Tracy was in from LA.
Before her arrival and she sent out an email garnering the local troops to meet at a hole-in-the-wall for a few beverages and a catch-up on the goings on of friends and things.
She summonsed a lot of folks. A lot of folks, in fact, from back in the day. Including one fella I hadn’t seen in years. Mistah Choo.
Mister Choo, where were you?
So, I face Mister Choo. Someone I’d known fairly well a few years ago. He was in this crappy band that played crappy Replacements covers and even crappier original songs in dingy basements where people drank tepid beer out of $3 cups.
And we get to talking, Mister Choo and I.
We talk as we move, maneuvering around the old men with veiny, bulbous noses and wrinkled hands trying to english the perfect shot at the pool table covered in rough green felt stained with remnants of spilled beer and Wild Turkey.
He laughs and mentions Pete, Mister Choo, does.
Pete. Fellow member of the crappy Replacements cover band with even crappier originals.
I’ve never thought of Pete than anything more than a friend ever.
I had forgotten about him.
I remember, him.
It was one of those nights in one of those crappy basements after their crappy Replacements cover band was done playing to a crowd that filled the dingy basement beyond capacity – a living fire hazard you don’t think about when you are in the middle of a million other people having a good time. Dangerous.
Another band was playing then, crappy Ska - grandma! shampoo! grandma! shampoo! and I was perched on the rickety wooden basement stairs talking to Pete – late autumn and it was freezing cold –barely noticed even - I was wearing black tights and flimsy skirt, clumsy Docs and an old hooded sweat shirt - my knuckles were pink and my breath escaped like cartoon-thought bubbles every time I laughed.
Pete was standing next to me, talking with one hand snug in his coat pocket – the other hand waving. Animated. Telling a story. Smoking a cigarette. I have no recollection what-so-ever of what he was saying - only when he was done speaking he stopped moving his hand and someone bumped his elbow so his cigarette just slightly tapped my knee and instantly it burned a perfect. tiny. little. circular hole in the tights I was wearing.
Right in the center of my knee.
And it didn’t hurt or anything. I barely felt it at all, really - the cigarette. But Pete was mortified and apologize profusely and took his free, warm hand from his pocket and brushed my knee and the tiny little perfect burned hole – his warm hand brushing a few ashes off my cold knee and all of the sudden I couldn’t hear that crappy Ska band at all anymore and it felt.
It felt like. It felt like those ancient rickety wooden stairs collapsed. Right underneath me.
I keep talking to Mister Choo. We maneuver around the old men in blue collar work shirts spinning around the pool table.
I smile and I talk.
And it occurs to me.
I haven’t felt like that in a really long time.