Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Oktober the Twenty-Fourth: Light Footed

Sliding in under the finish line, here, at just midnight. I think you can tell, atfer reading this, I could use a

Peace, Mari


Light Footed

By Mari Kozlowski

 Mack floats over to the bar and I get ready. New joke, new drink, gin based. I slide the glass in front of him. His hands are shaking a little tonight, but he manages to get it up to his mouth okay.


 The Cure song he put in on the juke starts playing, crazy loud. A half dozen couples or so get up to dance.

 “Not sure about this mix, Anna.”

 Another sip, a little drip on his chin. I give him a napkin and he wipes it off, slow. Too slow.

 "I know you’re shaking Mack, so cut out trying to hide it. Did you take your meds today?”

 He shakes his head no, and tries another little sip. His face is somewhat pale.

“I brought them for here, though. I was afraid I might choke, so I didn’t take them alone.”

“Great. Then give me that.”

 I try to grab the frothy green drink away, but he holds onto it with unexpected strength.

“Fine. Then what do you think? Should I bother naming it?”

 Mack smiles, showing his bad gums. And takes a long sip.

“It’s good. Really. The perfect drink for a fag bar.”

 He sets down the glass, and I see the tremor. He can barely hold the fucking thing unless it’s being pulled away from him.

“It’s needs a name,” he says, eyeing it.

 The froth is dying down, making the bright emerald tone look deeper, now. Sort of luminous pine. Pretty.

“I know,” he says, “SuperQueer Soda!”

 We both burst out laughing. He takes another sip, and I top off his sidecar glass with some more from the shaker. And pour one for myself, since technically he isn’t supposed to have booze at all. It’s astringent, at first, but the taste grows on you.

“How about The Green Dragon?” I ask.

 He rolls his pretty eyes at me.

“Way too Bilbo Baggins. Though he was suspiciously happy as a bachelor in the old Shire.”

“And friends with all his young cousins, too.”

 “Makes you wonder if there’s a good reason Gandalf’s fireworks were legendary…”

 And I do a spit take, as they say. 

“Oh, shit. You almost made me piss myself, Mack.”

 I wipe my mouth, now, and pour us off the last of my new concoction. Which still doesn’t have a name.

“Heard a new one this morning at Denny’s,” I say, and he motions me to go on while drinking his green stuff.

“How many homophobes does it take to screw in a light bulb?”

 Another Cure song comes on, of course. Mack moves a little to the rhythm and thinks for a second. The music is so loud I barely hear his answer.

“I give up. How many?”

 I lean in so I can yell in his ear.

“Two,” I yell, “One to hold onto the socket while the other guy does the job, and one to tell the first guy he’s not gay if he wasn’t the one screwing it in.”

 I laugh, Mack doesn’t. A big sweaty guy puffs down onto the barstool next to him and signals me over.

“Honey, that old chestnut is older than my chestnuts. And they’ve been roasted for years.”

“Shoulda known you’d heard it before.”

 I sigh and go to take care of Sweaty Guy, then come back. Mack is on his last sip, and there’s about to be waves of thirsty dancers coming at me. Pretty good for an off night.

“We still need to name this drink.” I tell him. “What about Lime Loafer?”

“There isn’t enough lime for that.” Mack says. “Besides, it’s shouldn’t have a silly name. It’s too good.”

 Reprieve! An Alice in Chains hit, and everybody but Mack is dancing, even Sweaty Guy.

“Thanks, Mack, I’m touched.”

 He looks at me, serious.

“I mean it. It needs the right name— something pretty, and a little mysterious. It’s soft, but it burns nice in your throat after a while.”

“Not too much bitters?

“No. Can I have some water for my pills before you get too busy too watch?”

 He pulls out his six bottles and takes the pills he needs, one by one. I give him the last green sip of my drink to wash away the taste and relax his throat again.

“It reminds me of the smell of the woods when I was kid,” he says, “When I used to run for hours, trying to burn off my sex drive.”

“So maybe we should name it Light in the Loafers.”

“What is your loafer obsession today?” he moans. Then snaps his fingers.

“Got it! Your homo-feeble rambling inspired me.”


 He’s gonna draw it out. And Sweaty Guy is on his way back, with a friend in tow.

“Light-Footed.” he purrs, smiling ear to ear.

“That’s good,” I admit, “I think that’s the one.”

“Then you should pay me another shaker full.”

 I start moving towards Sweaty Guy and Co. Fighting with Mack over booze is a pain. 

“You don’t think that’s too much, for the night?”

 Mack sighs and leans over the bar.

“Everything is too much. When you have cancer, then you can tell me not to medicate myself if you want.” 

“Give me a sec,” I tell him, and finish pouring the shots for Sweaty Guy. Who looks very interested in what I mix in the shaker afterwards.

“Hey, what is that?” he asks, and Mack turns to him, proud as shit.

“She named it after me, in honor of my youthful urges.”

 I pour a shot of it for SG and his gal pal to taste, and they dig it.

“Good for dancers,” I tell them, “I call it Light Footed.”

 I think it’s going to be a hit.

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