Middle of the afternoon it was by chance I saw my friend Blues Man as I was walking by The Bull so I went in and sat beside him. He is old and gets around on a tricycle. I like asking him about music, he is our Ray Charles and has a terrific voice. He frequently sits in with this band and that band. He knows all the hound dog bar musicians and they call upon him occasionally. He’s more talented than most everyone in town, but familiarity breeds contempt, as they say, and has made a ghost of him.
First time we met it was after midnight on a dark alley and as we approached each other I whispered, ‘Wanna smoke?’ And we did.
I took the stool beside Blues Man. To my left was a couple. Tourists. Mr and Mrs Middle America. The female was nearest me with her husband behind her and both of them relaxing near the bar as they waited on someone to take their order. They were thirsty. They were hot.
I was focused on the music, but the woman chose to speak, nosing into my personal space.
‘Your nails could be long and gorgeous.’ As she pointed with her manicured fingers with purple sparkly sharp nails; reptilian horror.
I splayed my hands wide and placed them on the sticky wood bar, as if I was playing octaves on a piano. I stared at my fingernails, cut to the quick, as I like them.
‘Something wrong with my hands?’ I quizzed, warming.
‘Yes dear, I sell this product, you see,’ she continued, ‘It will make your nails grow strong, like mine.’
I leaned in close, I could smell her beer sweat, and lowered my head so only she could hear me, ‘Fuck you and fuck your product,’ Then I sat back, smiled sweetly, ‘Clear?’
Hmmmm! Where’s my check from Florida Tourism?