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     “Red Onion”
 
He just watched
as time dripped
away
taking with it
what was left
of his night
off
he couldn’t take
another hour
of solitude,
something inside
him
was pushing him
to go out
and at the
very least
be among
people
maybe even
a little conversion,
so he cleaned
up
took a shower
then changed
into a pair of
Levi’s 501’s
very worn
with a few
well placed
holes
the jeans were
a given
if he wasn’t
wearing shorts
he was in
a pair of
“501’s”,
now for the
shirt
he couldn’t
decide
some sort of
sports team
gear
was an easy
choice
but he was
after female
attention,
true
many of the
ladies
would be wearing
colors
of some kind
themselves
but hoodies
and jerseys
were all very
baggy
and the women
know
they are favored
by the fat
guys
or should he
say
husky
he has been
working on his
P.C. correctness,
anyways
they did a
good job
of hiding years
of a beer
and potato chip
diet
but on the
other end
of the spectrum
the skinny guys
liked how
the hoodies
and other baggy
gear
gave them a
heavier look
but when they
were lucky
enough
to talk their
way
back home
with a woman
she might be
surprised
when she pulls
off his hoodie
and she sees
she brought
home
a guy with
the body of
a tootsie roll,
then of course
there is always
the chance
you spend the
night
defending
the honor of
your team
to a bunch
of loud mouth
drunks
and that’s
not what he
was after,
he was on
his own tonight
and worked
hard
to stay in
shape
so he went
with a white
thermal
that hugged
his upper body
and set off his
summer tan
a look that
wasn’t pretty
he was hoping
for a rugged
cool vibe
then he threw
in
a brand new
pair of Retro
Van’s High Tops,
he had read
somewhere
the first thing
women looked
at
was the shoes
the article
didn’t say why
they did that
he was guessing
it wasn’t the
shoes
but how big
their feet were
trying to get
a benchmark
of his size
in a another
category
which made
him
wonder
if some guys
wore
extra-large shoes
to help promote
that kind of
thinking
he made a
mental note
to ask one
of his sister’s
sluttier friends
if the thing
about the feet
was true,
he takes a
shot of whisky
then calls a
cab
he only lives
three miles away
from the bar
he’s heading to
an easy walk
for him
but he didn’t
want to start
the night
all sweaty
and have to
cool down
and try to
get into a
relaxed mode
as soon as
he got there,
he takes two
more shots
before the cab
rolled-up
not trying to
get drunk
just trying to
get his body
and mind
on an even
ride
for the night
ahead
he grabs his
sunglasses
as the cab
taps its horn
announcing
its arrival
there is nothing
worst
than waking up
somewhere
unexpected
and having to
fight the
early morning
sun
all the way
back home
throw a
hangover
into the mix
and you wouldn’t
let it happen
to you
twice,
he sticks his
license
in his left
pocket
and his cash
in his right
he has all
the bills
facing the same
way
and in order
of denomination
he never carries
a wallet
and always pays
in cash
cash is king
especially if
you’re a good
tipper
it’s a lot easier
for bartenders
to hide their
tips
from the IRS
when there cash,
he jumps into
the back of
the cab
glances at the
cabbie’s I.D.
and uses his
first name
as he calls
out
his destination
“Jimmy,
take me to
the “Red Onion”
the driver
takes a second
to look in
his rearview
mirror
thinking maybe
he should know
him
but says nothing
and just lowers
his flag
taking him from
secure solitude
and store bought
liquor
to a busy
packed
den of wolves
and bad behavior
that is serving
over-priced
drinks,
but it is
Friday night
and it will be
filled with
real people
half of which
hopefully
will be young
women
he asks Jimmy
how his night
has been going
and if anything
was happening
worthy of note
cabbies
always seem to
have their
finger
on the pulse
of the night
Jimmy
looks into the
rearview
and looks at
him
as he answers
“not really
but if you
strike out
at the “Onion”
call me
I’ll pick you
up
and take you
to a place
with lots of
beautiful girls
where the action
is guaranteed”
he hands him
a card
that reads
“Massages,
that will make
you
Happy,
Walk-in’s
Welcome”
with his cell
written on the
back
“thanks Jimmy
I’ll keep you
in mind”
as he tucks
the card
into his left
front pocket
he has Jimmy
drop him off
in the back
parking lot
of the “Onion”
it just doesn’t
look right
getting out of
a cab
right at the
front door
besides
coming in the
backdoor
he just might
be able to
skip the cover,
he can hear
the noise
of the bar
long before
he gets to
the open door
and sitting on
a well worn
bar stool
was a big
black bouncer
with arms
that had a
circumference
larger than his
waist
he just handed
him
five bucks
and held out
his hand
to get stamped
which the guy
does without
saying a word
he has a feeling
this guy doesn’t
have to do
very much talking
to get people
to do what
ever he wanted
done
one thing he
knew however
from his
time
in bars
and other
questionable
places
was that no
matter
how big you
are
there is always
someone who is
bigger
meaner
and crazier,
he scanned the
bar
looking over
the crowd
as he made
his way to
one of the
many counters
where you could
get a drink
with hard
alcohol,
and others
that were just
beer
in both bottles
and cans
floating in
big tubs
of ice water
with beers on
tap also
all served by
young women
dressed in the
skimpiest of
fluorescent
shorts and
halter tops
beneath black
lights
all these girls
are owning the
right kind of
body
to make that
look work
for them,
he walks up
to the counter
of one of the
hard liquor bars
and orders a
double Crown
straight
with a bottle
of bud
the bartender
a good looking
woman of 40ish
brings him a
long pour of
a double Crown
“Thanks”
he says
as he slides
her a twenty
“but could I
get a bud
in the bottle
also”
“I would if
I could Hon
but all the
bottled beer
is scattered
about
if you’re ok
with draft
I can do that”
she says
as she slides
him back his
change
“no thanks”
is all he says
as he pushes
two ones
back in her
direction
she smiled
at him
and tapped
the counter
as she took
his tip
he normally
tipped
at least a
buck a round
a good rapport
with a bartender
can go along
way,
he hated draft
beer
half the time
the beer was
stale
or he would
get Bud-lite
instead of Bud
or even worst
Coors
so he always
went with a
bottle,
a tub of
ice cold Bud
was only thirty
feet away
a cheap ploy
to get you
to drink faster
and pony up
more tips
which wasn’t
a big deal
and if all you
wanted was a
beer
it was usually
faster
but what got
him
was the girls,
the first girl
was one of
your typical
California blonds
tan
with a body
that had plenty
of everything
the other was
an Asian
with a face
so perfect
you’d think
she should be
doing the channel
12 weather
he thought about
that last sentence
for a minute
was that remark
racist
he meant it
as a compliment
he’ll ask
one of the
Asians
he works with
on Monday
anyways
the problem with
the girls was
they were all
so overpowering
pretty,
hot
and sexy
in their shorts
and tops
and all that skin
with the lights
dancing across
their bodies
it was all
too much
an overload
of sexual
energy
he looks at
his double
Crown
sitting there all
alone
takes a drink
of it to clear
his throat
then he looks
over at the
girls
standing on a
slightly raised
platform
why are they
on a platform
it seems harder
for them to
work from
up there,
he got his
money ready
wanting this
to go as
smoothly as
possible
he walks over
to them both
and before he
can say a word
the blond
spins around
to face him
“What can I
get you”
she shouts
leaning forward
towards him
her breasts
just kind of
bouncing to
the music
right in front
of his eyes
he’s not sure
how long it
took
before he got
“Bud in the
bottle”
out of his
mouth
the blond shouts
“one Bud bottle”
behind her
and the Asian
sings it back
the tubs of
beer
are not on
the platform
the Asian girl
has to bend
way down
to get it
his eyes
going from
breasts
to ass
and then back
again
“could you make
it two Buds”
he says
handing her a
twenty
“another Bud bottle”
she shouts
handing him back
twelve singles
knowing that
if she gave
him a ten
and two ones
at best
the tip would
be two bucks
the Asian girl
turns around
with a smile
and gives him
the two beers
then goes to
help someone
else
he’s still unable
to raise his
eyes
as he hands her
five singles
and says
“this is for
both of them”
“very funny”
she laughs
as she takes
the singles
“No, No,
I meant
both of you”
pointing to
the other girl
“I know sugar
I’m just giving
you a hard time,
besides
they do get
jealous
of one another”
she says
taking her hands
and juggling a
breast with
each one
before moving on
to her next
customer,
“well now I
Know what
the platform
is for”
he mumbles
as he makes
his way
back to his
stool
with two
ice cold Buds
in the bottle
in hand
he sits
takes a drink
from one of
the bottles
then upends
his double Crown
the bartender
returning
spins two
cocktail napkins
down in front
of him
and sets a
beer
on each one
“would you like
another shot
of Crown”
she asks
“please,
make it a double”
he says
he looks back
over
at the girls
on the platform
able now to
take in all
their curves
and bends
from this safe
distance
without
choking on his
tongue
he watches as
other guys
some jocks
and face men
then others
nerds and
losers
all go up
and order beers
without the
slightest
difficulty
why was he
such a social
cripple
he reminds
himself
to ask the
guy in the
wheelchair
at work
on Monday
if you can
still say cripple
in that kind
of a context,
she returns with
his double Crown
throws down
another cocktail
napkin
and sets the
shot
on it
he pushes a
twenty
towards her
he liked paying
with twenties
he hated
coming up short
because he miss
understood
what the bartender
said
or having to
ask
how much he
owed
when they
neglected
to say,
he was worried
she might have
watched his
interactions
with the platform
girls
he gave her
a five spot
for a tip
“thanks”
she says
“and I didn’t
even have to
squeeze into
a pair of
skin tight
fluorescent
shorts”
she laughs
as she taps
the counter
and takes the
five
“well you have
your own look
going on
you can show
less
and still get
the same effect”
he wasn’t sure
where that came
from
the Crown
might have
loosened his
tongue
but he did
mean it,
she stopped
mid-stride
on her way
to help someone
else
seven stools
away
and turned
back towards him
“I think that’s
the nicest thing
I’ve heard
from anyone
all day
even if you are
just trying to
get
an extra long
pour
out of me”
she gave him
a big smile
before heading
off
down the counter
to bring some
guy’s
gin & tonic
back to life
he sat with
his back to
the counter
her smile had
melted away
that cold
awkward feeling
that the incident
with the platform
girls
had put on
him
his confidence
level
was going
back up,
his body was
moving with
the beat of
a song
that was drifting
in from some
unseen corner
of the bar
there was
something about
this bartender
she had
fifteen years
on him
but he thought
she was totally
cool
and her body
well her look
spoke for it’s
self
but he could
tell
right away
she was special,
he saw a
girl
of about
twenty two
sit
eleven stools
away from him
her back to
the bar
not trying to
flag down
anyone for a
drink
and she looked
to be alone
he figured
he’d ask if
he could buy
her a drink
first he looked
to see
if the bartender
was looking in
his direction
to self-conscious
to do it
with her watching
him
“Hi, I’m Jim
can I buy
you a drink”
she casually
looks him over
starting at his
shoes
then up to
his eyes
“eleven and
a half
if you were
wondering”
he says
she smiles
and says
“what’s eleven
and a half”
giving him a
questioning look
“the shoes”
he says
“so can I
buy you a
drink?”
“look,
you seem
like a really
nice guy
but I’m into
tattoos and
piercing”
she tells him
“well give me
an hour
and I could
probably
do both”
she can’t help
but smile
but makes
no reply
“I’ll tell you
what,
let me buy
you that drink
and if you
decide later
that extra
holes
and a lot
of ink
aren’t your thing
I’ll be here
waiting”
he raises his
eyebrow
in a Bluto
kind of way
and looks her
in the eye
“Ok,
vodka and
cranberry juice
but don’t
raise that
eyebrow
at me
when I walk
out
with some
mosh pit
reject”
she says
“fair enough”
he says
“but you’re getting
no well drink
from me
only the best
for a woman
with such a
high standard
in men”
raising his
eyebrow
at her
once again
on cue,
the bartender
returns
and asks
if he’s ready
for another round
“Yes,
another double
Crown
for me
and this
distinguished
lady
with impeccable
taste
will have a
double CÎROC
vodka
with cranberry
juice”
he waits
the two
minutes
it takes
for her to
bring back the
drinks
the young lady
takes her drink
taps her glass
to his
and says
“thanks”
he nods
takes a drink
of Crown
and heads back
to his stool
the bartender
brings him
his change
he slides her
another five
she knocks
the counter
and picks it
up
“not a bad
tip
from a guy
watching his
CÎROC
and cranberry
walk away
from him”
she says
as they both
watch
the young lady
follow what
looks like a
heavy metal
band
or a group
of
Hell’s Angels
to the rear
of the bar
“she’ll be back”
he tells her
“I got something
they don’t”
“and what would
that be”
she asks
“I got all
my teeth
and a no-limit
credit card”
the bartender
smiles
“I don’t think
either one
will help you
with her
and I’m willing
to bet
you don’t even
have a credit
card
on you,
pull it out
and your next
double Crown
is on me”
she looks at
him
very matter
of fact
as he stands
up
puts his hand
in his front
left pocket of
his 501’s
getting ready
to pull out
the card
“are you sure
you want to
make that bet?”
she nods yes
his bluff
doesn’t phase
her
“yea,
your right
I don’t have
a credit card
and I am
missing my
wisdom teeth
but I do have
all my baby
teeth
which I made
into a cute
little bracelet
if you like
I’ll bring it
next time
I drop in
if you don’t
believe me”
he says
with a big
grin on his
face
“I’m just going
to take your
word on that
one”
she laughs
as she heads

could not copy the
whole story had to split it up...
Tom Allen...03-18-2018...