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 ;)