I’m sitting in this shabby bar somewhere out on the fringes. I’m working on my third bourbon. It’s going down smooth and slow and I’m just enjoying it. The bar is kinda dark cause the lights are all dim – “romantic” is what they call it, though there isn’t any reason to think that romance ever saw the inside of this joint. Maybe some grab and grind in the back booth between a hooker of faded glory and some over the hill accountant looking for his wild. But romance? Nah.
But so anyway, this guy walks in. He sits on the stool two over from me. He orders a drink and then starts muttering about who knows what. I ignore this guy until I hear him mutter a little louder and he says “Bukowski.”
“Bukowski, mutter mumble mutter mumble mumble.”
I start to pay a little more attention, trying to figure out this guy’s level of crazy. The range is anywhere between garden variety nut job and certified psycho and I can’t tell yet where he fits on it.
Then he says: “Bukowski. Greatest goddamn writer of the twentieth century.”
OK, so I know the name. Never read any Bukowski though I’m willing to. I’m getting interested in this guy. Maybe he’s not way out on the psycho end of the spectrum. So I ask him, “What’s your story, Bub? You a big Bukowski fan?”
He looks at me like a deer caught in the headlights. I buy him another drink and we started to talk, two guys who have seen better days. The guy called himself “Tarmac.” Don’t ask me why. He said something about his dirigible and Tierra del Fuego. Sounded like a pretty sweet ride.
What I didn’t know at the time was this guy is some kind of a writer. He came looking for me for some damn interview. Lucky for him I’d already had a couple of shots before he walked in. Otherwise I never would have told him anything about Dr. Fu-Manchu. Liquor loosens lips.
This is what he got me to admit to. Even though he romanced it up a bit.
And by the way, he’s a pretty good poet. And a pretty good photographer. I’ve never been a hearts and flowers guy, and he doesn’t write hearts and flowers poetry. Give him a try. His stuff sounds like it came from that gin joint we met in. And yeah, the pictures are his and it’s the bar we met in. Complete with the stuffed bear.