the sound: Bob Seger – Turn the Page
I slide down the tree and hang my head waiting for the worst to pass while listening to the music pouring out of the garage/barn.
The wail of Bob Seger’s Turn the Page always takes me back to a time in the bar prior to my owning it. Before my grandfather died he’d been sick for a long while, so he had a guy managing the place.
The guy’s name was Davie (something Greek I never could pronounce) and his nickname was ‘Do-all’ because he’d ‘do all’ as in anything for money.
Do-All’d been married a couple of times in his youth and the result of those marriages where a pair of hard core idiot thugs named Frankie and Bennie.
Do-all treated the fruit of his loins as you’d expect one to treat royalty all their lives and it went directly to their heads. Neither of the pair were big on grey matter, but what they were lacking in brain power they more than made up for in brawn.
One of the largest problems that the bar had in those days was the ‘stupider’ and ‘stupidest’ show those two put on. I’d never been able to get over the way those two acted like landed gentry and they demanded that all of the staff treat them with the ‘respect’ they were so positive that they deserved.
A perceived lack of respect always resulted in them beating up a customer for the price of a beer. Or for that matter, beating up anyone for anything either one of those mental midgets thought could be construed as a slight against them, their family or the fact that the sky was blue. Those two lug heads loved to fist fight and simply put….it was one of the very few things that they did really well.
Both were in their late 30’s, both were serious weight lifters (having picked up the habit in jail) and looked ripped, both had various degrees of receding hairlines. The greatest difference in their looks was the fact that Frankie had all his teeth and Bennie had a couple left. (Frankie having purchased his after a particularly despicable fight in the bar involving a woman he’d decided he wanted, her husband, and the tire iron her husband brought into the fray.)
The whole thing was a mess. I’d known that they were dealing drugs out of the bar, and running a bootleg operation after hours but while my grandfather was alive I could never broach the subject with him because I was underage and not supposed to be in the bar at all.
So the price Do-all charged me for my silence was his own silence. He just sort of forgot to tell my family that I’d been working in the bar since I was 16. He’d even been the guy that got me the false ID so I could look legal on the books.
I worked the bar and over time went from working the floor full time, to bartending and over more time made myself virtually invaluable by mastering the liquor control system, and the bookkeeping which almost single handedly kept the business afloat. Then when I proved to Do-all that both his bartenders were skimming from him I got the job running the back end.
Not that it made a big difference….the hotel was in financial difficulty and no amount of stopping the skimming in the bar would save it. The antics of his boys, coupled with his penchant for after hours partying at the bar’s expense left little or nothing in the coffers.
As a result Do-all came up with a plan…a plan he somehow ‘forgot’ to mention to me before he put it into action.