Chapter 6


we were having another big bash at our house. Brian and i did this twice a year. wed get a keg and people brought liquor. i usually made a bunch of food. nobody ate the food. wed start a fire. this gave me an excuse to clean the house. for the most, by late-night there would be as many folks we did not know as there were friends. often, Brian and i were all-told the most drunk people at the party, even if we had the best endurance, since most folks came fashionably late and, for the most, we began drinking unfashionably early.

i drew a little map on invites to pass out at the Widow to the regulars i was friends with. i was careful to give the invites discretely lest someone feel left out. i handed out a good amount of invites during happy hour, when i thot it was prudent since all of the guys seated at the bar were personal chums of mine. but i hadnt thot about Artie. i guess because he comes from out of left field so often, i underestimated his level of awareness.

apparently Artie had noticed me giving people pieces of paper which made them smile, and wanted in on the action. next thing i knew Artie motioned to me to head his way down the bar.

“can you get me a pen sweet heart?” he asked me.

“of course,” i brot him back a Bic.

i wandered back to refill some drafts.

Artie motioned to me once more, and i moseyed over. he slid a piece of paper across the bar, this scrap quarter-page of an old music flyer, about the size of my invitations. he beamed at me. he folded his hands school-child on the bar. on the paper Artie had signed his first and last name in a large, elegant cursive going all the way across the page. beneath the signature he had drawn two boxes on the left side, one above the other. next to the top box he had written the word ‘GOOD.’ next to the bottom box was written the word ‘BAD.’ like that, in capital letters. Artie had made a check mark in the box that said ‘GOOD’.

“you can keep this,” he smiled brightly.

i smiled brightly back.


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