Sickboy beats a path westward on Niagra, accompanied by a cool evening breeze and a few lingering thoughts. Yesterday’s Street Fair and post-party have taken their toll on his liver and melon. A little fresh air is in order. Conditions are right for a soul-cleansing Sunday evening stroll, and for once the universe looks to be on Sickboy’s side. Of course, looks can be deceiving.
Not only is the universe not on Sickboy’s side tonight, but it’s about to kick him in the nuts with a steel-tipped boot. As the poor sucker approaches Bacon Street, an all too familiar face begins to materialize at a table on the patio outside The Vine.
It couldn’t be.
What are the odds?
Has the boy not suffered enough?
Sure enough, it’s Jenny, the face that launched a thousand shots, and she’s not alone. She and her date are sipping wine and and making small talk. Sickboy’s entrails slip out through the rip in his belly, leaving a crimson streak on the sidewalk to mark the spot where he has just been drawn and quartered. He does his best to stuff his guts back inside and tries to proceed with a cool indifference, just as Jenny looks up to catch a glimpse of her unwanted suitor passing by. Jenny is graceful as always.
“Hi Sickboy” she says with sweetness and sincerity.
Sickboy manages a semi-smile and a silent wave and just keeps moving faster. Jenny’s date is a baseball cap and hoodie as far as Sickboy is concerned, but this splash of reality has left Sickboy feeling old and lonely. What a fucking nightmare! An immediate brain dump is required. Erase the harddrive and reformat the disk. For just a moment, Sickboy considers maintaining his course on Niagra Avenue all the way to the end of OB pier and beyond. A long walk off a long pier. But if the boy is going to drown tonight it will be at the bottom of a gallon of Beam, not in Davey Jones’ Locker. He makes a hard right down the alley next to South Beach, and what started as a quiet Sunday evening stroll is about to get dark and Beamy.
Inside Tony’s Sickboy hops atop his favorite stool. Time to medicate.
“What can I getcha’” asks the Sunday night fill-in behind the bar.
Sickboy doesn’t even look up to acknowledge the guy.
“Jim Beam. Double. Straight up.”
As the stranger pours the shot tall and tasty, Sickboy drifts off in contemplation. What was the universe trying to tell him tonight with that random and unlikely encounter? Was it a dose of reality to shake away a lingering crush? Or maybe Sickboy is just being too self-centered. Maybe the universe wasn’t speaking to him at all. Just maybe the universe was speaking to Jenny, saying “Hey, sister, enjoy your wine tonight, but Sickboy is your guy.”
Suddenly Sickboy begins to chuckle aloud. He has just caught himself playing silly games inside his head, and he realizes that he is the most ridiculous, emotionally immature sap to ever swing a shotglass. He slaps a twenty on the bar.
“Keep the change, buddy. But you can dump the shot.”
With that, Sickboy hits the street. Mr. Beam will no longer be required. Tonight the bar is not as comforting as it once had been. Sobriety seems preferable to inebriation, at least for now. As he walks home, Sickboy continues to untangle the knots in his belly. Perhaps he finally has figured out how to separate jealousy from true affection. But just in case, he takes the long way home to avoid walking back past The Vine.