By Mark Driver


This is Part 2. It is strongly recommended, for general comprehension purposes, that you read Part 1 first. Also, you should sit up straight, exercise more, eat better, and be nicer to animals. And maybe jerk off into a cup and show it to a nun. No wait. Don’t do that.

“I’ve been on since 4:00,” I tell him, padding the facts. “Working.”

“Well, I know she fucked the bartender here, and I don’t see anyone else around.”

“Don’t know a thing about it. “

“Hey. You don’t want to fuck with me. I’m gonna find out who it was.” Not in my bar, shithead. Not today. I pull the pint of 7 UP from out of his hand.

“Time for you to leave,” I tell him, dumping his drink into the sink. “I have no idea what you’re talking about, and I’m not gonna sit here and listen to this bullshit. I got a bar to run.”

“Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I’ll go. Just tell me where she went.”

“Out that door behind you.” He eyes the door through his glasses, squinting.

“Well, I’m waiting here for her. Call the police if you want.” He folds his arms across his chest.

“You can sit. But I’m no part of what’s going on. I’m just back here trying to make rent. Yeah?”

“Yeah, OK.”

“And just so you know, there are about ten wanna-be bouncers here that would gladly beat the shit out of you if I give them an excuse to.”

“I’m just gonna sit here and wait.”

“That’s fine. Be cool.”

I plopped down another 7 UP as a sign of goodwill. I felt bad for the guy.

He sat there with his untouched 7 UP, staring blankly at the TV while the Mariners blew another one. Three innings passed before his lovely bride stumbled in through the back door. You can probably pull out your trusty protractor and chart the events as they unfolded themselves. He fumes for about thirty seconds and then starts yelling, the crusty fucks at the bar suddenly turn chivalrous and attempt to defend her honor, but this husband is obviously on the verge of going ballistic and even a skinny white kid is capable of bringing the shit on a jealousy-fueled rampage. Loud voices of barflies wisely fade and the entire tavern is left to enjoy the exchange of niceties between the couple, loving lines like “you drugged-out bitch” and “you boring fuck” and “where the fuck have you been?” and “what do you care, you kicked me out of the fucking apartment.” And the fighting continues for a few minutes until she starts crying and runs out into the parking lot and he chases after her, and I send a guy out to make sure she’s not getting her ass kicked, but no. They get into the same car and drive away.

I look at the clock. Just in case the police came looking for answers later. Fuck. 8:30. My shift wasn’t even half over.

The next day I come in at 5:30 to relieve Tony. Before I can tell him about the rest of the night he smiles and says, “Well, I called her.”

“Oh, yeah?”

“I think her brother answered. I left a message.”

Dude. That wasn’t her brother. Poor Tony. I told him and watched as his brown face turned yellow. He aged before my eyes, about twenty years in ten minutes. One little act of sexual spontaneity and he was an adulterer. A participant in a disease-ridden, slow-motion gangbang. A bartender from Goldie’s came in and said the girl had been doing the same thing at her bar earlier, so Tony wasn’t even the first guy of the day. And now some crazy nerd probably wanted to put a bullet in him.

Tony swore up and down that he got checked out by a doctor, that everything was fine, and I never saw him bleed from the ears or explode in boils. I really hope he was telling the truth because around the time I gave my notice a few months later, he met a really great girl, the granddaughter of one of the regulars. She was beautiful, smart. In grad school. A cute little mamacita who looked perfect with his arm around her. I hung out with them two or three times after I quit. After only a few months of dating, they seemed on that military mindset of marriage by 24, two kids by 26, bored and ready to die by 30. I hope fate left Tony alone with only a lesson.

Nobody ever saw that girl or her husband again, although their story is still told by the crusty bar fucks with great enthusiasm, much more so if a sullen Tony happens to be sulking behind the bar. Mike is even more or a legend.

“And let that be a lesson to all you youngsters looking to score with people you meet in a bar.”

“Jesus, Mr. Driver, that is indeed a cautionary tale to be reckoned with. But surely you can’t just pick the most extreme example in your arsenal and expect to use it as leading lynchpin in your argument. It’s anecdotal at best.”

“Oh yeah? Let me tell you another story.”

“Which will be anecdotal as well. Plus, I’m very late for work.”

“I’m handing you the keys to the universe and you’re worried about a little wage slavery? Shut up and listen. This one takes place at the other shithole I worked at, the martini and wine place. So I go into the yuppie bar on my night off.”

“Mr. Driver, please. I just want to know how—”

“SO I GO INTO THE YUPPIE BAR ON MY NIGHT OFF! Shut up or I’ll start talking politics again.”

“I’ll be good.”

So it’s my night off from the yuppie bar and I agree to work. What a sucker. One night off a week, and I still come in to help with some silly tech firm’s team-spirit meeting (or whatever you call it when you’re forced to hang out with your boring and unattractive co-workers in public). Eh, it’s a few hours of light work for easy money, free dinner, and tips I wouldn’t otherwise have access to.

After three hours of suffering the pretension and mouth running that often accompany that spiritually crippled subculture of corporate fodder that equates its own sense of self worth with the particular brand of alcohol consumed (“lookit’ me maw, wit duh Grayeee Goose marateenee! Imma buyin’ my way inta high societee! Woo hoo!”), I take a little dinner salad and a pint of iced vodka to the other side of the bar and wait for my friend Dexter to show up. Dexter was a sad sack in sore need of some cheerin’ up. After months of couples therapy, trial separations, weekend retreats, and all other sorts of adult yuck, Dexter had finally been dumped by his wife. That morning. Poor bastard. Divorced at 29.

At one point he had had a perfectly good lady on his hands—cute too. But she was slightly more insane than girls usually are, and there is a trend among the insane, as the illness develops, to obsessively desire the appearance of normalcy. This insanity, coupled with some sort of estrogen-soaked biological mandate dictated verbatim from gooey substances excreted by glands underneath her arms, made her decide that she and Dexter were going to be “a normal couple” and start living “a normal life.” Not having a friggin’ clue what the hell she was talking about, Dexter, like any good man, smiled weakly and did his best to stay out of her way. It turned out that she was in pursuit of that John Hughes, Home Alone perfection; a life lived out by sitcom families and milk commercials everywhere. The house, the kids, the dog, garbage cans, Saturday pancakes in a sunny open kitchen, water fights with the hose, cable television, dinner parties, fires in the fireplace, connubial bliss—the way we all assume that other people live. And what was required from our young Dexter? Not much. Only his mortal soul. These fantasies are not easily attained. Sacrifices must be made.

So, with her encouragement, he quit his cool but shitty-paying jobs (part-time studio musician/part-time silkscreener/part-time barista), put his English degree from Columbia to work, and got a normal, good paying, boring adult job at one of the Northwest’s premiere tech firms. They both got health insurance after years of living without. Health insurance. Normal people have health insurance. Right? She wanted a house, so he used the money from his boring new job to buy a house. She wanted a landscaped backyard, so we spent weekends hauling dirt around in wheelbarrows like we knew what the fuck we were doing. For a couple of city guys used to studio apartments and mini-Webers on the sidewalk, “working” in the backyard was a bizarre treat. But her demands were unlimited and growing by the day. She wanted a car without dents in the door, she wanted appliances, she wanted organic vegetables delivered daily, she wanted puppies, she wanted matching silverware, she wanted colorful Tupperware, she wanted babies—all stuff he would gladly give to her, because he loved her. He wanted her to be happy. He was ready to take up the yoke and be a family guy, just like his dad and the dad before that.

And then one day, after a year of playing house, wifey had the brilliant realization that Dexter was no longer the cool, crazy guy she fell in love with. He was just some corporate schlep who came home from work dead tired, ate dinner, drank a few beers, and fell asleep in front of the large-screen television by 10 because he had to be awake at 6 to make it out to the Eastside by 8 to prepare for his 9 o’clock meetings. He started coming home to an empty house. She started going out by herself, meeting new people, becoming less dependent on him for everything—except money. The money he made was fine. At some point, it was decided that he was not cool enough to hang out with her new friends. And then it was decided, with loads of great advice from her new friends, that, at 28, she was too young to be tied down. She was not the type of woman to be stifled by homeownership, obligation, oppressive traditional family constructs, societal directives, forced patriarchal hegemony, flegisophical monatarisical forensoploppy blah blah blah. Living comfortably in a nice house paid for by a harmless corporate job? Imagine the torture! The strain! The embarrassment! It wasn’t indie. It wasn’t punk. It wasn’t real existence.

Because real existence is living off a damp mattress in someone’s drippy basement (these rat bites are SO HARDCORE), ingesting serious amounts of toxic substances, taking a weekly, half-hearted stab at writing a book about your “life experiences,” playing in a lousy junk rock band, and getting skin lesions from eating nothing but hamburgers three times a day. That’s real existence. That’s what she ended up doing. Awesome. Great. Amazing.

I had been through the same sort of dumping thing six months earlier (though, I was on the other side of the coin, judged too gutter and irresponsible by my own panel of experts) and, as my experience taught me, the first two weeks are hell on earth, the only thing that helps is time, and the best way to pass that time quickly is to stay unconscious though the help of drugs and booze. As neither of us are big drug users, we didn’t have any around. So I thought I’d give Dexter a hangover to make him forget all about that girl; a little heartbreak would be nothing in comparison.

So he finally mopes in and we get well on our way to putting our overactive brains to bed. We’re drinking hard for about an hour and this girl wanders by twice, finally smiling and sitting next to him at the bar. She’s not bad, a slightly chunky Jennifer Jason Leigh, nice grin, decked out in her “I’m-going-out-and-wearing-black” standard uniform that every woman is issued when hired to their first real job out of college. She casually starts talking to him, and pretty soon they’re hitting it off. I get up and take a piss (using the bathroom sink, as always, as a fuck you to the bar) and by the time I get back, she’s got her arm around him.

“Can I ask you a question?” she asks me.

“You just asked me a question. Didn’t seem to need permission for that one.”

I say this to her in a shitty tone to let Dexter know that I have no intention of competing with him for this girl. He is free and clear to move forward without complication. Although, in the name of full disclosure, if I was gonna go for her, I’d say the same thing, enacting the “bird in the hand” gambit, where she feels like she’s already got him in her purse, and I, though generally unpleasant and certainly ungroomed, transform myself into the unobtainable one, the challenge, the renegade that all women want to conquer with kisses. This tactic, of course, will be discussed in further detail throughout my upcoming book, So You’re Tired of Paying Your Sister For Sex.

“Do these look like D cups to you?” she asks, pulling her shirt up to reveal two slightly sad breasts. The bar’s dead and the other bartender is talking to the cook though the service window, so her exposed mammary glands are not exactly causing a commotion.

“Nah, those are barely C’s,” I say, like I know what the fuck I’m talking about.

“Are you sure?” she asks. “Give them a feel.” And, though I am often rude, I am no brute. I stand and cup her breasts because it is the decent thing to do.

“It’s hard to tell,” I say, sitting back down. “Most of the breasts I associate with are perkier and much more firm.”

She puts her shirt back down and pouts. “I don’t like your friend,” she says to Dexter.

“That’s OK,” he says, smiling at me, “nobody does.” Yay. I got him to smile.

So they talk a little while longer, and I go up and get a copy of the Tablet, one of three Seattle weeklies—the only one that does not induce vomiting—and sit back down. Dexter sees that I’m reading and starts to say something, but I cut him short with a look that says, “you’re the one who just got dumped and meeting girls is good for you and if you even think of including me in your boring ass conversation I am going to go to the kitchen, find an overripe tomato, and pin it to your skull with a butcher knife.”

Let the rebounding begin!

I had already done my time with that monster. I had already been through countless terrors with the rebound, the hopping out of some stranger’s front door at 3am in only pants leave the socks behind put the t-shirt on over the head while sprinting to the closest major street to hail a cab because I got in her car and got taken to some distant, smelly apartment like a total idiot—I thought you said you lived in the city—and she’s standing in the doorway yelling drunken slurs and slurring drunken yells and waking up her roommates and holy shit look at her, what was I thinking, thank God I stopped it before doing anything that would cause serious guilt and hard feelings or pregnancy … I mean embarrassment sure because no one likes getting rejected after pulling their pants down but it’s far less cruel than never calling again plus everyone knows where I work and I can’t deal with that sort of stress or guilt or harassment right now because I can barely feed myself much less deal with some ugly situation that I wouldn’t even be in if my stupid girlfriend hadn’t dumped me and I wasn’t doing anything wrong except trying to function as a normal human being who needs smiles and hugs and sex and wants to have a little fun, but shit that was horrible and I feel fucking dirty and I swear I’m never going to leave my apartment ever again-—

No more one-night stand-offs for me. No sir. Well … probably not.

Dexter, however, was a whole ‘nuther story. After months of horrible, drawn out, emotional attrition, he needed to reestablish some semblance of himself. Initiate a series of scarring events to create distance from the woman who turned him into a divorcee with a closet full of suits. Plus, after five years with the same lady, he needed a little innocent fun. And he was well on his way to achieving said fun when she said, “Why don’t you guys come to my place? I live right around the corner. We could have some fun.”

Now, I got nothing against a good three way, but usually not when it is my gender that is over represented. And especially not with someone I’d have to see again. And especially especially not with a friend I’ve known for years. Guacala!

I answer my portion of her question with snorts of derisive laughter delivered as I returned to my reading. She puts a hand on Dexter’s leg and says, “how about just you then?”

He looks over at me for an opinion and I shrug. Probably not the best idea, but eh, neither is drinking a gallon of vodka every night. Then she leans in close to his neck and breathes hot into his ear.

“I’ll give you the best blowjob you’ve ever had.”

Dexter shrugs, stands up, and puts on his jacket. I don’t bother to express an opinion; I just turn another page in the paper while he and his new friend walk out the door.

A few minutes later I finished my drink and wandered out, lookin’ to see what the other neighborhood bartenders were up to on a rainy Monday night.

About an hour later, I was sitting on a loading dock off the main drag, swinging my boots and shoveling toxic quantities of processed pink cheese into my face via convenience store nachos, a “food” that was beginning to comprise an alarming percentage of my diet. And, almost on cue, I see Dexter, shuffling down the street with half a shirt and a shoe in his hand. I call him over and, as he recoils in justifiable terror from the carnage of my late-night snack, I get the filthy details.

Without getting too graphic, it was a no-holes-barred extravaganza that was one-half uninhibited carnal explosion and one-half trying to keep her golden retriever off the bed. And the second he was done screwing her—still lying there and catching his breath—she’s on the horn to her boyfriend, crying and relating the previous 45 minutes in gory details, saying things like “now were even,” “I’m sorry,” and “baby, you should come over.” Dexter quickly gathered his belongings and scooted out the door.

“Revenge sex. Glad to be a part of it,” he said, finally pulling on his shoe.

“How was the blowjob?”

“Pedestrian. Middling. Uninspired. Even worse though, I left my watch there.”

“Let’s go back and get it. Dude, that would be so interesting. The exact opposite of boring!” I say, inwardly wondering exactly what sort of sexual act required the removal of his watch. I’m all for going back and getting it. I LOVE being in awkward situations that don’t directly involve me.


“Well, you can probably buy your watch back from her on eBay tomorrow.”

“Then she’d have my address.”

“Just think how jealous her boyfriend would’ve been if she woulda cheated on him with two guys at the same time. Could a guy ever recover from something like that?”

Dexter grunts. “Probably. Let’s take a cab back to the Hill. I need a shower.”

“You need like ten showers.” My mind went to Tony. “You wore something, right?”

“No. I had unprotected butt sex with a complete stranger who sleeps with guys she meets in bars five minutes after picking them up.”

“I just think it’s great that on the day you get dumped you’re out on the town packin’ galoshes.”

“I just think it’s great that on the day I get divorced I get laid for the first time in three months. Even if it was shitty sex.”

“Trust me, there’s plenty more mediocre lovers where she came from.”

“Tonight was a gift. I’ll take it. The universe feels bad for me, and it should. I know that girls start throwing themselves at you after you get married. But divorce? How does that figure into getting laid?”

“This D-I-V-O-R-C-E! is B-O-R-R?-I-N-G! I don’t know shit about shit. Just that Jesus works in mysterious ways to get us laid, my friend.”

“He certainly does.”

Dexter took his shower and has since pieced his life back together. Bad boobs hasn’t shown her breasts or her face around that bar since.

“So, in closing, let me summarize my points: Spend your beer money on yourself, sex with strangers is often weird and uncomfortable, marriage ruins everything, and Gatorade is delicious. Knowing these things, you are properly prepared to become a bartender. Now off to work with you, my little scamp. The state-sponsored imperialist plutocracy this nation passes off to a mouth-breathing populace as free-market capitalism isn’t going to exploit third-world misery all by itself!”

“You just had to get some rhetoric in, didn’t you?”

“You think that’s rhetoric? Listen to this … in a nation that holds itself as the stick by which to measure freedom and justice, one need not peel back many cabbage leaves of PR propaganda to become engulfed in the stink of deception and corruption that currently rots the heart of a once-great experiment called The United States of America. Far from the moderate conservatism espoused by a campaigning Bush, this illegitimate, weak leader and his neocon puppet masters have managed to destroy not only whatever goodwill existed for our nation after the crassly exploited spectacles of September 11, but to also—hey, where are you going? Get back here! I’ve got a lot more big words to use on you!”

Finally. A little privacy.


Keep those book requests coming in. It’s letting me know how many I need to print. Email with the subject line BOOK BOOK if you want one. After looking at printing costs, shipping-from-the-printer costs (where the hell am I gonna store 660 pounds of the same book? And can I get 6 pounds more?), the fact I have to even set foot in fucking Office Depot … we’re looking at $15.98 ppd for my fellow United Statesians, $19.98 US funds to the rest of the world. Discounts for 5 or more books. Massive discounts for 20 or more. Indy bookstores and distributors, inquire within.

To my new friend, “Stranded, Fucked Over, and Forgotten,” I’ll certainly mail books to Iraq (even though they probably won’t make it to you), and even give you my “Bring Them On” discount. Jesus. And yes, my faraway, cabbage-eating friends, I’ll mail books to Ukraine and Serbia—although I do doubt the authenticity of that book request from Vatican City …

As of now, the title is “Just Another Empire” with the secondary title remaining “Nobody Cries When a Ratcatcher Dies.” One printing house in Utah has already refused to print the book on name alone. A freaking generic bid to like 40 printers and I get a gruff, poorly punctuated sermon from some swollen fistpuppet in Christrules, Utah. Fucking Utah. I hate Utah. The Great Salt Lake smells like adult diapers. HEAVILY SOILED ADULT DIAPERS. This is America. You’re in business to make a profit. Our business leaders have clearly demonstrated that there is no place for morality in capitalism. You’re either with us, or you’re against us.

I’ll be fixing the messy BOOK link of the blindwino mainpage shortly and set up a pre-order form towards the beginning of October. And, realistically, we’ll probably be shipping at the beginning of November, signed and numbered, pages glued shut with significant amounts of DNA. You think I’m kidding? Big Seattle party planned at the Rendezvous. Details to follow. Bring your flamethrowers.

Hey, if you guys haven’t said hi to Slap Maxwell, Burt Cocaine, or Chuck Verbatim in a while, drop him a line and salute him on his re-entry to society.

Up next, Jury Duty? Mexico? Italian Vacation Pt 3? Being turntable technician for 50 Cent out at the Gorge? What ch’all wanna read about?