After The Fall

7 Sep

We walked into the bar in between shifts. We weren’t sure if we were going back to work; very often they would cancel the second half of the day, so we decided to get some drinks and take a chance. I was with Scotty and Trollio. We walked to the place. It was starting to rain that nasty, cold, late November junk. We were all miserable and nearly broke.

Trollio’s uncle owned the Madame’s Organ. Trollio worked there nights, sometimes, tending bar. He was no good at it. He drank more than he doled out, so his uncle retired him from the business of serving and instead volunteered him into the art of late-night cleaning. We took a table in the back by the toilets. There was no one there. It was the middle of the day. Frankie came by with our drinks and we told him to start a tab.
“You gonna pay this time?” he said, looking at Trollio.
Trollio just lit a cigarette and smiled. Frankie cursed and walked back behind the bar.

“I need to work,” Scotty said. “I really need to work.” He looked down into his glass for some kind of answer. “I can’t afford a goddamn cup of coffee anymore.”
Trollio made that sucking sound through his teeth and shook his head.
“Who the hell can.”
“The kids are starting to ask questions,” Scotty said.
“Like?”
“Why is Daddy home all the time, that kind of shit.”
“We can’t help it if these snakes keep cutting our shifts,” I said.
“Then I need to find something else.”
“Find what?” Trollio said. “We don’t know how to do anything else.”
“I don’t know.”
“We’re cursed with this.”
Scotty tilted the glass and drained a mouthful. Frankie gave us a look from the bar, and shook his head.
“I’m telling Bo,” he yelled towards our table.
“I’m telling Bo,” Trollio mocked him. Then he made that sucking sound again.
“It’s bullshit,” Frankie said. “It’s complete bullshit what you get away with.”
“It’s called nepotism,” Trollio said and laughed. Just then he sounded like Jack Nicholson.

Before he came to us, Scotty had a small farm in Illinois. Reagan and his trickle down economics theory busted him wide-open, back in the mid-80s. He lived in Lubbock for a while and tried to get a job at Texas Tech as an adjunct, then moved out to the east coast and tried to get into local politics, but he was an honest man from the Midwest, so he got crushed. He got married, started a family, and took on a mortgage for a three-two-two-and-a-half bath townhouse in Lorton. He clocked in a few years at the Post Office as a substitute carrier, but he was never hired full time. Marvin Runyon slashed the temps and raised the postage rates. And that was it for Scotty.

“I’m thinking of moving out West,” Trollio said. He held his cigarette between the thumb and index finger, and when he smoked, he liked to slowly crush the filter so by the time he was done, the butt looked like it had been mauled by a pit bull.
“Why,” I said. “Where?”
“I don’t know. Maybe Denver.”
“Why?”
“It’s closer to California.”
“The hell you want to go back for?”
“I don’t want to go back,” Trollio said. “I just wanna be close.”

Trollio lived in L.A. for a few years. He wrote scripts. But during the day he wrapped cables and fetched coffee for movie industry people on film sets. One day he walked in on his wife and some zit-faced scriptwriter in bed together.

“I didn’t blow or anything. I just walked over to the bathroom, got my cologne, and dumped it all over her clothes. All over. I even put it in her shoes. Inside, I mean. This way, she’d always remember me. They were fuckin’ Manolos, too. The shoes were.”

That’s the way he tells it.

“Why the hell would you want to be closer,” Scotty said and wiped his runny nose with his napkin. When he said that, he looked outside at the rain whipping the window.
“I don’t know,” Trollio said. “She kept the dog.”
“She did?”
“Yeh. It was a Border Collie.”
“What’s that?” I said. I didn’t know anything about dogs.
“Looks like a mini-Lassie,” Scotty said.
“Smart as hell, too,” Trollio said. “We’d go out into the desert together…”
He trailed off thinking.
“Anyway,” he came back, “I’d maybe like to get her back.”
“Your wife?”
“No, the dog.”
We laughed. Frankie was bent over behind the bar filling ice.
“Hey slick,” Trollio yelled, “your hairy crack is making us gag here.”
Frankie flashed a finger without looking. We laughed and finished our drinks.
“The divorce came through today,” Trollio said.
“Oh yeh?”
“That’s what we’re celebrating.”
“Are we celebrating?” I said.
“Sure.”
Scotty was gone now. He was thinking about the kids. Trollio was trying to convince himself this was a good day. I waited.
“Anyway, I’m only thinking about it,” Trollio came back.
“The dog?”
“No, Denver. Well, the dog too. I don’t know, I’m just thinking.”
“You guys look like you just lost a war,” Frankie said. He wiped down the bar. “Bunch of saps, the lot o’ you.”

After we finished our drinks we sat there, at the table by the toilets, knowing Frankie wasn’t going to pour another round for us, and knowing we probably wouldn’t have to go back for the other shift. We’d be light in the paychecks again this week. Scotty was off to his family, or his farm in Illinois, Trollio was mapping out a life at the foot of the Rockies, and I was thinking of running away down to Key West for good this time. I didn’t know if there’d be any work down there, but the sunset at Mallory Square, the little drinking joints on Whitehead Street, and the weather, were all starting to work on me.

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2 Responses to “After The Fall”

  1. Slyboots 08/09/2008 at 11:01 AM #

    I am eagerly awaiting seeing all of these pieces fitting together into an amazing whole some day. I get the underlying feeling and have a pretty good read on the voice- just am wondering how the puzzle works.

  2. (S)wine 08/09/2008 at 2:05 PM #

    Sly, working on building those bridges…I never realized just how much stuff I have out there waiting to be “patched” and “fused.”

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