Friday, February 26, 2010

Home Alone

Big Ed, the school teacher, came in on Saturday afternoon, which was very unusual for him. He always waits until after dark to have his pint. I could see that he was looking sort of thoughtful so when I filled a glass for him I asked if anything was the matter.

“No, not really. It’s just that I just saw something strange.”

“That’s not surprising, around here. It wasn’t Pete, was it?”

“Hah, no. I said strange, not scary. I’ve been out delivering notices for the elementary school book fair, going door to door reminding everyone about how important the fund raiser is. I’ve got these fliers I’m giving out. Here’s some for you.

Anyway, you know little Alex Suttles, don’t you?”

“I think so, lives over on Fairhurst, doesn’t he?”

“That’s right, he’s one of my students. Well, I rang his doorbell a couple of times and was about to leave when his brother Tommy opened the door. Tommy’s about 12, and George, he was standing there in a green velvet evening gown that came down past his knees and high heel shoes that were too big for him. He had on a curly blond wig that I’m sure I’ve seen his mother wear and to top it off he had a martini in his hand. I was so stunned I forgot what I was going to say and wound up stammering, 'Uh, is your mother at home, Tommy?'
He giggled and took a sip of his drink and said, 'Oh, Mr. Maples, what do you think?'
Then he closed the door, laughing."

I couldn’t get that picture out of my mind all evening.

Another interesting thing happened a little later. A few more of the regulars wandered in and we were having one of those rambling bar conversations that jumps from one topic to another. Somehow the subject of bananas came up and Big Ed mentioned that Cuban bananas were small and red and sweeter than the yellow Johnson variety that we get here in the US. I had never heard them referred to as Johnson bananas but a light bulb suddenly came on in my head and I immediately understood something. I said, “Ooooh…” at the very same time that four others said it. Realizing that we had all made the same connection we looked at each other and burst out laughing.

Marion asked, “What’s so funny? Why’s everbody laughing? I don’t get it?”

I said, “Marion, I’ll tell you later. Or better yet, ask your mother.”

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lady in Distress

We get some celebrities here at The King’s Arse, local celebrities anyway. One who comes in frequently is Roger Bright, the morning DJ on the local radio station. He’s got that show with Bob Early, “Bright and Early in the Morning” but I almost never get to hear them because we keep some late hours here at the pub.

Anyway, Roger is a pleasant fellow and you wouldn’t know it from his radio personality, but he’s pretty shy and meek. I like to mess with him sometimes, just for a laugh, so the other day Big Ed walked in while I was talking with Roger and I said, “Well, here’s Big Ed now, let’s hear you say that to his face.”

Well, we hadn’t even been talking about Ed, who is 6’-6” tall and looks like a biker, but is really a gentle soul who teaches second grade. I winked at Ed and he played along.

“What the hell you been saying about me, Roger?”

Roger panicked. “Nothing, Ed. Nothing. I swear it. Damn you, George, tell him you’re kidding.”

Big Ed and I both started laughing and soon calmed him down.

Roger has a crush on Marian, our bar maid, and likes to call her Maid Marian, which annoys her more than a little. He plays up the whole knighthood thing and when he’s had a few he will say dumb things like, “Thou hast my heart, fair Lady”. She just smiles and ignores it because he’s a good tipper.

Recently Marian’s mother, Rose, was visiting and she got a little tipsy and started flirting with Roger who tried to be polite but was obviously not interested in her. At one point Marian almost dropped a tray of glasses and was saved by Roger who grabbed the tray at the last moment. She thanked him and he said, “Always happy to help a lady in distress.”

Rose grabbed his arm and slurred, “Well, how about the Lady in this dress?”

After Roger left, Rose got a little depressed and started talking about dying. I tried to cheer her up and told her that she had many years to go before having to worry about death.

She said, “When I die I want to go like my daddy did, peacefully, quietly in his sleep.”

Marian said, “Now mom, you know that grandpa died in a car crash.”

“He crashed because he fell asleep at the wheel of his taxi cab so he never knew what hit him. All the screaming came from the couple in the back seat. I don’t want to go like they did.”

Monday, February 15, 2010

Champ of a Liar

Ed Wilson is without a doubt the biggest liar in the county and he keeps us entertained with his outrageous stories. He never will admit that they are just tales, swears that every one is the honest-to-God truth.

A few of the boys were gathered around the corner of the bar while Ed held court the other evening. “Bet you fellows didn’t know that my dog can talk,” Ed offered, looking at each of us as if daring us to say it wasn’t so.
We all grinned, waiting to see who would take the bait.

“Okay,” I finally said, “now you know your dog doesn’t talk, Ed.”

“Struth! He does. Another fellow didn’t believe me when I told him that last week. He even bet me money, 20 bucks, that Champ couldn’t talk so I proved it to him.”

“And how did you do that?”

“Well, I brought Champ over and said, ‘now Champ, what’s that thing called on top of the building’ and he said, ‘roof’.”
I rolled my eyes.

“Then I said, ‘Champ, what’s sandpaper feel like?’ and he said, ‘rough’.”
I winced.

“Then I asked him, ‘Champ, who’s the greatest baseball player ever?’ and he said, ‘Ruth’.”
We all groaned.

“Well, that fellow called me a liar right to my face. Can you believe it? Said that Champ was just barking. That’s when Champ looked up at him and said, ‘Who did you expect me to say, Hank Aaron?’
You know, that fellow was so astonished he apologized and paid us without any more argument.
I gave Champ his half of the money and he took off running. He was gone for nearly an hour so I went looking for him and when I finally found him he humping away on a pretty little French poodle.
‘I said, Champ, I’ve never seen you do that before‘.”

“And what did Champ say then?”

“He said, ‘Hell, I never had ten bucks before’.”
We all laughed.

“Struth. Honest. You know, we could have used a smart dog like like Champ when I was in the CIA.”

“CIA? Now Ed, you know you were never in the CIA.”

“Why George, I wouldn’t lie to you. It was back about 20 years ago, but I’ll never forget the day I passed my final test and got my badge. It was tough, that final exam.”

“What sort of test was it?”

“I’m not really supposed to talk about it, you understand, but it’s been a while so they probably won’t care. Just don’t go telling everybody, okay?
There were three of us and the instructor gave each of us an automatic pistol. He said that the final test was to prove that we would obey all orders, no matter how difficult they were. He said that our wives were in a room across the hall and we were supposed to take that gun and go shoot our wife. Of course, I told them right away that I would never do something like that. I love my wife, but the second guy took the gun and started out the door. Then he stopped and admitted that he couldn’t do it either.

The third guy didn’t hesitate at all though. He went into the room across the hall and shut the door. I wasn’t the only one to jump when six loud shots rang out. A few minutes later we heard a bunch of loud banging and thumping and scuffling noises. Finally he came back with his face all scratched up and his clothes sort of rumpled.

The instructor looked surprised and asked him what happened. He said, ‘that gun you gave me was full of blanks. I had to strangle her.’

It turned out that he was the only one who didn’t pass the test.”

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Vodka Tonic

Last Monday things around here were sort of slow. That afternoon there were only a few regulars and old Doc Long to keep me amused. Doc Long isn’t really old but everyone has called him that since his son graduated medical school and joined his dad in the business. Old Doc Long semi-retired last year and usually comes in here a few afternoons each week.

There was also Charlie Miller, a new liquor distributor who has been trying to court our business. He wants to sell me our beer and spirits so he keeps bringing me gifts. That day he sat a box up on the bar and told me it was for me.

“You’ll never guess what’s in it”, he crowed.

I saw that the bottom was wet and figured whatever was inside must have broken, so I touched my finger to it and tasted it.
“Is it Champagne?” I guessed.
“No, not Champagne.”
“It’s not Vodka, is it?”

“No. I told you that you wouldn’t guess. It’s a puppy. You were saying last week that you needed a guard dog around here so I got you one.”

Well, that made old Doc Long break up laughing.

I drank a quick nip of whiskey and handed the puppy off to Marion, my bar maid. She said, “Aww, come on Vodka. I’ll take care of you.“
And that was how Vodka got his name.

Doc Long pushed his empty glass at me and said, “Another pint, if you would, please” and asked, “What’s in the big jar?”
Charlie said, “It’s pickled eggs. Want one?” He took off the lid and held out the jar.
“Pickled eggs make me fart really bad,” said Doc.
“Oh, sorry,” Charlie told him as he took back the jar.
“I wasn’t saying no,” the Doc grinned.
“Well, I’m saying it. No!” I told him as I put the lid back on.

When I lifted the pooch I felt a twinge of pain go up my arm. It’s been happening a lot lately so I asked the Doc to take a look.
“You’ll have to make an appointment and see me at the office. I quit giving out free medical advice.”
“Oh, why’s that, Doc?”
“It seems like everywhere I go people want to tell me about their aches and pains and it’s got to be so much trouble that I didn’t know what to do. I asked Bill Smalley, the lawyer, it and he told me he has the same problem so now when people ask him some legal question he sends them a bill for it.
From now on, if I give somebody medical advice I send them a bill the next day.”

I said, “That sounds fair enough. It was nice of old Bill Smalley to help you out.”

“Not really. Bastard sent me a bill the next day.”

Friday, February 5, 2010

Highland Games

One of our regular customers here at the King’s Arse is Angus McMahon, a fellow of Scottish descent, as you can tell by the name. He’s never been across the pond but he likes to play up the whole Scots image by affecting the accent and frequently wearing a kilt. Even though the kilt gets him a lot of strange looks and comments I don’t mind him wearing it here because it adds to the ambience. I draw the line at bag pipes, though. No wind in the King’s Arse.

Angus usually comes in on Saturday nights while his wife is at the Bingo games. That gives him the chance to talk to some of the ladies without the scornful eye of his missus holding him back.

His wife, Betty McMahon, is a small, attractive red head who can display a fiery temper now and then, but she’s used to Angus’ flirting ways and mostly puts up with them. She seemed to be a little steamed when she came in this afternoon and asked me what kind of contests we had been running here in the evenings.

I told her there wasn’t any contests here that I knew of except maybe for Pete and Harold trying to see who could sing the worst.

She demanded to know what happened to her husband Angus here last night and then I knew what she was talking about. There had been some young lady tourists in and Angus, as usual, was having fun talking with them. Nothing serious, just a little innocent flirting like all the fellows do when they’ve had a few pints and there’s a lass about. The ladies seemed to be having a good time and even bought him a pint or two.

I could see that they seemed to be interested in Angus’ kilt, as people often are. Later in the evening I happened to look over and saw that Angus was getting a little drunker than he normally does. Finally he laid his head down on the bar and took a wee nap.

The ladies were giggling and whispering to each other and I saw one of them lift his kilt and take a peek. They laughed some more and one of them pulled a blue hair ribbon from her hair and reached up under his kilt with it. I probably should have said something but I figured it served him right for passing out like that.

“So that’s what it was about,” said Betty. “Angus staggered home and when he got undressed there was a blue ribbon tied around his “caber“, as he calls it. I told him he better have a darn good excuse for that. He scratched his head and he said he didn’t remember what sort of contest he entered but it looked like he won first prize.”

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sister Mary Frances

Things have been quiet here this week at the King’s Arse. About the only fun we’ve had was when Sister Mary Frances came in collecting for the church fund and old smart-mouthed Pete said to her, “Hey sister, what did you put down on your resume for job title, Bride of Jesus?”

She looked at him with that cold, penetrating look that only a perpetual virgin can give you and said, “No. I put Nun of the Above.”
That shut Pete up for a while. He hates when we laugh at him.

I could see that she looked tired and I said, "Tough life, eh Sister?"

"That it is, George. That it is. You know, the worse of it is these kids today. I can't seem to teach them anything. Sometimes it feels like the Lord has decided to try me with the biggest bunch of little morons in the state. I wish I could do like we used to in the old days, give ‘em a sharp rap across the knuckles with a ruler. That‘d make the little crappers, pardonmyfrench, wake up."

"Are they really that bad?" I asked, surreptitiously rubbing my hand as I remembered that ruler.

"Oh my, yes. I'll give you an example. A few days ago I overheard some of them talking about Easter so I thought I would eavesdrop and see if they had learned anything at all. I mean, we had been talking about it just a couple of weeks earlier. Anyway, Johnny Riley said Easter is when we dress up in costumes and go around to people's houses getting candy.

I was shocked and started to say something when Laurie Taylor spoke up and called him a dummy. She said that Easter was when they decorated the tree and opened presents. Can you believe that?

Before I could scold her Alan Reagan looked like he was going to redeem my faith when he said, "You're both idiots. Easter is when we celebrate because Jesus died on the cross for our sins and they put him in the ground and in three days he rose... and saw his shadow and we had six more weeks of winter."

I was so upset I snapped my Rosary. Beads went everywhere.”

She had us all laughing with that one and we wound up giving more than we meant to.