Years ago a book called "Million Little Pieces" by James Frey was published.
It was this fella's memoir about how he was crushed under the weight of his vices and his recovery at some spendy rehab clinic. It was a big deal at the time. He was on Oprah. She helped him sell a bazillion copies.
Then it turned out that he had lied.
Other writers who dabbled in the art of getting wrecked on drugs and booze had pointed out that they knew his "memoir" was bullshit. That they could smell it a mile away.
I didn't remotely care at the time about the honesty of some writer who Oprah had launched into the stratosphere. But I did think—as someone who has waded knee deep in his own vices—that his story was completely uninteresting.
A random Tuesday in my life seemed to have more spirit, drama, humor and complete and total destruction and resurrection than this guy's lies.
"How to Drink Bourbon & Soda with Rocks" is a collection of those random Tuesdays.
The stories within "How to Drink Bourbon & Soda with Rocks" are completely true. The names have been changed to protect the heroes and villains.
Meth Head Breakfast.
Hannibal Lecter always had a hard time seeing the true intentions of people. Maybe it was because he would rather believe in the good nature of his fellow man than their disheartening selfish intent. And maybe it was because sometimes he was just plain stupid.
Hannibal was a nice enough guy, a bit of a drinker, but nothing too out of hand. He had gotten into the habit of drinking alone in public. Hopping from bar to bar. A cocktail here or there and moving along.
He knew most of the people on his regular Tuesday-night route. From the dive bars to the local pubs, people greeted Hannibal with warmth and always knew what he liked to drink.
He was on his third bar of the night when he looked up from his bourbon and soda and noticed a young woman in her early twenties staring at him.
Their eyes met, he smiled, tipped his drink and said, "Cheers."
The young woman chirped without raising her glass to toast, "That your car out front?"
The car she was referring to was indeed Hannibal's. It was nothing special, it was okay, he supposed. White trash fancy. If that was a thing.
"Yeah, that's my car," Hannibal responded.
"Wanna take me for a drive?" the young woman asked.
Hannibal was nothing if he wasn't agreeable to semi-attractive young women at the third bar of the night.
"Sure. I'll take you for a drive if you'd like. What's your name?"
"Ok. Nancy. Just up the street. Around the block and straight back. Cool?"
"Just go fast."
So Hannibal and Nancy left their bar stools and hopped into Hannibal's white trash fancy car.
Up the street they went. Accelerating quickly. Nothing too crazy. Took corners sharply. Hannibal did his best to entertain the young stranger, Nancy.
On their way back to the third bar of the night, Miss Drew suggested, "Hey, why don't you pull over."
Hannibal was nothing if he wasn't agreeable to semi-attractive young women in his white trash fancy car.
He pulled the car over to the side of the road.
Nancy turned off the radio, and the two sat for a moment in awkward silence before she said, "Hey, I'll suck your dick for a hundred dollars."
Now . . . this was a first for Hannibal.
Not the fooling around bit. He may have been slightly stupid and a little naïve, but he certainly wasn’t a monk. Fooling around in the white trash fancy car had been a staple of most Tuesday nights. Rarely with strangers, but it had happened.
No, this was the first time Hannibal had been asked to pay for fooling around.
That is not what struck Hannibal immediately, though. What struck him instantly was young Miss Nancy's price point. One hundred dollars for a blowjob?? is what raced through his head. He didn’t need a whole lot of time to consider the proposition. He swears to Christ that the following words were exactly what he said next, “Thanks for the offer, but I am good.”
So Hannibal and Nancy sat for another moment in awkward silence. That didn’t last. Nancy had a sob story to tell, and she was going to tell it.
For ten minutes she went through her horrible childhood and how much she hated school. She spouted dilemma after dilemma that she had to face.
Hannibal listened to all of it. She finally came to a close with her final and current dilemma. She had never propositioned anyone for money before and was incredibly embarrassed, but she was short on rent money and was certain to be evicted.
After she finished her story, Hannibal offered no advice—he only asked, “Hey, do you want to go get breakfast?”
“Sure. I guess,” Nancy replied.
It was approaching two in the morning.
Hannibal drove past the third bar of the night and got onto the interstate. He headed to a late-night diner that he visited many a Wednesday morning after a long Tuesday.
Hannibal and Nancy left white trash fancy car and found their way inside to a booth against the windows.
Much like the bars he visited, Hannibal was a bit of a regular at the late-night diner.
An ancient waitress put down her coffee and came over with plastic menus.
"I'll just be havin' coffee," Hannibal said.
"And for you, hun?" the ancient waitress asked Nancy.
"I'll have a large orange juice, a large milk, a large coffee and a large Pepsi."
"Only have Coke products, hun."
"But I really only like Pepsi. I guess Coke will be okay."
The ancient waitress looked at Hannibal, trying to find a reason to care enough to roll her eyes, then left.
Nancy scanned the menu.
"Get whatever you would like." Hannibal said. He was nothing if he wasn't agreeable to semi-attractive young women having an early-morning breakfast with him.
Hannibal looked out the window.
The ancient waitress returned with a tray full of drinks.
“Decide what you two want?” the ancient waitress asked.
“Just havin’ the coffee,” Hannibal replied.
Nancy looked up from her menu and said, “I’ll have the fried pickle chips; firehouse chili cheese fries; spaghetti and meatballs; chicken strip dinner, not the appetizer; the smothered triple chop grill; country fried steak; and a club sandwich with no mayo.”
Hannibal stopped staring out the window, looked at Nancy, took a drink of his coffee and didn’t say a word.
“Hun, that’s an awful lot of food,” the ancient waitress said. “You want it all at once? Some of this to-go?”
“Just bring it all at once.”
“Hun, you get sides with the dinners.”
“Salads with ranch will be fine.”
“Ok,” the ancient waitress scribbled onto her order pad and left.
Another awkward silence sat between Hannibal and Nancy until she asked, “So, are you a drug dealer?”
“No, Nancy, I am not a drug dealer.”
“So, what do you do?”
Up until this point, Hannibal had not told Nancy a single thing about himself except for his name. His full name.
“I do stuff.”
The awkward silence returned.
Hannibal drank his coffee.
Nancy sipped on her many beverages.
The ancient waitress returned with another ancient waitress and two trays full of Nancy’s food. They spread it across the table. The plates took up nearly every inch.
Over the course of the next forty-five minutes, Nancy would pick a little bit at her plates of food with the exception of the basket of fried pickles. She had devoured the crusty breaded slices before they could even cool.
With her feast nearly untouched, the ancient waitress approached Hannibal and Nancy and sarcastically asked if they would be needing doggy bags.
“Yeah, I think so. And a little more coffee. And the check, please,” Hannibal replied.
“Will do, hun.”
The ancient waitress returned with boxes, bags and the bill. Nancy boxed up her food and placed them neatly into the plastic bags adorned with the late-night diner’s logo. Hannibal reached into his back pocket for his wallet. He would not find it.
His wallet was where he should have been. It was still at the third bar of the night.
Hannibal didn’t panic though. It was a Tuesday after all. These things always seemed to happen on a Tuesday.
The total bill came to 97 dollars and change.
He thought better than to ask Nancy if she had any money on her. It did cross his mind that they were near a truck stop and at a hundred dollars a blowjob they could make enough money to pay for breakfast and a trip to some tropical island. Not that he wanted to vacation with Nancy Drew, but the option was available.
With pimping out of the question, he knew what he had to do. He had to call his friend. His friend Atticus Finch. Atticus was always there for him, and he knew that he would be there for him again.
As Hannibal stood up, Nancy asked, “You’re not fucking leaving me here are you?”
“No, Nancy. I lost my wallet. I need to make a phone call. I will be right back.”
Hannibal went to the host stand, pulled out his cell phone and called Atticus.
It rang off the hook.
He called again.
It rang off the hook.
On the third attempt, Atticus answered with a groggy, “Yeah . . . “
“Hey . . . “ Hannibal said.
In the background beyond Atticus, a tired Scout could be heard, “Is that fucking Hannibal Lecter. Jesus fucking Christ. What fucking time is it?”
“Hannibal, what do you need?” Atticus asked.
“Hey man, I am at the diner. I lost my wallet somewhere and need to pay my bill. Can you help me out?”
“Sure. Give me about a half an hour.”
Hannibal hung up the phone and returned to the booth.
“Who did you call? Your drug dealer?” Nancy asked.
“No, Nancy. I did not call my drug dealer.”
Hannibal and Nancy Drew sat in their booth for the next half hour. In silence.
Out the window Hannibal could see Atticus Finch's family hatchback pull in front. Hannibal bolted straight up and went to the car.
Nancy couldn’t hear the conversation between Hannibal and Atticus, but it ended something like this—
“A hundred fucking dollars!?”
“A hundred fucking dollars, plus tip.”
Atticus handed Hannibal a hundred fucking dollars plus tip, and the family hatchback drove away.
The bill was paid, and Nancy and Hannibal were once again in the white trash fancy car. It was late. Hannibal wanted to go home. He asked, “Where am I taking you?”
“You’re a drug dealer, I know it. Only drug dealers can call people like that and get them to give you money.”
“No, Nancy. I am not a drug dealer. Where am I taking you?”
Nancy gave her address. It was in one of the oldest and shittiest parts of town. The third bar of the night was so far removed from where she lived that it might as well have been on the moon. Hannibal did not think about it much. He just drove as quickly as he could.
The driveway of Nancy’s home was jammed, all the lights were on in the house and Hannibal could see several people moving about through the front windows. Later, Hannibal would remember the house and think about the people bouncing around inside.
Nancy reached into the back seat, picked up her sacks of food and said, “Thank you, Hannibal Lecter. It was fun.”
She was almost halfway to her door when she turned around and came back to the passenger side window of white trash fancy car.
Hannibal rolled down the window.
She asked Hannibal, “Can I have your phone number?”
Hannibal gave it to her.
Almost a year later, on another random Tuesday, while sitting on a friend’s front porch, Hannibal received a text message from an unknown number.
It read, “This is Nancy's mother. She told me that if she was ever in trouble to text this number. She needs bail money.”
Hannibal did not respond. Although he did look up Nancy’s charges and the amount of money needed.
She was arrested for drug trafficking. Methamphetamine. An insane amount of methamphetamine.
Her bail was set at three hundred and fifty thousand dollars.
He did not call Atticus.
The stories within "How to Drink Bourbon & Soda with Rocks" are completely true. The names have been changed to protect the heroes and villains.
It was a Tuesday afternoon, and Lord Voldemort just won big at the casino.
Voldemort liked to gamble a little.
He'd go to the casino on Tuesdays and escape from his work. Play some cards. Throw some dice. Slide twenties into slot machines while sipping on vodka.
Sometimes he'd win. Sometimes he'd lose.
Voldemort knew his limits and never got too carried away. He always put a cap on his losses. Never went chasing rainbows.
On this particular Tuesday afternoon, luck was on his side and he was up. Up quite a bit.
Knowing when to quit, Voldemort cashed out his chips and slipped his winnings -- a thick fold of hundreds -- into his back pocket.
It was a lovely afternoon, Voldemort thought. Maybe he would catch a movie.
So he did.
He and his winnings caught a matinee. A Simon Pegg film about a man in his midlife trying to relive his youth. It ended with the complete downfall of civilization. Voldemort gave the film a B plus.
After the movie, and still riding the high from his gambling victories, Voldemort decided to hit his favorite downtown bar.
It was a familiar Tuesday spot. He knew almost everyone there, and they knew him.
When he announced, "Shots on Lord Voldemort!" no one declined.
He told the tale of his good fortune. How he could not lose. That everything seemed to be coming up Lord Voldemort on this fine Tuesday.
Hours went by, and people came and went from the familiar Tuesday spot. Lord Voldemort stayed perched on his stool, telling everyone around how great a Tuesday it really was.
Although he was having a grand time, he eventually decided that he needed a change of scenery. Why limit himself to just the same-old same-old on such a fine Tuesday.
There was another bar just up the street. A bar he hadn't been to in a long while. A tiny little posh place known for its martinis. It was a not-so-familiar Tuesday spot.
He announced one last time, "Shots on Lord Voldemort!" no one declined.
He paid his tab and left--making his way up the downtown block to the tiny not-so-familiar posh martini bar.
Once inside, he found his way to the edge of the bar.
The bartender, Bob Dylan, recognized Lord Voldemort. It had been ages, but he definitely remembered Lord Voldemort's face and Lord Voldemort remembered Bob Dylan.
They exchanged pleasant hellos, and Lord Voldemort ordered a bourbon and soda.
When his drink arrived, he reached into his pocket and pulled out his winnings--his thick fold of hundred dollar bills.
Sitting next to Lord Voldemort were two very attractive young women, Thelma & Louise.
It is not known, but it is to be guessed, that they noticed that Lord Voldemort was walking around with just a little bit too much money.
They said hello.
He said hello.
He asked, "Shots on Lord Voldemort?"
They did not decline.
Editor's note: Lord Voldemort's recollection becomes hazy at this point in the story. To stick to the stringent rules of "How to Drink Bourbon & Soda with Rocks," the story will pick up where Lord Voldemort's recollection becomes more clear.
It was 5 a.m. Wednesday morning.
Lord Voldemort was in nothing but his underwear lying on an ornate granite bench surrounded by meticulously trimmed hedges. A large empty fountain a few feet away. He smelled lilacs. His fuzzy eyes saw the tops of downtown buildings.
Impulsively, he reached toward the foot of the bench, thinking his clothes might be there. They were not.
He leaned up.
His brain was becoming less fuzzy.
He was in a small garden park in the middle of downtown. With no clothes, no cell phone, no shoes, and certainly no Tuesday gambling winnings.
The shock to his system had actually put him in a calm state. He was in trouble. But he had to think.
The sun was coming up.
Lord Voldemort was fucked.
He devised a plan. It was not a great plan. But his options were extremely limited. He knew where he was. He was wearing boxer briefs—not tidy whities. I mean, Lord Voldemort was a lot of things but he was not sporting tidy whities.
His plan was simple. His friend, Inigo Montoya, lived about two miles away. He had other friends closer. But Inigo was the only one he knew who would help him out on this early Wednesday morning.
He was going to pretend that he was just out for a morning run. Many times he had seen morning runners wearing nearly nothing. He could pull this off. Lord Voldemort would just be another morning jogger, not some nutjob running through downtown in his undies.
Morning joggers normally wore shoes though. That was a problem. But he had no other option.
Lord Voldemort would run his nearly naked, completely shoeless and still drunk ass the two miles to Inigo’s.
Off he went.
He did not make it but a hundred yards before he heard the blare of a car horn.
He turned and there he saw her. It was a young woman. A young woman behind the wheel of a blood center donation van.
She opened her door, got out and said, "I am Princess Leia. I am here to rescue you!"
That is not what she said.
She actually said, "Jesus Christ! Get in the fucking van."
Lord Voldemort did not know Princess Leia, and she did not know him. Not even a little bit. He climbed into the van and thanked her repeatedly.
"Please don’t puke in here. Where do you need to go?" the princess asked.
Lord Voldemort gave her Inigo’s address.
"That's out of my way. I am gonna be late, but I can tell you are in a bit of a spot.”
Princess Leia drove Lord Voldemort to Inigo’s. Voldemort hopped out and thanked the princess once more before she sped away.
Voldemort rapped his knuckles against his friend’s door. Inigo answered, saw his naked friend and immediately let out, "What in the fuck?"
Inigo led Lord Voldemort inside and let him sleep on his couch for a couple hours before driving him home.
Before the next Tuesday came around, Lord Voldemort was determined to find out what happened to him.
He retraced his steps.
Back to the not-so-familiar tiny posh martini bar. Bob Dylan was not there. The Band had not seen him.
Lord Voldemort walked to the ornate granite bench surrounded by hedges and lilacs and sat down.
Some of it was coming back to him.
He kind of remembered leaving the bar with Thelma & Louise.
He kind of remembered them dancing near the fountain.
He kind of remembered two men showing up.
He kind of remembered being robbed.
He kind of remembered yelling at a red truck in his underwear.
He kind of remembered those things. But not completely. All of those memories could just be Lord Voldemort's imagination.
Two weeks later with his phone replaced and pride only slightly bruised, Lord Voldemort watched the news while he sipped on a bourbon and soda at his familiar Tuesday spot.
A story came on.
Four people had robbed and killed a man downtown—not far from Lord Voldemort's bench. They had been caught. Their mug shots appeared on the screen.
Two men and Thelma & Louise.
Lord Voldemort realized that he was lucky. Lucky to be alive.
He also realized that he was lucky there were Princess Leias in the world. And if he ever saw her again, shots would be on Lord Voldemort.
The stories within "How to Drink Bourbon & Soda with Rocks" are completely true. The names have been changed to protect the heroes and villains.
Hal_9000 had become a chain smoker. It made little sense to him when he thought about it. He should have known better. He wasn't a factory worker in the fifties. Still, there he was sitting on his bar stool, on a Tuesday night, burning down one cigarette after another while he sipped on his bourbon and soda.
It may have made little sense to him, but he loved to smoke.
A couple of bourbon and sodas down and an ashtray half-full, Hal's girlfriend, Mary Camden, joined him at the bar. She smoked but did not come close to Hal's chimney-like status.
"How was work?" she asked.
"Nope. A little boring for a Tuesday. You need a drink."
Hal waved down the bartender—ordered a couple cocktails and a couple shots.
Hal and Mary drank as drinkers do, smoked as smokers do, and chatted as couples do. Nothing too crazy.
It was approaching midnight, Hal and Mary had become a little tipsy, a little handsy, and decided that it was time to leave. They wanted to take their evening back to Mary's apartment and fool around as fools do.
She lived nearby in a neighborhood that wasn't the greatest in the world, but certainly not the worst.
Hal parked in a lot across the street from her apartment.
They climbed the stairs.
Found the door.
Found the hallway.
Found the bedroom and went at it like drunken fools.
It was a little before two a.m.
Mary was passed out. Hal was staring at the ceiling. He reached for his cellphone. He couldn't find it. He must have left it in the car.
He could just leave it in the car. He didn't need it. But he wanted to smoke--as chimney's do.
Hal was a lot of things, but he was not going to smoke inside his girlfriend's apartment. He wasn't a Neanderthal.
He would smoke, walk to his car, grab his phone, maybe smoke again, and then fall asleep.
He found the hallway.
Found the door.
Found the outside, pulled out a cigarette and fired it up.
As Hal walked across the street, he heard a voice ask, "Man, can I bum a smoke?"
Hal turned and saw Captain Hook standing by a tree.
Captain Hook asked again, "Man, can I bum a smoke?"
Hal understood the strong desire to light up a smoke at all times. He felt Captain Hook's pain and said, "Sure, man. You can bum a smoke."
Hal reached into his pocket and pulled out his packet of cigarettes as Captain Hook approached.
Hal handed him a cigarette and pulled out his lighter to fire up the Captain's smoke.
As Hal's thumb pressed down on the lighter's wheel, he saw Captain Hook's first mate, Mr. Smee, and the entire crew of The Jolly Roger appear from the darkness.
Hal had a feeling that he was about to be in real danger. Hal would be right.
Doubly so when he saw that Mr. Smee was toting a handgun.
Hal didn't even have a moment to breath in one last gust of smoke before he was completely surrounded by pirates.
Captain Hook stared Hal straight in the eyes.
Mr. Smee raised the handgun to the side of Hal's head and pressed it against Hal’s temple.
Captain Hook ripped the front pockets off of Hal's pants—pulling out everything and taking it as his own.
Hal didn't say a word. There was a handgun to his head. He was surrounded by pirates. He didn't say a single word.
Mr. Smee raised the handgun and pistol whipped Hal hard across the ear and face.
Hal fell to the ground.
The pirates surrounded him.
They beat him.
They beat him badly.
He didn't say a word as the pirates kept screaming, "Where is the rest of the fucking money?"
Later, Hal would think about that question and want to tell the pirates, "You're lucky I had the seventy god damn dollars on me. Be grateful, you piratey fucks," but that was not what Hal was thinking at the moment.
At that moment, while being rained on by pirate violence, Hal thought he was going to die.
They kicked and punched Hal as he laid on the ground. He did his best to cover his head. He did not know the correct strategy to survive a beating by pirates, but he was doing his best.
Finally the pirates stopped and began to flee.
Hal pulled himself to his feet.
He watched as the pirates ran away.
Mr. Smee, the fatass that he was, and possibly tired from beating on Hal, was not making a quick getaway.
Hal stood in the street. Thirty feet from his car. Thirty feet from Mary's front door. Badly beaten, bleeding, pants half torn off, without his keys, wallet and most importantly to Hal at this exact moment--his cigarettes.
If there was ever a time Hal wanted to smoke, now was it.
He walked back to Mary's front door. Banged on it with his palm, leaving a print of blood with every smack.
Mary was passed out. She would not hear Hal's bloody banging. It was an old building. There was only a key entry, no door code, no buzzers or doormen.
It was well past two on Wednesday morning. Hal was in a spot, and he really needed a smoke.
There was a gas station three blocks away.
He would have to drag his bloody and slightly tipsy body there and call the police and tell them about Captain Hook and Mr. Smee and the rest of the Jolly Roger's crew.
Maybe the cops could bum Hal a smoke while they filled out the paperwork on the pirates.
So, Hal made his way to the gas station.
An inept security guard, who was undeserving of a fictional character's name, was the first person Hal saw.
"Hey buddy, can you call the cops for me?" Hal asked.
"Huh?" the inept security guard said.
"The police. Can you call them? I was just mugged a couple blocks from here and I need a little help."
"We aren't supposed to call the police unless it is an emergency."
Hal looked at the inept security guard, gestured to the blood coming out of his face and ears and the clothes barely clinging to his battered body and said, "What in the fuck do you think this is, a goddamn Halloween costume?"
"Ok," and the inept guard called nine one one.
Hal sat on the curb in front of the gas station and waited for the police. He asked the inept guard, "Hey, you got a smoke?"
"No. I don't smoke."
"Of course you don’t," Hal said.
Officers Hawkeye and Hunnicut pulled up in their squad car. It occurred to Hal at that moment, while his head was still ringing from the beating, that this might be the happiest he has ever been seeing police arrive. He hoped they smoked.
"Jesus, you've had a hell of a Tuesday," Hawkeye said.
"What happened?" asked Hunnicut.
Hal told them the story of Captain Hook, Mr. Smee and the Jolly Roger's crew.
Hawkeye and Hunnicut listened and then drove Hal back to the scene of the piracy.
They all three stood in the middle of the street where an hour ago Hal thought he might actually get taken out by the pirates.
Hal explained that they took his keys and he had no way to get back into his girlfriend's apartment.
"Just relax. We will get you back inside. Odds are the pirates ditched the keys as they ran. We'll find them."
"By any chance, do you smoke?" Hal asked.
"No. Disgusting habit. Will kill ya."
Hunnicut took his cruiser and used the spotlight up and down the street to look for the keys.
Meanwhile, Hawkeye had called Hot Lips, who arrived in an ambulance.
Hot Lips checked over Hal and took photos for evidence. She surmised that Hal would live to smoke another day.
To Hal's surprise, Hawkeye was right. The pirates had ditched the keys and Hunicutt had found them.
Hal thanked Hawkeye, Hunnicut and Hot Lips as they drove off to help some other poor soul dealing with fallout from a Tuesday.
Hal found Mary's bloodstained door.
He found the hallway.
He found the bedroom.
As he laid down his battered body, Mary Camden jostled in her sleep and woke just for a moment in a tipsy haze. She was awake just long enough to mumble one little thing.
"Hal, you smoke too much."
Captain Hook, Mr. Smee and the crew of the Jolly Rogers were never found.
Hal quit smoking briefly but returned to his chimney ways. To this day, he checks the bushes if anyone ever asks him for a cigarette.
The stories within "How to Drink Bourbon & Soda with Rocks" are completely true. The names have been changed to protect the heroes and villians.
Wrong Road Home.
It was a snow day.
Normally snow days were magical days. No one was ever expected to get anything done on a snow day. They were the perfect impromptu drinking holiday. Responsibilities could be pushed aside, and for a moment a deep breath could be taken.
Greatness happened on most snow days.
But that was not the case on this particular snow day. This snow day fell on a Tuesday.
St. John Allerdyce did not need snow for an impromptu drinking holiday. Any weather would do.
On this snowy Tuesday, he was bellied up at one of his favorite bars. It was nowhere near his country home, but his favorite bartender was working. A legendary bartender known by the name of Tonto.
A fun fact about Tonto—he once said the only way to get thrown out of his bar would be to jam a loaded gun in his chest. And even then he might pour the gunman a drink first.
That fun fact wasn't completely true, of course. St. John had seen Tonto throw plenty of people out of the bar.
There was one particular true story that had been told so many times people had grown tired of hearing it. It negated Tonto's gun-in-chest statement.
It involved a Tuesday featuring an extremely drunk and obnoxious middle-aged lady who thought her crooked bolted-on breasts put her at the head of the line in life.
Which may have been true on certain Tuesdays, but not with Tonto.
She had to go asap, and she wasn't listening to Tonto. When she would order another drink, he would respond with increasing volume, "Lady! You gots to go!"
She had taken off her heels and set them on the bar next to her golden purse.
She was so drunk and self-involved that she didn't notice when Tonto picked up her gilded purse and heels and walked them out of the bar.
He walked them out to a giant maple tree that had grown through the sidewalk a few feet from the front door and proceeded to throw the heels and golden purse up into the welcoming branches.
But the heels and golden purse did not want to live up in the city maple growing through the sidewalk. They kept falling through the branches to the ground below.
A small crowd had formed around Tonto.
They watched toss after toss.
The obnoxiously drunk middle-aged lady with the crooked bolted-on breasts did not notice any of this.
On his tenth toss Tonto managed to lodge the heels and golden purse up into the giant maple.
Nestled next to a crow’s nest, they seemed content with their new home.
The crowd cheered.
Tonto walked back behind the bar.
The obnoxiously drunk middle-aged lady with the crooked bolted-on breasts ordered another drink.
Tonto poured it.
She looked for her golden purse to pay Tonto.
He said, "It's outside. Go fucking get it and stay there."
There were no obnoxiously drunk middle-aged ladies with crooked bolted on breasts at St. John's favorite bar on this night. There was no one on this Tuesday night. Just Tonto and St. John, drinking bourbon and sodas, smoking cigarettes and telling old stories.
The snow kept falling.
It was getting late. Tonto needed to close up shop, and St. John needed to get home.
St. John paid his tab, wrapped his coat around himself and made his way to the door.
"Take care, Tonto, see you next Tuesday."
"It is always good to see you," Tonto said.
St. John looked out the window before heading out. It was cold out there and still snowing.
"Dude, where are your gloves and hat?" Tonto asked.
"Forgot to grab them before I left."
"You're gonna freeze, yo."
"Nah. I just gotta make it a few yards from this door to the truck then the truck to my front door. I'm fine."
"Whatever. Be safe, St. Johnzo."
St. John opened the bar's door and was hit by a gust of frigid snowy Tuesday wind.
He put his head down and his hands in his pockets and made his way past the giant city maple. It was cold. It was windy. It was an unpleasant few yards to his truck.
St. John's truck was a gaudy sport utility vehicle that served no real purpose other than to guzzle gas. St. John came to own it like he came to do most things in his life at that point. With a series of hastily made poor decisions.
He fired up the gaudy sports utility vehicle, stuck his hands in his pockets and let the engine warmup. Heated air started to flow through the cabin; the leather seats started to warm; snow started to melt from the windows.
St. John's country home was not close. But the roads did not look too bad. He imagined it would take him a half hour tops. He needed to get going.
St. John pulled out onto the main city street. He was correct—the roads were not bad. His gaudy sports utility vehicle would have no trouble getting him home.
City streets. Interstate. The roads were empty with the exception of the occasional Tuesday snow plow.
Editor's note: St. John does not clearly recollect exactly what made him take the off ramp that he did. Whether it was the snow-covered road signs or whether he just wasn't paying attention.
St. John took the wrong exit to his country home. He did not know this until the snowy countryside started to look a little different than expected.
St. John had no worries though. He knew a fun fact that he imagined most people did. Roads in the country were all one mile apart. Like a giant grid cut into the fields.
All he needed to do was figure out where he was and use the grid of rural roads. He knew he couldn't be far from his country home.
Another fun fact was that the giant grid of rural roads that cut through all of those fields was not perfect. Say a river or ravine decided to live among the fields. The grid couldn't do shit about it and would have to make exceptions. St. John had forgotten that fun fact.
St. John figured out where he was. He would take the next left. He couldn't make out the snow-covered road signs, but he knew he needed to go north a few miles and east a few miles. No problem.
St. John took the next left.
The wind was blowing across the barren fields. The snow had dropped visibility to nearly nothing. St. John and his gaudy sports utility vehicle were going a little too fast on an unfamiliar rural road.
An unfamiliar rural road that St. John thought would continue to go straight along a grid that he considered to be a fun fact.
It did not go straight. It came to an abrupt halt. A T-intersection to be exact.
By the time St. John saw the yellow snow-covered double arrowed-sign, it was far too late.
Out of complete desperation, St. John whipped the steering wheel of his gaudy sports utility vehicle to the left.
St. John did not know exactly how many times the gaudy sports utility vehicle rolled. But he guessed more than once.
What he did know for certain was that he was sitting on his heated leather seat, his safety belt keeping him in place, and that through the windshield the snow-covered countryside was now sideways.
The gaudy sports utility vehicle rested on its passenger-side door. Just off the imperfect grid of rural roads.
St. John was not injured.
Sitting sideways to the world, he reached into his pocket, lit a cigarette and said, "Fucking Tuesdays."
He did not say that.
He did smoke a cigarette though while he sat sideways in the gaudy sports utility vehicle and contemplated what he needed to do.
Along with the imperfect grid of rural roads there was another handful of fun facts St. John knew about the countryside.
These fun facts were important at the moment. One being that cell phone service was nearly nonexistent. The other being that there were not many houses or people around for miles.
It was one a.m., and St. John was starting to get cold as the snow fell on his gaudy sideways sports utility vehicle.
He kept looking at his cell phone. Waiting for a signal bar to magically appear. Just one. Just one little signal bar is all he needed. It would not come.
The heated leather seat was no longer heated, and St. John was tired of sitting sideways.
St. John made a decision. A hastily made, poor decision.
Even though he did not know exactly where he was, he decided he was going to use the imperfect grid of rural roads and walk the rest of the way home.
He popped the driver's side door open and crawled up through it as if climbing out of the hatch of a tank.
It was bitterly cold, and the wind bit at St. John's face as he slid down the side of the gaudy sports utility vehicle.
St. John realized Tonto was right, "You're gonna freeze, yo."
The snowy gravel of the rural road cut into the soles of St. John's dress shoes that were certainly not designed for impromptu miles-long journeys through the countryside.
St. John looked across the barren fields as he walked. He thought he knew what direction he needed to go. Four rural crossroads north. Three rural crossroads east.
He could make it seven miles.
His ears were frozen by the time he came to the first crossroad, and he could no longer feel his feet.
His face was burning from the wind.
He thought about turning back and staying warm in the gaudy sideways sports utility vehicle.
But he did not.
He kept walking.
By the second rural crossroad, his entire body was completely numb. Completely frozen.
He focused on each step. One after the other.
He would look at his cell phone periodically. Hoping that a signal bar would miraculously appear.
No miracles would be happening for St. John on this Tuesday.
By the fourth rural crossroad, St. John had lost track of how far he had walked.
He could see some sort of shack off to the side of the rural road.
He considered crawling inside of it to stay warm.
He did not crawl inside of it.
He kept walking.
By the ninth rural crossroad, St. John began to question his own existence.
He started to think about all the hastily made, poor decisions he had made in his life.
He started to think about everything he needed to do to start being a better person.
The sun was coming up as St. John came upon the fourteenth rural crossroad.
Through his frozen eyes, he could make out a signpost.
He knew the signpost.
He was only a mile away from his country home.
The signpost gave frozen St. John hope.
One destroyed frozen dress shoe after the other, he marched.
He marched to his country home’s front door.
St. John went back and retraced his frozen journey and came to realize that he had walked in circles for eight miles.
A few Tuesdays later St. John was sitting with Tonto drinking bourbon and sodas, smoking cigarettes, and telling old stories.
St. John asked Tonto, “Want to hear a fun fact?”
“Towing companies charge extra if the car is on its side.”