Cheap Whiskey, Cheap Bar, Cheap Women

Story written by Don Roble on Wednesday 14, June 2017

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Not adult but not for kids.

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Goodtime Charlie’s Got The Blues Cheap Whiskey, Cheap Bar, Cheap Women Charlie downed another shot, sipped some beer to help it go down and glanced over at Martha, or Molly, or maybe Mary. He couldn’t remember and it didn’t matter. If she stayed for one more drink Charlie thought he’d get her into the back of his car. If he got her to stay for one more drink he knew she’d do it. He was Charlie Lowe. He was somebody- at least in this dinky, dead little town. He used to be somebody but now he just was somebody. If he didn’t get this babe he may as well join a monastery. At least there he’d get fed. There was a time he always had a girl ready for the after-the-show party. He didn’t have any of those any longer. His agent, Stu Kraft, was always telling him he was, “lucky to get what he did get. You ain’t a star, Charlie.” Charlie knew that but some of these gigs barely paid his expenses. He had a three piece band when he could and they stayed as long as they didn’t get a better offer. His standard of living wasn’t what it once was and neither were his tastes. He was staying at the low price motel. The only thing lower was the rent by the hour places. Charlie hadn’t sunk to that. Yet. He ate at the cheapest greasy-spoon around. He’d probably die from clogged arteries if not from a sex disease or an angry husband. The odds were about the same. He had to drive to gigs now and the van wasn’t all that new. It ran pretty good and was reliable so that was alright. It just looked like crap. He wished his backup band was as reliable as the van They looked like crap too. He never knew who would show up and in what shape. Charlie was a rocker, pure and simple. At some places in the South he’d hear,“Hey, what’s that shit?” He would ignore it unless a beer bottle or a knife came his way. Then he’d slip into country with a rock beat. Those Southern rednecks were too drunk to notice that part. Charlie would always bitch to Stu Kraft when he got those kind of jobs. “Damn, Stu, I could have got shot there. What the Hell kind of manager are you?” “Charlie, you’re lucky I get anything for you. You weren’t that big, you know. Maybe I can get you a gig at a county fair? How would that be?” “How come ya can’t get me a week at Disney? Paul Revere and the Raiders get that.” “Well, Charlie, you ain’t Paul Revere and the Raiders. You were never that big.” “So? Who remembers that?” “Umm, the folks at Disney. Maybe the Nebraska State Fair. You always enjoy that.” “Yea, I like that. Those are good people there. They never throw anything at me. That’s good ‘cause they got a lot a shit just layin’ around. They got some really big shitballs there. Okay, ya get me that and I’ll leave ya be for a while. No more redneck places, okay?” “Charlie, I always do the best I can for you, you know that.” “No, I don’t know that. If this is your best I’d hate to see the clients that you can’t do much with. They must be suicidal.” Charlie hung up. He knew he wouldn’t get any place with Stu. What could he do? Find another agent? Who’d take on an old rocker like him? No, Stu was it. Stu would never leave him because Stu wasn’t Mr. Music himself. Charlie didn’t think Stu did all that well. Maybe, just maybe, they were made for each other. Charlie started to say something to the woman about leaving and noticed her head was on the bar top. At first he thought she had spilled some of her drink and was lapping it up. Charlie had done that a few times; more than a few times. Then he heard a snore. Damn it! She’s passed out! Charlie thought she could hold her liquor considering what she was. He didn’t think she was a pro but she was a hell of a good amateur. He figured the deal was he’d buy the booze and she pay him back in the car. Not now. The bartender came over and looked at the woman. He looked at Charlie and said, “You were one drink too many. I’ll call her husband to come and get her. He’s used to it.” He’s used to it. Well, so was Charlie and he wasn’t any better when it comes right to it. Charlie wasn’t any better or worse. A real hooker would have been cheaper and more definite. Charlie hadn’t sunk to that either although he didn’t know why not. Charlie staggered out of the bar and headed toward his van. He glanced up the street and spotted a cop car just barely poking out from an alley. No driving back to the motel He didn’t need a DUI in a small town. He could walk back to the motel in a few minutes. He wobbled up the street past the cops and then did something he was soon to regret. He went over to the car and yelled, “Goodtime Charlie’s got the Blues if you get what I mean. Ha ha.” Charlie didn’t know why he’d done what he’d done. He liked cops. They never hassled him. Sometimes when he told them who he was they’d let him off with a warning. Sometimes they’d say, “Who the Hell is Goodtime Charlie? Here you go.” The next thing he knew he was on the sidewalk sucking concrete. He felt himself being cuffed and then yanked to his feet. One of the cops said, “Public drunkenness is a crime too. You aren’t going to need that motel tonight. You are going to be our guest. You can laugh at that if you want. We aren’t sensitive.”

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    Not sure if this is fiction, bio, or a combination -- don't know enough about rock or the real Charlie Pickett except that he was a brief flame. However, I would read on, which is the purpose of a beginning. I'm a nitpicker so here are a few nits:
    ',,,a[s] long as...'; '...thing[s] lower were...'; '...pretty good[well]...'; ' was[were]...' (I'm a fan of the subjunctive); '...those kind[s] of jobs'; '[g]...'; '[in] a few...'.
    I changed his last name. I shouldn't have used a real name.
    I corrected my errors.
    Pretty good is acceptable.
    Band was is correct. Band is singular.

    This is pure fiction. I appreciate the corrections.
    OK, I think it's better knowing it's fiction. Real people used fictiously seldom works for me. By the way, although it is often neglected of late, I still find the subjunctive expressive for things untrue or doubtful and 'were' is the singular past for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person.
    Try this on then- " I were a pilot." Doesn't work. I'm going to stand by the corrections i made at your suggestion and the ones I didn't change.
    How about "If I were a rich man?" or "I wish I were a pilot?" It's the 'if' or 'wish' that makes the difference. It's gradually fading from style, but I regret that as losing both an attribute that makes English more expressive and a tool for writers to make their creations more interesting. That's just me.
    Cool Well, in jail, he will get a blanket, a bed, hot coffee, and a meal.