Sunday, September 18, 2005

 

Mogadishu Boogie

This happened a few years ago. So forgive me if the details are sketchy. After I got back from Somalia, I used to hang with a group called the Go Nowhere Gang. We weren’t called that because we were losers, mind you. It was just that we could never agree on somewhere to go, whenever we got together. On a typical Saturday afternoon, we would meet at the Frat House and try and figure out where to go to lunch. No matter what place we named, someone would have an objection.

“Let’s go to General Tso’s.” I would suggest.

“No gook food.” Redbeard or someone else would reply.

“How about Chili’s?” That was Tom.

“Chain bars are out.” The Fro was anti-chain bar. He was always wanting to go to the Alamo anyways, so we never asked for his input.

It usually went on like this for half an hour before we finally wound up going to the Alamo after all. It was the lowest common denominator. No one really liked it (excepting the Fro), but no one vehemently despised it either. Therefore it was always our default hangout.

Anyways, one of the GNG hangers on was a guy named Beane; Beane the Machine, we called him, At least to his face. Me and Redbeard and Tshimanga privately referred to him as Busey because he had a Gary Busey face; after the motorcycle accident. No one knows where he came from. He just sort of attached himself to our gang. It was like a tapeworm attaches itself to the host’s stomach. Wherever he went, he showed up. Tshimanga always suspected Hogan of tipping him off to our plans, but that was never proven.

It was a cold February Saturday afternoon and that meant one thing; college hoops. Also, that evening, Chewbaccalypse Now was playing the Agora and we wanted to catch that show. So, we decided to go to Belcher’s in Hartford to catch the Uconn-Georgetown game. Belcher’s was owned by a retired Army general and still is one of the more successful bars in Hartford, which ain’t saying much. A bunch of us, including Redbeard, Tshimanga, the Ransoms, and yours truly went to catch the game. We were planning on watching it then hanging around Hartford for the CN show. Then Busey came along for the ride.

The game, which UConn won handily, started at 2 PM and ended a couple of hours later. That meant that we had several hours to kill before the concert. We also had to find some way to ditch Beane. After the game, Tshimanga, Redbeard, and I headed down Pearl Street toward the Tobacco Valley Brewery to grab a few more drinks. Beane tagged along with us. As we walked in Beane mentioned that he had to go to an ATM machine to get more cash. That was when the escape began. The three of us walked in one door of the crowded brewery, then immediately walked out the exit and started running away from our parasite.

As we jogged up the street, Redbeard asked, “Where to next?”

I suggested the French Quarter. It was another popular Hartford watering hole and clear on the other side of downtown. Which meant it was maybe five blocks away. So, we went to the French Quarter and grabbed a couple of drinks. No sign of Beane the Machine. We had already consumed a few pitchers while catching the b-ball game, so I was getting pretty hammered; and hungry. I headed outside to a hot dog cart and bought a dog. After wolfing it down, I went to reenter the bar. A burly bouncer stood in my way.

“How was that hot dog?” He asked.

I replied, ”Pretty good. It really hit the spot.”

“Good, because I’m not letting you back in,”

“What??”

“You’re too drunk.”

Meanwhile, at the Ransom house, Joe and Jim were settling in for an afternoon smoke and a Star Trek flick. There was a pounding at the door. It was Beane and he was pissed off.

“Those fuckers ditched me, man!”

So I stood out there in the cold, waiting for Tshi and Redbeard to exit. Eventually, they did. By this time, they were pretty cocked and I was starting to sober up. Our next stop was the Amtrak station across the street. For some reason, Tshi thought that it would be a good idea to call his brother Mosi in Virginia Beach. We made a drunken phone call to him near the Greyhound desk. I don’t think that any useful information was exchanged in that call.

Our next stop was some place called the Mission. It was a precursor to those all-night rave clubs that now make up alot of Hartford’s nightlife and nightdeath, for that matter. All these tripped out kids were in there. So were we three hayseed drunks. Redbeard didn’t like the way the place was decorated and proceeded to rearrange the furniture. Tshimanga started goosestepping to the house beat. I was standing next to the bar when the Goth in charged approached me.

“Excuse me, but you and your friends will have to leave.”

“Why.”

“Your drunk.”

“This is a fucking bar, you’re supposed to drink!”

“Sorry.” He lisped back at me.

We were pretty drunk. And by now it was almost ten o’clock, so we decided to mosey over to the Agora for some jamming rock and roll. Sure as shit, when we got there Beane was waiting for us in the parking lot.

“Where were you guys, man? I lost you over at the Tobacco Valley.”

The four of us proceeded into the club. After a couple of shots of whiskey to warm myself up, I was plastered. It was a good show, according to Redbeard. I don’t remember. I saw some hot little number dancing by the stage and proceeded to stare at her the rest of the night through a drunken haze. Eventually, we went home and passed out. God, how I miss those days!


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