Another Saturday Night at the Volcano (part 1)

It’s been a long time since I’ve told y’all anything about the good ole Volcano. But I went last Saturday night and it was almost like the ‘old days’ – i.e. before COVID.

Yes: Keaton still has his job there, even if he’s driving for Amazon too. I asked him about why he still works as a bouncer when he’s probably making more money driving, but his answer was simple: “I like it, bubba.” I reckon I can see that: it’s really a chill place, the people that work there are all pretty dang cool, and there’s something about Keaton that enjoys keeping order. He might have made a good cop…except that I don’t think he’d be good working in a chain of command. I don’t think he’s ever gotten fired for insubordination (at least he’s never told me he has)…but I’m sure y’all will have no trouble imagining him busting his boss in the mouth if provoked.

Anyway, that’s not gonna happen at the Volcano, since Keaton is now the senior bouncer there (he only works weekends), with Jesse working under him. So Jesse is still there too, and he’s gotten more assertive than he was that first night the bar opened after the COVID lockdowns. He’s taken his lessons from Keaton pretty well, and, while he’s not as intimidating as Keaton is when he wants to be, he’s still good at getting drunken assholes to toe the line. But Jesse’s still the good cop; Keaton’s the bad cop, and a dang badass bad cop he is, too. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not one of those little tyrants who get drunk on a little bit of power. He wants to make sure that the people at the bar have a good time – most of the crowd is pretty chill – and, yeah, that involves taking care of the occasional asshole who gets in. Neither he nor Jesse gets to use their fists much (they were complaining about it to El Tigre last week – yeah, we’re still taking boxing lessons; I’ve sparred with Jesse and, believe me, he’s learned a lot in the year he’s been working with us), but it’s still physical work at times.

Saturday night’s still movie night for me and the boys, unless there’s a ballgame on, in which case we usually watch that. Matteo’s learned a ton about the game by keeping score (using the Block method I showed him), and now he doesn’t have trouble watching a nine-inning game. It’s kinda weird, since sometimes it’s like he’s more interested in his score sheet than he is in the game itself. He doesn’t pay too much attention when I try to dissect a player’s swing for Jacob, but, hey, the kid’s watching baseball. I’m plenty grateful for that. And I reckon it makes sense that two boys who are so different would appreciate the game differently. It kind of comes down to the fact that Jacob looks at the game as a player, while Matteo, no matter how much his skills have improved, looks at it as a spectator.

It keeps me on my toes explaining everything both ways. I can lose Matteo if I get too technical about something like backspin on a pitch, while Jacob gets real bored if I ask him to try keeping score. Good thing I like the game from both perspectives.

So Saturday, after I got back from my weekly game with Los Cerverzeros (we lost…I don’t want to talk about it lol) we watched the Dodgers beat the Indians…I mean the Guardians (sheesh!)…7 to 1, and got Belen to hold the boys’ dinner until the game was over. (Belen’s awesome in a lot of ways; one of them is the way she’s able to hold meals and not have them incinerate in the oven.)

There’s a no phones at dinner role in the Sharpman household (it’s a good rule), but I could feel mine ringing all through dinner in my pocket. I was a little impatient over my chicken enchiladas and flan, since I was curious who it was, although it’s hard not to stop and savor this bombass flan Belen makes using (I think) cream cheese. After dinner, I headed back to the pool house and, sure enough, the phone rang again.

I didn’t recognize the number.

“Hello?,” I said.

“Hey, bro. It’s Carter Andrews. Lucas gave me your number. Hope it’s ok.”

“Sure. What’s up?”

“Got any plans for tonight?”

“Not that I know of.”

“Wanna meet up at the bar?” Since it was Carter talking, I didn’t need to ask which bar. “I’m going with some totally boring people from school and I need someone to make it fun.”

I thought about it for a second, then I decided why not. It’s been a while since I’ve been out with anyone but Joyce, and, while I’m nowhere near as close with Carter as I am with his little brother, I’ve been out with him and he can be fun to be with. That is when he’s not trying to start trouble, although maybe he’s getting too old for that kind of shit. There are dumbass things you do at 21 that you learn not to do by the time you’re 24.

So we agreed to meet up at around 11. Robert ran into me outside and asked if I was going out. I said I was, and he asked how I was going to get there, and, more importantly, how I was planning to get home. I said Keaton would bring me back, so there was no danger of my driving drunk. Then he offered to drive me to Old Town, which was super nice of him. (Robert: “we have to watch negative press and #baseballboy getting picked up for drunk driving is something I want to avoid.” I explained how Dad would personally come all the way from Tennessee to shoot me dead if I got picked up on a DUI. And that Keaton would be right behind him to beat the crap outta what was left of me. I may not always be the most responsible person in the world, but I am good at least about that.)

I asked Robert if he wanted to park the car and come in and at least say hello to Keaton (who he knows), but he passed. (Robert: “Thanks, Hunter…but I’m a little old for that kind of thing. And glad about it. Have a good time.”)

So I headed down the alley to the bar by myself.

One thought on “Another Saturday Night at the Volcano (part 1)

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