McNulty and I had just wrapped up another uneventful evening patrol downtown, and looked to the Circle Tavern on Birch Street for a couple beers before we’d turn in for the weekend. We were met by the usual crowd of aimless, red-nosed losers who had no place better to drink on a Friday night: the union workers who all smoked gold foil cigarettes and constantly rambled about getting screwed over, the sad sacks of $#!% who had just gotten laid off by the foundry the week before and still lingered around the pub like a pack of whimpering strays, and the filthy old men who ogled every barfly in their cataract-obstructed fields of vision. Every one of them chimed a drunken “Evening, office-uhs…”, with a chorus of coughs and groans following suit. I grimaced, another night on the beat, with the beloved public.
I needed something a bit stronger to cope with the stench of stale piss and vomit.
“Double shot of Ballatine’s, Paulie.”
“And a triple of some of that Stolichnaya, I guess.”
I hadn’t gotten trashed since the divorce went through, and I figured my Puritan side could use a night off for once.
McNulty had been happily married to his left hand, that old high school sweetheart of his, thanks to that hideous mauve birthmark that spanned across the bridge of his nose from eye to eye. There was something peculiar about allowing him to drop me off at home, when I had been long accustomed to kicking him out of the squad car as he writhed in the street in a drunken stupor after every Friday shift. No matter, I had to shake things up a bit. We had slunk in the back corner, away from those piss-ants that continued to b#$@h about their pathetic livelihoods, when one of the musty old perverts by the door let out a depraved … “Wood-yuh look at the A@@ on that?”
Anne-Marie Lippianzi. Back in the neighborhood, having dropped out of Seton Hall, with black thigh-highs and denim shorts with a certain asset that had us all flustered. Hardly the young woman any of us had anticipated she’d turn out to be but prime eye-candy, no less.
“Vodka spritzer to go, chump. And make it snappy, before one of these cocksuckers tries to cop a feel.”
She made a passing glance over at the back corner, and we locked eyes. We both conceded a kind of disappointing reaction to catching each other in a place like the Circle Tavern. Me, among the legion of ogling perverts and nose pickers, and her having let down her entire family in the matter of one fateful drunken semester. A horrible encounter, by all means. I held my head in my hands as she averted her scornful gaze, snatched her drink out of Paulie’s quivering hand, and made for the door.
Ryan Fallon is a staff writer for Rutgers-Camden's Gleaner. He has also written as a columnist for The Inner Condition, a blog that features prose and poetry. Ryan Fallon is also a chain-smoking, cynical, lapsed Catholic c@#t of a novelist who resides in Camden, New Jersey. Follow more of his shallow cultural ramblings at genericginger.tumblr.com.
Please feel free to comment on this article here or join the conversation on our forum.Top of Form
Bottom of Form