In This Warm, Death Grip

I’m behind the bar, it’s slow as molasses. I mean, every drip takes a minute. There’s a good twenty people in the house, but they’re all underage. Therefore: Not drinking.

Chick comes up to the bar, waves me over, says, do you see what they’re doing? She points towards the stage. I say, I dunno. What’s that? She says, THEY’RE JUST STANDING THERE, NOT MOVING. Not an inch. I look, and you know what? The observation is keen. They’re all just standing there, motionless, like zombies, mesmerized by their leader. I say, yeah. You’re actually right. She says, I think I’m gonna go push some of them around, start a mosh pit. I say, you should.

She leaves, I resume my sitting on my ass.

She comes back five minutes later, plops down. She says, I’m just gonna sit here. I say, go for it. Then, she launches in. I’m not from here. Oh yeah? I say. Where you from? She says, I’m from Chicago. I had to get out of there. I was living in a crack house, I’m a writer, and I was writing stories about them. My book is going to come out soon, on Criterion Press, have you ever heard of it? I say, no, sorry. Haven’t. She says, yeah. When it comes out, it’s going to be EPIC. And people are going to be after me. That’s why I’m here. Ok, I say, going along with it.

I’m behind the bar, wearing this heavy coat. I know I look goofy, but I’m freezing. She notices it, says, are you cold? I say, yeah. I think I’m coming down with something. My nose is stuffed up. She says, I’m always really warm. I say, oh yeah? Wish I was. She says, feel my hand.

She puts out her hand.

I say, you know, I’m sick. I don’t want to give you my germs. She says, I don’t care. Ok, whatever. I grab her hand. Yeah, I say. You are warm. And she was. I let go of her hand, but she doesn’t. Oh, I guess we’re not done with this. I squeeze again, she holds on tight. And she’s not letting go anytime soon. I try to take my hand away, SHE’S NOT LETTING GO!!! Ok, this is getting a bit…weird. I shit you not, I’m holding this chick’s hand for like twenty long seconds. I don’t know what to do. I guess, I don’t want to be rude. And she’s got me in this warm, death grip.

Finally, I pull my hand away, say, sorry, I’ve got to get this. I go over to the sink, and clean my one dirty shot glass.

Later on, she tells me, I haven’t had a boyfriend in 6 years. Can you believe it? 6 years.

I shake my head, say, no. No I can’t.

-Clint Curtis

crack house side

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