Part 014


“Tell me we’re never going there for pizza again,” said Tomo as she went back and forth between spitting into the gutter and scraping her tongue on her teeth.

“Thought we’d keep it on the low down tonight,” said Jenny.  “Save up for our retirements a little; maybe next time we’ll go to a pizza place downtown.”

“I heard there was a decent place out in Cheektowaga,” said Charlie, “out on the edge of where the Galleria used to be.”

“Oh, get off Cheektowaga already,” said Georgie.

“What’s wrong with out there?”

“That deserted mall gives me the creeps.  Stories about families trying to squat there after it went bankrupt and disappearing in the night, that just gets to me.”

“What, you think it’s haunted?” asked Charlie.  “Some monster lives in the ruins and eats folks?”

“That’s better than some of the other possibilities.”

“Hey, anyone got a breath mint?” Tomo asked.  “I’m still tasting those breaded cheese sticks we had on the side.”

“Whose stupid idea was it to come up with those?” said Jenny as she led them towards the door of Bonny’s.

“I don’t remember who ordered them,” said Dutch.

“No, no, I mean who invented them?”

“They used to be a lot better when I was younger,” said Charlie.  “If you use a real cheese, like mozzarella, they came out decent.”

“Great,” said Jenny as they reached the door, “another thing that doesn’t work so good anymore.”

The crew got an earful of feedback as they entered Bonny’s, a man on stage with a plugged-in guitar struggling with his amp and mike.

“When did they start having music?” asked Georgie.

“Mid-week’s slow, try to fill the place, I guess,” said Dutch.

“Up to you guys,” said Jenny.  “My thought is, if he doesn’t suck I won’t care.”

The rest of the West Seneca Crew gave disinterested grunts as they took a table in the corner.

“What’ll ya have?” their waitress asked, her expression at taking their order showing no enthusiasm whatsoever.

“The usual, folks?” Jenny asked her crew.

When they nodded, she told the server, “Three beers, a whiskey sour, and a ginger ale.  Anybody want something else with that?”

“That pizza’s still lying bad on my tongue,” said Tomo.

“Couple bags of chips-” Jenny tried to add, but the waitress was gone.  “God, man, some service here…”

And then the musician started to play, testing whether she should care…

It took a few notes for Jenny to register what the man with the guitar was trying to play on the guitar through the distortion his amp threw up around it.

“Oh God…” she said as recognition dropped into the pit of her stomach.

“Don’t like him?” Charlie asked.

“Just the song.  My Nana used to sing this one when she thought no one was looking at her.”

“What’s wrong with that?”

“I just got something about musicians playing old people’s music on stage if you can’t do it right,” said Jenny, “something about that just gets to me.”

“How is your Nana doing?”

“Good, thanks.”

“What’s he trying to play, anyway?” asked Tomo.

“It’s ‘Personal Jesus.’ Can’t you tell?”

“Not through that amp I can’t.”

Jenny tried looking for the waitress to see if she could at least have her beer before it got that much worse at Bonny’s.

And what she was seeing made her believe that things were going to get a lot worse before she came back…

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All content Copyright © 2011 James Ryan


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