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‘Twenty Deep’
Nuffy G. #2: A Drinking Bout with an Anachronistic Viking: 11/28/23, Portland, Oregon
© 2023 James LaFond
It is four days ago now and the already drunken shades pine that they might be lost to view. Thus, pain killer is imbibed so I can sit to write this.
G and I stepped onto the #17 bus going west on Holgate and he refrained from using the N-word, for which I was thankful. I was already to the point that my hip did not hurt and had to recall I needed a cane. 15 minutes later, the bus crossed Foster and we got off behind the 7-11, which I pointed out was a place where I had punked out a few Groe Kangs.
Walking around the corner, he spotted a camp at the newly renovated park along the sidewalk across the street and said, “I am a camper, live out of an RV. But I’m not for this tweaker tarp bullshit. This garbage should not be tolerated.”
I pointed to the sign ahead that said something I do not recall, “That used to be called The Northwest IPA Bottle Shop. Then some gawdly groe complained that they were ripping off his hip hop name and they changed it to this. When I used to live in Big T’s garage, I would come here and get drunk after each book I finished.”
We entered and the bar keep was a fine fellow who had always been knowledgeable and attentive and had come over to me and slipped down his mask in Covid days when I had to sit in the back because I didn’t have vaxx card. The bar keep spins vinyl records and serves up premium regional brews. The case is packed with interesting drinks and G. cut the rug as a gracious visitor and my mobile host, deciding what I drank, which as close as I can figure was six pints of high test brew in two hours. G., sensible that the regular patrons were terrified of us, even had some sample glasses filled for the fellow to my left.
Here, Bacchus took hold of my shrinking soul and would soon cast me at the feet of Morpheus, to wake at 4:36 A.M. not even conscious of how or when I got home.
Nuffy G, it seems has been in America for these past 20 years. I think he is 42. He was married in Southern Utah, is divorced and is very handy, building a Cobb Oven for a friend a month before he left for Spokane to work construction. In Utah he had worked for a microbrewery. There are a few snatches of his many short monologues that I can recall.
“I lived with a Polynesian woman. She came from an island that had been converted by Mormons. So, I was poison for her, because I’m an alcoholic. Drink is how I roll, how I decompress, I hit the gas until I’m good. This woman is a distant relation to that movie star, The Rock, a 250 pound gorilla and she punched like a man. Not only was she the black sheep of the family for drinking, but she had no tolerance, was like an Indian and got Indian drunk.
“I don’t hit women, I walk away. Her family loved me. Polynesian culture is great. They pretty much segregate by gender. The men hang around in a Kava circle, Kava being this root vegetable that they make a tea out of that has a mild stimulant effect. The men are cool. These were Tongans, very strong men who did not waste time having conversations with their women, who were pretty much all insane.
“The year after Floyd [Christ ascended to Heaven], I was with my boss showing our brews in a contest in Saint Paul Minneapolis. I like being an urban explorer. You and I have that in common. I went to the very strip club where Floyd and the Cop, [officer Iscariot] who sent Floyd off in a golden casket, worked together as bouncers. So of course, they are pimping the same bitches, etc.
“I’m in this place and there is a sign stating what conversations are not permitted. The Floyd thing could not be discussed. I objected, ‘This is America and you are telling me what I can and cannot say?’
‘Yes,’ answered the bar tender, who was this punk rocker muscle head who was tatted from neck to nuts. I’m not going to let a fucker like that tell me what I can say. Well, I’m twenty deep, so this fucker picks me up and carries me outside. Once we got out there—I was a bar keep, I’m not going to throw down in a bar—and we face off. He was not interested in continuing the discussion. Of course, I got off without having to pay the tab—so the freak did me a favor.
“A bar used to be a place were you went to have such discussions. I mean, you cannot have a rational discussion with a woman, which is what is at home, so you go out and hash it out with other men.
Nuffy G. on the phone next morning: “James, James, I had a great time. You were even better in person. That is a high compliment. I’m sure the Eskimo [1] hates me.”
“Oh, I don’t think she hate you…” as I look over my shoulder across the igloo bed and she produces a middle finger.
“James, please, tender my apologies. I had a great time until I didn’t. I disappeared because I always find my own way home. You know, I’m out drinking again. P. kicked me out, again. I’m eating and drinking at a bar right now. I love the dynamic here between us [they are twins]. I stagger in last night and walk in on P fucking Liquor Stop, who is a woman who has earned that designation. He’s like, ‘G., fawk off!’
“I pass out right next to them and of course that doesn’t go over too well—but seemed like a reasonable arrangement. James, it was an honor meeting you and a pleasure meeting your woman.
Red Rocket
Oh, I would have been glad to meet him when he was sober—but I gather that is a rare occasion. You, on the other hand, are not a sloppy drunk. I’ve seen a lot of drunks, and not only were you THE DRUNKEST HUMAN I have ever seen, you were not sloppy, not loud—kudos.
The Eskimo
When you texted me that you were at the bottle shop bar hopping down the road I came to get you two, since he was supposed to meet [Red Rocket.] He was sweet as could be, kissed me on top of the head, then gets in an argument with a homeless camp of people. He was so drunk Red Rocket took one look at him and said, ‘Not tonight.’ Then, before you know it he is telling me that women suck and to fawk off. Of course he loved you, said ‘You were golden,’ and that he ‘loved’ your mind. So, I told him to ‘fawk off’ and we had a ‘fawk off’ contest. You were well behaved and had a shot with him and then could not finish your beer. Who knows what you two talked about. He was the only person you talked to. So, after he vanished, after cashing out twice, I took you home. Amy had cut you both off. She didn’t want him in there.
-1. In Trump like fashion G. assigns names to women: Red Rocket, Your Woman, his Woman and P’s women, Liquor Stop.
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