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Thursday, April 28, 2005/2:00 PM

Here's a new idea for the Ob-Zurd page. I've decided to once a week post bits and pieces of my stories. I figure what the hell, for those of my friends that do stop in they'll have something to read. And if no one comes by to read, well at least i'll feel like i'm accomplishing something. This week's selection is from my short story entitled "Dreaming Blind" (see silly time-wasting doctored photo below lol) Enjoy.... or not.

You can’t imagine how much the question comes up during the course of a day. It doesn’t matter how long someone has known me. It doesn’t matter where I am. It doesn’t matter if we were talking about baseball, politics or even the newest tattoo someone at the table had done. At some point it gets asked and then I have to come up with an answer.
“Whas’it like?” they say as if it’s not a rude question. Of all the things to ask someone like me. “Whas’it like” and now the garlic laden, Old Spiced drenched tit rubbing a squeaking pint glass while hovering over me has finally gotten around to it.
To my left the establishment’s door bell tinkles as its hinges grind together. Another patron crams himself inside. A cheer goes up not far from the entrance. Apparently the party is over there. I don’t bother to turn my head. What would be the point? The barman squeaks his glass again. He’s closer now. No doubt he thinks I didn’t hear him. Sliding a dollar along the coarse bar counter, I feel the ghosts of ladies heels, spilled drinks and cigarette burns dimpled into the wood. With my other hand I reach out and draw my shot inward. Tired, I refuse to smile when answering him. “Dark” I say and keep my head pointed steadily towards him. Whas’it like…how the hell should I know? Not like I have anything to compare it to. Not even sure it’s all that dark.
Old Spice grunts, unamused by my short answer. What the hell did he want, a five page essay, double spaced with references? Unlike others before him, he wisely backs away and goes to greener pastures. Nice to see someone still recognizes the art of passive aggressiveness. I hear him finally putting up the dried glass and hurrying to answer the cries of another dry soul.
“Don’t start,” I say. I had felt his arms stiffening beside; my personal angel of mercy preparing for judgment. “I thought I was very well behaved.” No answer. He’s still there though. I can smell the cheap hotel soap he stole from work. At least this hotel offered a sweeter smell, hell of a lot better than the vanilla crap he use to get. Running a finger over the lip of my shot glass I judge the distance to my face and kick my head back, snapping my wrist a bit as the cold container brushes my lips. Finished, I slap the glass back upside down on the counter. Not really sure why I do this. I’m told it looks cool. He mutters something in German. He’s not German and I certainly don’t speak the language, which is why he does. Says it give him a leg up on me. As if being able to actually see what’s going on around us wasn’t enough of a head start.
Old Spice returns. The stink of garlic has been buried under peppermint schnapps and I can’t decide if this is an improvement. “Look, I didn’t mean nuffin’”
“Nobody ever does.” I say.
My angel sighs. Old Spice is quiet. Best guess, he’s sizing up my escort now. After another second of silence he tries again. “It’s just,” he leans close, apparently I’m deaf too. “Well, we ain’t never seen eyes like that.”
“I’ll have to take your word on that.”
“They’re almost white.”
My angel shifts away from me. He won’t say anything. Not unless this gets completely out of control. My hand closes over the shot glass, spinning it, rolling it from the tips of my fingers to the base of my palm. I turn my head away, pretending to look… to see. I look at the door, I think. “If you say so.”
Old Spice waits, I suspect he’s trying to decide if I’m pulling one over on him. This isn’t uncommon. Believe it or not it’s pretty damn easy to look like you know what’s going on around you. Dad once said folks don’t like it when you look 'em in the eye… we’re a bit like cats that way. I begin to look all over now. To my right, more voices, mostly female. Probably having a girl’s night out. Haven’t had one of those in years. To my left the party rages on. Another barman is waiting on folks at the far end of the corner. Sounds like a group of old bar flies liquoring him up in hopes of taking him up that night. The girls in the corner unleash a rain of giggles across the room. Turning back to Old Spice I nod my head in their direction. “I want what they’re having.”
“Hear… how can you… you are blind, yeah?”
“Get her drink.” Behold he speaks, my own private angel. Old Spice slips away again, probably startled that the Native American looking brute to my right actually has a voice. Most people are. Who the hell wouldn’t be caught off-guard to see a pure-bred Mohawk Indian sitting in a British-themed pub? To add insult to injury he had insisted upon coming out tonight wearing a brown t-shirt reading: Sitting Bull got $%*^$! Sitting Bull wasn’t a Mohawk, but my mentioning of this has yet to deter him from wearing the thing. Still, I suppose it’s better than his Geronimo T-shirt that shows a flattened stick figure and horse at the bottom of a ravine with a smear of red squirting from the figure’s head and X’s for eyes. I have no idea where he gets these things from, but I wish he’d stop. At least I managed to get him to put an old black jacket over it. Of course I’m sure his favorite green sneaks found a way onto his feet… and they say I’m blind.
The bar flies’ voices raise, kicking into a mocking fervor. Apparently they want something the younger barman doesn’t know how to mix. Figures Mazzi would pick a dive with sub-rate tenders. I’m not entirely sure why I let him decided where to start the evening to begin with. The Rook’s Nest was hardly a place I’d find myself in. Hundreds of anglophiles and British exiles line the walls, each hoping to grasp onto a second’s worth of real king and country atmosphere. Forget that. Give me a basement bar with a screeching Cobain wannabe or Vicious and Rotten followers with plastic cups full of truly mixed drinks. While My Guitar Gently Weeps kicks out over the Rook’s sound system. It’s the seventh Beatles song since Mazzi and I strolled inside only an hour earlier. Mom had liked them. Paul in particular. Said he had sad eyes and with that shaggy hair. What girl wouldn’t find herself on the floor? But no matter how amazing my mother assured me they were, I just can’t get behind them. Well, except for their version of Twist and Shout. There’s a youthful anger there… yeah, that is sexy.
Old Spice drops off my drink, but doesn’t stay this time. Mazzi’s interjection has shaken him. He’s good like that. Pulling the drink in, I feel for the thin straw and knock the ice against the glass. “Vodka… orange juice… it’s a screwdriver.”
Mazzi takes my drink and has a quick sip from the side. Letting out a small cough he hands it back. “Christ I hate the Russians.”
I smile remembering his run in with two bottles of Smirnoff, our front steps and the neighbor’s Volvo last winter. I’d never been in the back of police cruiser before that. Smelled like wet dog and men’s socks. This was only mildly improved when Mazzi lost both bottles and every beer nut and pretzel he had devoured since leaving our home that evening. Ah the memories.
“Drink up,” Mazzi says. He clinks his own glass against the growing army of empties before him. I’ve lost count, but I’m sure I’ve heard more than three bottle caps hiss themselves free. “don’t forget we’re celebrating.”
Forget? How could I, as this is the third time it has been brought it up in the past hour. Yeah, how could anyone forget that we’d soon be parting ways. You see, Thomas Perceval Masbeth is going to die in the morning.

He says he’s lucky. Only a few souls on this spinning globe know when they’re going to kick off. Fewer yet know the actual time of death. Mazzi knows that at five thirty tomorrow morning he’ll be fitted for a nice black plastic bag with a zipper.

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