Blind Man Walking Part One

Autumn’s new room mate Jeff has been here for the past few months. He’s from New Jersey studying Psychiatry at a school in San Francisco. He’s an okay guy, I guess. Jeff isn’t too tall. Average height I’d say, he’s balding with jet black short curly hair. Jeff is a 1970s man. He’s one of those people that lived through the Seventies and liked them so much that he still personally identifies with that era. Poor bastard.

Jeff seemed to me to be having trouble fitting in out here in California. Making friends with people was an uphill battle for him and he acted homesick and lonely most of the time. His social interactions with people consisted of Autumn, his classes at school, volunteer work, online chat rooms, and the local dive bars. In particular of the few local dive bars he had been playing pool at and getting drunk frequently in were the Hotsy Totsy and the Mel-O-Dee. The Mel-O-Dee I could handle every once in a while. It’s a leftover dump from the early Seventies, located in a worn out strip mall near Autumn’s apartment. The interior decor of the Mel-O-Dee is straight out of a bad film, velvety red walls and black vinyl trim with etched glass mirrors behind the simulated wood grain bar. Completely tacky. The crowd is mostly elderly. One of Autumn’s neighbors in a nearby apartment building goes to the Mel-O-Dee once a day for drinks dragging his oxygen tank behind him. He’s a good example of their regular geriatric clientele.

I expect as soon as the 20-something “cool kid” crowd discovers the Mel-O-Dee, they’ll end up taking the place over and run out all the old time regulars. Same thing happened to a little dive bar I used to go to near where I live, called The 440 Club. The 440 is wasted now thanks to those trendy “cool kids”. I won’t set foot in it anymore. When I first started going to The 440 Club the only people there were white-haired. Some nights senior bowling teams were there drinking after a match. I was the only young person in the whole joint. Rosie would bitch me out as I sat at the bar drinking Murph Islands. Some nights a blue collar worker like a taxi cab driver or a mechanic from an auto shop would get off work and come into The 440 and buy the entire bar a round of drinks just because they had a great day. That stuff was fun. It all came to a screeching halt after dirtbag hipster kids discovered the place and took over. I stopped going when the elderly crowd disappeared and the nightly Junior College fist fights appeared.

The other bar Jeff goes to as I mentioned, is the Hotsy Totsy. It’s down the street and around the corner from Autumn’s place. It’s pink, run down, and the neon sign over the front door is generally flickering out or entirely busted. I hate that hole. Jeff seems to like it way too much.

Autumn’s neighborhood is strange. There’s a dying strip mall practically in her front yard, BART tracks within view of her livingroom windows, a Wild West gun shop, a kick ass ACE hardware store, a bowling alley, and a school for the blind. It took me a while to figure out why there were so many blind people in Autumn’s neighborhood all the time. Apparently there’s a well known school for the blind here, so blind students come from all over the nation to attend it. I had no idea a school for the blind was anywhere near here.

The other weekend I was staying with Autumn at her place. She was blissfully sleeping next to me when I suddenly woke up. I had to pee like a motherfucker. I always sleep on her side of the bed that’s closest to the wall, so I have to scoot out of the covers without waking her up. Most of the time I fail to exit her bed stealthy enough without disturbing her. I was about to get up, hit the bathroom, and hop back in bed. I held still in bed as I heard a bunch of racket coming from the livingroom. Jeff had blundered through the front door to Autumn’s apartment. It was late. As I nestled next to Autumn’s warm body and threw the covers back over my chilled frame, I heard an awful lot of noise coming from out there. Something wasn’t right.

The floor was pounding with each heavy step of Jeff’s movement. From the sound of things it seemed like a struggle but I didn’t hear any voices. I could tell by the increased light flooding underneath Autumn’s bedroom door that Jeff turned on every lightbulb in the apartment. I squinted at the sharp white blade pouring from under the door into her pitch black room. This was fucked, I really needed to take a leak. It sounded like Jeff staggered into the bathroom and proceeded to take a long shower. Multiple times I heard solid thuds against the bathroom walls and the tub. Once or twice, I thought Jeff might have fallen in there hurting himself, it was that loud. I almost got up to check on him and then thought twice about it. I decided to play possum and hide in Autumn’s bedroom until Jeff was passed out asleep. I still had to pee, the pain in my bladder was getting worse and I considered taking a leak in Autumn’s kitchen sink. I had to go that bad.

Jeff managed to finish up in the bathroom, and stagger his way into his bedroom. I listened intently for any sign of movement trying to reassure myself that he was finally down for the count. I waited a few more minutes. There was nothing, not a sound in the apartment. Figuring it was safe to make my bathroom run, I dashed out of bed and opened Autumn’s bedroom door. As my eyes adjusted to the blinding light I stopped in my tracks at what I saw. In the middle of Autumn’s livingroom floor there was a pile of Jeff’s soaked, mud encrusted clothes. A dark stain spread out in the carpet around his filthy clothes pile. I was perplexed. Shaking my head in disgust I walked into the bathroom. My left foot hit about a 1/4in. lake of water and I jumped back into the hallway. The bathroom it seemed, was flooded. What the fuck was going on?

A tired, moaning voice spoke from behind Jeff’s closed bedroom door. “Autuuuuumn. Autumn, are you there?”

Oh shit.

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~ by factorypeasant on November 11, 2005.

5 Responses to “Blind Man Walking Part One”

  1. Mel-O-Dee is my bar of choice. I don’t like the beers that Hotsy Totsy has on tap…come to think of it, I don’t like the beers that Mel-O-Dee has on tap. But Mel-O-Dee has flocked wallpaper and is super mellow on weeknights. Saturdays it has a popular (i.e. popular with the aformentioned geriatric set) karaoke night. Folks bring their dinner in Tupperware containers so that they won’t miss a beat. Last time I was there I saw a knitting group of 20-somethings, so the hipster factor is creeping in. Maybe I’d be one of them, were I hipper and keener on drinking more.

    About two years ago some kids tried to hold up the Wild West Gun Room. Bad idea. Gun stores, you see, tend to be armed. There was a shoot-out and they had to close down the Payless Shoes across the street for a day because I think a window got busted. But generally it’s safe-ish in these parts.

  2. The Payless shoe store was shut down temporarily because a hapless kid walking by on the other side of the street got hit in the crossfire of the attempted gun store robbery. he walked into the Payless and passed out from blood loss or the shock from being shot. i forget which. i’ll probably get to that incident later on.

  3. on an unrelated topic, here’s an article from redstate.org on SF’s Prop H.

    http://rightwingduck.redstate.org/story/2005/11/9/223645/986

  4. i feel sorry for everyone in SF who owns a handgun. the deadline for them to turn them in is April 2006, i heard.

    well now that Taser is coming up with a civilian model of their stun gun for about $1,000 i figure everyone in SF can arm themselves with that instead of a 9mm. then you can quietly incapacitate anyone you choose to mug, rape, or whatever. yeah!

  5. shotguns are still legal, aren’t they?

    -AK

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