The best stories are the ones that need a witness. Or in this case, a second nose.
For 14+ years, I have never seen Thursday night television. I have been behind a bar, pouring drinks and entertaining folks. The TV might be on but it is usually tuned to a sporting event or if it is a sitcom, the volume is turned off. I associate Thursday as the one true day of work. It’s my favorite shift and when I leave bartending fulltime, I would try to pick up a random Thursday shift.
More than that, it is usually my best money night. It’s the perfect combination of working by myself and getting to pour drinks for people starting their weekend early. A lot of people roll the dice and figure they can power through a Friday with a touch of the Irish flu. With tongue in cheek, I saw that I pay the mortgage on Thursdays. I prep the hell out of the bar and usually get my butt kicked by the end of the night.
That’s what made last Thursday so surprising. With the exception of friends, Phil and John, stopping by to hoist a couple of pints, it was a ghost town. I hate participating in the tea leaf readings on why there isn’t any business. Because of the nature of the bar, people either come down or don’t. I think we’re the best option downtown and for out-of-towners, nothing can compete with a dueling piano show. Problem is that when it rains, it pours and this last Thursday was a drought.
As Phil and John were getting ready to leave, this old man comes walking into the bar using two canes. He is wearing a red t-shirt, granny jeans and sports a US Army hat. In his mouth, he has a plastic bag filled with napkins and other incidentals. Usually, a guy like this would be told to hit the bricks but it was slow and I figured why not? Give the guy the best service and if he minds himself, let him watch the show. I approach the table with a menu and before I got to him, I was punched in the face by a smell.
Not body odor but he smelt like he messed himself. I asked him how he was doing and was very lucid. In fact, he was quite polite. He introduced himself as Victor Martinez (actually, it was another MLB ball player, for the sake of the story just play along) and ordered a glass of white wine with a cup of ice. It’s an old lady drink but why not, how often do you pour drinks for a guy who shares a name with Detroit Tiger’s catcher. I drop the drink off, he pays the $6, proceeds to dump his wine into the cup of ice and begins pounding his drink. Considering that there is now one in the bar, I’d let him sit quietly and relax.
The problem with his was the fact that he smelt like he took a dump in his pants. He reeked of feces even though he looked clean and was in control. I figured he might have had his nostrils burnt off in the war but there was no reason for him to smell like an old diaper filled with Indian food. I retreated behind the bar, fussed on Twitter and outlined some silly stories I was working on.
After finishing his wine, he asked for a cup of Bud Light with a side of ice. I brought it out the table and he dumped a bunch of ice into his brew. All of this behavior is normal considering that old people love ice in their drinks and have poor eye-hand coordination. But he smelt like a tire fire. The bar was literally empty with the exception of me, Aron and the two piano players. He was yucking it up with the music and I was gagging into my shirt. I noticed that he kept reaching into his plastic bag and dropping paper towels on the ground because it was filling up with liquid. At first, I figured it was because he spilt his drinking adding ice into his beer but this was different. There looked to be at least the contents of two beers on the ground and his pants were wet.
Oh sweet Jesus! It hit me like a soiled mop. He smelt like poop because he had a colostomy bag and this thing had ruptured. The floor, the chair and his pants were the victim of a leaking poop bag. Egad! In writing this, I did a little research on colostomy bags and realized that I don’t ever need to see “Two Girls, One Cup” now. I have a very good idea what goes on in that movie.
I tried to be as sensitive as possible but Victor wouldn’t have anything to do with it. He said everything was okay and just to keep bringing him his Bud Lights and ice. He didn’t act drunk, was tipping huge and didn’t seem too bothered by his accident. I asked him point blank if he needed or wanted any help and he said he was fine and he waved me off. Against my better judgment, I let him sit in his mess and watch the show.
We shut down early with no other customers coming in. I helped the guy to a cab and waved at the hack driver with a knowing smile that his cab might even smell better when I put Victor into it. I made $30 that night but slid $10 towards Aron for disinfecting everything that guy touched. Aron bragged about his high-level of gag reflex. His guy put that stomach to the test.
Bar life is a series of adventures. Some good, some bad but mostly, all new. This one definitely got filed under the new heading. I always try to take care of guests and in this case, I guess I did.