I was working on a tall draft. I was waiting on a fish sandwich and fries that the mumbler on my left had mumbled was “the shit to try.”
Jim was to the other side of me. He’d introduced himself earlier. Jim had moved on to his friend. I had moved on to The Reds losing on the TV while the mumbler kept mumbling about the boxing match on the other TV.
But I could still hear Jim. He was talking about a Cadillac. He said he had an older Cadillac with some new wheels he was looking to get put on it.
I stayed with The Reds while Jim and his buddy continued talking about cars. Earlier he’d been talking to a guy about that guy’s motorcycle. The guy was wearing one of those Vietnam Vet caps. After the guy left, I heard Jim say he had a reputation for being “a real slice-and-dicer” during the war. I wasn’t sure what that meant. It could mean any number of things. I wasn’t sure if it would be a good thing or not.
But that guy had left and this other fella Jim was talking to had walked in. And that’s how everything was, with The Reds and boxing on TV and Jim talking about his Cadillac.
Then I heard Jim say, “I’ve had pretty good luck with cars. I always been pretty good at picking ’em. It’s picking the women that’s always fucked me up.”
That statement was enough to give my attention back to Jim. I nodded. We both smiled.
Then I went back to my Reds, thinking how it really is some kind of luck being good with both cars and women. And if Jim had better luck with both, I thought maybe he wouldn’t already be so drunk. And if I had better luck too, I might be anywhere else. I figured if any of us had had better luck with cars and women – me, Jim, Jim’s pal or the mumbler – we’d probably all be somewhere else.
Then Jim said to the owner how the grease was getting old. He said he could really smell it.
The owner said he knew. He said he was gonna change it tomorrow, on Sunday.
The fish sandwich ended up being good, but I wouldn’t describe it as “the shit.” I watched more of the game and had another drink. Then I went home stinking of old frying oil and with enough material to write a little something about it.