BY LANCE DOILY It was Thursday and I had already had my fill of Murph’s for the week, so I ended up at another one of my usual haunts, Slunt Huskers off Rt. 23 in Little Falls. I could drink heavily here due to the fact that the bartenders would rarely charge me, and there was a trough underneath the bar that allowed us all to relieve ourselves to our heart’s content without having to fuck around with the complexities of a urinal. Everyone at the Husker knows me as a Schaefer man. Born and bred that way, it’s been said my dad drank so much of it you could drain his sweatrag after a day on the farm into a pint glass and serve it to a regular without complaint. Bars in this area stocked Schaefer for me, and only me. I can usually take down a good 15-20 if it’s an extended lunch, so bartenders know to keep the lion’s share of the wells stocked with my boys. Only problem is my visits are erratic, I’m known to show up without warning, and I do not take kindly to a piss warm can. Several unfortunate incidents later and the Husker is pretty much forced to permanently clog their wells with Schaefer cans instead of beers that other patrons might actually enjoy.
I’m just filling you in about this spot to let you all know about one of my favorite bartenders, Stone Marino. Stone was a textbook lifer. He still dressed like Bon Scott circa 1977 and his once majestic seafaring tattoos had dissolved into a murky green stew on his forearms, but he was always a good guy to have on your side. He used to work with Boot in repack for a short time until about 4 years ago, when he got served with a random drug test by some dude named Hoyt who made his living driving around in a mid-70’s Winnebago full of piss samples. Most of us would mysteriously take personal days or have to leave the office early when the Winnebago pulled up, but Stone really thought he had this thing beat. A day later it was reported back that his piss test turned up a “planet-decimating amount of PCP and cocaine,” and he was subsequently released after refusal to enter a treatment facility.
Stone was a proud homosexual, “gayer than time” as he referred to himself, and while in repack actually ended up turning two formerly straight fathers of two and four respectively into the late 70’s NYC bushy-mustache-and-leather-suspenders type of gay. Stone soon became convinced he could turn the whole back warehouse gay, and I’d be naive to say he didn’t for awhile. Poppers were soon handed out with truck runs in the morning, and it wasn’t long before half of us were recreating medieval fencing battles in the back lot without weaponry, if you get what I’m saying. “Cruising” was on infinite repeat on the break room VCR. Plans were made to put a replica of the Studio 54 man in the moon with the coke spoon hanging from the rafters. The jobs were getting done, so management had no choice but to turn a blind eye to the situation. This was all well and good, but I wouldn’t have brought it up if Stone wasn’t instrumental in changing a couple union polices that most of the teamsters still adhere to today.
One time a bunch of us decided to head back to the shop early to catch a union meeting and do a bunch of coke behind the dumpsters when me and Rex happened to catch Stone in the middle of a bout of bareback ballin’ with the shop steward. They were faced away from us, one on top of the other in the snap position, but even through the thick office glass, we knew they could tell we were watching. Nothing was said, no one was questioned, but every dispute we had was resolved without the meeting ever taking place. We all grew out of that scene a few weeks later after Stone had been let go and returned to our wives and girlfriends, but i’ll be damned if somehow we got out of it with a contract stating we didn’t have to haul deliveries down flights of stairs anymore. The memory of Stone’s time at the warehouse has all but faded, but Boot in repack still comes in every Friday with a leather policeman’s hat tilted ever-so-slightly to the side, and a few of us will grow discreet mustaches in commemoration of the day the union contract was signed. I think we can all agree Stone deserves a couple of shots for that.
PREVIOUSLY: How I Came To Know Lance Doily