Monthly Archives: November 2014

Down The Line

I’m behind the bar, it’s super busy, got 34 people, crowded at the bar, waiting for drinks. I like to go right down the line, take three drink orders at the same time. In this instance, I start with the first, she says, a PBR. Next guy, PBR, next guy, two PBR’s, I’m on a roll, what the hell, keep on going. Next guy, three PBR’s!!! Next guy says, I’ve got a big drink order, I say, hold on, please. I say to my rapt audience, watch this people. I open up the cooler, reach in, grab a six pack of PBR, and another one, then just go down the line, PBR, PBR, PBR. I feel so good about myself. I’m a damn good bartender, if I do say so myself. Then I say, three dollars, three dollars, six dollars, etcetera. The last one is the girl, she says, oh. Actually I wanted a Coors.

Huh. Maybe not such a good bartender. Must’ve misheard.

Got a little too excited there.

-Clint Curtis



One American Dollar

I’m behind the bar, end of night, running 70,000 credit cards. ‘Scuse the French, but it’s a cluster fuck, everybody wants me to run them at the same time.

Winds down, I’ve got about ten left. Guy comes up, asks, can I borrow a pen? I grab a pen, give it to him, go help another customer.

Two minutes later, he comes back. Actually, he says, I need a marker. I’m trying to get the band to sign a poster. Oh. Wants to borrow a Sharpie, huh? I know where this is going.

I grab a Sharpie, say, ok. I need some collateral. Doesn’t matter, library card, anything. I give people Sharpies, they take them, never return them. He says, opening up his wallet, oh, I’ll be right back. I just need it for 5 minutes.

I say, uh-huh. He says, wait. I started a tab. You have my credit card. What’s the name? I ask. He says Connor Crispy. I check, sure enough, have his card. I say, great. I’ll just keep that, you come back with the Sharpie, I run your card, we’re good. He says, great. Leaves.

I turn to my fellow bartender, say, did you hear that go down? He says, yep. I say, I bet you one American dollar, he doesn’t come back, forgets his card. He says, yep.

We clean up the place. It’s a disaster, sold out crowd. Daddy made some money tonight. I do the dishes, put away bottles, wipe everything down, start in on the register.

Doors locked, everybody’s gone except for me and my fellow bartender. I run all the credit cards, but oh…guess what?

Yes, thank you for answering that question.

A lone credit card sits forlorn in our credit card cup.

-Clint Curtis


The Worst “Band” To Have Ever Played The Mews

Young kid comes up, end of the night, sits down at the bar. It’s been a lonnnng late show, nobody drinking. I have served water for the last two hours, nothing else. Lots of fun.

He waves me over, says, I just turned 21 two days ago. Yesterday, I went to a party, so I couldn’t come out. This is my first night out for my birthday. I say, OK. He says, I’ve been playing music here since I was in the eighth grade. Do you think I could have a free birthday shot? I think for a second, then say, no. Your birthday’s over my friend. Sorry.

I didn’t really mean that sorry. It’s just something a guy has to say.

I walk away, go do something, like organize pens. I’ve done everything else. The kid comes up to me, leans over the bar, gets my attention. Hey, man. It’s fine if you don’t want to give me a free shot. I’ll just buy one. I say, sure. What can I get you? He says, I’ll take a shot of whiskey. I say, any preference? He says, Jameson. I say, you got it. Shot of Jameson coming right up.

I get the shot glass, the Jameson bottle, pour, he hands me a credit card, I run it, put it down in front of him, say, here you go. Thanks. He says, one more thing. I say, yes? Well, he says, about a month ago, my band played here, and I don’t think you liked us. You turned the lights on on us at the end of the show before we were done.

I don’t remember a lot of bands, but I know EXACTLY what he’s talking about.

I say, oh yeah. That was THE WORST BAND I’ve ever seen at the bar. He says, I know, I know. It was bad. We just got added to the bill last minute, we didn’t really know what we were doing.

This band seriously sucked. Have you ever heard me say anything bad about a band’s music before? Nope, never. I keep that to myself. Have I ever turned on the overhead lights when a band was playing? Nope, never, no matter how bad they were playing. But this “band” was offensive. I’m going to describe it to you right now. Imagine, you go outside, and you pick five people randomly off the street. You tell them to come into the bar. You hand them guitars, picks, bass, drum sticks. Then you say, ok. We’re going to turn up the volume on your amp all the way. Then I want you to strum your instruments as hard as you can. The notes don’t matter, don’t worry about the notes. As long as there’s sound coming out of the amps, and really, really, loud, you’re doing exactly what I want you to do. Drummer. No need to play a beat. Just pound on the drums really hard. Then whoever feels like it, scream at the top of your lungs into the microphone. Do I want you to sing words? I don’t care. Scream about the last time you went to the grocery store. I BOUGHT APPLES AND CHEETOS AND COUNT CHOCULA CEREAL AND BUNS AND….

What we’re trying to accomplish here is to clear out the room. And then the next thing I want you to accomplish is you piss off the employees so much, that the bartender turns on all the lights, and the sound guy cuts the sound.

OK. Go.

-Clint Curtis



In the men’s bathroom, there’s a paper towel dispenser. Imagine that. It’s moved a number of times. Why do you think that’s happened? Take a big guess, just throw your first instinct, right out there.

Yep. People tear the shit down, that’s why. Unfortunately, when it gets torn down, there’s always two gaping holes where the screws were, in its wake. So what do you have to do? Move the paper towel dispenser over another 12”.

Couple months ago, I go in to the Men’s room, see what’s what. I check the paper towel dispenser, see if it needs a refill. Yep. All out. I go get a package of paper towels, return, go to open up the dispenser.

See here’s the problemo, folks. To open the dispenser, you need a key. The slot for the key is on the right hand side. Unfortunately, we’ve had to move the dispenser so many times, it is now basically up against one side of the wall.

What does that mean, you ask? Well…you can’t get the damn key into the slot now, that’s what!!! The damn wall is in the way.

It’s like you’re Harry Houdini, the audience is behind you. For today’s trick, I’m going to squeeze this large hand here (show them the hand), between the wall here, and the paper towel dispenser. Not only that, I will have this little key in my hand, and I will insert the key in the small slot, which is basically up against the wall.

Abracadabra, ten minutes later, I just tear the whole fucking thing down again.

-Clint Curtis


Let’s Die Tonight

I text Branden I’m gonna be in LA on Saturday, you want to have dinner, hang out.  This is the Sunday before. No text back Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, I start giving up hope he’s gonna get back to me.  He pissed off at me for some reason?  Maybe he doesn’t have time for me.  He’s in real estate, I know he’s doing good with it, but we’ve known each other for almost 20 years, we were best friends for 4 of those years, always together. Maybe he’s moved on?  Found someone else to replace me.

I give up on Wednesday, think about texting him back, but I’ve got my pride.  You get one text from me, that’s it.  On Thursday, I’m in San Diego with my Dad, he calls, leaves a message.  Hey baby, give me a call, let’s do this.  I give him a call right back.  Sweet!  Going to get to see Branden.  I leave a message, text him, he calls me back couple hours later, we talk briefly, make plans.  I’m going into LA on Friday, spend time with another friend, then go over to Branden’s house Saturday evening, go out for dinner.  Really looking forward to it.

Saturday comes, he’s told me he wants me at his house by 5pm, but I know Branden.  He’s doing real estate shit, he’ll run late, so I’ll wait a half hour, we’ll be good.  I wait until 4:45pm, text him I’m on my way.  I’m in Glendale, he lives in Beverly Hills, it’s a 50 minute drive.  Everything in LA takes about an hour to get to, no big deal.  He calls back, what the fuck, dude?  You were supposed to be here by 5pm!  I tell him, dude, I know you.  You were going to be late, so thought I’d give you a little bit more time, you don’t have to rush home.  I tell him, I’ll be there by 5:45pm.  He says, all right, I’m gonna go do something, I’ll be back by then.

I type in the address, Siri tells me to take this right and this left.  I drive through Coldwater Canyon, it’s good to be back in LA.  It’s been 8 years since my last visit.  I think about Branden, if he’s changed.  Last time I was out here, he was just starting out as a real estate agent.  I remember he took me to a couple houses, to check them out.  I remember him running up these stairs, top speed.  Branden does everything at TOP SPEED. You’re driving with him?  Hold on tight.  You’re going 80 on Sunset Blvd in the turning lane.

I get there 5:45pm, this does not look like his house.  Where is it?  Siri tells me that I have arrived, but I’m not seeing the house.  I call Branden, he doesn’t pick up, he calls me back a minute later, says, I’m almost there.  I say, yeah, dude.  I’m lost.  Where the hell is your house?  He says, did you put in your phone 1736 ________ Avenue.  Dude, I say.  You texted me 5 1736.  He says, I did?  Yeah, I say.  I’ll show it to you.  There’s a space between the 5 and the 1.  He says, fuck.  My phone’s a piece of shit.  Alright, I say, typing in the new address.  Looks like I’ll be there in 7 minutes.  He says, go in, they’re expecting you.  I say, dude.  I’m not going to go in when you’re not there.  I’ve never met your wife, what will I say!?  He says, stop being a nerd pussy and go in there.  Fine, I say, but hurry.  We hang up, I start driving.

I get there 7 minutes later, I’m in the middle of Beverly Hills.  The first thing that strikes me is there’s no cars parked on the street.  Why is that?  People have 18 car garages in Beverly Hills, that’s why.  And the streets are massively wide.  I mean, you could break them into four, two lanes going either way.  People here got some bucks.  Duh.  It’s Beverly Hills.

I see the house, walk across the street.  There’s an old Honda parked in the driveway, and a black pimping Range Rover.  He told me his cousin is staying over, the Honda must be his.

I ring the door bell, I hear yipping from behind the door.  They must have a little dog.  So LA.  The door opens, a smaller woman says, you must be Clint, come in.  I say, yeah, Branden should be here soon, I hope.  She says, actually, I’m getting a massage in five minutes, you make yourself comfortable.  Rayni is in the bedroom, putting the baby to sleep.

Branden married a girl named Rayni in the last year, they just had a baby girl, named Viviana.  Viv, I’ll call her.  I look forward to meeting her.

The woman says, do you want something to drink?  I say, sure.  I’ll have some water.  She leaves, I look around the room.  Sparsely furnished.  Cool Miami Vice aqua colored couch, picture of a woman lying on a tiger rug, some baby toys, a couple chairs, lamps, framed pictures.  Did they just move in?  Branden and I need to catch up.

The woman comes back in, with a bottle of Artesian water.  They don’t drink tap water in Beverly Hills.  It’s Artesian water.  I crack it open, sit down on the couch and wait.

5 minutes goes by.  Where the hell is Branden?  There’s a wall of sliding glass doors in front of me, small pool beyond.  Why not?  I’ll go sit by the pool with my Artesian water.  I go out, beautiful night.  Perfect jacket wearing night.  I’ve got a long sleeve shirt on, and a denim Levi’s jacket.  Just perfect.  I sit down, remember I have to call another friend in town, call him, leave a 4 minute message.  I love leaving lonnnnng messages on people’s answering machines.  I usually do it when I’m bored.  Just go on and on, using different voices, more stream of consciousness.  I get to the end, push pound, listen to it.  Yep.  Good message.

I look at my watch.  Yep, still no Branden.  I call him, he picks up.  What the hell, dude, where the hell are you?  He says, chill.  Chill.  Had to take care of some business.  I’ll be there in 5 minutes.  Yeah.  5 minutes.  His 5 minutes, in reality, is 25 minutes.  Whatever.  I’m sitting by a pool on a November night in Beverly Hills.  I’m not doing bad.  We hang up, I go back inside, still, nobody around.  I start snooping around the house, go in the dining room first.  Nice big dining room table, cool black and white picture framed on the wall.  I go through the door, into the kitchen.  Not huge.  They have the trendy appliances, of course.  I sneak a peak in their pantry.  Lot of goodies, looks like they’re trying to keep it healthy.  I leave the kitchen, go through the dining room, into the foyer, and there’s another room ahead.  I look in, cardboard boxes everywhere, surfboards.  Yep, they must have just moved in.  I make my way back to the living room.  If he doesn’t get here in the next 15 minutes, I’m out of here.  I wait, 2 minutes later, I hear a car pull up, music blaring.  Sounds like rap.  Branden LOVES rap.  He likes that gangsta shit.  He comes in the door, he says, hey baby, I go up to him, we hug.  Damn, I’ve missed this guy.  He’s looking good too, wearing a fresh, mix-matched suit.  Almost high water pants, with brown dress shoes, no socks.  Must be the style.  We chit-chat a little bit inside, do you want to change, I ask, he says, no, let’s go.  We go outside, he’s driving a black BMW.  Dope.  I climb in, smell the smell of cigars.  I like a cigar every now and then. I ask, you smoke cigars in here?  He says, yeah.  I say, I wouldn’t mind smoking a cigar tonight, he says, all right, I’ll hook you up.  We start driving, he cranks up the music full blast, says, I’m gonna show you my properties.

Yes.  Properties.  Plural.

We make a bunch of turns.  We get to this one intersection, nobody’s around, he starts doing donuts.  Yes, that’s right.  Donuts.  Tires SCREECHING, the smell of burning rubber, me holding on for my dear life, my children’s faces flashing before my eyes.  Donuts.  Somehow, he rights the car, we keep on going.  Yes, Branden’s a maniac and he drives like a maniac would.  Like a fucking maniac.  But deep down inside I LOVE IT.  My heart starts beating fast, I hold my breath, I fear for my life.  The things you need to feel in life on occasion.  We make a few lefts and rights, he grabs a remote, the gates open, we enter the property, we get out, he shows me around.  He bought it for like 5.8.  Put a million into it, and is now flipping it, asking 12.95 mil.  That’s a lot of profit right there.  And the place is GORGEOUS.  The lights they chose are amazing.  It’s like art.  There’s one lone red leather chair in the living room, I ask Branden about it, he says, I don’t know, my designer probably brought it in.  He shows me all the rooms.  Amazing.  He turns off the lights, we leave.  

We get back in the car, we drive to his second property, get out.  We walk up some stairs, look down, it’s just a lot, with some basic construction done.  He tells me, we’re going to do this, and this, and have this here, and build that there.  Extremely impressive.  He says, this is gonna be my house.  So and so lives there, and Joe Blow movie star lives there.  Unbelievable.  This guy that slept on my shitty orange couch 15 years ago is building a 10 million dollar house for himself.  Not too shabby.

We hop back in the Bimmer, he takes me to his 3rd property.  Did I say the last property was impressive?  Holy shit!  It’s the view, you can see EVERYTHING.  We’re like 3 blocks away from Sunset Blvd.  My boy is killing it!  We get out some cigars, light them up, smoke them, and it’s an incredible feeling to be on top of the world, with a man, that is building it.

We linger for 10 minutes, he shows me pictures of what the house is going to look like.  Yeah, just like 15 million, no big deal.  He makes a phone call, more business, I smoke my cigar, and am at peace.

We get back in, drive.  He takes me to this place called Soho Club.  Exclusive, members only.  Membership costs $25,000.  And not everybody with 25 grand to spend can enter.  You have to be an artist, or a successful writer, or an actor.  I button up my jean jacket, and away we go up the elevator.

We go in, swanky as you can imagine.  Incredible view.  Everything about real estate in LA is about the view.  LOOK AT THE VIEW.  What’s the view like?  Oh my God, it’s an incredible view.  We sit down at an outside table, I got to be this guy, I get out my phone, to take a picture with my boy.  A woman comes up.  I’m sorry.  No photography allowed.  Are you kidding me?  Holy shit, this place means business.  And you know what?  I’m all right with that.  It’s unique.  My boy orders some sides, pizza, salad, meatballs, the server leaves, we start talking, catching up on old times.  We talk about chipping Cialis, and having threesomes.  I ask him to tell me a Hollywood story, he tells me he just worked with Bruce Willis, he gets out his phone, plays me a message from him.  Hey Branden, this is Bruce…  I say, in awe of my friend, tell me another one.  He says, well…last week Leo texts me, I’m working with him (Leonardo DiCaprio, naturally), he tells me to meet him at the Soho House.  He says, I’m in a meeting with Martin Scorsese, and I’m going crazy.  I meet up with him at the pool table, we talk some business, he asks, you want to meet Marty?  I say, sure, we go to his table, Leo introduces me to Scorsese as “the Gordon Gecko of real estate.”  Scorsese says, we should put him in a movie, what do you think?  I say, let’s do it.

Server brings us food, I have an non-alcoholic beer, and Branden has a sweet ice tea.  They brought him the glass of tea, and a small glass, almost like a flute, of sugar water.  Pretty neat.  I take a sip of my beer, and it’s not bad.  Branden tells me, when I first stopped drinking, I’d have about 12 of those beers a night.  We eat our food, talk more.  During one of his stories, he stops, texts, resumes the story, but not that well, goes back, stops, texts, says, to make a long story even longer, keeps on telling the story, starts going on a tangent, I reign him in, he finishes off the story, basically.  We finish off the food, he pays, we walk to the other side of the bar, go through sliding glass doors, to another patio, where we can finish our cigars.  Branden sits down, I say, I have to take a leak.  I walk through the restaurant/bar.  There’s so and so, there’s so and so, she looks familiar, there’s Tony Hawk.  Hey, I used to play your video game.  I ask a waiter, where can I find the bathroom, he says, all the way down that hallway.  I walk down the hallway, I notice a photo booth, two guys exiting.  Sweet.  Branden and I are gonna have to get a picture taken.  I make a left, find the door to the bathroom, open the door, shit.  There’s a girl in there, at the mirror.  I apologize.  Sorry, the door closes, hey, wait a minute.  It’s the men’s room.  I open the door back up, say, yeah, this is the men’s room, she smiles, plays coy, says, I’ll be out in a minute.  Oh these LA girls.  She leaves, gives me a wink, I go in, do my thing, leave, go back to the cigar patio, sit down.  Shit.  Someone took the rest of my beer.  Damn.  And that would’ve been so awesome with the rest of my cigar.  I’m too lazy to get up and get another one.  Branden and I talk more, he’s telling me about his life in LA.  I’m in awe.  12 years ago, he had like 5 grand to his name.  Now, he OWNS THIS TOWN.  So proud of my best friend.

We finish up, let’s go.

We go down the elevator, get the car from valet, take off.  He drives recklessly home.  More donuts in Beverly Hills.  You know, Branden.  I’m really not ready to die just yet.  Oh what the hell.  

Let’s die tonight.

-Clint Curtis


The Mind Reader

It’s pint night, everybody’s having a good time. There’s a guy at the bar, pretty drunk, gonna have to cut him off. But he’s not necessarily being obnoxious. He seems a bit sad, a loner. He’s trying to pick up conversations with anyone who walks by him. Going to the bathroom? Be careful. This guy’s gonna corner you.

I see a young girl at the end of the bar, her friend has just stepped out. I look over at the guy, he’s eyeing her. I can hear what’s going through his mind. Hey, there’s a girl I can talk to. She’s cute. I’m just gonna go over and talk to her. Everybody loves talking to me. Why wouldn’t they? I’m HILARIOUS. Nobody’s funnier then me. And charming? Hey, I eat the cake.

I look over at the girl. It’s almost like I can feel her responding, noticing this guy looking at her. Oh shit, she’s thinking. This old weird guy is gonna come up and talk to me. Please, please, no. Maybe if I get out my phone, text someone, go on Facebook, he won’t come over, he’ll see that I’m busy.

I look over to the guy again, he doesn’t have the ability to hear her thoughts like I can, he starts making his move over to her.

I can’t help but enjoy.

Yeah, I watch it all go down. He leans in, and does his best. She nods her head in response to his babbling, and looks around the room for any kind of help.

-Clint Curtis


A Rag

I’m behind the bar, it’s hella busy. I’m pouring pints, my arms hurt from so many. Ok I’m exaggerating. Chill.

Girl’s looking at me, needs something, I go up to her, say, yes?  She says, can I have a rag or a napkin?  I say,

That time of month?

Oh my God LOOK AT YOU. You think I really said that, didn’t you?  How dare you think I would be that inappropriate. You should be ASHAMED.

Ok I thought it.


-Clint Curtis