A Poets Mind
“Don’t worry, don’t worry, he’s not going to do anythin’.” Dan said to Aileen over the phone. “You goin’ to go out then?”
“Yeah, I just want to hold my head up high. Ya’know?”
“I’ll see you there then.” Dan flipped up his cell, ending the call in a quick smack. Aileen has had problems at this bar before, fearful of the marauding morons that drove in mass at the stage, unfortunately her friends have the tendency not to care. And the not so comforting advances of a one time fling, who constantly shows up where she goes, makes things more nerve racking. Being the youngest in the friendship, Dan had not the knowledge of how to help, but volunteered his moral support to Aileen anyways.
Donning his leather trench and fedora, he stumped slowly down his back stairs. Careful to lock the deadbolt as he left, he mounted his Ninja and took off. He did not live far from the first stop in this night of celebration. The Big Stink was up first, named not for the smell coming off the urinals, but for the stink raised about the bars safety after a series of underage rapes. The new owner, who bought out the former a year ago, thought the name was funny, as did many of the locals who still went there.
Dan walked into the bar and pulled out his driver’s license. It was common now that the bars check each id that came through the door, not that this mattered many of the local kids still carried fake IDs. Aileen was sitting in the back sucking down a coke and smoking in the atmosphere. She was clad in a black blouse and denim jacket. Her blond hair lay across her shoulders, just brushing their tops. Aileen sat flatfooted arms under the table sucking on straw.
“Oi, can we get out’a here? This smog is making me wheeze.”
“Just a sec, let me finish this.” Aileen took to sucking down the soda finishing with a slurry of ice and brown stale water.
“Come on…” Dan turned from the table and began weaving his way through the increasing crowd. Thursday nights were always the busiest around here, Baker’s St is known for the line of bars that people hop to and from. Aileen found Dan at the door, taking a long drag on a piece.
“Ready?” Aileen looked put-off.
“Yeah, yeah…” Taking one last drag he passed the pipe to his friend and walked out followed by Aileen.
“You think he’s going to be here huh?” Dan said, as the two of them walked down the sidewalk. “He probably will be. He always shows up at these places.” Aileen’s blond hair plopped about as they half sprinted across the street. Rocker’s was up next, a cool mosh pit, hard bashing joint. Beer sprayed them as they entered, paid their five dollar entrance fee, and got their hands stamped, a black pussy in capitol letters across the back of the hand.
Dan led the way through the crowd. The heavy dim of smoke and weed filled the room, which was divided into the entrance hall and stage pit by the U shaped bar.
“You wan’a beer?” Dan yelled over the heavy metal screams.
“No…” Aileen shook her head, her voice to small to cut through the noise.
Dan signaled with a middle finger for a beer. Looking over his shoulder Dan noticed Aileen was gone. Sliding a fiver over to the bar tender, he took the bottle and began to weave his way through the crowd again.
“Yo!” another guy screamed through the every increasing punk rock.
“Ya’ve seen Aileen!?”
“Yeah yeah…” Riles pointed over the heads of several other bouncing moshers.
Dan nodded his head and clinked bottles as he moved off to Aileen.
“He’s here…” Aileen looked towards the entrance of the bar.
“He won’ come ova’ ‘ere…don’ worry!”
“Why,” Aileen pushed closer to Dan to speak into his ear, “wouldn’t he come over here?” The music slowed and Aileen dropped her voice.
“Because he saw me.” Dan tipped his hat up to show his long dirty blond bangs. The next song blared out over the stage speakers and the moshers began their jumping and ramming. Dan moved to join the crowd, taking a long swig from his bottle, but Aileen took his right hand and pulled him back.
Dan looked at her and smiled, “Fine…don’ worry so much!” Contented, Dan started to do mini-hops next to Aileen, bobbing his head, bangs and all, bouncing, his eyes closed.
The music started to go faster and Dan noticed him coming over, not Stiles, not any of their friends, but him. He came hulking, some twenty years on Dan, pushing through the gang of bashing kids. His balding head and long pony tail lent from a different time, only made the guy look older than he seemed, and his bulging beer gut was not all that much appealing.
“What are you doing with her!?”
“None of your business!?” Dan’s hair stopped bouncing, even though his foot still kept in beat. “What’s your problem!?”
Dan’s foot tapped louder as the music came to an end and the first band ended their gig and began to tear down.
“She doesn’t want you here.” Dan stood between Aileen and him as he grabbed at her.
“Why don’chya leave, we only wan’ta listen to the music, alright?” Dan held his ground as the hulking mass kept right in his face. Moments ticked by and the second band’s equipment was already being hauled up on to the stage.
“Aileen, you’re coming with me, now!”
Aileen froze behind Dan not sure what to do.
“No, Aileen, you’re going to stay right there.” Dan put his arms up as if to shield Aileen. “You need to leave before I get the manager.” Stiles and the other motley moshers stood watching as Dan pushed forward blocking the hulk of a man. It happened in an instant and Dan was hit hard, his face flung back.
Dan’s head jumped one last bob as the final beat crashed. Aileen was holding his hand again. The band started to pack up and Stiles came over holding an empty bottle of beer. “Yo man, great to see you out. And Leenie wassup sista?”
“Nothing, great bands tonight.” Aileen’s eyes went to the front of the bar, he was gone.
“I told you he wouldn’ bother us.” Dan smiled as he put his hat back down, “Want to head to Bens?”
“Yeah…” Aileen let go of Dan’s hand and hugged Stiles for a moment before heading to the door.
“She was worried, I don’ know what I’d ‘ave done had he come over ‘ere.” Dan took the last swig from his bottle, which foamed over the sides of his mouth, and sat the bottle on the shelf that ran along the wall were they had been standing.
“Don’ worry, I’d have had your back dude.” Stiles held his fist up for Dan to bump. With a soft fist hit Dan left, slipping his trench on. He found Aileen waiting for him on the sidewalk outside the bar taking a drag off a cigarette.
“You should really quit you know.” Dan smirked as he started for Ben’s.
“Dan, I’m glad I came, thanks a lot.”
“I told you, you would.”
“I’m just glad I had someone to lean on.”
A short story that is about friends becoming closer in a not so expected way.