The Deal Breaker
It took me forever to find parking on Harrison Street.
By the time I finally found a space, rummaged quarters for the meter, and walked the six blocks to the Eagle, I was hot, cranky and in desperate need of beer.
San Francisco's Eagle Tavern had those annoying rubber strips hanging in their doorway, a pointless exercise when you have no air conditioning. I batted them away from my face, stepped inside, and paused while my eyes adjusted.
The beer bust on Sunday afternoons was the only time this place was busy, and the warm weather had brought out a huge crowd. Most of the guys preferred to stand out back on the huge patio, enjoying the sun and the crush of bare skin. Didn't hurt that they could smoke out there too.
Customers on the patio were being served drinks through a large walk-up window, and the bartenders were swamped, taking orders at the bar, then whirling around to attend to the outside customers through the window.
I got in line behind two tall, thin leathermen.
They were dressed right out of the Castro Clone style guide. Knee-high Wesco boots, with their tattered and faded jeans bloused inside. Heavy chain belts. White wife-beaters under leather vests. Their vests were covered with affinity pins from various motorcycle clubs and leather events.
One of them had a flogger attached to his belt. I noticed his vest had a silver name tag that said 'Sir'. Sir's friend had red and orange hankies stuffed into his back right pocket.
They both had elaborate goatees and shaved heads. Sir had numerous tattoos covering his skinny arms. The tattoos were mostly faded and illegible.
I guessed them both to be in their mid-50s.
As I waited my turn, suddenly, Sir grabbed his companion's arm.
'Hey! You see that guy? Right there? Talking to Randy?'
He was pointing out the window into the crowd on the patio.
The bartender turned to take their order, blocking the view through the window.
'Who? Where? I don't see Randy.'
They both moved to the side a bit, to see around the bartender. The bartender shook his head with annoyance and turned back around to serve someone else through the window.
I was pissed. These guys were holding up my beer.
'OK, look right now! See him? See him? The big guy with the Civil War cap?' Sir pointed again.
'No, I don't. Who the hell are you talking about?'
Now I could see the other guy's name tag: 'Boy.'
Sir was getting exasperated.
'Do you remember me telling about that play party I went to at Freaky's house, back when you were visiting your mom?'
'Yeah, you said it sucked and you didnt even play with anybody', said Boy.
'There! There! Standing next to Tony! See him? See him? He's scratching his neck right now!', Sir said excitedly.
Boy didn't even look out the window, instead giving Sir a reproachful look.
'Did you MEET someone at Freaky's party that you didn't TELL me about?'
The bartender again turned to face us. Sir and Boy ignored him.
Ordinarily, I'd have pushed them aside to get my damn beer, but I'd gotten caught up in this little unfolding drama.
'Oh, don't EVEN start with me! I'm just showing you the guy that I TOLD you I met, the one that was LEAVING the party when I got there. Remember? The guy from Dallas? When I got to Freaky's, he was leaving with Wally?'
Boy nodded, relieved. 'Oh, yeah right. You did tell me.'
'Anyway, I was chatting online with Wally yesterday, and I found out a little tidbit about the Dallas guy that you are going to find IN-TER-EST-ING!
Sir SANG the word 'interesting.'
Boy: 'What about him?'
Sir reached out and clenched Boy's elbow, and stepped closer.
'He's a MAJOR scat pig.'
Boy's eyebrows lept up.
'WHAT? REALLY? Which one is he again?'
Boy craned his neck towards the window.
'I thought that MIGHT get your attention, HAH! And you are in luck, because that's him, RIGHT NOW...getting a beer on the other side,' Sir said triumphantly.
A handsome and muscled middle-aged guy, wearing a Civil War cap, was being served at the window.
'Woooooof. He is a hot hot Daddy!. AND he's into scat? Be still my piggy heart!'
'Yes, and Wally said he was REAL fun. Should we go outside and talk to him?'
'Oh, HELL yes. Mmmm, mmm. What a body, too! And you know how I like....', Boy stopped in mid-sentence.
'Oh, FUCK....wait a minute....forget it.', he said disappointedly.
'What? Why 'forget it'? What?', said Sir.