The Connection / 30 October 2006
I live in Denver now. The bar where I write is called The Connection. I like it because it’s dark and next door to the BBQ place. The men are quiet except maybe once an hour when they get really extremely loud. It reeks of sour deodorant. Good Times is usually on the TV, muted.
You can’t get beer there, and I like that, too. Guy who runs the place will make any cocktail as long as there are two ingredients or fewer. Happy hour is more like fifteen minutes but he whips up these tacos that basically punch a hole in your soul.
(Which reminds me, what is up with that BBQ place. You can only get takeout, and only from 3:30-5:00 PM, and you have to place an order a day in advance, and you get handed the damp white sack through a little window in the alleyway. I’m assuming it’s a front for something else but whatever because the barbecue is fucking sweet, son. Anyway, filing that away for later.)
Nobody stumbles into this bar. You know, just to check it out. The men were born in there. Yes I still get the stink eye and probably will for the rest of my life, but I didn’t stumble in there, either. My father said there was this guy I had to meet because he knew everything about dry cleaning, and man did he have some horror stories. I was all: What the hell kind of horror stories are there in dry cleaning. Pop was all: Hoo boy, prepare to have your hair professionally curled.
So I call this guy and he says to meet him at The Connection, which is I guess where he went to forget about all the crazy shit that went down with the martinizing machine or whatnot? But when I show up, I don’t see anyone with a white carnation in his lapel (that was probably a joke, anyway), and when I ask the bartender if he’s seen Mr. Clean or whatever his name was, he points his chin at an empty table in the far corner. He says: That’s where Mr. Clean sat every day, right up until today when his lady comes in here and says he’s dead, he’s dead, all raising a ruckus, blaming me for his cirrhosis, as if I held the man down for thirty years against his will.
I asked the bartender what he did and he shrugged, said: I don’t like ruckuses. I said I didn’t either, and looked around the place, already feeling queasy. What’s your policy on writers, I asked. He said: Good drinkers but bad with money, and usually homos. I nodded and ordered a whiskey with no e.
Got my drink, went and sat at Mr. Clean’s table and didn’t return the stares I got. I maybe imagined the shockwaves it sent through the place..? But still, it was a good feeling, and I went back the next night, and the next.