chapter 18


-    -   -  -  - - – - – - –- happy our –- - -- -  -   -  -   -     -


street was just like it was this morning only more so,

west washintong

peeple evrywhere  drinkin and smokin and definatly not keepin their drinks inside the railings.

we walkd past a bar and almost went in, but when D saw who was
tending the bar she said—

i piss on cocktailnazi,

and kept walking, a full dozen paces before we came to the
next bar. this one was calld the angina room, or thats what D calld
it, evrybody else calld it the engine room,  altho thats not tecnicly
its name either, but nevermind.

the engine room was easily the rowdiest bar on the
block. D hated it because they were constantly blasting heavy metal.
but it had cheap drinks and a huge patio where the metal didnt reach.

the patio gates were lockd. your sposeto go around
thru the bar and get in that way. but when we reachd the gates you could
already hear the metal.

D said—

t a n g ! t a n g ! ! ! t a n g ! ! ! t a n g ! ! !

a n d k i c k d a n d k i c k d a n d k i c k d a n d k i c k d

t h e   g a t e s   o p e n t h e g a t e s o p e n t h e g a t e s o p e n

the lock went f l y i n o f f f l y i n o f f f l y i n o f f f l y i n o f f f l y i n o f f f l y i n o f f

evrybody on the patio lookd up—

tho more in amusement than alarm.

keep scrolling

D grabd me by the arm and presented me to the nearest table—

hey you fackers, meet a-l.

she shuvd me towrd the table.

hey, sory we missd you earlier dave said

we swung  by bluesky after lunch but youd

already left. i see D found you, tho.

max found him actialy.

that was D, pullin up a chair. two chairs, one for eachofus.

there were a lota people at the table, most of whom id met already. dave and kathleen, and the bartender who id askt about places to eat, the one with the necktatoo. and this cowboy-lookin guy i rememberd from bluesky, the first person i pulld a shot of espresso for.

cowboy dude [ he introduced himself as doctor shit hammer ]
said i pulld a prety good shot for a firstimer. necktat bartender [ his
name was also Al ] rememberd me too. it was nice, im not the kind of
person people usualy remember.

kathleen was breathless to know what id been up to since i last saw her. i made it halfway thru the story before she got distracted by somebody else and i ended up getting into an intense convee with dave about how on-edge our mothers made us in childhood and how that makes us afraid of women now. but before we had a chance to go too deep, kathleen told dave to go buy two pitchers of p-b-r and a drink calld a slut cup­. dave invited me to go to the bar with him.

Inside the engine room, the music was punishing. but just cause it was metal, dont imagine a metal crowd. it was just indie-rockers and their girlfriends and a few crunchy punks. there was a long bar that peeple actialy sat at, evry stool was ocupied and peeple were squeezin themselvs between peeple to order drinks. i saw one guy step away from the bar and fall flat on his face, then get up and keep walkin to the bathroom. which reminded me...

the bathroom was suficiently nasty.
sory, but its not a good bar unless the mens  rooms atleast a little bit
gross. there was a burly guy standin at a urinal, he lookd over his
sholder at me and said—

somebody threw our flyer in the urinal,

im pissin on it rightnow.


the faceplant guy shouted from inside the stall.

then he added,


you could heard the splash. sounded like atleast he got it in the toilet.

now you can drink more,

said urinal guy, zipping up. he walkt out without washing his hands.

i found dave at the bar, tryin to carry two pitchers and a pintglass full of fizzy pink liquid. i took one a the pitchers and folowd him to the patio, tho we were waylaid by this guy who tried to persuade us to use the phrase the dick like you would the shit.

you know like, engineroom happy our is the dick!

soon as we got to the table, kathleen took the slutcup from daves hand and gulpd a quarter of it straitaway.

wuaaa! wiping her mouth i am gona be a slut tonite,

dave, your inluck.

whats in it? i askd

razberry vodka and redbull. . .

[ kathleen held her fingers sixinches apart ]

half, and half. thats why they call it a slutcup.

is it any good?

she turnd up the glass, gluglugg.

its fuckin delishus.

the engineroom patio was gettin chaotic.
there were more people than there were places for them to sit, but they
were tryin to sitdown anyway, it was like fullcontact musical chairs out
there, evrywhere little melees were breakin out— peeple pushin each 
other and puttin each other in headlocks,

at the next table over, some dude threw a pitcher at a chick. she dove across the table and tackled dude, prety soon the whole table was involvd in what lookd like a cross between a group hug and a rugby scrum.

ammachers D said its still happy our.

she said it happy our, like our happy but
reversd. evrybody said it like that. and i heard a lota people say it cause
it actualy was happy hour, it ran from midnight to two.

dave took the pitchers around the table and refilld evrybodys cup. when he got back, kathleen heldout her cup.

dont think you can skip me jus cuz you got me a slutcup.

there was just enough left to top her off, then the pitcher was empty. both pitchers were.

where the hells johnson? D or jondavies for that matter?

i saw em at flicker a minnit ago kathleen infact, they said

they were spose to meet you there.

they know i refuse to do bi$niss with cocktailnazi.

D walkd to the fence and shouted in the direction of the flicker—


she sat down.

jondavies ll be here in less than a minute, mark my word.

fifty seconds later, a skinny, balding, british-looking man was standing at the fence. he wore wire-frame glasses that were just big enough to be out of fashion, but not so big that they were cool again.

i thought we were meeting at the flicker,

he said, without a hint of complaint.

you know i refuse to do bi$niss with cocktailnazi,

did johnson hear me?

oh, he heard you.

then where the fuck is he?

he said he wasnt gona come like your g-d dog.

but you came like my g-d dog, heh=heh.

you askd me to come.

and you had to because of your god. jondavies, if all

christians were like you, i wouldnt pray ceaselessly for

their extinction.

h o o - h a h a h a a ! h o o - h a h a h a a ! h o o - h a h a h a a ! h o o - h σ h a h a a ! h o o - h a h σ h a a ! h o o - h a h a h σ @ ! h o o - h a h a h a a !

jon davies has an amazing laugh.
it starts like a cackle but then he throws back his head and out from
between his teeth comes this sound— like a laughing hyena, if it was
drunk, and you were ticklin it. the kind of laugh where you look around
to see if people are staring, and they are staring, and you dont care.
your kind of happy about it actialy.

jondavies meet a-l.

its nice to meet you a-l. id shake your hand exept for this fence.

the gates unlockd D

but D

i talkd to your god, jon. he said it was o-k for you to break

this one rule. he said it was a bullshit rule.

but you have to show your I-D. its a bar.

they dont give a shit about your i-d jon, they only make you come

in the front so they can assault you with testosterock. plus youv

been here like a hundredfifty times.

they still ask for my i-d.

because you look like you want em to ask. jondavies im about to lose

patience, just go the fuck around.

he went around. and showd his i-d. one thing you can say for
jondavies— hes got integrity.

Jondavies made his way to our table and reintroduced
himself, we shook hands, he has a soft handshake, which is suposedly
a bad thing, but whatever happend to blessed are the meek? i like meek
peeple. they tend to be sincere at a much higher rate than extroverts.

jondavies also had the ability to pull himself out of the craziness and
hav a normal conversation, even bordering on mundane. it was actialy
a relief to have a mundane conversation. and evry so often hed burst
into that great laugh of his, and if you were the one who made him
laugh you couldnt help but feel good.

we talkd for a good ten  minutes about the fate of friendster. it
still existed, aparently. and jondavies was in the process of sendin out
a friendster request to evryone he knew. he was, i gatherd, a champion
of the underdog.

how manyve you sentout? i askd

jondavies took a notebook out of his pocket and flipt thru it.

a hundred and six.

and how many peopleve responded?


he laughed, cackled, hoo-haad— such an unmeek sound to come out of a meek person, kinda like daffy duck when he goes insane, tho to tell you the truth jondavies laugh isnt like anything. its an archetypal laugh. if you ever come here im sure youll hear it, and then youll know what im talkin about.

jondavies was writing somethin in his notebook.

whats the notebook for? i askd

this one? its for peeple i run into.

you keep track of evrybody you run into?

its not that hard. before i moved here, i use to be able to fit

a whole year in a notebook. tho now i go thru one a month.

can i see it?

if you want. its not very exciting.

let me be the judge of that, jon.

he gave it to me.

he had to, as D would say, because of his god.

he realy does log evry single person he runs into, evry day. plus he
makes notes by each name to indicate if they had a conversation [ c-v],
if they made plans, the date of their plans  [ 5/21], and if he sent them

a friendster request [ F ]

i opend to a random page and started reading—

jon davies' notebook

did you finely stop capitilizin em? D

yeah. i kinda like it. it saves space.

wha does the line thru the date mean? me

it means they canceld. or didnt showup.

alota these dates have lines thru em, jon.

peeple are prety unreliable.

i flipt thru.

like, most of em.

it works out to a seventy percent cancelation rate.

which is a good thing. if i had to go thru with all

those plans id never get any writing done.

your a writer?

well, i write. but pretymuch evrybody here does. or else

theyre in a band, or theyr crazy. or all three, h u h a h a a ! h u h a h a a ! h u h a h a a ! h u h ϑ h a a ! h u h ϑ h a a ! h u h a h ϑ α ! h u h a h a a !

About that time, johnson showd up.

i saw him lurking on the other side of the fence, like a giant teddybear with a touch of angst. or hagrid on acid, johnmadden but nerf. somehow i knew he was johnson before i heard his name.

he lookd at an imaginary watch.

right on time, as usual D.

johnson you know perfectly well the perils of punctuality,

get overhear and meet a-l.

is the gate open?

why dont you see for yourself? hes a question-asker

just like you a-l, youll getalong famussly.

johnson tried the gate and found it unlockd.

what happend to the lock?

it has been vanquishd.

johnson walkt up to me.

i stuck out a hand, but he said—

get yourass outa the chair—

and treated me to an embrace twice as sweaty as andys.

goodta meetcha, a-l!

its just al, actialy.

oh. you hadnt figured it out?

figured what out?

[ my heart beat. i thought he was realy gona tell me somethin ]

the best way to get athens peeple to do somethin, is to

askem not to.

johnson proceeded to tell me all about when he useto live in athens and was roomates with D and andy. he and andy were in a band together, elaphent supermurder [ which i was already a fan of just causea the name ] and altho they were not tecnicly still together, they were playin a show tonite. when i askd what time, johnson gave me that look— your new, arent you?

dont worry a-l, you wont miss it. we wont

letcha miss it.

johnson, by the way, was the single most enthusiastic conversationalist id ever encounterd. or he was right up there with kathleen. he had a big sweaty whiteboy fro that would drip on you when he leand in to emphasize a point, which was prety often. the thing he was most enthusiastic about was athens.

athens, fuckin-g-a, theres no place like it. where else can you

wear your pajamas downtown and not be makin a statement?

[ johnson was wearin pajamas pants. hadnt noticed that before ]

so why did you move? i askt

yeah johnson, why did you? that was D, swooping in

you promisd you wouldnt keep askin me that, D.

i didnt keep askin, i just askt once.

portlands actialy a pretycool place. not that any a yall

would know. you know howmany athenspeepleve

come to visit since i moved?

zero im sure. i already know whats there, ironic

mustaches and bartenders with atitudes and grey


its got alot more goinon than athens.

such as?

like, how many good restraunts are there? two?

you can only eat one meal atatime, hate to

breakit to ya.

im jussayin theres stuff to do besides just drink

and go to shows.

like what, the opera? all youv said so far is restraunts.

its a city, D. a real city.

whadoes that mean? sorry but ikea and trader joes do not

culture make.

you dont see the same people over and over. and evrybodys not

up in your shit all the time.

so now alienations a selling point of urban life?

theres other reasons.

[ pregnant pause ]

you look like the cat that ate the canary dude, spit it out.

but he never got to anser. cause thats when andy walkd up—

altho not in the usual fashion.