Monica ended our Valentine’s Day date by telling me she had to be at work early the next morning. The evening had been a disaster, so I was expecting it. Still, that was the most money I’d ever spent on a girl just to get blown off.
I got back in the car and drove home, getting more and more pissed off as I headed east on the 134. By the time I’d hit the 210, I was in a mood to punch out a wall. So I got off at Lake and headed over to Keaton’s house. Better to punch out someone else’s wall than yours.
And if there’s one thing Keaton understands, it’s punching out walls. And people. He got his bouncer gig in Old Town by knocking out the bouncer who was on duty. I guess I need to say that he didn’t just go up and hit the bouncer right on the button. There was some trouble with more guys than they had security to handle, so Keaton jumped in and helped get rid of the drunk assholes. One of the security dudes didn’t get that Keaton was on his side, so he took a swing at him. I’ve known Keaton for about a year now, and one thing you never should do is take a swing at him. The security guy learned that the hard way. You know how you hear stories that end with BAM! – and the guy was out cold? This is one of those stories. I was there. It really was BAM! and the dude really was out like a light.
The guard – his name’s Miguel – was damn cool about it once he got up, and even got his boss to hire Keaton. So now Pasadena’s best dive bar has the peace being kept by a bigass badass inkedass Latino guy and a good ole Texas boy with a stone-cold stare and a history of one-punch KOs. You don’t want to mess with either of them. Let alone both at the same time.
So I headed over to Keaton’s place. He’s got a one bedroom apartment that’s bigger than mine, and almost entirely furnished with stuff he got at the Pier 1 across the street. Before moving to LA he was living in Alaska, and buying new stuff here was cheaper than moving what he had from Fairbanks. He only brought two things with him: a hand-carved 6’ totem pole a couple of eskimos made for him, and a blue beanbag chair.
So I pulled up outside his building, and texted him that I was downstairs. He texted back “I figured” and came downstairs to let me in. He was even carrying an open beer that he handed me.
“I knew it, bubba: Joe owes me twenty bucks.” Joe is the first baseman on our softball team. “I bet him you wouldn’t get lucky tonight.”
I gave him a two word answer.
The beer tasted incredibly good on the way up in the elevator. It got me out of the punch out the wall mood, and calmed me down enough to go sit in the beanbag chair and not go over the whole story.
I still went over some of it, enough of it to earn me a second beer, which got me talking about what a shrew I have for a girlfriend and whether it’s worth trying to tame her. It’s true I usually have no trouble getting girls…but having one is still easier than getting one.
Beer three in fifteen minutes may have gotten me a little depressed. All that money for…nothing. Four hundred bucks is ten Dodger tickets or four days in Disneyland – and, instead… It’s gonna be a good thing that I got all those Subway coupons from my neighbor’s newspaper.
That earned me a “man the **** up, bubba” from Keaton. “I didn’t give you three beers so I could hear about what a bitch your girlfriend is.” He hauled me out of the beanbag and downstairs to his truck in the garage.
I had no idea where he was taking me. It was a drive east on California Boulevard with George Strait and a smirking buddy for company. Finally, after George had finished “Blue Clear Sky”, he (Keaton, not George) said: