BY LANCE DOILY I’m still not sure what I did to get the Singac American Legion put on my route for the third straight week, but there’s no point complaining about it. You see, this woman Amy is in charge of handing out the truck runs in the morning, normally the most demeaning job in the company due to our fierce stubbornness and fiery tempers. But over the years she’s built up an impressive portfolio of dick pictures we’ve all been coaxed into sending her for one reason or another (for the record, none of us has gotten any further than a peck on the cheek, and Dirk only got one because he was about to expire from bone cancer). She was remarkably adept at getting them, too. Just last week she was bragging that she got the FedEx guy to send her one no more than 30 seconds after he left the building, although no words besides “sign here” were spoken. So we begrudgingly have to admit we are powerless around her, and as long as she has the photos on file we’re pretty much stuck with our routes as written.
Which brings me back the Singac American Legion. Although by far the lowest volume account of all the Legions on my route, they seem to always need emergency deliveries for events that almost certainly never live up to the hype. For this reason, I usually ignore their phone calls and deliver the beer about five minutes before the start of the event to really make em’ sweat it out. Tonight’s big event was a wrestling match in the basement, an arena that was barely 12 x 18 mind you, between two never-were’s named Tony Toledo and Dale Shovel, and it was “gonna be huge” according to Lawrence, the current bar chairman. I only expect Lawrence to last a couple more years before completely descending into madness brought on by perilously high levels of mercury in the Legion building’s water supply (a removal method has never been agreed upon by the members). How else to explain why the previous two bar chairmen are both bright pink, hairless, and feral; it’s not uncommon to see one or both of them outside in front of the shed next to the main building, frantically mowing what is obviously a gravel driveway. Most of the members haven’t completely turned yet due to bottled alcohol being their primary source of fluids, but there was still an unsettling vibe about the place.
When I finally got there around quarter to eight in the evening, one of the members, Colt, was taking down the Sunday Brunch banner in the front. He told me it’s now going to be called Gin & Tears since it mostly consisted of divorced kids-don’t-talk-to-me-anymore assholes staring down the wrong end of their 70s. When I walked inside I was happy to see Colt taking up the third barstool from the sun. Colt was the original drummer for Retribution Squad, my old thrash band. I was looking to rev it back up, and he had the ins we needed to play the Legion circuit. Admittedly, he hasn’t picked up a pair of sticks in almost 20 years, but I figure a month or so of rehearsals and we’ll be a lean, mean killing machine once again.
I had barely gotten my hand truck through the front entrance to the upstairs bar when I was immediately overcome with the sour stench of spilled dreams, horseradish farts, and cheap cigars. I spotted Dale Shovel in the corner warming up for the match by drinking rail whiskey and weeping openly but couldn’t even get over to buy him a sympathy round before I was overrun by regulars. I was caught between Otis, a veteran in name only who “didn’t want none of them Toms-dickin’-Harrys” protecting our freedom, and Gus, a centenarian whose sole bragging right was that his son was in “that mustard commercial” in the 70’s. Nevermind that his only known son is a career criminal who’s been stampin’ plates in Rahway the past 27 years, his dueling lazy eyes and 400 pound frame made it hard to believe he would ever be called upon to sell mustard to the masses. Desperate for a way out, I muscled my hand truck through, knocking Gus over in the process on the way to the basement where the wrasslin’ match was to take place. As expected, a quick head count showed roughly 13 paying customers, who would have to consume about 55-60 beers each to validate my special delivery here tonight. Lawrence ran over to sign the invoice which I had doctored a few minutes earlier so I could grab a couple cases for myself, then I high-tailed it out of there in record time, stopping only for a few seconds to enjoy a pity shot with Dale before getting the fuck out of Dodge. You know a joint is toxic when you’d rather drink alone in your truck in the dark of winter than with the regulars inside, but here’s mud in your eye.
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