Saturday, June 4, 2016

Alan Catlin- Three Poems

The Loaner

 He was enough over 40
 with  a wife and a mistress to know
 better than pay attention when
 the barmaid wears low cut tops and
 wiggles her ass in his face.
 She had done half the sleaze bags
 in town and would start working on
 the other half if we let her but I wasn't
 about to.
 "Where's Linda, doesn't she normally
 work Tuesdays?"
 "Expect her back soon?"
 "Not sure.  She's was either on her way
 to Bridgeport, Connecticut or Tampa,
 Florida, it was tough to tell which.
 If she has a tan when she gets back,
 it's a cinch she went to Tampa."
 "It's kind of important."
 "Tell me about it.  I love working
 double shifts for hysterical barmaids
 39 going on 18."
 "You didn't lend her a company car."
 "You're right, I didn't."
 Thought, she must have been a lot better
 in bed than I gave her credit for, but
 she had too many screws loose for me
 to really care, said, instead:
 "If I were you, I'd be filing a stolen car
 report. Linda is about as reliable as
 a tropical storm.  We don't call her
 Loveloose for nothing."
 "You'll let me know when she gets back."
 "Sure, Bob."
 I looked at his business card that said,
 Sales Manager, Used Car Division.
 Not for long once this one got around. 
 I threw his card in the trash.
 Odds are she'd be back before long looking
 for her job and she wouldn't have the car.

 The Maniac Responsible

 She had a nice tan for someone who
 was supposed to be maintaining a
“bed side vigil” for an injured child.
 I wasn't sure how she acquired that
 incredible limp but it sure was a great touch.
 There wasn't a dry eye among the Friday
 regulars as a waiter helped her onto a bar stool.
 I put a glass of Vodka in front of her
 and charged one of the regulars double,
 business had been good for him, it was all a
 write off, and he'd been particularly obnoxious
 at lunch so someone had to pay.
 Might as well be him.
"I'm back."She said.
 "So I see."
 "When do I start work again?"
 "When hell freezes over."
 "What do you mean?"
 "You're fired."
 "How can you be so cruel?  I was with my baby
 in the hospital."
 "You're daughter's 21.  Tampa General have
 lawn chairs for you to lie on in between visits?"
 "What do you mean?"
 "You've got a hell of a tan for a bedside sitter."
 I felt the evil eyes of the regulars burning holes
 in my back.  Some of them would never come again.
 I already began not to miss them.
 "You know, Linda. I think you missed your calling.
 You should have been an actress instead of a barmaid."
 "Well, if that's the way you feel about it."
 She managed, brushing away tears.
 "It is."
 "Then I guess, I'll leave."
 It was definitely a down scene, sort of like telling
 a New Year's Eve party that their children had been
 eaten by cannibals, and I was the maniac responsible.
 I was almost feeling nostalgic myself, thinking of
 unwittingly chugging down half of one of her carefully
 placed 10 oz goblets of straight vodka thinking it water.
 It was a mood that was destined not to last
 as Richie, the head bus boy, cruised into the service bar:
 "I thought, Linda had an injured leg?"
 "So everyone thought."
 "I was just out back grabbing a smoke and she was
  literally sprinting through the parking lot."
 "Miraculous recovery."
 "I should think so."
 "Here's a buck play something upbeat on the juke box,
 I feel a good mood coming on."

The Altamont Horror

 I was supposed to feel guilty that
 things weren't going all that well
 for Linda since I let her go. 
 She was one of Linda's lunch lounge
 lizards working on her ninth glass
 of white wine with her half of sandwich.
 I was tempted to ask her if things were
 slow at the office as most of her office
 was also into a serious liquid lunch but
 I thought better of it.  Maybe I should have
 gone into advertising the way this crew did.
 I could have gotten a gold AMX card and
 felt the need for three extra dry Dewars
 Rob Roys at noon. I was only half listening
 to what she was saying but what I heard
 sounded like the draft of a screenplay
 for The Altamont Horror, Altamont being the hill
 town outside of Albany where she lived:
 "You know, she never was very good
 with money, she had barely a dime to her name
 when you let her go."
 "Maybe she should have thought about that
 before taking an unannounced vacation to Florida.”
 "She was visiting a sick child!"
 "That's her official story."
 "She was so distraught after she came back
 and saw you that she went on a bender.”
 "Too bad Vodka bottles aren't returnable,
 her financial worries would be over."
 "I'll bet you don't even know what happened
 to her up in Altamont."
 "Let me guess, she was arrested."
 "Was she ever.  She totally trashed a Ladies
 Room and was doing a pretty good job on the bar
 by the time the cops got there.  She may even
 do time."
 "Could be the best time of her life if the guards
 are all males."
 "What do you have against her anyway?"
 "Outside of the fact of her being unreliable, a thief,
 a whore, a drunk , a bitch and a liar, not necessarily
 in that order, nothing."
 I got the impression that subject of conversation
 was closed and there might never be another.