Back in the early eighties, before the planet became a cell phone store ghetto, I had to make a telephone call. It was about four thirty in the afternoon. I was unfamiliar with the neighborhood but I did spy a bar. And I’m very familiar with bars.

I was a bit over dressed for the joint. And that’s what it was. Dark, with Budweiser posters of big breasted cheerleaders smiling at Old Style lassies with long legs. There were two guys talking together and another alone at the end of the bar. They were all drinking beer. And that’s what I ordered and a middle age lady bar-keep provided one.

I took a swig or two out of the bottle, soaked in some atmosphere which felt a bit down on one’s luck but nothing threatening. The pay phone, open no booth, was up front and where the bar curved. About six bar stools from the two guys, who didn’t appear to be paying me any attention.

I dropped in a quarter, dialed the number and as luck would have it got a busy signal, hung up, heard the coin return to the coin return and reaching in to retrieve said coin I also pulled out an accompanying pony pack, eight ball, of which may or may not contain the controlled substance cocaine.

Decisions, decisions and dramatically quick, I’m thinking, while staring at one of those big breasted cheerleaders. It could be a sample, the pack had some writing on it, but it was too dark to read. Sample, rare and wishful thinking.

If I put the pack back, or just drop it on the bar, or even the floor, then some cop can honestly say he saw me do so, making me technically guilty of distribution. A much bigger deal than just keeping it and getting a simple possession beef, that, with my back story, would turn anything but simple. Besides, I sensed no cops, and no current interest by any others in my conundrum, which I felt there would be, if I had just step on someone’s deal.

All of these dramatic considerations being made in but seconds, but we still need the decision.

I put the pack in my jacket’s left side pocket. I went back to my bar stool. Sipped some beer. Same atmosphere. Drank the bottle down to backwash. Ordered another. Had a sip or two of the new and then to the men’s room to give anyone a shot at informing me of law breaking or unintentional trespass. After waiting no more then four minutes, and no one having appeared, back to my bar stool, now standing, had a last hit of beer, was a bit heavy with the tip, shared a nod with the barkeep on the way out and expected to be pinched on the street.

Didn’t happen. I had a very pleasant evening with a young lady with  that busy phone.

 

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