Thursday, June 10, 2010
Gunshots in Elmhurst?
Last night, I went out for a walk. I didn't do it with a destination in mind, I just did it for the exercise and the alone time, time to think. I wound up near the fountain just north of York and Vallette, and I sat down on the bench for a rest. I thought about the bar I'd just passed, Kacey's Pub. On the one hand, it's a bar within walking distance of me, but on the other, the clientele would burn someone like me at the stake if I dared wander across their threshold. They're not ready for degenerates in there; they're too religious and parental.
But at that point, I sure could have used a beer, yet I had no money.
It was then that I heard what sounded like shotgun blasts going off. At first, there were only a few explosions, but then they were joined by a cacophony of whistles and screams and pops and booms. Fireworks. Enough to make me think for a moment that I'd been teleported to Afghanistan. Soon, people were driving by at top speed, yelling and honking their horns. Ah, this was a celebration of some sort. But what could it be? Had we finally captured bin Laden? Or did Jesus come back? I tried to figure out what it is that normal people celebrate, but nothing made sense . . . until I remembered that the Blackhawks were playing for the Stanley Cup.
This was reinforced by a carload of drunken teenagers who drove by, screaming, "Blackhawks win! Blackhawks win!" A fifteen-year-old girl leaned out of her SUV and flashed her tits in celebration.
Practically everyone who drove by shouted the news at me. I wondered if they ever considered that someone who had gone out for a walk during such a pivotal play off game probably didn't give a shit about the Blackhawks.
A van drove by, and a ten-year-old girl leaned out, gave me the thumbs up, and said, "Blackhawks won!"
Just out of meanness, I thought I'd shout, "Go Philly!" But I didn't feel like ruining anyone's innocence at that moment.
Instead, the noise was getting to me, and it showed no sign of letting up. I got up and started walking home as the city of Elmhurst went crazy all around me. At a stop light, I heard more than one person in their cars saying, "This is the greatest day of my life!" Jesus, I thought, what a grim thing to say!
Then, I was passing Kacey's Pub, and I heard the celebration inside. Someone said, "Drinks are on me!"
I zipped in, a grin on my face, a cheer building up inside of me. "BLACKHAWKS WIN!" I shouted and took a seat at the bar.
"You're just in time, buddy," the bartender said as he flipped a coaster in front of me. "This guy over here just bought a round of drinks. What'll you have?"
"Really?" I asked. "Awesome. Make mine a Jim Beam on the rocks, easy on the rocks."
As I sipped at my free drink, I figured I could be a Blackhawks fan for a little bit. Then, I'd have to sneak out the back before someone expected me to reciprocate, but for that brief period of time, we'd all be happy.