One For The Road 1:04 AM. Just rolled back in from Boston. Slept for 4 hours. Not tired. No, not in the slightest.
Makers on the rocks, please. Bartender pours me a generous glass and earns an extra-generous tip by placing a saucer on the bar in front of me. "You can smoke in here if you like."
There's no shit in my hair. It's down, parted from the right to the left as it naturally does. I'm wearing my black hoodie, black t-shirt, and the usual jeans. It's a school night, and that couldn't feel further from the truth.
I am Honkycracker once again.
The sky is all lit up. The buildings are not. The streets are dead, and the only people out now, well, we're all after the same thing.
I am on vacation, only not.
Boston was. I could go on, but I've done that before it would just be more of the same. But I got off that bus all cranky and shits and ran straight outside to smoke a cigarette, and I jumped for joy. Gangsta-types wearing hats with big red "B"'s on them. Thick accents bumming cigarettes. A downtown dead at 10:30. I could smell that dirty water.
All the crew was at the Courtside, so Stu – who made the trek to Boston with me – and I hopped a cab and went there ASAP. A block away I saw the green awning and jumped again.
The Shark was working the door. "We're at capacity. But you can come in."
"But that guy's gotta show ID."
Saturday night was a night of hitting old haunts. Fried pickles at Joe's. Molson's at Shay's. Whiskey at the Cellar. Ran into my old friend The Pribble. The Pribble and I used to work together back in the day, and both suffered through The Spitter Ordeal of ‘04. After I moved, we lost touch. I didn't have his new phone #, and I don't think he had mine. Every time I go back, I keep hoping that someone will have his number or know how to get in touch with him, but it never happens. Always liked hanging out with The Pribble.
And lo and behold, who walks in through the Cellar door? None other than The Pribble himself.
But I'm back now. No shit in my hair. No dressin' up. Me and my hoodie. Makers on the rocks. You can smoke in here. Back in the NYC.
I am still on vacation, only not.
A girl sits down next to me at the bar and notices I am breaking the law.
"I'm sorry to interrupt," she says to me, "but I was wondering if I could buy a cigarette off you."
"No you can't. Please, just take one."
She went back to her quiet, and I went back to mine.
I liked her because she left me alone. Alone to write this. That's respect. Or maybe just consideration. I often confuse the two.
The only people around right now, well, we're all after the same thing.
As I packed up my things and prepared for the train ride home, I pulled the cigarette pack out of my pocket and left one smoke on the bar right next to her. Out of respect.
""One for the road," I instructed her. "Good night."