My two friends ranged the vicinity looking for some ladies to join us. But this was really not the bar for that. There were women, but the male patrons had a proprietary eye on them. Actually it was more like, “Look at her and I’ll skull-fuck you.”
There’s always a mix of candy-ass wannabe’s in any bar, even one like this. But most of these dudes looked the real deal. No doubt they’d put some skull-fuckery on guys that crossed them or eyeballed their girls.
We were passing through and had stopped for a drink. I was on crutches with a broken ankle. Not able to drive (we were in a manual transmission, stick-shift, car) I planned to do some serious drinking. My friends might need to carry me; I’d done it for them before.
The bar was pure country music redneck biker. Now, my childhood root music was country and western… a lot of Patsy Cline and Hank Williams (my parent’s favorites). Then as I got older, I was into rock and roll as musically I moved away from it. But I do like a good, rollickin’, country song.
This song came on (the music clip below). And it happened I knew it from a friend who had played the damned thing over and over. So I started to sing along. I was getting into it and one of the girls nearby began to watch me.
I noticed so I sang to her. “I’ll hang around as long as you will let me…” I got up on my crutches, cause when you’re singing to a lady you have to stand and move with the music. I continued to sing; the girl came closer and touched, then stroked, my arm. [I was wearing a form-fitting, British Party, Great Britain flag t-shirt from a pub in Gibraltar.
Let me back up and give you the big picture. So there I was. A short-haired military, Navy, guy in a long-hair, redneck, biker bar. Now this was back when those in service weren’t admired as much as they are today; the unfortunate legacy of the Vietnam war that took years to fade. There was a nearby Army base and it was kind of like the scene in Officer and A Gentleman… the locals didn’t care for service guys.]
I’d just sung this line to her, “You never even called me by my name…” when the music stopped. A large, beer-bellied, biker at a table beside ours stood up looking pissed off and let me know about it. There were some words, close contact and a crutch used tactically–I jabbed him in the chest with it–the biker dude backed off. But his friends were gathering. It was time to go before shit got real ugly. My friends and I had our heads on a swivel. I watched my back especially since I was hindered by the broken ankle. I downed my drink and we left. The girl followed me out.
“You want to go someplace nicer?”
“I’m with some friends.” I cocked my thumb at my buddies.
“They can follow us.” She motioned for me to come with her.
I looked at my friends. “You guys okay with that?” I got two thumbs up.
She was walking faster than me on my crutches to a large Chevy pickup truck with a king cab. She opened the door, reached behind the driver’s seat and took out a bag. I had started to go around and get in but stopped. From the bag, she took out a dress. As I watched she stripped. Under the light of the parking lot lamppost I saw a collection of tattoos on her arms, that filled her back, ran across her shoulders and turned into an intricate design down to her breasts. It might have covered them since they seemed to go into her bra. She slipped the dress over her head, settled and straightened it. The ink on her chest merged with the front of the dress. Brushing her hair back, she turned to me.
“You gonna get in?”
I hustled around to the passenger side. When I got in, a bit awkwardly maneuvering crutches and cast, I sat on something big and hard. I pulled it out from underneath my ass. It was a loaded, safety on, (always check a gun when you pick it up) Ruger.357 Magnum Blackhawk. I knew the gun and had fired one several times—a helluva kick and serious punching power. I held it up and she reached to take it from me.
“For protection.” She smiled and set it beside her.
About fifteen minutes later we were at a politer bar that played a mix of blues and jazz. We, with my two friends, spent a pleasant evening drinking and talking. At the end of the evening, she gave me a kiss and off she went with her truck and gun. And my friends and I motored on, too.
An Interesting Sidenote About This Song: When Alpha and Beta were about six years old this song happened to play on the radio while we were out driving. I started to sing along. And I do put myself into the song. I guess it made an impression. That evening they asked me, “Dad can you sing that song?”
“The one about the mom in prison.”
So I did and from time to time I’ll break it out. And they give me great big smiles.
Postscript: as I wrote this, while playing the song, Alpha and Beta came out of their rooms and smiled at me. Later that evening I heard them playing it and singing along.