local watering hole

The smoky ambiance, cheap and woody, from the bar long into the night. On the walls, countless bottles of cheap booze, illuminated by a red light, making alcohol so pretty, shining and luring like the devil’s own breath.

By the counter, the construction workers and their fatty bellies, their dirty mouths like a sailors’ and their sly looks, talk about soccer and women and daily things. Among friends, they laugh loudly of their sexist jokes, the sounds of pouring down shots mingled with the old songs from the speakers. The radio station is always terrible but puts us in the mood for drinking and being merry. The bartender, who is also the waiter and the cook knocks down a few shots to shoo boredom away. And the workers, oh boy, do they laugh. Their fingers, like drumsticks, swollen from the liver diseases grasp clear glasses, and their shiny foreheads sweat from being over forty and overweight, heated from gin and cachaça if it was a bad month, and from the lack of ventilation.

These men are always the same, all sweet talk, buttering up a black-eyed girl and her friend, yellow-haired, keeping the cheap whiskey flowing, trying to get in any girl’s panties. And smoke lingers in the air, masking the scent of musky cologne and the smell of the dirty bathroom floors and even dirtier toilets. A thick screen of smoke, yellow-filter Marlboros hanging from yellow teeth. And the smell of scotch on every breath and the sly smiles. The hour ticks. The booze is cheap and endless, as long as a girl knows how to flirt.

Soon, it is morning, the whole place feels like its melting – delirium – with the pool tables now silent and the corners holding a few asleep bodies, almost comas, drooling about and around. The early rays of light are never pretty and only the resilient barflys still hang around. And the states of minds are even worse, the fuzziness of being drunk like an iron helmet, heavy, hangin. Everything is very extreme and dingy, memories mingled, mangled.

And it is soon, just a little after having the last one for the road, that hell breaks loose. Usually, it is for a girl that the first punch is thrown, some other times just an exchange of harsh words due to excess of spirits, but Sunday mornings are always the same. And off we have to go, thrown out like dogs with scabies, bruised, a little beaten, but alive and ready to call it a night.

Breakfast will be served in the nearest street-corner bodega: bread and a chilling cold coke for the hangover, maybe eggs and a grilled cheese, if the stomach can handle, and off in the quest to find a cab that will take me home to pass out in my most confortable door step or, if I’m lucky, my living room’s clean and perfect floor.

And on Sunday, cruel, lifeless Sunday, even though my bones will ache from the cold of the floor tiles and my skin will burn a bit from the heat of the ten o’clock sun on the back of my sleep deprived head on the way back home, I’ll smile. I’ll laugh and recollect the past night dearly, even if I am still sweating the tobacco and the booze and the vomit – splattered by a weak boy that I drank under the table all over my shoes, covering my black pants like a badge of dirty honor, the smell packing my stomach so tight, in a knot, gagging . I’ll keep fond memories and love and cherish them, the sharp edges of everything, the black and the blue, away from the gray.

Truly a remarkable night, Saturday fantastic.

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