As mentioned in the previous post, Viva Young was a tiny joint about a block or two off Magsaysay Boulevard.
Upon entering, immediately on the left was ‘Mama San’s ‘Office,’ which was simply an enclosed counter with an ancient cash register, a small table lamp, a perpetually over-flowing ashtray, and a counter sign which read: “No Credit.”
Every bar or club had a ‘Mama San’—‘Manager’ to put it into Western Parlance. I had a bit of a history with this Mama San.
(Yeah we were ‘Fuck Buddies’)
We were roughly the same age and found each other mutually attractive. She did volunteer work for the mayor of Olongapo and was quite astute. She wanted a career in government. But first, she had a bar to run and girls to manage. In this regard she was all cold business.
When on liberty in Olongapo I generally spent the night with Mama San. She lived with her mother and a sister and a brother and a few children in a fairly decent (though small) house about a mile from Viva Young.
She was supporting the entire family and was never ‘hesitate’ to hit me up for contributions to her domicile. I knew ‘the score’ and happily donated to her cause.
What did I need money for anyway? We had a convenient relationship and genuinely liked each other. And to my mind, she was doing good work.
Running the length of the bar was the ‘stage’ or ‘cat walk’. Or picture a runway, similar to what one might find in a very low-rent fashion show.
Bordering this runway on three sides was a narrow counter top: narrow-minded and horse-shoe-shaped. The open end faced the door and Mama San’s watchful eye.
Bar stools (ancient and uncomfortable) finished the Spartan scene.
The bar girls would line up on the runway and dance to the music from the equally ancient jukebox. Yes, this was best unflatteringly described as a ‘Meat Market’.
But then, that was Olongapo in 1989. Matt, Rogers, and I knew all the girls. (Just not in the Biblical sense). I suspect some were under age. If you’d ask one hundred bar girls in Olongapo where they were from, you’d get one hundred same pat answers:
“I from da Pra’bince (Province). I make money so go to college.”
I never met a single gal (see how easily I throw in some Texan vernacular to cover up the horrible reality?) who told me she wasn’t actually from Olongapo.
Nope, these were all ‘country gals’ with aspirations–from ‘The Province–the true aspiration was to marry a U.S. Serviceman and get the hell out of the Philippines.
And who could blame them? Many a young Sailor or Marine, after having his first sexual encounter fell in love with a Filipina and did fulfill her dream.
They would marry and the new bride would move to San Diego. Within a few months the rest of the family would be sent for. This was called the ‘Filipino Pipeline’.
Sadly, more often than not, once secured with U.S. Citizenship and the rescue of her family, the new bride would divorce her Sailor or Marine and make her way into the American Dream, leaving the husband wondering what the hell had gone wrong.
I never felt sorry for the cuckolds. I was a cruel son of a bitch back then, and secretly, as a perpetual con and huckster, I was always for the Filipinas.
Actually everything always went wrong with such agreements.
Anyhow, I had this post develop in my head. A post about good and bad. A post about optimism and pessimism. A post about Human Decency.
Then I promised me: I Promised me I would not post it because it might sound too preachy, but when we fall away from stating the obvious, because “it has been said too many times before,” well then we forget. And dammit! Some of us need reminding from time to time.
I stole that line from a favorite movie of mine, loosely based on a wonderful play by some guy. Oh yeah, David Mamet “Sexual Perversity in Chicago”
Which I first saw performed live by a group of travelling U.S. actors and actresses when I was in Sinai, SFM (and after the performance I had all of the cast and crew in my hooch and we all got hopelessly stoned on hash and drunk on scotch)
In the Sinai, and then saw it, many years later, the fucking movie… wait for it… in Chicago, drunk but not stoned.
The Navy had random piss tests back then—for drugs–they gave not zero fucks about your alcohol blood level. That is just my Navy. How it was… maybe still is.
Who knows? Who even cares these days?
When I saw the movie in Shy – Town, It had been bastardized into… “About Last Night.”
Honestly, when it comes down to it, we all die alone… boring someone in some dark café.
“Jesus Christ! Lance! Some happy thoughts for the New Year?”
“Naw, been there…”
“You’re either too stupid to die, or too stupid to live.”
I like to think that I only write for me.
That is some vain fantasy. Or just a pleasant fiction.
I write to get bed, er… read.
I really do.
I am a “writer”
Or, at least, I think of me in that way.
And I love commas.
And I edit as I go.
Someone once said of “Lord Ernest” (Hemingway),
Someone said he said, “Write Drunk. Edit Sober.”
Now, personally, I think that apocryphal, but what do I know?
Yet, I am going with it.
(at least the write drunk part)
Now, back to Joni:
“Love can be so sweet.”
“Go look at your eyes.”
“Drink up now. It’s gettin’ on time to close.”
Oh, and by the way, The Last time I saw Richard was Great Lakes, Recruit Training Command, ’86, and he told me… something about staying alive while with the Navy SEALs in SO CAL, just before he went to Florida and committed suicide, because He could not handle the Pressure that was (then) the U.S. Navy Nuclear Submarine Program. Thank God I was in Coronado with the SEALs.
And So Safe
I miss Richard.
He was braver than me.
And nobody ever committed suicide while at BUD/s (Navy SEAL) training: we were just all too busy, you see, just ‘busily’ trying to stay the fuck alive.
“Richard got married to a figure-skater–post-humorlessly.”
Somehow, I live.
His name was “Richard” and he was a real person.
Yeah, I left out the tag line (on purpose):
“when you gonna get back on your feet?”
If you happenstance to swerve into this blog, and catch yourself saying,
“Gee! This guy is cool.”
Because I ain’t.
I’m an asshole.
And I have references
But if’n you do, Do not then… follow the comments.
“Well Shonnie, was nice of your friend to introduce us. Did Y’all come here together?”
“Yeah, we come here two, three times a week.”
“I didn’t catch her name.”
(Well, I guess ‘that’ fits, I thought.)
“See seems like a realniceLady,” I lied.
“She’s a good friend. We work together.”
“I see. Do you need a fresh drink?”
“Uh, yeah I do. Thanks.”
I managed to get the attention of one of the Serving Wenches, a slightly chunky Brunette, wearing too-tight jeans, and rockin’ a Neon-Green ‘Cowgirl’ Hat, with little flashing lights adorning the brim.(???)Other than the hat, she seemed fit enough for her duties.
“Shonnie, what ya drinkin’”
“Jack and coke,” she said. (A kindred spirit? Well, if you lose the coke, but what the hell, right?)
To the waitress I said, “For the Lady a Jack an’ Coke, and for me a shot ah Beam and a Heineken.”
“OK. Be right back with those. Wanna run a tab?”
“Sure. Thanks. Nice hat, by the way.”
The word ‘Cowboy‘ seemed to get caught in her throat. Likely her first or second night on the job here at…still cannot remember the name of the joint. Oh well.She was probably a refugee from some higher-end beach bar in La Jolla.
The band started up with “You Look So Good In Love” (George Strait)
Vid Share Cred: ‘asphyxed’
“I love this song,” Shonnie said.
“Wanna dance?” (I knew I could manage a slow dance and that was about it. My Two-Step resembles a blind turkey caught in a rain storm)
“Sure,” she said, standing up. Wow! I thought, she really istiny, as I took her hand and led her to the floor.
We began our dance and her head barely came up to my chest. I estimated she was about five foot nothin’, maybe a hundred pounds soaking wet. She held me very tightly as we slowly moved back and forth to the music.
She smelled sweetly of some perfume I could not identify. Not surprising, as I am not really a connoisseur. Whatever it was, it was very alluring, and seemed ‘perfect’ for her.
To any Ladies reading these words, is it common to ‘fit’ the perfume to the ‘venue’? Certainly it must be.
Her semi-long blond hair just covering her shoulders was somewhat unkempt and slightly askew. Well, that may be unkind. Let’s call it ‘Country Casual’.
She had a very nice figure, breasts just about right (far as I could tell) for her frame, nice ass (Yes. Yes. I know. I am being sexist, but I suspect she was ‘checking me out’ as well.
And at one point she actually put HER hand on MY ass. So there!
As we danced I admitted to her that slow dancing was all I could muster and that I had never even mastered the simplest dance of all: ‘The Two-Step’. She giggled in my ear and offered to teach me. Told her I would have to drink on that.
As the song finished, we stood there momentarily to see if they were going to play another slow song.
They awarded our wait by busting out with ‘Cotton-Eye-Joe’, a song I remember far too well from the Seventies and the line dance that went with it.
I hustled us off the dance floor mucho más pronto.
Below is How One Dances to ‘Cotton-Eye-Joe’
(It is requisite that one be ‘at least’ four sheets to the wind before performing this dance. In fact, that is a State Law in Texas.Though probably not in California)
Surely you can understand no way I’m gonna attempt THAT, making a fool out of myself in front of a PotentialNew Girlfriend.Uh Uh. Nope!
Texas Style Cotton-Eye-Joe
“The Bullshit Song”
“Texans don’t like line dancing, with one exception. When this song is done at the end of the night it is a real crowd pleaser. If you don’t know how to dance the Cotton Eyed Joe yet (the real way) you will, two and a half minutes from now.”
Video Content & Quotation Credit: ‘Wisegeorge’
Happily our drinks had arrived while we were dancing and we settled back down and began to get to know each other over booze, Marlboros, and Country Music.
While we were continuing our small talk, Layla suddenly (and loudly) reappeared.
“How’re you kids doing?” She shouted over the band.
Just as I was about to say “Fine,” Shonnie said, “Great!”
(Hmmmm…. ‘Great?’ OK, I’ll take ‘great’.)
“Uh, Layla… That’s your name, right? Would you like to join us for a drink? Take a load off?” I asked somewhat disingenuously.
“Well, name your poison,” I said.
“Wine cooler, white.” (Go figure)
I decided to just go to the bar to place the order, as our little wanna-be Honky-Tonk venue was now just about completely full and I did not want any delays in getting Miss Layla her (hopefully) solitary drink, and then her continuing to make her ‘Rounds’.
I took the liberty of ordering drinks for me and Shonnie while I was at it, returned and sat down.
Shonnie and Layla had their heads together and were giggling over something. (Probably my ‘dancing’).
“Drinks on the way,” I announced, thus interrupting their little giggle fest.
“Oh goody” (goody?) Layla exclaimed.
“So, Layla, Shonnie tells me Y’all work together.”
“Yep, and we’re best of friends, so you better take good care of her,” she said, still in giggle mode.
(Good ‘care’ of her? Hmmm…)
The drinks arrived and I decided to kick it up a notch, so I proposed a toast: “Here’s to new Friends,” I said, raising my shot of Beam.
The ladies followed suit and two glasses and one shot glass collided with a soft ‘clink’.
“Hear! Hear!” Layla giggled (what is with this woman? Drunk or stoned, or both?)
We tried to settle into some conversation, but Layla clearly was not interested, as she spent more time perusing the other tables and the dance floor than she did ‘focused’ on the ‘conversation’. I could see she was as anxious to extricate herself from our table as I was to see her succeed.
Thankfully, a California Cowboy finally came over and led her out onto the dance floor.(“Keep her as long as you like Cowboy.” Of course, I only said that inside my head.)
Shonnie and I danced every slow dance song that came up for the next couple of hours (between several more rounds of drinks).
About every twenty minutes or so Layla would pop back by, ostensibly to be ‘social’, but methinks, to ‘check on us’, as if we were her charges.
Finally, as it was getting up along twelve midnight, and Shonnie and I had, indeed, seemed to find some mutual attraction, I broached:
“How ‘bout I give you a ride home? And Layla can be freed of her chaperone duty?” It was a gambit and I gave it fifty-fifty.
“Sure,” she said instantly. “Just let me tell her what’s up, okay?”
I watched as Shonnie tracked her down and gave her the happy news. I could see they were having some discussion over this, but it did not seem ‘too’ heated, only ‘marginally’ heated.
Shonnie returned to me and announced gruffly, “Let’s go.”
“Yes Ma’am. Just let me settle-up with the bar, and we can split.” (Not really a Cowboy term, ‘Split’, but hell! I was in Southern Cali after all.)
We walked to my Toronado which was parked way in the back of the parking lot, by now pretty much emptied out. After we settled in and I was about to start the car, Shonnie said, “Ya wanna smoke a joint?”
“I would love to ‘Darlin’, but you know I’m in the Navy, and they have random piss tests all the time, so I just can’t.”
She looked a little disappointed, but it was a fleeting look. I turned my attention back to the keys in the ignition when she put her hand on my arm and said, “Well, would you like to fuck me then?”
“Love to.” And it was definitely ‘On’. Since she was so tiny and my car so huge, with front seats that could be moved way back, we had no trouble with her straddling me on the passenger side.
The sex was passionate, slightly drunken, and fucking great! Seems there was much energy stored in that diminutive frame of hers and she unleashed all of it on one unsuspecting Cowboy.
After we had finished and I was back in the driver side seat fishing for two Marlboros, she started crying. (Crying??)
“What’s wrong Honey?” I sincerely asked.
“I’m married,” She said.
Almost laughing as I said,
“That’s okay Baby, so am I.”
She stopped crying and started laughing, laughing really hard and loud.She had a great laugh, by the way, boisterous, loud and proud, not even an ounce of pretention–seemingly impossible to be emanating from such a petite, sweet, lil’ thang.
And I joined in with herlaughter.
We found time to fuck again.
Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble – Pride AndJoy (Live at Montreux 1982)