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It's free pool night at the bar still known as "Formerly Known as Dottie's", despite it being a year since "Dottie's" closed and "Lenny’s" opened. At the pool table is a man who guts and cleans deer for a living, 50 a day gets him $200. He's got fourteen grand in savings, in part due to his time in the Gulf War, and he's missed his bus to Ocala tonight so he's staying in Atlanta and looking for a place where he can party, "And I don't consider drinking beer to be partying."
Lenny is tending bar, though the place is only coincidentally named Lenny's, and grumbling about turning 40 at midnight. No celebration, no party, just another slow night at the bar. He's used to the years at The Point where there was rarely a slow night and time flew by. Now he watches TV and engages in long conversations between the occasional drink order.
Three punk/skinhead regulars wander in, girls who are rebelling against society by all getting the exact same (terrible) haircuts - crew cut short on top, but long locks framing their dour faces - and the exact same clothes - tight jeans, big boots, flight jackets, a look that was cutting edge 25 years ago but has now become a uniform. Reminds me of what the mayor of Seattle said after the violent protests there against the world trade organization meetings, "Organized anarchists from Oregon." Organized anarchy?
The DJ finally shows up and shuts off all the lights in the music area, cranking up a mix of slightly outdated Jamaican and hip hop, heavy on the bass, light on the lyrical content, and dances alone in the dark room.
In walks a black man with a humble, defeated look despite his friendly smile and gentlemanly manner. Homeless beggar straight out of the Veteran's hospital, wristband still in place, arms covered in tattoos, and chest tattooed with scars courtesy of the Viet Cong. "I don't do drugs, except smoke and drink occasionally." Super nice guy who should be beaming with pride at still being alive, but instead hangs around like a lost puppy looking for scraps.
Head throbbing in the morning, I'm fighting my own enemy, but instead of hunting Charlie with an M-16 I'm sitting in the window trying pick of the squirrels with a pellet gun. (It seems about as easy as hitting a moving target from a 6th story window three times with a bolt action rifle.) I'm doing my own begging for scraps, sending proposals and estimates and résumés and instead of cruising bars I'm cruising job boards but at least I have a roof over my head and congress has extended unemployment benefits another 13 weeks.
Economic recovery my ass.
All this at a time when all I want to do is head south, leap out of the car onto a beach full of half naked spring breakers and throw then down into the sand and screw them silly one by one (or two by two), bathe in a vat of alcohol and shrimp cocktail and not come home until I'm too sore, too hungover and too bored to take another day. Too bad I'm too broke to leave the house. eMpTyV tortures me daily with scenes from Cancun, bouncing breasts and big grins, shitty music tuned out thanks to the MUTE on screen.
Ah, spring!

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