That’s not the official name of the night. It’s something like $2 pint night. But I’ve always called it Cheap Bastard Night. Others have tried to rename it Two-for Tuesday or Tightwad Tuesday. Nah. It’s Cheap Bastard Night, because I’m a cheap bastard. I named it after myself.
It was like a reunion at Tiki tonight. Old faces I hadn’t seen in a long time. Some I never expected to see again. The biggest surprise was Connecticut Bill, an incredibly sharp guy whose life is vanishing up his nose. Was vanishing, perhaps, if his time in jail gave him a chance to straighten out. Observers are not optimistic on that score.
I didn’t notice Connecticut Bill right off the bat, so I don’t think he was there when I came in. He’s hard to miss with his energy and his opinions on everything under the sun. He’s also the one who will play Velvet Underground on the jukebox. When I walked in the front door I saw Bevins sitting there and I climbed aboard the stool next to his. After a brief moment of non-recognition (he hadn’t seen me clean-shaven yet) I recieved a warm welcome and unbidden Tiki Dave was pouring me an Anchor Steam. The game was coming on soon and I was in my happy place.
Suddenly on my left appears another old buddy from my days hanging out at Joe’s Place. Tom had selected alcohol as the drug for destroying his life, but for the last few months he has managed to get it back together. Naturally, that means a lot less time in bars for Tom. They’re just not as fun when you’re drinking non-alcoholic brew. Tom is one of the only people in the world to have read The Test, an incomplete work that I set aside when it started to spiral out of control. The story has gotten so big that it will probably end up being a series. That’s not necessarily a bad thing in an author-driven genre, but I feel strongly that even in a series each book should stand on its own. Which means The Test needs an ending, even if it is just volume one. Tom’s commentary on the story was, well, embarrassingly gushing. And protracted. He had read the incomplete work in 16 uninterrupted hours. I promised him I would put an ending on it and get it published. He gave me a dollar to help offset my expenses in the meantime.
Somewhere during that time, Connecticut Bill showed up and there we all were, lined up with our elbows on the bar, watching the home team blow a lead, Billy feeding the jukebox and telling about his time in jail. We talked about this and that, nothing important, favorite comic strips, rehashing some of the old stories that had been dormant too long.
Finally it was time to leave that place. I moved on without ceremony, as if it was just another day at the bar. Things to do, etc. I left, knowing that we might or might never all be there again.