Wednesday, March 17, 2004
St. Patrick's Day Special: Waiting for Farrell
It's Only Been ten minutes and Courtney Love and I have are already out of things to say to one another. The first nine minutes went something like this:
Me: "How's the trial?"
Me: "I read about the --"
Me: "--the trial--"
The waiter sets a fresh pitcher of green beer in the middle of our table. He reaches to take the empty that we've already drained, but we've propped a Polaroid of Bono against it as a makeshift centerpiece. I wave him off. If the pitchers disappear, we're quickly going to lose track.
We sit in silence, my eyes tracing the silhouette of her head, wanting to make contact with hers. But I know better. Every time our eyes meet, I'm immediately overtaken with an incredibly tactile hallucination: Love's hair stands on end, snaking into the air, split ends blooming into shamrocks. A three-piece pixie band parades out of her ears, banging drums, dragging bows across fiddles, whipping off a couple of moves from an Irish step dance. This gives me an instant, inexplicable, painful erection. Breaking eye-lock and quaffing an entire pint returns her to normal. She's looking relatively doable these days, I'll have to give her that.
I check my watch. Our host is running late. It's probably only been two minutes, but the waiter arrives with another pitcher of green beer.
Love points a finger at the Bono picture, describing little circles in the air. "So, Mr. Bone-oh. Since our friend here is so fooking boring, what do you have to say for yourself?" She cups a hand behind her ear and waits for Polaroid Bono to respond. "He's just as fooking bad as you." She's talking to me. I focus on her chin moving up and down to avoid another drop-in from the Bunsen Boner Pixie Band.
She chugs a beer. I watch intently as the bottom of her glass goes parallel with the ceiling. There are small, discolored paper shamrocks the color of moss with the names of patrons stapled to the ceiling. There are at least twenty that say "Colin".
She notices this too. "Where the fuck is Farrell anyway?" She kicks me under the table, and I bite my lip to avoid releasing a very girly yelp. I will not yelp on St. Patrick's Day and disgrace the twenty-five percent of my blood that is Irish. "I didn't sign up to sit in a bar with you."
"I guess we'll just have to wait --"
"Whaaaat foooooooking EVER!"
"We can't leave. He's coming."
"Whatever. I'm fooking leaving!"
I could tell you how many empties there are on the table so that you could attempt to mark the passage of time. But I won't. There are enough that I'm now holding a full pitcher of green beer in my lap. It's conveniently serving as a buffer between my genitalia and Love's foot. She put it there four pitchers ago, pretending she wanted to tickle the inside of my thigh with her big toe, but instead jammed her heel, painfully, into my crotch. No yelping, but my bottom lip looks like a soft cast of the top row of my teeth.
"Colin's coming. I'm telling you."
"Whatever. I'm so leaving, I swear."
I deliberately look into her eyes. I want the boner, I want the jigging faeries to put on a little cabaret act, anything. But I'm so drunk that the only show I'm getting is watching Love's eyes collide into a cycloptic mass, then separate again. She crashes her heel into the pitcher protecting my crotch, splashing beer all over my lap. I stick my hand into the pitcher and lick the beer from the back of my hand.
"I'm fooking going!"
"You can't. He'll be here, and what if we're gone?"
There's a commotion at the front of the bar. The door bursts open. A man in a Red Sox hat is pushing a wheelbarrow towards us, careening around the tables. There's something big, something in a heap in the wheelbarrow. The wheelbarrow stops at our table, and the man pours its cargo onto the floor next to us. He tips his Sox cap at Love and I get a clear look at his face, instantly recognizing the beady eyes, the prominent jawline. Affleck. I look at the floor in front of the wheelbarrow. Damon. Green shamrocks painted on his cheeks, green vomit crusted on the front of his Celtics jersey.
"Where's fooking Farrell?"
She splashes her beer on Affleck's t-shirt, soaking the caricature of James Joyce draped over a Barnes & Noble logo. I think to myself that a Samuel Beckett t-shirt would be less obvious, but that's Ben.
"I don't know where he is. We all have to take responsibility for what we've done. We have to understand that. We do things and then we own up to them. They're our things. We have to know where we all are. I didn't do this. If I did, I would own it. You can have your Heidegger and your Eszterhas and your Kaballah and your Pilates. If I had any of things, they would be mine. You couldn't have them. You can't take them from me, I own my own self and my own thing and my own career. Harvey doesn't own me, Matty doesn't own me, Jennifer doesn't own me, goddamn Gus Van Zant doesn't own me. I own me. This is probably the greatest wheelbarrow I've ever pushed, the greatest one that Matty's ever ridden in. Look at him. He doesn't own anything, and look at him. I could take the elementary rudimentary alimentary nature of everything and give it to him and he wouldn't own it. I'd still own it. You can't take that away from me. Nomar. Billy Fucking Buckner. I own I own I own. Can you dig it? No, you can't. You can't dig and you can't own. I'm out of here."
Affleck grips the handles on the wheelbarrow, turns, and crashes through the bar. I watch Matty wretch up a dry, rattling cough as he starts to come to. Love dumps a half-full pint of green beer on him.
"Pussy. Where the fuck is Colin? I'm going."
"Whatever! He's never coming and I'm going!"
"He'll be here."
The waiter brings another pitcher of beer. I nest it inside of the empty one in my lap.
"Well? Can we fooking go?"
"Yes, we can go."
The waiter drops a few napkins onto Damon and leaves us. We do not go.
[See also: Last year's St. Patty's post.]