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Colonel’s Orders?
The Cumberland Saloon, Washington State, 1/22/22
Loggers, bar flies, retired military and civilian aircraft mechanics, road workers and carpenters frequent this spacious dive bar, which is also, I think, called “City Hall.” The saloon is one of four buildings at town center that are not residential, one being a post office and the other a small grocery. Pickup trucks are the mainstay in the parking lot.
After a day of ditching The Colonel directed me to have a good time. I had not eaten since a light breakfast. The Colonel always wants to pay, so after he bought the first round and started a tab, I began to sneak up to the bar and buy my own drinks. The small, curvaceous, moon-faced brunette barmaid with the lip piercing and the ivy tattoos on her neck, in her torn tight jeans, and formfitting sweater seemed to have been sent by Robert E. Howard out of a weird tales story by way of a Seattle tattoo artist.
Santa Clause was an easy mark and I was soon returning to the bar for another eye full, which depleted like 7 of my $5 bills into the tip jar, as I drank doubles of over-proofed rum and cup pints of Mac and Jacks beer.
“What the hell is that, Sunshine, a glass of wine?”
“No Sir, Kraken Rum.”
“So long as nobody dies its a good time—live her up!”
There was a band, a base player, drummer, guitarist and singer that played 1970s music that was much to our boomer liking—hell, I hadn’t heard a Ted Nugent song since the early 1980s.
The lead guitarist had just married the lady in front of us, who introduced us to the band, we being the only people seated near the stage, the others all 30 feet off at the bar.
I began making a useful study of the musician by type, wondering how I’d train them to fight:
-The base player would be easy to teach shift-stepping to with a stick.
-The singer had a big head and short arms and the best sense of rhythm, peek-a-boo boxing.
-The lead guitarist was stiff and focused, straight punches and blades.
-The drummer, double stick and volume-pressure boxing.
They were all about 50, except for a real cute read head who I thought was with the base player. Getting drunk, I was like a one-eyed dog in a meat market—like, hell, I was.
The wife of the guitar player said, “Oh, she is not with anybody. She is available.”
Long hair.
Cute.
Big on top.
Little in the middle.
Big on the bottom.
The guys her age are suddenly poster children for Ageless Male Enhancement treatment…
The entire caveman checklist was marked off in the affirmative and I took the suggestion and bought the lady a beer.
Six shoots and five beers in, things were getting a bit fuzzy. I remember watching The Colonel dancing with the guitarist’s wife like a wild man in his boots and them both hitting the wooden deck. He recovered from the floor like a young buck, literally throwing the woman up onto her feet as he leaped off his back and continued the dance.
I don’t dance. Well, I did dance once, in Cody Wyoming, in a camper, with this big crazy Viking-Indian, also known as The Colonel, after drinking a bottle of whiskey with him. He was insisting on teaching me a couple steps in case we met any ladies at a bar.
So, not recalling how I ended up on the dance floor, I will blame it on The Colonel, assuming that he said something like, “Sunshine, that’s a mighty fine Philly there not to be dancing with.”
Well, I found myself on the dance floor, for two full songs. I gather that this was under the pretense of me dancing. However, all I remember was holding her hand over her head so that she would spin around and I could stop staring at her breasts and stare at her stumpendous buttocks. On occasion I would remember Sweet City’s voice echoing in my mind, “I have a face you know,” and I’d look upward and down into her eyes and she’d smile kind of bashfully and turn around, looking over her shoulder with a half smile as the caveman matrix lit up, “Look at dat azz…”
No, I do not recall her name, but I could pick her figure out of a lineup.
I recall The Colonel telling me, “Alright Sunshine, it’s your stop.”
I am told that it took fifteen minutes for me to get in the door, something like 2 feet per minute.
I remember standing next to The Captain in the kitchen as he gave me a B-vitamin and held up a liter of Kirkland whiskey and said, “Nige, you up to lead the Nigerian Cribbage Team to Victory?”
Then the concerned snow white face of The Captain’s Wife looked up into my eyes with worry as I made inarticulate sounds, seeming to wonder if I was alive, or rather, ‘How could he still be alive?’
I felt The Captain’s hand on my back and woke ten hours later as the door was opened and his wife said, “Just checking to make sure you’re okay—do you need a Tylenol?”
I was fine, no hangover. I then noticed that the heater was pointed at me and that I had been debooted and undressed by someone who folded clothes and had to yank my boots off and had pointed the heater at the bed rather than at the clothes drying rack as I did.
What an angel.
The Captain said the next day at dinner, “Nige, my wife asked me for help getting your ass into the pump room and I said, “No! Let that Nigerian sleep in the yard!”
Well, that cleared the Brovid Jiveteen plague fog from my head. That foggy mind after a cold or flu persisting for weeks is something I have never experienced that some of the afflicted around me have also dealt with. It is also something that seems to have afflicted some I know who got jabbed.
Well, in a world of change it is nice to have friends, especially when you’re strange.
Thank you Jenna Bug, also known as Mamma Bear, for not letting me sleep it off in the yard.
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