Thursday, January 22, 2009

...with my good eye closed...

“Can I buy you a drink?” He repeated, this time his face beginning to blush.

My betting line was taking much longer than usual. I wasn’t so sure who to hate more. The woman at the counter, with her orange-pink hair that matched her pink-orange press-on fingernails…or each fat, balding, cigar-smoking better clogging up the line. Two minutes until post time, the man directly in front of me, spending an eternity on placing his bet, continued to wave his stubby arms while adjusting his thick glasses and reinserting his non-lit cigar nub back into his mouth every 3 seconds.

I found myself drowning my thoughts with the guitar solo from Soundgarden’s “Good Eye Closed.” When the music flows from my mp3 player, into my ears, into my brain, and throughout my bloodstream, it’s a drug I enjoy.

I enjoy riding away from reality…envisioning scenarios of absolute absurdity. Motion Picture Epic clips…the ceiling collapsing, perhaps.

I check the rafters. Steel. Pity. Steel is faily firm.

Refocus, Fat man still waving…cigar still unlit...

A flood. All the money floating from the cash registers…coins sinking…the unaware, and drunk, lingering on the bottom…me, floating and pocketing wet hundreds at the top…

He appeared out of nowhere, tapping me on the shoulder, saying something.

I rip out my headphones, “I’m sorry, what?”

“Can I buy you a drink?” He repeated, this time his face beginning to blush.

“No, thanks. I never touch the shit.” I replied automatically, while turning back to see it was finally my turn to bet. Miss Orange-pink waiting almost impatiently, “Thanks, anyhow.” I said while I took a step forward, “I’ll take $10 on the 1 to win.”

As I reached the last set of double doors at the racetrack, a thought hit me. Like a Mac Truck to a Chevy Luv on the freeway a midnight. In the rain. Going downhill without brakes on black ice.

He asked to buy me a drink. I’ve never so much as talked with the guy a day in my life. Why would I? He was this zillionaire horse owner, trainer, driver…I was just a handicapper. I mean, it was cool and everything, that he was trying to talk with me…but why would he care if I was thirsty or not?

A photo finish. Damn it! Why would there have to be so many photo finishes when it’s 2 degrees outside, pouring down rain? As I watched the instant replay of the finish, I clearly saw I won. I opted to return to Soundgarden and images of catastrophic fun. Looking around for structural weaknesses or other causes for calamity, I saw him through one of the windows. Smiling and raising his glass at me, I wondered how long I had been staring in his direction without noticing him. Instantly I was aware of the contrast, him sitting amidst all of the beautiful women and successful men…the skimpy dresses and 3 piece suits…the ambient lighting and energy-efficient heaters…HDTV’s and booming house music…

Me: blinking in the misty rain while wiping my nose with my glove. I waved back.

“It’s official,” is echoed on the steely speakers overlooking the winner’s circle…myself and a couple of fat, balding men slowly walk back to our eternal line from before. Miss Orange-Pink has been replaced by an elderly woman with a wig so black, it could be imagined a black cat fell asleep on her head, having been drawn to her from an uncontrollable attraction to her blinking fake gold lucky dice earrings.

“With my good eye closed,”…the realization of his encounter resurfacing to my puzzled mind…escaping again…I see the building fill with water…coins and drunks to the bottom…hundreds and me, scrambling atop…

but this time…also afloat...atop…smiling…warm…him…waving me over…