Jim Trainer

MEN

In Uncategorized on March 28, 2019 at 9:00 am

I got in my car and called Butch as I was leaving work.
“Yo.”
“Yo man. What are you doing.”
“Putting Arthur to bed.  He’s got diarrhea.”
His son.  And spitting image of Butch.  Same dark Italian features, same handsome face.  The same quick wit flinting in fiery-brown eyes.
“What’s up.”
“Yo man I just did this party in the Hill Country and the people were the worst.”
“Yeah?”
“Yeah.”
“What happened?”

“First of all, this one guy, he starts out the night asking ‘What kind of bartender are you?’  Like that, because I didn’t know the Seresin was a Sauvignon Blanc and the only red we had that wasn’t Pinot Noir was a Cab blend.  ‘No need to be rude’ I said to him. And he goes, ‘Yeah you’re right I’m a horrible person’ then he leans in puts his hand on my shoulder and goes ‘By the way your fly’s down.’  And it was. And I appreciated it but it was a point for him. Cocksucker. Later, he’s giving me looks, like, We cool?  Gives me a thumbs up and a mock-smile. He gets nothing.  Now he’s barking orders at me, over his shoulder, I pour ‘em, he gets up.  He comes over. Pulls out his wallet. ‘I’m giving you, look, I’m giving you all the money–it ain’t much, but I’m giving you all the money in my wallet.’  Looks like $28. I take it. ‘We cool?’ He asks. I look down at the wad and go like ‘$28…?’ and his wife comes up and tells him to sit down and he goes ‘I’m not in control of my life’ and I go ‘ Yeah’ and he thanks me and I feel like it’s handled I mean, out of all these horrible, rich Christian cowboys and styrofoam wives I feel the most sympatico with him, the cocksucker, I point at him, I You The Man ‘im, pointing both fingers at him with my own mock-smile.  He goes back to his seat. I put the money in my pocket. A little later, I’m talking to Paul, the server, over my shoulder, I’m bitching at him about these people and telling him how the other bartender Dan, told me the ice tub I tried to hand him was too much.  It was too heavy for him, anyway, ‘Garbage people’, I tell Paul, ‘the only thing worse than wealthy people are wealthy Christians.’ That’s when Paul sees my man’s wallet on the floor behind his chair. Paul gives it to him and the guy gives him shit for it in his joking-cocksucker way.  Anyway later on he’s back at my bar with some horrible fucking Trumper beside him and he’s telling him, about me, ‘This guy knows all about me and he hates me, all about me and he hates me, right?’  and I go ‘Well, I don’t really know you.’ And it’s just like, acrimonious.  Dude doesn’t get the joke, of fucking course he doesn’t and him and his buddy mutter and stand at my bar and his friend goes ‘He’s going to murder you’ and he goes ‘I’m gonna murder him’ and he looks at me and I go ‘But I’ve got your driver’s license.’ He looks at me and it’s not funny anymore. ‘Did you check?’  Give him the mock-smile again. I go ‘I took it from your wallet, chimcharee. Let’s play.’ ‘I like you, I like this guy,’ he goes, to his friend, ‘I like how he operates…’
So, they auction their bullshit, whoop it up in their money church and get wine drunk and it’s getting close to quitting time. The boss, the guy who hired us for the night, grew up with my boss and he’s fucking weird and wealthy and fucking weird and he doesn’t know how to talk to anybody who’s had to work for a fucking living and he goes  ‘You wanna stay? You wanna go ‘cause I don’t need all of you’ and me and Paul and Dan are standing there and I go ‘I’ll go.’ and the dude gets even weirder now because it’s time to pay us and he doesn’t know how to handle it anyway I turn to Dan the other bartender and say ‘You gonna stay?’  But what I mean is ‘You are going to stay.’ and he goes ‘Yeah’ so I go ‘Have a good night!’ Mock-smile and pat him on the arm.
So we’re standing back in a dark hallway, waiting, me and Paul. Some big lady appears on the other side of a glass door and hands the guy 2 envelopes. He gives ‘em to us says it’s been an honor asks Who’s pen? it was a nice pen so I say ‘I’ll take it’ and I put it in my pocket and we leave.”

“What’d you make?”
“Counting the cocksucker’s $28 and a $10 from the event planner’s jerkoff husband I made $158 for 4 hours…”
“He was paying you for being a bad person, Jim.  I would kill for the kind of night you had…call me when you’re in, I’ve gotta put him down…”

Butch’s Father broke his arm when he was a kid.  He had to get to the ER somehow and somehow he did.  The last time Butch saw his dad was on Father’s Day and he choked him where he stood, on his porch.  Then Butch got on his bike, a Honda, and rode to the GM’s of this restaurant we worked at, bartending at the time, and choked him too.  That place burned to the ground last Spring. Back in Philly. Butch is inexhaustible with his son. Infinite patience. He works graveyard at a plastics molding foundry and before he goes in he puts his kid to bed.  Talking to him, calm and steady, putting him to bed and being, against all odds and every impulse and hereditary factor he is somehow gentle with him.  Where he learned how to be gentle growing up where we did I’ve no idea or maybe he’s learning now I hear him, talking being gentle now, over the phone and I hear his son answer half-asleep, just total innocence and love, like only a child should and anyway at ease and comforted and safe and with love and wonder and impossibly gentle. That’s where Butch gets it from.  He’s learning how to be gentle from his son.

“Alright man, let me put him down.  You are out of your mind.”
“Alright man, I am out of my mind.”

And I end the call and make it home and pull into the drive.  I throw a steak on and put this Paul Simon song on, “Duncan”.  The house is empty, the housemates gone, moved out this morning.  I put this Paul Simon song on and dance like a lunatic on the part with the Irish pan-flute or whatever it is.  I dance like a madman–wild, embarrassingly flailing should anybody see me, and look through the window under the full moon out there–at a stag poet dancing in his serving whites, wine key and ones everywhere. Unhinged and free and lonely as a loon.

  1. Whoa! What a night! I turn the music on in the morning and dance around while getting ready. Drives my son insane. I wonder what stories he will tell of me when he’s grown. Your friend’s life sounds like it could be turned into a Simon and Garfunkel ballad like “The Boxer”. However, Butch’s story seems to have a more triumphant ending. Hope he continues to break the cycle. His son is a lucky boy and you are a lucky guy to have a friend you can get your night’s events out to. Everyone needs someone like that.

    • You’ve got to rattle your chains, right Annemarie? “Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.”-Charles Bukowski. Butch is a muse and a legend and a good friend and obviously great to talk to. Read his comment (and my response) below. Thank you for reading my Friend.

  2. Jim, i love you. Sitting in this lunch room, listening to the din of four different languages be spoken between bites. All of us racing against the boss’s time clock, i want you to know brother, i have love for you and know your sun light today, its the same as mine…and thats enough. Keep burning it down.

    • I love you too, my man. I’m so glad you’re in the world. Meeting you wasn’t an accident. This is our mythology. Our work will save us.

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