Dé Luain, Lúnasa 16, 2010

Tales From North Platte

Saturday was my last day back home for my grandmother's funeral. That night I had arranged to meet two cousins of mine at a downtown bar called 'The Den' for a rolling clam bake through town. I arrived at the bar about ten minutes before they did and passed the time with a bottle of beer.

At the other end of the bar was a woman in her early twenties, 5-8, black haired, brown skinned, thin yet still perfectly soft and shapely, gorgeous. Misty was her name, she said hello and we struck up a pleasant conversation. When my cousins arrived I told her I would love to see her later that night and she said o.k. maybe. We exchanged numbers and I made my way out the door.

I told my cousins about her and they said we should go back and bring her along. I agreed that this was a fine idea. So we pulled back into the bar parking lot and I walked back up to the bar to talk to her. I said that I had left to smoke a joint with my cousins and she was now invited. Misty was slightly hesitant, saying that some other fellow had said he would buy her a drink, but then she said okay, that it would be better if she left anyway since her ex-boyfriend was right across the room.

I suppose I should have asked if she had a boyfriend but this question always seems to escape me. I was perturbed but only slightly; because what the hell is an ex-boyfriend anyway? As we stepped outside into a parking lot I felt a foot scrape against the back of my legs. I turned around to see a short brown guy with arms out and fists clenched.

"Fucking Wasichu with a little dick" he said; pride compels me to insist that this is only half true. At any rate though this was far more trouble than I had had any intention of getting into. I was simply looking for whatever level of good company I could find. I would soon enough be back in a town big enough for ex-lovers to keep themselves the hell out of the same bar, and it never occurred to me to do anything but to get myself the hell out of this nonsense. I backed away from the ex-boyfriend with an eye for any furtive movement, got into the backseat of my cousins car, and told him to go, now.

After I explained to the relatives what had happen my male cousin; a former construction worker who measures at about 6-5 and 250 pounds, said that I should have summoned him out of the car, and that 'he would have taken care of it. I told him that thank you but no, to which he expressed exacerbation. Without asking he picked up his phone and called a friend of his named Greg, a man known for being more or less a professional drunken fighter, and asked if he would like to have a pitcher of beer with us at the Den, and that by the way his cousin Josh was being hassled.

"What the fuck are you doing?" I asked.
"Just chill Josh I got this" he said.
"No you don't. I'm not having any trouble. I'm not having any legal complications in this town on the night before I leave, and I have no fucking interest in paganistically claiming a woman through violence."
"That's what women want Josh."
"Right. Well man, I know that there are some women who are attracted to that, but they tend to be just as fucked up as the guys they get with you know? I mean they're really not worth having."

At this my cousin and his wife both turned to me with deeply offended looks. "What the fuck does that mean Josh?" They asked.
"Oh, nothing I guess." I said.

To call this an epiphany would be too much. Still it was a jarring reminder. I come from a culture and a family where a man who thinks that the trouble with fighting is not the risk of being beaten but the fight itself is considered terribly strange, at best.

A few minutes passed before we happened to roll back past The Den. There were four cop cars in a lot covered with broken glass. The police had gathered six or seven men into a huddle shouting angrily amongst themselves and at the cops. The jealous Native boy was in the front of all of this trying to spasm his way out of a pair of handcuffs.

"See Josh, you just needed to wait half an hour" my cousin said as he laughed.

I never did get back in touch with Misty. Beautiful woman, like I said. Writing all this down reminds me of just how beautiful she was.

1 comment:

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