Stepping Through The Doors Of The Bar Of The Blue Lagoon (Chapter 11, Lou Grant)

11 08 2009


Stepping Through The Doors Of The Bar Of The Blue Lagoon

There was a smell of stale beer and cheap perfume and cigarette smoke. The constant thumping of rock music chopped the silence into small edible morsels. The low background noise of human voices were mangled and tossed in a blender of bitterness, despair, and frivolous panic. Silhouettes of faces flashed in and out of existence in the whispers of lit matches. It was a slide show; the outline of fingers against mouths, waiters moving amongst tables, figures exiting from washrooms, women dancing together in the small square before the juke box, faces posturing, hands gesturing, the flash of a lighter, a candle lit, the dim house lights now introducing the neon painted faces of cherub young women smiling, or the smooth hollow glares of hungry young men. The kind of bar that middle aged men occasionally wander into hoping to find something they’ve lost. But all the time, they wait in dread, as if they were in a bar on an alien planet amongst female creatures, whose vaginas are in their mouths, or ears, or curled up beneath long angular fingers. I felt like I’d wandered into some adolescent’s comic book vision of paradise. And there was a blonde at the bar.

In A Trench Coat Standing Outside A Bar In The Late Evening (Chapter 10, Lou Grant)

11 08 2009


In A Trench Coat Standing Outside A Bar In The Late Evening

I felt ridiculous. I can’t imagine how I looked though I did try and steal a glimpse of myself in the polished copper door knobs of the Blue Lagoon. The bouncer looked at me suspiciously as I was bent over looking at myself. I giggled. I was ashamed. For bending over and for giggling. The purpose for my presence at the Blue Lagoon was unknown to me. And what a tacky tasteless bar it was. Pastels and neon colours on the outside. Darkness and more gaudy colours inside. You might think of the Blue Lagoon as being some bar in hell if this were one of those pretentious moribund novels about the meaning of life. But the Blue Lagoon was not that impressive. It was just a dark cheap bar where men met women and sat in isolated booths where they fondled each other. Where the bleached blonde waitresses wandered through the tables keeping every one topped up while they dreamed of their day off and the hours they would spend in the beauty parlor. Where would-be hoods leaned against the bar and prayed that no one called their bluff. Where college kids crowded into booths and giggled, imagining how they were tempting the fates with such dangerous behaviour. And then there was me. Looking like a gum shoe from some ‘50s B movie. Should I tie up my trench coat or leave it open? Or leave it at the check out counter? There was no check out counter. The bouncer looked at me again. He was asking himself, who was this asshole in the trench coat? And I was hoping it would rain later that evening so I wouldn’t seem like a complete fool. The bouncer took a deep breath. He was asking himself, why the hell don’t I go in? And so I did.