The night had claimed another day. George Von George is at The Salty Dog, drinking away his sorrow. Drinking away all the drinks.
Bars like this, according to George Von George, are portals into the void. Some strange, dark subterranean world that hell has no place for, where lost souls head to go in limbo. The devil could care less about The Salty Dog. How would he even find it? The sign outside hadn't been lit up in ages.
The people at The Salty Dog sit, like barnacles clinging to a sunken ship, and drink, drink, drink. 6 beers. 8 beers. 10 beers. What's the difference when you're here? It's all a bunch of sports jerseys, bad shaves, hairspray 'dos, and racists. Brains soaking in rubbing alcohol, trying to come clean.
That's why George Von George drinks at The Salty Dog. It's where the zombies hang. Nobody here has illusions, or fake ideals. They don't have anything. Just some zombied out, stupefied existence, and that's it. George Von George can relate. Seems he's less and less with each day. He's the moon when it's on the wane.
"'Scuse me, you gotta lighter?" George Von George asks, turning his head for the first time. I wish this cigarette could light me, he thinks to himself.
The lady two stools down - the one with the bleached blond hair and dirty roots - she gives George Von George a quick, timid look and then starts digging in her purse. She had been noticing him noticing her for about an hour now.
"Yeah, hold on a second. Lemme find it first."
George Von George had long theorized that moderate amounts of alcohol in fact increased the blood flow to the penis. Excessive amounts, he found, did the opposite.
“Damn it, it's in here somewhere.”
The clinking of cheap red lipstick and black mascara, the overly sweet fruity smell of sugar-free gum... it seemed somehow more real now that George Von George was drunk. Kind of how the light in Van Gogh's paint is more vivid, more radiant than real light could ever be. George Von George would swear to God he's hearing things and seeing things as they really are for the very first time.
"C'mere, I'll light it for ya," she says, cupping her right hand around the plastic lighter as she brings it up to George Von George's handsome, chiseled face. Eve holds the apple.
Then, she stops and cocks her head. It's as if, to George Von George, all the waterfalls in the world are stopping, and all the rain in the world has been suspended in mid-air. Maybe even the world is no longer spinning. He'd have to remember to check later, to see if the sun still came up when it was supposed to.
"Wait. What in the world? Is that... is that... a candy cigarette? Are you fucking with me?" She hits George Von George on the shoulder. "Are you fucking with me? C'mon this isn't funny. You lil' fucker."
"No, no, man. This is what I smoke," George Von George pauses, a deer caught in some kind of cosmic, far off headlights. "What?"
"You got to be kidding me? What are you even drinking?" She took the glass and tipped it to her nose. "I don't even smell any alcohol in this!"
"It's um... It's um... Budweiser Select 55."
George Von George blushes. He feels ashamed, like he isn't a man. He instinctively knows where this is going.
"What are you, a fucking girl? Why don't you drink a man's drink? Shit, my boyfriend can drink a fifth and still not be as fucked up as you're acting right now."
George Von George smiles. He loves proles like her. The lady smiles, too, a more genuine smile than George Von George could ever muster. George Von George feels his heart beat faster. Blood rushes to his penis. The alcohol on their breaths mingles in the air, bittersweet. Somewhere, fireworks go off and a fire detector beeps.
“C'mon, lemme order you a real drink.”