Lifestyle & Culture > Deuces and Nines

Deuces and Nines

Published: January 20, 2011

If aces and eights are the dead man's hand, this is the live man's hand. And I've been dealt it over two successive nights at Ritual in San Diego.

Normally, Tuesday and Wednesday are the "locals only" night at my pub. It's not that we ostracize outsiders, its just that those are the nights when only locals show. Usually it's quiet. I take a book and sip two beers while working on my lectures. Life is...predictable.

But this week was drinkabout in North Park. Both the owners were holding down the fort on Wednesday when there was a guy who was new to me appeared on the block. As the new guy sidled up to me, one of the bartender's whispered "Watch yourself..."

The new guy was a Viet Nam vet with a red beret that sported silver jump wings. He was alternately 101st or 82nd Airborne, depending on which card he pulled out of his wallet. Either way, he was a twofer. Which was alse the case when he smiled. He still retained two of his original teeth. Interesting, thought I.

The people start to file in and I see a guy about 6 foot 9 with at least two chins. Then five women and four guys arrive. They look like the result of Saudi Princes taking Polynesian brides during the 70's oil shortage. Not a bad looking crowd, really, but between the two toothed guy, the monster guy and the unusual genetic pairing, this was looking like the bar scene from the Star Wars film. We just needed a wookie to enter and I'd be on another planet. I was reading Jared Diamond's book on societal evolution that night and maybe that added to the alien feel of the evening. I passed it off as just another night where I was a little out of the loop. I beat feet thinking this was a fun, if offbeat, night in North Park.

I returned the next night and the owners were not on the prem. Two of the waitstaff assured me it was "much quieter tonight" as I assumed the position at my regular pub chair. The crowd did look more docile as I sipped my first ale and dug into a book by Anthony Bourdain.

Two stories in and the dynamic at the bar starts to change. There is one solo blonde at the bar. A threesome leaves and then another blonde enters and sidles up to her. They kiss, not just a peck on the check, this is a deep, deep sort of thing where I'm wondering if the tongue might not ever make it back out. Eventually it does, but it returns for get the idea.

A large guy with a beard takes a seat next to the twosome and soon all three are engaged in lively conversation. It is that kind of night in San Diego, Felix and Oscar...Odd couplings.

Another pair of lesbians arrive at the bar, brunettes. These two appear more intellectual as they seem to be using their lips to form words vice communicating physically. But they are clearly focused on their twosomeness, just in a less blond way than the blonds.

I'm still reading my book as a large guy has enters the bar. He ducks into the bathroom and then pops out with a timeworn story about his car being just around the corner and he needs two bucks to get home.

There is no way I can accomodate this request inside the bar. If I hand the guy two bucks the bar is marked, I'm marked. Outside the bar, I could help the brother out...but inside, no way. I wave him off but half expect to pass him on the walk home.

I'm sitting by the door, I should have maybe mentioned that earlier. I see a gent in motorized wheelchair approach the front door. Initial thought, beggar number two.

Every now and then, I miss one. This time, by a mile.

He was followed by 9 women, none of whom owned a bra that could capture anything less than a 38 DD expanse of chestiness.

Was this porn star night? Did I miss the email on that?

The blonds at the bar are really loving each other up. One is a really cute blond with a great body. The other has a great body and a thing for really cute blonds with great bodies.

I was a little unsure if I was on my home planet the night before. Now I know I'm off orb.

I stop my bartender. "So you have porn star night and there is no cover charge?"

"Oh those 9 are strippers...and yeah, you think this is the kind of night where a charge just suddenly appears on your credit card and you wonder how the hell did that happen?"

Operations in the kitchen scream to a halt. Both the chefs are in their 30's. They abandon their station for a little sight seeing. OK a lot of sight seeing. ( stripper's in the house and the owners are gone. Maybe Christmas does come in January.) I should mention all 9 are at a table behind me. I have the best seat as I'm not watching the strippers, I'm watching the reaction of everyone who sees the table. Hey, they are just people. People who eat. They also happen to carry 5 or so pounds of silicon with them to dinner.

I stop the other waiter "So is this a new service to expect on Thursday?"

"You aren't serving them" he quipped as he rushed by.

Another bar down the street emptied as the patrons got the word, probably via Twitter. I could barely see the see the street as the evening wore on. Everyone, it seemed, was feeling the heat. But, being professionals, the all male staff soldiered on inside the pub. As I was leaving I caught the younger waiter's eye for what I hoped was a solid parting shot...

"You have no idea how depressed I am right now..."

In some sense I did. I think the seaman's expression when surrounded by a salty ocean covered it his moment "Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink..."

I gave him a look that indicated that I felt his pain. He straightened.

"It'll be OK, I'll start drinking and I'll be fine."

And for my part, I already was.

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