 014568   Posted by: Ian J on July 27, 2007 04:10 PM from IP: 192.150.22.5

(And he really did have a junkie wife. He also had a little girl who was four years old."

Stupid people shouldn't breed.
Great story. These are the types of individuals who peopled what I call my "first life".
You just keep making me feel better, the shame and confusion of that time seems to finally be ebbing away.

Comment number: 014578   Posted by: Alyxmyself on July 28, 2007 08:00 AM from IP: 68.201.0.251

Brings back so many blurry memories, but few as funny as: "Are you kidding? He looks like a trout. He's cut off.".
Once again Skot, worth the price of admission - and then some.
Mahalo!

Comment number: 014585   Posted by: whoa! on July 29, 2007 10:10 AM from IP: 72.130.216.235

Wonderful stuff! Freakishly funny!

Comment number: 014593   Posted by: J. Cullinane on July 31, 2007 09:20 AM from IP: 150.131.66.29

Id like to correspond with anyone who knew these two, seems Ive lost track of the "DUH" one and would love further info He also has a son. If u were the chick having his kids wouldnt u want to do drugs too?

Comment number: 014629   Posted by: on August 6, 2007 09:57 PM from IP: 74.59.57.106

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