AN EXCERPT - INTRODUCTION TO DENVER

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Submitted Date 12/06/2018
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Cheryl lives just far enough away from Adam, in the Santa Fe neighborhood of Denver, that I have to call a Taxi. Adam lives in Capitol Hill. The drive isn’t far, but the taxi driver doesn’t speak English very well, and he keeps asking me “this?” and pointing out the window at random buildings and I keep telling him "No." We pass Poets Row - the apartment buildings where I once lived. I drank a lot in those days. I still drink a lot today, but I am matured, and drinking is more like a way of sustaining my life rather than adding something new to it. That’s what really bugs me about the social drinker. They drink to add some sort of spice to their immediate life and surroundings. You can spot them at any bar - they order mundane drinks. Gin and Tonics. Vodka Sodas. Whiskey and Cokes. They never dive into the good shit - the neat drinks that highlight the flavors of the alcohol itself. And if they want cocktails, they never try the craft cocktail masterpieces like Amaro Di Amaros (only found at Coperta in Denver), Paper Planes, San Francisco Dreams, The Money Honey (ask for Jon Foursquare at Death & Co. New York or Denver), etc. I could go on for days. The point is, alcohol is an art and should be respected, and alcoholics are it’s artists and should be recognized.

The taxi rolls through Cap Hill and on the corner of 10th and Ogden I get out. I drop the man a twenty through the window, and he waves one hand back as he drives away. No thank you mentioned. Then, I look around. Cap Hill is a shady neighborhood with a lot of trees and tall apartment buildings and mansions. One of the streets has a sketchy looking apartment building where I once spent a night in a coke-fueled basement party, and the other side of the road is a multi-level mansion with walls tall like a castle - impenetrable. Adam doesn’t live in either of these buildings. He lives a few blocks away, but I want to walk by Cheeseman Park to see if Russ is lounging in the grass and reading. Russ always spends his lunch hour in the park with a book. He is an intellectual, one of those new age hipster kind of guys that listens to your new favorite band years before you discover them - chances are he will be the one that puts you onto that band in the first place. Mike reads a lot and quotes Ginsberg around his gay friends, Jung around his spiritual friends, Thompson around his LSD tweaker friends, and the bible around his mother. He wears tight pants, rolled at the ankle to show off his leather boots. He eats a vegan diet and drinks his coffee black and whiskey neat. He wears thick-rimmed cokebottle glasses and combs his black hair back in tight strokes. He has a thick mustache which he curls the ends up and to make his face look as if it is always smiling.

The park opens up, and the shade of the neighborhood disappears and sure enough in the distance, plopped in the middle of the field, is a mustached hip-looking young man lying on a blanket with a book in his hand - Mike.

I walk over to him, and when I get within a few yards, I start creeping up behind him. He’s reading and deeply involved in his reading. He doesn’t hear me at all, and at the last foot when I’m virtually standing above him I drop to the ground and grab his shoulders with a vicious shake and yell, “GOTYA!”

He drops his book and looks over right shoulder at me, “I smelled you coming from a few yards away. I asked myself, ‘is that raggedy old bastard back in town?’ and then you dropped down on me right now  as you are.”

We shared a contemplative stare, and both burst into laughter at the same time.

“Good to see you, old friend. Good to see you,” Mike said, “What brings you back to this old place?”

“You, mostly,” I replied.

“Oh, my poor friend, I’ve never felt sorrier for a human than you.” He laughed.

“What’re you reading?”

“Just some old sailor’s tale, nothing interesting.”

And we continue to chat for a while and continue to catch up. Mike tells me about the last year of his life and the moments that stuck out most since we had last seen each other. He says me that he met a woman, Shelly and that they are set to be married by November. “I would have sent you an invitation, but you never seem to be around when I need you most,” he says. “I’ll have Shelly write one up this week. I must have you there.”

I agree that no matter the date and time that I will be at his wedding and he smiles a genuine kind of smile like a child that was just commended on a job well done. The hip young man that Mike was is still there, but a man in love now is what is before me, and he’s got a sense of danger to him, and it fits him because there are few things more dangerous than a person in love.

“What’re you doing in town, honestly?”

“I got bored.”

“You, bored of the east coast, who’d have thought?” Mike knows me too well.

“I’m headed to see Adam right now. Come with me.”

“I suppose I can call out for the rest of the day. Sure. let’s got then!”

And he springs up from his blanket while holding one edge and with a slick whip like that of a cowboy whipping his lasso the blanket twirls around and slouches over his neck and shoulders. I grab his book, and we begin to walk. I look down at the book in my hand - The Old Man and The Sea.

Adam house isn’t far from the park. It’s on the corner of 12th and Ogden. He lives in a small ranch style home with a front porch and a backyard. He and his wife, Sunny, got lucky when they moved from Austin, Texas to Denver. They found this place for very cheap. If I had seen it first, I would still be living in Denver - so I tell myself. We knock on the door, and Mike is still wearing his blanket, and he begins to dance a traditional Capoeira style dance where he looks as if he is about to punch and kick me, but moves at the last second to avoid any contact. He smiles and exhales, “HUFF!” with each movement and the blanket stays draped over his shoulders like a scarf.

A creek sounds that the door is opening and there behind the thin screen is Adam. He is a portly man, maybe five and a half feet in height, with a thick beard and mustache. His eyes are kind and blue, and they remind me of my fathers from my childhood. He has short red hair which he keeps back in a wool cap.

“Jesus fucking Christ,” he says, “Look at you two.”

“Hey, buddy!” I yell.

“Good to see you, Adam. Good to see you,” says Mike.

He ushers us inside and without hesitation pours us a few glasses of bourbonCheryl lives just far enough away from Adam, in the Santa Fe neighborhood of Denver, that I have to call a Taxi. Adam lives in Capitol Hill. The drive isn’t far, but the taxi driver doesn’t speak English very well, and he keeps asking me “this?” and pointing out the window at random buildings and I keep telling him "No." We pass Poets Row - the apartment buildings where I once lived. I drank a lot in those days. I still drink a lot today, but I am matured, and drinking is more like a way of sustaining my life rather than adding something new to it. That’s what really bugs me about the social drinker. They drink to add some sort of spice to their immediate life and surroundings. You can spot them at any bar - they order mundane drinks. Gin and Tonics. Vodka Sodas. Whiskey and Cokes. They never dive into the good shit - the neat drinks that highlight the flavors of the alcohol itself. And if they want cocktails, they never try the craft cocktail masterpieces like Amaro Di Amaros (only found at Coperta in Denver), Paper Planes, San Francisco Dreams, The Money Honey (ask for Jon Foursquare at Death & Co. New York or Denver), etc. I could go on for days. The point is, alcohol is an art and should be respected, and alcoholics are it’s artists and should be recognized.

The taxi rolls through Cap Hill and on the corner of 10th and Ogden I get out. I drop the man a twenty through the window, and he waves one hand back as he drives away. No thank you mentioned. Then, I look around. Cap Hill is a shady neighborhood with a lot of trees and tall apartment buildings and mansions. One of the streets has a sketchy looking apartment building where I once spent a night in a coke-fueled basement party, and the other side of the road is a multi-level mansion with walls tall like a castle - impenetrable. Adam doesn’t live in either of these buildings. He lives a few blocks away, but I want to walk by Cheeseman Park to see if Russ is lounging in the grass and reading. Russ always spends his lunch hour in the park with a book. He is an intellectual, one of those new age hipster kind of guys that listens to your new favorite band years before you discover them - chances are he will be the one that puts you onto that band in the first place. Mike reads a lot and quotes Ginsberg around his gay friends, Jung around his spiritual friends, Thompson around his LSD tweaker friends, and the bible around his mother. He wears tight pants, rolled at the ankle to show off his leather boots. He eats a vegan diet and drinks his coffee black and whiskey neat. He wears thick-rimmed cokebottle glasses and combs his black hair back in tight strokes. He has a thick mustache which he curls the ends up and to make his face look as if it is always smiling.

The park opens up, and the shade of the neighborhood disappears and sure enough in the distance, plopped in the middle of the field, is a mustached hip-looking young man lying on a blanket with a book in his hand - Mike.

I walk over to him, and when I get within a few yards, I start creeping up behind him. He’s reading and deeply involved in his reading. He doesn’t hear me at all, and at the last foot when I’m virtually standing above him I drop to the ground and grab his shoulders with a vicious shake and yell, “GOTYA!”

He drops his book and looks over right shoulder at me, “I smelled you coming from a few yards away. I asked myself, ‘is that raggedy old bastard back in town?’ and then you dropped down on me right now  as you are.”

We shared a contemplative stare, and both burst into laughter at the same time.

“Good to see you, old friend. Good to see you,” Mike said, “What brings you back to this old place?”

“You, mostly,” I replied.

“Oh, my poor friend, I’ve never felt sorrier for a human than you.” He laughed.

“What’re you reading?”

“Just some old sailor’s tale, nothing interesting.”

And we continue to chat for a while and continue to catch up. Mike tells me about the last year of his life and the moments that stuck out most since we had last seen each other. He says me that he met a woman, Shelly and that they are set to be married by November. “I would have sent you an invitation, but you never seem to be around when I need you most,” he says. “I’ll have Shelly write one up this week. I must have you there.”

I agree that no matter the date and time that I will be at his wedding and he smiles a genuine kind of smile like a child that was just commended on a job well done. The hip young man that Mike was is still there, but a man in love now is what is before me, and he’s got a sense of danger to him, and it fits him because there are few things more dangerous than a person in love.

“What’re you doing in town, honestly?”

“I got bored.”

“You, bored of the east coast, who’d have thought?” Mike knows me too well.

“I’m headed to see Adam right now. Come with me.”

“I suppose I can call out for the rest of the day. Sure. let’s got then!”

And he springs up from his blanket while holding one edge and with a slick whip like that of a cowboy whipping his lasso the blanket twirls around and slouches over his neck and shoulders. I grab his book, and we begin to walk. I look down at the book in my hand - The Old Man and The Sea.

Adam house isn’t far from the park. It’s on the corner of 12th and Ogden. He lives in a small ranch style home with a front porch and a backyard. He and his wife, Sunny, got lucky when they moved from Austin, Texas to Denver. They found this place for very cheap. If I had seen it first, I would still be living in Denver - so I tell myself. We knock on the door, and Mike is still wearing his blanket, and he begins to dance a traditional Capoeira style dance where he looks as if he is about to punch and kick me, but moves at the last second to avoid any contact. He smiles and exhales, “HUFF!” with each movement and the blanket stays draped over his shoulders like a scarf.

A creek sounds that the door is opening and there behind the thin screen is Adam. He is a portly man, maybe five and a half feet in height, with a thick beard and mustache. His eyes are kind and blue, and they remind me of my fathers from my childhood. He has short red hair which he keeps back in a wool cap.

“Jesus fucking Christ,” he says, “Look at you two.”

“Hey, buddy!” I yell.

“Good to see you, Adam. Good to see you,” says Mike.

He ushers us inside and without hesitation pours us a few glasses of bourbon

Comments

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  • Tomas Chough 8 months ago

    I enjoyed reading this! Is it a true story? Thanks for sharing David!