One Night in San Juan (Part Two)

After some investigation, I had determined that there was no Brother Jimmy in the place; the bartender wasn’t even named James.  This was a big letdown, and after the Air Force left, and I hogged down my cheesecake in four bites, I made my disgust known to Mike.

“T-T-these t-two aren’t…anyfunatall” I slurred to him loudly, gesturing wildly to the couple sitting next to us at the bar.  They glared at me.  I stuck out my tongue.

“Check, please!” sang Mike (sounding so much like SWS that I was impressed).

“Let’s BLOW this popstand!” I shouted. And then we were in the elevator, headed back to the stompers.


But the stomping had ended in the indeterminable amount of time we had spent pickle juicing with the Air Force (and then making out, alone, in the atrium).  All remnants of the SWS had been swept away, replaced instead by a Hispanic Gangster with turntables [Editors Aside: can a white girl who grew up in the suburbs,and then moved to the hood, and then BACK to the suburbs use the word cholo in any reasonable capacity?)
Anyway, Mike was looking fairly weary, but I was getting a 5th wind.  Besides, there was a scene brewing—I could feel it.  Little did I know it was one right out of a porno.

This is the bar, but these people look NOTHING like the patrons there that night

Because I like listening to people and making new ” friends” ( that I can, in turn, write about and mock)
I have uncovered a few secrets to locating the best seat at the bar for a writer.

1) Find the loudest people
and 2) Find the drunkest

Since this is often us, I often have to divert to the runners up in both categories, but in general, this strategy works well in finding the most blogworthy friends.  In this case, my radar was spot on.

“ummmmmm….THEM!” I tell Michael, pointing not at all surreptitiously.
And there they were.

She was blond, with her mammoth rack low slung and protruding out of a white halter dress.  She was tan and her long neck was tilted back as she downed a lemon drop martini, surrounded by a sea of empty glasses and side cars.  He had thick, rimmed glasses and was clearly much older than her.  His khaki pants had dozens of pleats.  His hand was on her backside.  And as I zoned in on them, my drunk-dar dinging like a mother-trucker, she lifted her bronze arms in a “raise the roof” motion (complete with the requisite “WOOT-WOOT) that almost sent me running for a pencil and paper.  Remember everything, Nicole I threatened myself through clenched teeth…remember EVERYTHING because this is bound to be good.

I was totally focused as I sauntered up and not even Mike stumbling behind me could lessen the determination.  I positioned myself in what my inebriated state would allow as “casual” and surveyed my prey, racking my brain for some easy way to begin what I hoped would be a “night long friendship”.
Luckily, my new friends were ready for me.
“Well, I think we have another lively couple here, Nora!” said Horn-Rims.  It took me a minute to realize he meant Mike and I.  I was barely able to keep my rear end on the barstool and Mike was slumped over on the bar…sleeping?  No, no this would not do.  Our livliness, on a scale of 1-10, was a .02.  But Horn-Rims had an astigmatism and he was also drunk; this was a judgement free zone.
“Yes sir, we are honeymooning!  Of course we are lively!” I sang.  “This is Mike and I’m Nicole!!!”  Mike wiggled his fingers in what was either a wave or a signal to the bartender.  Either way, Horn-Rims and Nora moved in closer to have a chat and Melvin the bartender took our order.  When I heard Mike, mumbling, ask for a Jack rocks, I knew he would be pepping up into my wingman soon. I smiled.  “How about you two lovebirds??”
“Well, yes sirrreee, we are lovebirds” cried Horn-Rims, ogling Nora’s bosom.  “But we are NOT on our honeymoon!”.
“Nope.  Cause he’s still married to that WHORE in DC.” Nora hiccuped.  I saw Melvin the bartender cringe. I think he had heard the story before.
This. Was. Awesome.
“You mean that FAT WHORE!” shouted Horn-Rims and I was pretty sure the whole bar full of spanish speaking natives was looking at us. From their expressions, it seemed that the word WHORE was pretty much the same in every language.   Mike, too, had perked up and seemed ready to converse.
“But no matter!” Horn-Rims continued. “We are engaged and nothing can stop me from being with Nora.  Not forty-two years of marriage, not my four kids and certainly not that SEXLESS PIG I’m married to!”

Even I was feeling uncomfortable now, and considering I had shown my tattoos to the Air Force and gave the couple upstairs (unsolicited) advice on the best time to have intercourse to maximize conception, it takes a lot to get me nervous.

“Uh. Well. ” I said helplessly, and turned to Mike, pleadingly.
“Well, Horn Rims…how did you and,…er…Nora meet?” Mike asked.
“Online.” answered Nora, adjusting her dress to show off more cleavage.
“A Website.  On the INTERNET!” shouted Horn Rims.  “Called MILLIONAIRE MATCH DOT COM!”


He leaned into Mike and I, confidingly.  ” She’s a baggage handler from Tampa.  I bought that dress she’s wearing. I buy her lots of dresses.” He whispered, lowering his head. “She looks great in dresses.”

Cause, that’s not creepy.

And then, looking up Horn Rims high pitched voice squeaked louder: “Nora, show ’em your ring!”.
While Nora showed me her ring and with it, most of her body, I tried not to make eye contact with her breasts, which were peeking out of Horn’s Rim’s purchased frock.
I heard him lean into Mike.  “She’s a MINX in bed.  I can show you some pictures that will knock your socks off, buddy.  I’m 64 and I have NEVER BEEN HAPPIER”.  This last part was shouted so that the bar once again turned our way.  Melvin delivered another round of drinks and high tailed it in the direction of the nearest employment agency.

Horn Rims once again stood glowingly over Nora, and putting his arms around her spray-tanned shoulders, he then made a statement that I hope to never hear from any person, ever again—especially not one older than my parents, or in an odd bar with Pitbull playing by the Cholo DJ (really need someone to clarify if I can use that word…)

He said, and I quote: “Nora and I are part of, what’s called…’the lifestyle”.

I’m not sure if I choked on my drink or that was just the soft rug of my desire to ever eat again being pulled out from beneath me, but there was a disruption in the universe.
“Ummmm” answered Mike, speechless.
“Oh my.” I followed up, grasping for something, anything to say besides….”EWWWWWWWW”
Horn-Rims seemed to mistake our horror for confusion.
“You HAVE heard of “the lifestyle”, haven’t you?” he asked, this time using air quotes around the phrase.

We had heard of it.
No, we didn’t need any explanation.
Or diagrams, schematics, pictured evidence
and (Please, HELP US, Little Baby Jesus in Heaven) we did NOT NEED ANY DEMONSTRATIONS.

And finally…regretfully (for them), we simply weren’t interested.

And the silence was…awkward.

Mike, desperate to change the subject, pulled Horn Rims into a conversation about his job for the government as, I kid you not, a nuclear physicist.
Nora was beaming at her Lemon Drop as though it had said something incredibly witty.
Perhaps it had.

The fun was over and since nobody was swapping wives or baggage handlers, it was time to go.

We all shook hands and I hugged Nora’s rack goodnight.  Mike and I stumbled back to the hotel, through the chickens and the cats and the taco wrappers, floating like flower petals in the San Juan streets.

We collapsed into bed with our clothes on, having remembered far too late that we were too old to drink like this, that the infrequency of these escapades made them so much harder to manage, that we’d be feeling it the next morning like an anvil upon our heads.

And then, like a cock owner after a big cock-fight victory, we were completely spent.

So we slept.

At 5 am I woke up with a fork in my hand.  At some point I had gotten up to devour the rest of the piece of cheesecake I had brought back two nights prior.  I had eaten most of it in my sleep, but had managed to get a good amount in my hair.  And my ear.
I rolled over to mention this to Mike and felt something crunchy and hard under my back.  Pushing myself up, I saw I had been sleeping on several small piles of Cheetos.  The bag was half-torn beside Mike and pieces of wrapper were strewn in the bed. I sat up further and strained to see Mike’s face.  He was sleeping with his mouth open.  There were Cheetos sticking out against his open lips.

“Mike!” I hissed.  “Mike, wake up!”

“No. Can’t wake up. No.” he mumbled, turning over.  The Cheetos fell out of his mouth.

The room was spinning but I pulled out my phone.  I needed to write down as much as I could remember about the night before. Since I was hungover, I felt like keywords would be enough to trigger my memory as I sat down to write about it later.  My list looked like this:

As I lay back to fall to sleep, it occurred to me that if my phone should be confiscated by the TSA on the flight home from Puerto Rico, I’d have a lot of explaining to do about what they found on it.

But I was too hungover to think very much about that right now.

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