Friday, June 17, 2005

Gary: the mystery.

This is a picture of a man that comes into the bar (sorry it's not very good quality). I don't know very much about him, but let me tell you what I do know: I know that his name is Gary. Gary drinks draft beer (because it's cheap) and shots (bottles) of Blackberry Brandy. He's gentle, and mostly quiet when he drinks. I'm not sure if he's homeless, but I heard he got thrown out of the St. Vincent DePaul homeless shelter for being drunk. The girls from the bar up the street say he's loud and yells at himself. He never does that in my bar. I like Gary. There's something about him that is gentle. He's less juggernaut and more lumpenproletariat. Harmless.

The owner opens the bar at 6am for the 3rd shift crowd and I'm pretty sure Gary is standing outside to get his usual seat in front of the television, remote control in hand as soon as Tom arrives. I have found myself repeatdly turing this one telelvision's volume down, only to realize that is was just the background noise of the BUSINESS WE'RE TRYING TO RUN interfering with Gary's favorite program on the food network. He wears the same clothes everyday and really doesn't stink, although some say he does, but I think it's just based on his appearance. Today I heard he's about 56 years old, but looks much older. He only weighs about 100 lbs.

He had a job, I'm not sure what he was doing but he says he's a body tech.
The day he got fired, he walked into the bar and started complaining "You'll have to write this one down, I lost my job.." as I waited to get the money for his alcohol. "Gary, you already have a tab. You have to pay it before I can give you more today." I said gently. Just then, this young "dude" with a pinky ring turned around and said "Wha? What's his tab?"
"ten fifty." I said.
"HERE. I'll pay his tab for him." the "dude" said.
"GARY. THIS DUDE IS PAYING YOUR TAB." I shook his shoulder in excitement...
"uhh. Yeah, well, I didn't ask him to." he said, groggy.
Gary thanked the "dude" after my reaction and said he didn't know that he was actually paying his tab.
So there he is, old lucky Gary sittin at the bar. Everyday.

Tom, the owner, ended up giving Gary shots of 151 instead of the usual Blackberry Brandy on his birthday because he was telling EVERYONE it was his birthday and that's Tom's way of being a smartass. After the third shot, the cussing started because he realized he wasn't drinking brandy. He sat on the barstool for about 10 more miutes and stumbled out the door.

Yesterday, when I arrived for my shift at 11am, he had a copy of the want ads and his glasses set next to the bar phone. A few hours went by and I haden't seen Gary pick up the phone, let alone circle an ad in the paper. So I went to help him. I found at least six jobs that he could've called. Jobs I WOULD CALL IF I NEEDED A JOB. "Hell, I slop dishes around at a banquet center. YOU CAN WASH DISHES UP THE STREET, GARY." I sternly advised.
He threw it off with, "yeah, but I'm gonna get a real job. That's only minimum wage."

Tonite, Gary was wreckless with the tab granted to him. He did fourteen shots of Brandy, and had four beers untill the keg was kicked, and started to drift into slumber while sitting at the bar. I finally cut him off. He argued with me. He KEPT asking for shots, I kept turing the TV down and turning HIM down while having to argue about why.

Alright then. I finally gave him a shot. OF DIET COKE. He did THREE shots of diet coke and didn't utter a word about it. He was still drifting into sleep though. I gave him some bread & butter and he ate it. As we were cleaning up, he was still sitting there. Tom went and played some Judas Priest and Metallica on the jukebox, full volume. He left within minutes.
See ya tomorrow, Gary. You mystery man.

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