The Martini Effect – Chapter 22 (Coasting)
(We rejoin our Dharma Drunk heroes somewhere on Staten Island).
Marylou and I slip into a small dive a few blocks away from the ferry terminal and find seats at the elbow of the bar.
She orders a ginger ale and I order a club soda.
We’re finally ready to come back up for air. We’re ready to exit the wormhole clear and sober.
The bar is near empty. Light falls through the window and we can each see the nightworn heaviness weighing on each others faces. She is the hungover cousin of Ingrid Bergman and I am the hangdog brother of Peter Lorre and we are teetotalling at a poor facimilie of Rick’s bar from CASABLANCA. Although we await no papers of transit. There is no Sam to serenade us from his flatback piano.
There is no music at all.
Just the underscore of mindless drinking from the four men who flank us. They weren’t supposed to end up here. This wasn’t what was supposed to happen. There was supposed to be glory and glamor. Riches and dragons to slay. The hands of maidens to claim. There was supposed to be a world they would set alight, everyone praising their names. They weren’t supposed to end up alone with their whiskies and soda here in the middle of the morning at a divebar somewhere at the edge of the universe. A single ferry line and a highway the only ways back to the rest of the city. None of us were supposed to end up here.
But here we are. Marooned like folk with no country.
Marylou picks up a coaster and slowly balances it on its edge atop the bar.
I watch her carefully balance the coaster on its edge for the next few minutes.
It stands on edge by its own accord for a fleeting second and then falls.
She picks up the coaster and slowly balances it on its edge again. I watch her for a few more minutes.
It stands on edge again by its own accord for a few brief seconds, and falls once again.
She picks up the coaster again and slowly works to balance it once more on its edge.
The coaster finally stands on its own.
Marylou cautiously pulls her hand away and we watch the coaster stand suspended on its side for the next few moments.
The coaster stands perfectly still on its side.
“They used to ask Einstein how it felt being a genius,” Marylou says as we watch the coaster suspended on its edge. “Einstein would say he wasn’t a genius…he just stayed with the problem longer than anyone else.”
(To be continued…)