I'll be in the bar, with my head on the bar

The system is a liar. The system says if you work hard enough, for long enough, you make reality out of whimsy and desire. If you move to sunnier shores and pour it all out all over the asphalt, through the streets and down the drains it will accumulate and come back to you, and you’re earning it.

The truth was scrawled out by a man who died of wisdom a long long time ago. Even if you’re quick, you might still lose. If you’re ripped you might still get pinned down. If you’re smart, someone who fell into a pile of money by mistake will take it all home at the end of the day, while you miss the boat. It’s well and truly random. So what do you do?

I’m sure you can think of a few options, but since we engrave much prose here about the past, you’re probably guessing that my solution (like a weak, luke-warm coffee) is to pull what’s gone out into the present and fall into it like a musty net. While we’re lying here in it together, maybe our random success will finally show. Who knows?

I’m 20-something boxing up CDs and laserdiscs (the last time they’ll see fluorescent lights). Taking a sledge-hammer to the bins and shelves that stood like stubborn children while the 90’s wore on and made them obsolete. My arms are too weak to do real damage, so it’s fortunate dry rot has already set in underneath all the red and black lamination.

My boss and his significant other hover over the ancient inventory computer system, now sitting on the ground, scanning box after box of worthless media while it glares back at them with an angsty green glimmer. I glance over to them as I give one last meager push before the last of the casings split and slump to ground. Easy child, you’ve seen your last quiet night.

My phone rings. It’s a friend over at the local high-end hotel. The kind of high-end that possesses a surprisingly low-end bar and grill crammed awkwardly next to the lobby. He tells me I need to drop what I’m doing. He tells me he’s been hanging out with his latest crush whose the bartender of the night. He tells me that Bill Murray is in the flesh.

I’m the last employee to set foot in the place, and as I leave a tad early, I’m the last one to mildly disappoint my employer. Years later I’d idly pull up and stare at the ice cream shop that would replace the store. I’d wonder if it’s irony that the GameStop next door is still thriving. But we have to be getting back to the past, because if I digress too long this moment may slip away from us and I’ll revert to leaving one echo for another one. A lousy cheater who can't sit still.

I open the door and there’s a pleasant din hovering in midair. It’s a cool, early spring night after a merciless Connecticut winter, so the heat is still on making it roughly 80 degrees, enough to sweat. I grab the seat at the bar and greet the young lady. I nod to my friend and scan the room.

Sure enough, it’s him. Strange chance, laughing at a table with his producer. Memory is making up the blanks now so I’ll say he’s finishing up a steak and sipping on a whisky & ginger ale. All that might be added texture that this memory needs bad, so you’ll just have to forgive. Be like Bill, who’s gregarious and gracious as people come up to fawn and shake his hand.

My friend is bold. I am not. I’ve recently discovered that some think I’m funny, but it’s not enough to find myself looking down at the man while he looks back up at me politely. I’ll observe from afar like I always do. My friend comes back over to me and punches me on the arm, annoyed like he always is that I don’t lack more decorum. He should have know that I’d be right where he left me, with my head on the bar (thanks to Morrissey).

I shrug it off, and we bring our jack and cokes over to an empty table as the music starts. My friend is tone-deaf, and he grabs the mic and blurts out the Cure (again, missing texture, I have no idea). Bill is not tone deaf. He treats the partitioners, his temporary friends, to a rendition of Fight For Your Right complete with some light moshing. He caps it off with Brandy You’re a Fine Girl, a song I’m hearing for the first time. That week, the man would wrap Broken Flowers and retreat to his accidental victory.

On my way home I pass by the store. The sign is off. The lights are out. The dumpster taking up 4 parking spots is full. I barely slow down on the quiet street, and the scene passes out of my periphery.

Hey, look at that whimsy and desire showed up without any intervention from us. All we had to do tonight was stay up late. If you need me, you know when to find me.