The three of us had gone out to the bar after work again and, since it was pretty quiet in here, I could only assume it was a weeknight. We might have been on our third drink…somewhere around there. And this is pretty much how the night had been going. One of us would drop some sort of anecdote just before we’d all laugh like clockwork. And then one of the other two would pick up with, ‘Oh my God. That reminds me of this one story,’ just as Percy had done mere moments ago.
For a second, as if time had stopped, I sort of stepped outside the scene and watched the three of us with our chests pressed up against the bar itself. And I tried to remember then just what story had been the first. Who’d told it and what had it even been about? Just who the fuck had told that original tale that had set this train in motion? And…wait a second. Had it even been told tonight? For this was just one of those months, it seemed, that Percy, Will, and I found ourselves with not much better to do than to hit up the bar every single evening for the past…week? Even longer? Jesus. And I considered then that perhaps the first story of the night hadn’t even been told at the bar because I could clearly picture the three of us just standing around at work and exchanging narratives in this very same fashion. So who’d told the first story there?! Or…what if one of us had simply picked up where we’d left off last night just before we’d all broken off and gone home? Was it possible that, ‘Oh my God. That reminds of this one story,’ had actually been riding its course for weeks on end now?!
I didn’t know. I simply could not generate enough brain power to remember. I did know, though, that it was probably time to curb the old drinking again…because I wanted to remember the cause and effects of certain events but felt like all I was ever left with were the details. For example; I really wanted to remember the story that had reminded Percy of the tale he was just about to tell. Because…seriously. What the fuck could have ever reminded him of something like this?
“So this one time…it was a while ago. Actually, it was a really long fucking time ago now that I think about it. But anyway,” he sort of shrugged off this intro, “For all points and purposes, I guess that doesn’t really matter.”
“It doesn’t,” I threw in simply for the sake of saying so, “But please…continue.”
“Okay. So I know it was a while ago because I was playing in this band and we were down in Eugene or Corvallis or something. And we were playing a gig one night. And it was actually a lot of fun…” and, after having spoken this last part, Percy seemed to stop for a second and look back within himself as if reliving some of the highlights from the night in mention. Or maybe he was just suddenly overcome by his fondness for those days in general but…
“Perrr-cyyy ,” Will was looking him right in the face with a feigned air of concern.
And he finally snapped out of it, “Yeah?”
“Come back to us, buddy.”
“Right. So anyway. We were playing this gig and I kinda had this solo part that I was supposed to do but I had that big ball of gauze on my hand…”
“Wait a second,” I said.
And Will added, “Hold up. What big ball of gauze?”
“Oh. I didn’t mention that?”
And we both firmly answered him, “No.”
“Oh. So yeah. So I fucked up my hand really bad. And…actually, I don’t even remember how I did it. Hmm…that’s weird. But again, as far as the story goes, it doesn’t really matter. I do remember, though, that it was my strumming hand because I was supposed to do this intricate sort of picking thing at one point. But anyway. Like I said; I had this big, huge ball of gauze wrapped around all my fingers and it looked like…like if you can imagine a burn victim? So yeah. I was up on stage and everything and, when it came time to do my thing, I basically just had to like tap the strings the best I could because of all the gauze.”
And here, he stopped to mimic (as sort of a visual aid) just what all four of his fingers spliced together must have looked like while tapping on the guitar strings that night…minus the gauze, of course. But then he just stopped entirely.
“Was that it?”
“That’s the end of the story?”
“Oh!” he caught himself again and smiled at the fact that he’d now twice forgotten his own audience, “No. Actually, that is not it.” And he smiled even bigger this time. “So…after the show, I was at this party or something…or maybe just backstage. I don’t know. But I was makin’ out with this chick and, you know, after a while; I went to stick my hand down her pants…”
And here, instantaneously, he had us. Both of our eyes lit up and our mouths dropped.
“You gauzed her!?”
“You gave her the gauze!?”
“Oh, uh…actually,” and he chuckled to himself in full realization of how quickly he’d led us somewhere…somewhere misleading, “Actually, I was just gonna say that I um…I just used my thumb.”
“Ah, come on, man!”
“Jesus, dude. You may really wanna think about changing the ending to that one.”