July 8, 2009

Polish Roulette

John Edgar Mihelic Presents:
Polish Roulette
in response to:
E. Hemmingway’s A Farewell to Arms


I awoke at eight. The hotel’s main support staff was absent. There were not many guests. In the off-season, there never is. I got breakfast at Denny’s. I ordered a Moon over My Hammy. I enjoy the pun, but the breakfast was over done. I had a malcontent feeling of malaise. At eleven, the bar opened up. I went in and ordered a drink. It was gin, and it soaked my beard. Going to the washroom, I ran into an old friend, Reginald McHammet.
In the bathroom, I talked to Reginald. He produced a bottle of Brandy. Thankfully, there was a Dixie Cup dispenser. We sat down on the porcelain chairs and caught up.
“You enjoying Myrtle Beach?”
“No less than I do every year.”
“Want to go sunbathing sometime?”
“I’d say yes, but I was planning to spend most of the week in an alcoholic haze.”
We both laughed. It was an uncomfortable laugh. We both knew, as we sat there in the bar’s toilet, drinking warm brandy and lounging on toilet seats that an alcoholic haze would be de rigueur for the week. You know, par for the course. I’d been at the beach for four days and I had yet to see the ocean. I had played a round of miniature golf. More correctly, I had played part of a round of miniature golf. My friends had to drag me away from a fight with a laughing animatronics pirate. I had vowed to never go back there.
“Reginald how is Texas these days?”
“Pretty much the same, flat, and a lot of people who speak English with an accent”
“Don’t all Texans have some sort of accent?”
“You’re not getting me. I was making a joke about the influx of immigrants that makes Texas one of the most polylingual states in the union.”
“I suppose something was lost in translation. I didn’t know that you were talking about the dirty browner peoples of the world.”
“Shit Howie, I don’t think that’s politically correct.”
“Well, neither is drinking brandy on a Monday in the bathroom of a hotel bar.”
“I guess you’re right.”
Our generation was never one to ask too many questions, especially if they brought up answers that we did not want to think of the possible implications of. All these superficial friendships were trash too. It made me want to vomit. It may also have been the mixing gin, warm brandy, and a Denny’s breakfast. I like to think it was the implications.
“Hey, Reginald, what are you doing right now? I have a hankering to go and do something hyper-masculine. Are there any wars going on? Let’s go fight a war.”
“Um, Howie, I don’t think I want to do that.”
“OK, I understand. I think I’m just going to go up to my hotel room and play Polish roulette.”
“Execuse me?”
“You know, its like Russian roulette, but with only one empty chamber.”
“Well, um, I guess good luck with that. It was nice seeing you.”
“Same to you, you have a good week.”