Monday, January 30, 2012
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Beer Drinking Marty
by Mykola (Mick) Dementiuk
Marty was pissed. He left work and immediately stopped into Smiler’s food store and bought a beer, gulping it down. Ah, that felt better. He had to get another job, that’s for sure, one that wouldn’t wear him down as much as this one did with stupid reports and asinine proposals. He instantly stopped at another deli for one more can, or as Kris Kristofferson sang, he had one more for desert. How does that song go? Oh yeah...
Well I woke up Sunday morning,
With no way to hold my head that didn't hurt.
And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad,
So I had one more for dessert.
Then I fumbled through my closet for my clothes,
And found my cleanest dirty shirt.
An' I shaved my face and combed my hair,
An' stumbled down the stairs to meet the day.
Marty smiled and walked on. Incredible how your mood changes after a little beer, and he grinned to himself as he was back outside, smacking his lips and throwing the can away, irregardless if there was a garbage can or not.
Years ago, he had heard from people who had lived through it, before recycling was the norm, beer drinkers just chucked their empties wherever they pleased and no one said a word otherwise; everybody did it. The city was more heartfelt then it became. And on the Lower East Side there would literally be mountains of empties after a weekend of watching some ball game or just drinkers hanging about in front of store bodegas which survived on the amount of beer that they sold. Too bad Marty didn’t live back then; he’d be the center of beer drinking attention.
Marty chuckled to himself. Center of attention is right, I’d rule the city! He laughed and stopped in for another store for another can. The new store took up a corner of the city block, 34th Street and Lexington Avenue, its well-lit brightness showing off a very clean and new environment that instantly made Marty scowl from his displeasure.
Too bright, he thought, but what the hell, I’ll just get a can of beer and leave.
He smiled at the pretty store clerk standing at the cash register, who grinned and nodded her head at Marty as he went to the back where he assumed the refrigerated items were kept. Row after row of water bottles, sodas and fruit juice of ever kind, but not a beer can in sight. Marty scowled even more. Maybe they still didn’t get any cases in, Marty thought, and went to the front of the store.
“Where do you keep your beer,” he brightly said, grinning at the pretty clerk, “I don’t see any?”
The bright smile on the store clerk’s face faded and dropped.
“Sir, we’re a Christian store,” she said, slowly shaking her head. “We don’t sell beer but we do have good bottled water or fruit juice.”
Marty looked at her, almost stunned. Christian store, the Bible belt right here in New York City, you gotta be kiddin? He turned around, shaking his head and walked out of the store. Where are the beer drinkers that used to flood the city? Marty thought, sadly walking along the street. Beer drinkers that left their beer cans after them…Mountains and mountains of cans…
On the Sunday morning sidewalk, he sadly hummed to himself, Wishing, Lord, that I was stoned.
New York is certainly changing, and changing a hell of a lot.
'Cos there's something in a Sunday, Makes a body feel alone.
It wasn’t a Sunday but a Friday evening. Stupid Christians, I suppose Jesus must be grinning in heaven, he thought.
And there's nothin' short of dyin',
Half as lonesome as the sound,
On the sleepin' city sidewalks:
Sunday mornin' comin' down.
Marty walked crowded streets until he saw another food store. Dare I go in and see if they sold beer or not, or was the entire city going Christian? Marty stepped in…
Then he saw a sign in the back. Cerveza, it read. Marty grinned and raced to the refrigerated beer cans, instantly feeling better. Ahhhh… New York isn’t bad when you have a can of beer. He opened one as they used to do back in the beer drinking days, right in the bodega and again he smacked his lips, gulping the luscious beer down. The Spanish store clerk smiled… Marty felt right at home and drank, glug, glug, glug…
For Marty Wombacher, we gotta get drunk one day ;)
Monday, January 23, 2012
Melanie’s Coffee Maker
by Mykola (Mick) Dementiuk
A cold morning, which was a bit weird since this winter had been a mild one with temps at night in the lows 30’s and the days enjoyed in the 50’s. But today’s January day was different, barely reaching 12 degrees in the morning, and with the wind chill it feels almost like zero or lower.
Melanie shivered and checked her thermometer.
Damn, 49 degrees, what the hell was the landlord doing? Ripping us off, that’s for sure, she thought.
She wrapped herself in a Brooklyn College t-shirt and sweat pants and bustled through the kitchen to make some coffee, her favorite, cappuccino, made in a new coffee maker, K-cup by Keurig, a bit expensive but the taste was heavenly, as good as restaurant brands and at least she could have her morning coffee without anyone looking at her or bothering her. She remembered how every morning she would see them making coffee at the Whole Foods and when she asked the clerk how it was made, he sluggishly and sleepily answered, “Machine…”
Melanie frowned and shook her head.
“I figure that, but what machine, how?”
The clerk yawned. “This machine, I don’t know what’s it called, Coffee Maker, I suppose.” And he yawned again and looked like he was going to drop.
Melanie again frowned. “What the hell is the brand name? It must have a name on it.” By then she was pretty pissed off.
The clerk bent down to the machine, trying to figure out exactly what is said.
“Looks like Keurig, whatever that means,” he muttered, stuttering the pronunciation
“How do you spell it?”
“K, E, U…” he spelled it out for her as the machine spat out hot water over the cappuccino coffee K-cup; Melanie wondered if it was a legal practice to use the K-cups for individual sales but didn’t think so.
As the machine brewed, spitting out water on the coffee grounds as a heavenly aroma filled the coffee shop air.
Ah, cappuccino…, Melanie thought, biting her lips but instead turned around and walked out of the coffee shop.
“Hey, four-fifty!” the clerk shouted after her, naming the price of coffee for a cup.
Melanie didn’t say anything but thought, Screw you! And decided to head up to Macy’s and get her own coffee maker, she walked firmly out. Was the best decision she made in the New Year. Now if only the stupid heat would come up, she thought, taking a sip of cappuccino and banging on the pipes.
“Damn landlord!” she spat out and had another swallow of her cappuccino. Ah heavenly…
A little story for my friend Melanie N ;)
Friday, January 13, 2012
Marty and Melanie’s Walk on the Mild Side
by Mykola (Mick) Dementiuk
Marty looked down at the Village Voice paper he was holding before the closed restaurant and muttered, “Shit!” That was the third restaurant in a month that seemed to be going good when all of a sudden it was gone, Out Of Business. He frowned, thinking about a blog Marty After Dark he still had to write and turned his collar up, heading in the direction of Downtown. He smirked as the melody spun around in his head.
When you're alone and life is making you lonely
You can always go - downtown
When you've got worries, all the noise and the hurry
Seems to help, I know - downtown
Just listen to the music of the traffic in the city
Linger on the sidewalk where the neon signs are pretty
How can you lose?
He smiled and started singing it aloud. In New York it didn’t matter, hoards of people walked along the street, day or night. It truly was a 24 hour town. Marty belted out another verse, amazing how old memories come back when you need them, Downtown, downtown, downtown… Of course he couldn’t sound as good as Petula Clark but to him he started sounding even better.
The lights are much brighter there
You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares
So go downtown, things'll be great when you're
Downtown - no finer place, for sure
Downtown - everything's waiting for you.
By then he was traipsing down St. Marks Place after stopping in for a frankfurter and a bottle of Bud, which the server happily served him as he still was singing the song, seemingly to himself.
“Cool song,” the Arab server said, smiling and grinning at him.
Marty took a large bite of his delicious frankfurter and smirked at the Arab; he swallowed more Bud.
“Times have changed, my friend,” said Marty, “changed drastically. Everywhere the stores are closing, wonder what’s happening?”
The Arab didn’t know what he was talking about, having arrived from Yemen just a week ago.
“Things always change,” he said, shrugging at Marty. “One day here, the next day gone, pft!” and he snapped his finger together and looked at Marty, who sadly looked back at him but finished his frankfurter. He had a few more swallows of beer, pulled his collar up and went back outside. It was chilly.
It was almost 10pm and there was nowhere to go just around the block to the St. Marks Bookstore, one on his favorite places. Almost weekly he paid a visit to the shop usually walking away with 4 or 5 books. The usual bookstore clerk Terry was nowhere around.
“He’s sick with the flu,” said a bored frizzy haired female clerk at the register who just went back to her reading of a book after answering Marty’s question.
Though she was cute and very attractive Marty no longer cared what she was reading; he wandered down the aisles, still humming the song, Downtown. He wandered right into Melanie, an old friend and blogster East Village Corner, Musing by Melanie, her head lowered and reading a book.
“Whatchya reading, cutie?” he asked, winking at her.
Melanie looked up at him, slightly shaking her eyes in confusion, “Oh hi Marty, what are you doing here?”
“Can’t I be in my favorite bookstores but I could ask you the same thing?”
Melanie stepped close to Marty and gave him a hug. Marty melted from her touch; he liked it when women hugged him. Next to his ears Melanie whispered, “Look at those two boys, I think they’re trying to steal something.”
Marty gazed down the row of books seeing the two boys, maybe 16 or 17, when one seemed to shove something in his pants under his jacket. Marty frowned; don’t they know about the tight security there is, an alarm would go off as soon as they neared the exit door. He shook his head. Wish he had another beer, he thought, focusing on more important things.
“I had a friend at one time,” Melanie quietly continued, “one of his favorite escapades was stealing books, like Henry Miller’s Rosy Crucifixion,” and she shook her head, staring at Marty.
Marty looked at her.
“I don’t get it. What’s Rosy Crucifixion; is that one on his works?” He knew who Henry Miller was but Rosy Crucifixion was a new one on him; he couldn’t get rid of the memory of more Bud.
“You know,” said Melanie, “The trilogy, Sexus, Plexus, Nexus. Those are very big books, too.”
“Yes, well,” said Marty turning away from the boys. “I always meant to read it.” Marty and Melanie sauntered down the row of fictional books to letter M, looking for Henry Miller. It was a snap, about 10 of his titles looked down at him.
“Did your friend succeed in getting the titles or was he stopped?”
“Security was very loose in those days. You just had to wear heavy bulky clothes and if you could get something underneath you were home free.”
Marty picked up a copy of Miller’s Sexus, almost 500 pages in the Grove Press edition.
“Wow, he stole this?”
“And the next day he got Nexus, then Plexus, all huge books. I remember how happily he smiled when he showed them off, he was gleaming.”
“Yeah, those non-security days were really something,” said Marty flipping through Sexus. “Did you read this?”
Melanie shook her head. “No,” she said, picking up a copy of Plexus. “If it’s so huge it must be good.”
“What your friend say, the one who stole the books?”
“Haven’t seen him in years, he disappeared, you know.”
Marty set his book back on the shelf as Melanie set her book down too. Suddenly, a loud metallic sounding alarm went off. At the front off the store the two boys threw down the books they were trying to steal and fled out side. Marty and Melanie shook their heads as they looked at the boys running off across the avenue with loud laughter coming from their direction.
Marty and Melanie made it to the front of the store. The evening store manager was there with the pretty frizzy haired clerk; he was frowning and shaking his head as she boringly yawned at the confusion.
“That’s the third or fourth time this week,” he said, to no one in particular, “that they tried to steal the book.”
“What book is that?” asked Marty.
The store manager held up Patti Smith’s Just Kids. Marty exploded into laughter, he had already read the book, was a great book at that.
Outside, the wind had picked up; seemed like an early winter was coming.
“You want to go and have a beer?” Melanie asked.
Marty bit his lips but shook his head.
“I’m good,” he said, thinking about the beer he had at home. “Think I’ll get home and get to sleep; early day tomorrow and still have to write my blog. Think I have an idea.”
They said, "Good night...", kissed and disappeared in opposite directions, Marty still humming Downtown as a story formed in his head…