When I walk into China P. alone around 10:30, there are four girls at the bar, two of which I slightly know. One says hello to me, and she is a beautiful Italian looking girl who just broke up with a guy I went to high school with. She's outgoing enough to always say hello to me, which takes a lot because I'm not the most approachable guy.
An older couple rests at the end of the bar, but they're not saying anything worth listening to. I'm kind of pissed- even my bartender buddy Bill is gone, as he embarked on a two-week trip back to China to see his wife and four girlfriends, so I'm ordering Miller Lites and shots of Jagermeister from the substitute bartender, ironically named, "Johnny". I always wonder who tells these fucking guys what American name to take, being as most of them barely speak English in the first place.
The Italian broad is talking about some club she went to last night, and her three fat friends are emphatically "oooing" and "ahhhing" about whatever the hell the she's saying (it must suck to be the fat friend(s) and live vicariously through your hot friends). Apparently she's dating a black dude, but her stories are boring, so I switch between eavesdropping on their conversation to watching that UFC show on SpikeTV.
Drinking alone is tough business. It's not like I was doing it because I had to... yea, I bet you believe that. Seriosly, it's not bad once in a while because it gives me quiet time to explore the insides of my own head. Shane McGowan had a famous quote about this, but I'm not going to quote it, and if you're that interested you can look it up for yourself. Either way, you sit there, and everything someone says reminds you of something that went on in your own life at some point. It reminds you of a girl, a situation, a time when you were doing blah blah blah and whatever happened. Those girls mention the Shannon Rose a half dozen times, and my mind wanders.
There is one fat one that keeps talking about Bill, and I somehow feel like I'm cheating on him by buying drinks from this new guy. She's asking Johnny about himself.
"So, were you married?"
The bartender says something that I can't understand, holds up his bare fingers. She says something else, and he concedes that he is.
"Where is she?"
"Back in China. I have two son also. 8 and 11."
"Ohhh... you have girlfriends too, like Bill?"
"No, no... I no cheater," he says, but with a smile. He also doesn't explain why he ain't wearing his wedding ring, but he still claims that he isn't a cheater. He badmouths Bill's drinks a little, saying that he doesn't make them taste good enough. I'm about to say something, but then I realize 1) Bill will be back in a week, fuck this guy, and 2) He still controls how much I pay tonight, and he's given me a couple shots for free. I hold my tongue.
Another broad comes in. She is nice looking, but has a voice that makes you want to rip her throat out. It's a combination of a Long Island accent and a nasally banshee wail, and every time she comes here I want to throw her down the stairs.
The hour is getting late, and two of the fat ones get up to leave. A half hour later, the rest of them get up and say their goodbyes to Johnny. He is laughing, yapping, saying something in ChineEnglish that I can't understand. They start walking out, and the beautiful Italian girl looks over her shoulder, stops, and walks over towards me.
"Where are you going tonight? Anywhere else?"
"Nah, this is it." Talk about feeling fucking pathetic.
"Oh, you should come to the Shannon Rose! It's just like Thatcher's, but a lot bigger, it's an Irish place."
"Ahhh... I heard that place is expensive."
"Oh yea, I think the last time I was there I blew like a hundred bucks. I don't remember if it was all on me, or I was buying everyone shit because I was drunk."
I smile. "Well, maybe. We'll see."
"Alright. Goodnight, honey." She gives me a kiss on the cheek and walks away. She's a good girl, and I wonder what the fuck that guy from high school was thinking letting her get away.
I look down at my beer, and my mind immediately wanders to my certain blonde who fucking loves the Shannon Rose. I pay my sixteen dollar bill (good man, Johnny) and stumble out of the bar and into the night, under the streetlights of this same old town. I think I'm going to petition Bill to get a piano in there, so when I sit on those quiet nights I can tell Sam to play it again.
"Not tonight, Italian broad. I am thinking of someone else... and it will take a hell of a lot more than you to get her out out of my head..."