Thumping, throbbing, pulsing… a sinuous dolphinoid stroke through crisscrossing waves of briny, grinding flesh, arrive at destination: a ramshackle tropic-themed auxiliary bar. I wave, regally, in the vicinity of the bartendress, to order a stiff one. To my left, propped lordotically on a stool, a slim blonde in slimmer dress squeezes a lime wedge into her love potion. She thinks (incorrectly) a stray sour squirt hit me; I feign injury.
Blondie: “Oh, I’m sorry about that!”
Left hand up to left eye, I execute a grimace with great gusto. “Aagh! My eye! It burns.”
She gawks for a beat, I spread two fingers slowly apart, revealing the abstractly-afflicted eye, peering at her with my miraculously and expediently cured vision through the finger gap, smiling with same orb a reprieve from a personal injury lawsuit. I leave the scene, pressed in equal measure by physiological necessity and the advantages of calculated absence. Her friend, almost as attractive, says “bye” loudly as I set off.
The right inflection can flip a “bye” into a “why not stay for a longer ‘hi'”?
Re-trace my dolphin migration, arrive at bathroom to discharge the blowhole. Too many pissers. The walls bulge, Matrix-like, with the teem of testosterone. Zipping and careful to avoid slipping in the slosh of urine accumulating on the floor, I contort my return way through the crowd to the bathroom exit, as a crescendo of primate chest beatings alerts my early warning detection system. A stygian mutant standing in the doorway prognathously bellows, “That’s rude, man. That kinda rude can get a man killed”, at a retreating Topper pretending to ignore the taunt. He repeats his threat in staccato bursts of gumfire three or four (thousand) times, a menacing series of war cries intended to evoke the fear of an inevitable eruption of normalcy into sudden, violent, pitched battle. I raise my arms into a preparatory garrison as I snake around the rapidly intensifying black hole of gravitational incivility.
Escape velocity achieved. One hundred paces between chaos and rapture. Back at dryland Bar Tiki, the blonde, still seated, still smoldering, shifts to make room for my adjacent insertion. I accost her.
“You know I’m practically blind in my right eye now.”
“You mean, your left eye?”
“Oh, yeah, my left eye. Blind as a bat. At least your right side looks good. I hope your left side makes the grade.”
Her face energizes for gratifying combat. She sparkles, I toggle. Everything is gonna be alright.