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The Time Out Pub
Nuffy G. #1: A Drinking Bout with an Anachronistic Viking: 11/27/23, Portland, Oregon
© 2023 James LaFond
G. is a larger than life man who deserves two articles.
This man of Newfoundland and his twin, two strapping Canadian cave men, have been working in America in construction, and also in G’s case, as a bar keep in Utah. P, his twin, is the milder of the two. G is the hard case. When I met P at his place in Greshem during Covid in 2020, he even offered me the least of his four girlfriends. Not wanting to be negatively compared to P in a discerning slut mind, I declined.
Last year, G asked me to visit P again and tell him, to “Fawk off.” Six weight classes south and 20 years north of P, I declined.
What follows is what I can salvage from my strip-mined brain from two days past.
Cane to hip, I spent a full 45 minutes gimping from the Land Lady’s place up 104th Street to Holgate. Holgate is one of those old timey roads that, like York, Harford, Reisterstown, Belair and Philadelphia Road back in Baltimore, are named after their destination, a small place up against a small mountain clothed in evergreen, named Holgate. One may then make a left and head north over to Powell Boulevard, which is the thruway to Greshem, the gateway to Mount Hood.
As I turn the corner and limp across the Plaid Pantry store front I see a red SUV dropping off a tall, spry-legged man in late prime, over six feet tall. I figure that is G., as he said he drinks “twenty deep,” hours or whiskey and beer chaser, whatever comes first.
Five minutes later I walk by the janitor/bar back, a hunched man a few years my junior, who is sweeping cigarette butts from the gutter. I say, “Good morning,” and he halts, wondering if he has been misplaced by Khronos.
I correct myself, “Sorry, it was morning when I headed up here, must be 12:30 by now.”
“Yep, Time sneaks up on us all,” he mused as I took hold of the door and pulled, something very difficult a few months ago, now barely dangerous.
As I gimp in like Ahab whose leg had not tasted good enough for that white whale, the barmaid, a tall, blond beauty, smiled and waved, “Come on in, James! Welcome.”
Damn, that woman was so sweet her smile shudders still like a lens of might-have-been across the back light of a broken ego.
“James,” greeted the big man as he rose from his stool and said, “I have looked forward to this meeting for sometime. Your money is no good here. I’m buying.”
“What will it be,” smiled sweet Josie, who should be dressed like the Little Debbie snack cake girl and twirling a baton to convince Ukrainian men to become human mine sweepers…
“The cheapest light beer you have on tap.”
“No, no, that won’t do!” declared G. “You’re drinking with me. I’m grandfathered into the union, twenty and out, pension, good money—money means nothing to me. Get the good stuff.”
“Okay, Coors light.”
“Oh no,” opines he.
“I drink for effect and light.”
He waves his hands in offended submission and Josie asks, “16 ounce or 25 ounce?”
“Oh, he’s drinking 25’s nothin’ but!”
I nod ‘yes’ to the compromise.
At The Time Out, every beer mug is fresh frosted.
“Oh, blew the keg,” declared Josie. “This mug is free.”
The beer was very cold and I sidled up to the big man who looked at my cane, “I brought you a gift, a rebar walking stick, painted camo, perfect for this shithole town.” [1]
“Thank you. It’s an honor. I lost my aluminum T-cane when I lost my spot here before arriving in town.”
Grant looks down at me, “You may be on the mend, but you have some swag.”
“It must be the Negro that Baltimore basted into my rancid soul.”
He grinned, “Niggers are a pain in the neck: can’t keep their mouth shut and can’t fight. When America was nice enough to Invade Somalia and that Mogadeshu shit went down back in 93, when we were kids, Newfoundland was lucky enough to get plane loads of those skinny, predatory wedge-headed motherfuckers. You go on mass transit and there they are, six of them on the attack. They needed at least three-to-one to kick shit off and then once we started throwing them around, knocking them the fuck down, they swarm, like insects. So then we use bats and hockey sticks and… Well, I have no time for niցցer bullshit anymore. I went walking in their section once, in the projects, the subsidized bullshit urban blight hive. Past [decade or so] I’ve been out in the desert of Southern Utah, not used to this shit. I need to start watching my language—for instance, this niցցer here [behind us] might take offense.”
That light skinned regular did not complain, and quietly left. I felt good about that because he and two of his fellows beat up the Land Lady’s son a month ago, after drinking his drink.
Nuffy G. stood tall and was gracious with the ladies and bums: -called wrinkled old bar flies “darlin’” and such, had one old Indian take our picture with her phone,
-gave the bum who was searching for cigarette butts in ash cans a whole smoke and a light
-and, when his eager mind raced ahead of my slower brain and mumble prone drawl, he would check himself by sinking his head down between his shoulders, grin side ways and say, “Sorry for interrupting, go on.”
He taught me some about hokey while a game was on the overhead TV, invited me outside to socialize in the smoking area when he needed a smoke, and managed our seating so we were in the lowest volume section. As people came and went and conversations waxed and waned, he moved us around the bar.
He is interested in Plantation America and discussed his disdain for French Canadians with an entire dismissive snort, and for the Anglo-American alliance which sent so many of his people, Nuffy’s, to their deaths in WWI and WWII, and particularly at Dieppe.
This drew a lonely, bald, man in a red shirt who had the body language of a regular who described himself as “a World War Two buff,” to which G was clear, “we don’t care.” The man winced and went and sat down.
When we got ready to leave and G settled up, that meek man [I would bet, a model tank and plane enthusiast] offered to shake my hand, and I did, wishing him a good day and he returned, “perhaps you will be back some day.”
Wondering if I should return someday to speak with this man, I handed G a bus ticket and he said, “We’re goin’ to see the Red Rocket [2] and taking mass transit like niցցers?”
He grinned and walked across Holgate, this little shadow limping behind.
I believe I drank 6 25 ounce Coors lights in those three hours.
I think he had 6 pints and 6 double or “heavy” shots of Jaimeson.
The leg was merely numb now, the flame in the leg replaced by a warmth that lied with a lizard-tonged whisper, “You are healed.”
-1. Two days later he left it in my Land Lady’s yard while we were visiting Kelly’s wife in the hospital. It is light rebar and four feet, the right length for a walking stick.
-2. A hot Nuffy bar maid at a dive bar.
A Fail of Two Cities
harm city
‘Twenty Deep’
let the world fend for itself
night city
thriving in bad places
the greatest boxer
your trojan whorse
the combat space
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