Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Heathers

Chapter 17
 The Heathers
Working there provides a very interesting and what some may consider a unique dynamic.  By unique, I mean plainly bazaar. You can’t make this shit up type of odd.  While the bar is in fact a business which most people forget because it becomes this bigger entity.  This is a place run for and by men 98% of the time. The thing is this, that working in a place made for, maintained and supported by gay men sometimes makes me feel like I’m in high school all over again. While the rest of the world seems to want to relive their youth, I just want to get past it.   I will go further on that statement.  Anyone that you or anyone else thinks that high school was the best time of your life, then frankly, I’m not sure if we can be friends.  It’s just a matter of opinion, like people who have little children and talk about how wonderful it is.  I’m sure that miracle is glorious.  Young parents often say stuff like “when he-she-it was born, it was the best time of my life!”  I say, if you would of waited, better things may come your way dude.  Some say tomato, others say ketchup.   It’s just a different viewpoint.  On the topic of high school again, I could barely stand teens when I was one, for this reason alone I know that I will never be that man.  The one we all know and have met.  The ones with the little red porsche and tupe (at least as long as propecia is in existence), who tries to relive their youth vicariously by pretending to be 25 for 30 years or surrounding themselves in young guys.  Those guys always remind me of that witch in Hocus Pocus who inhales the children’s youth.

The bar is like every cliché after school special, Mean Girls, “California Dreams” (yes I watched this show.  If you don’t know what it is, Google it.)  and some random episodes of “Parker Louis Can’t Loose” all mixed together.  I know I seem to say that a lot in these stories, but it’s true.  High school was nothing in comparison to my experience at the Labyrinth.  In high school we at least know that we are young and stupid.  Here, some people just stay young and stupid for life. It's something that happens when alcohol mixes with the bad Kylie Minogue remixes I suppose.  In high school I had no life, little drama, really it was depressing.  I made Chelsea Clinton look like a rebel. For most of it, I was pretty A-sexual and oddly okay with it. I assumed that eventually life would just fall into place within 30 minutes and eventually I would join a cool click and have burgers at the Max with Kelly and Lisa by sophomore year. Who was I kidding? I really just wanted to hang with Zack, by hang, I wanted to be his best friend and eventually have that awkward moment where we made out in Mr. Belding’s office which would make him have to leave Kelly for me. Instead, I watched others around me have a lot of drama, sex and lives and I was just there. I was the observer. My high school life was metaphorically speaking like I was that fat guy that just sat at home watching reality TV for years while getting fat, eating twinkles and living vicariously through those I watched. The guy who never got off of his lazy ass and let the years go by and others experience everything.

There are the popular ones here at the Labyrinth, much like those you see in high school based TV shows. We (by we, I mean I) will call them Heathers for the time being and novelty purposes. Instead the high school girls all named Heather, with their blond hair, big-tits and short skirts who are a dime a dozen and run the school and it’s a similar social hierarchy.  Or the brunette names Kelly who graduates a B cup and returns the college years a full D…  Here, Heathers are men who have a specific mix of sass, sex appeal and often find their way to squish their fat asses into Diesel jeans 2 sizes smaller than they should just to keep up with the Joneses. Working here has a way of hypnotizing one into forgetting that there really is a whole world outside of this disco shimmering, limp-wristed maze of a Castro bubble. Like the Heathers of high school, they too can make or break someone in my shoes who has to deal with them 4-5 nights a week.

Within the 5 years that I have spent there, I have always noticed a clear clique that has remained constant during my time, the Heathers. They are Phil’s favorites. They often do not embody the specific, stereotypical image one may imagine a bartender to portray or look like physically. While being very different form one another, the quality that they all share is that they bloom in many ways via working at the bar. There are people who have worked there often for some time, some longer than others. Others have put it like this, “Phil likes to take wilting, unlikely flower buds and give them a chance to grow, just to eventually toss them to the curb or kick them out of his house.” It’s like this group represent the closest thing he will ever have to children that he can control. Often they go from quiet, mousy wallflowers to unlikely bartenders, who are cocky, sometimes money/and or coke hungry individuals (if not for a long period of time, at least for a small period of time most, but not all try the ski slope). While in my time there, I have seen many different Heathers groups manifested, they all have the same elements in common. Every 6 months or so this group changes reformulates, a new king emerges while another is dethroned or banished from the place all together. The Heathers are the ones who get the core best shifts at the bar and this is when they get sucked into the nexus that many bartenders fall into, somewhere between dawn and dusk, where your world is the bar. I just want to get one thing straight though, getting sucked into this world often has nothing to do with a lack of education, means failure at the “real world,” in my opinion it’s about comfort for most of us. The majority of their shifts are Friday, Saturday and maybe Sunday. They end up making more money in cash per week than most blue-collar people like us can understand and more than most white-collar people make a week at the same time, where all the money goes, that is a whole separate topic. The Heathers are Phil’s favorite bartenders at the moment. When bartenders end up in this group they live in their own parallel bubble of reality. They/we live the lives of vampires, rarely seeing the light or life of day, but without stupid young teenage girl fantasizing about us. Often it is hard for the Heathers to maintain functioning, relationships lasting longer than the time it takes for someone to zip their pants. It’s hard to date one of them/us for this reason and hard for anyone to get past the trick title due to our incompatible/ horrendous schedule. I can attest to this personally, but that is a separate story and for another time, maybe a whole book of it's own. Since they work every time the world around them lives, they get stuck in the inner-workings of the bar. This becomes their air, water and life before they can realize it.

Since the Heathers mainly hangout with other coworkers who work these good shifts along side them, they rarely let new people into their world. By rarely let people in, I mean they do everything they can to shut the rest of the world out. This is for two reasons; a new person could compromise their good schedule by taking their spot, another reason to watch out for the marbles. Get in the way of a Heather and their ability to make money or keep their job and one should always assume that they could be knifed at any time (not really, but kinda). Often the ones they are weary of are new bartenders, who get promoted astonishingly quickly. We will call them “Floaters.” They may be younger, prettier and have nothing to offer the bar other than a new “fresh” look. These are Heathers in the making that think they are at the bar just for a hot second while “getting through school” or “paying off a few loans.” There are Floaters that come in and out of this group every now and again without a scratch or getting sucked into the Heathers’ world. A world with late-nights/early mornings, a possible coke binge now and again and some other delights. Often though, soon these saps too are also stuck in the inner workings of this place we know as the Labyrinth. The said new said person/child, Floater could also divulge the Heathers’ secrets to the rest of the bar and find ways to get them fired. These people either turn into lifers or miraculously get fired by Phil for no reason. These floaters threaten the Heathers whole way of life. Again, another reason to watch you’re back in these parts.

Working there, there will always those who wish to be a part of the Heathers. We all want a piece of the pie. Some of us want this more than others. James, being promoted only a few months back, barbacked like me, for years. Keeping this in mind, while he always claims to be there just to get by and pay off some bills, he always has had the key makings of a Heather. He would/will do anything it takes to become one of them, even if that means getting rid of one of them. It’s really not as viscous as it sounds since all of them would do the same to cute little James if they could get him out of their way. At the time, there were a few obstacles in James’ way of becoming the Heather king that he knows he can be. There is the current bar’s manager, a coked-out, condescending guy with the style of a one George Michael, and the sass of a one Charro, but with an ass the size of a baby watermelon. I mean this guy’s facial hair looks like is so manicured its ridiculous. His eyebrows are insanely plucked to divert ones attention from his natural uni-brow. He is one of those people that likes to bite on other people’s style. The guy that sees you wearing a jacket he likes and the next day he is wearing the same one, a replica or even your jacket if you don’t watch your stuff close enough. Not saying he is a thief, but wouldn’t be surprised if things happen to disappear around him. Greedy cokeheads sometimes will do that kind of thing, but we digress. We will call him Julio for this story to protect anyone from getting offended. While Julio, is an asshole to work with, as king of the Heathers he also is one of the best bartenders there. He is good at the bartending part, but as a “manager” he is greedy as hell and if he doesn’t like you, he will make your shifts unpleasant and long. It is though understandable why he gets all the best shifts based on the bartending skill alone and he helped write the bar’s schedule where he could help keep his other Heathers close by for support. Gina is a floater who soon becomes friends with Julio, the other Heathers during Julio’s reign and in turn becomes one of them for a period of time. On many a occasion, I bump into the two wasted roaming the aisles of the Castro. This is something to remember for later.

While many of us aren’t keen to Julio’s ruling of the bar, we are still all family. Correction, we are all family if your family has a couple members who will turn on ya’all every now and again. We all are brothers and sister at this place. If you ran out of cash and need a few bucks to go get a coffee or a beer, any of your coworkers here will give you a few bucks. No questions asked. We all trust while at the same time stay skeptical of each other at the same time. It’s insane.

We all tease each other as siblings do, with the occasional back handed compliment, something along the lines of “your boyfriend is adorable, was he in Life Goes On? What was his name? Corkey?”
Or something as simple as “love the jeans, they really make it look like you have an ass.” To which one replies with a smart backhanded compliment or downright insult.

Like I have said in other stories, it is important to have a thick skin to handle this place. While it sounds like abuse, this often is harmless teasing, but it is more often how friendemmies talk. This is often how the Heathers treat James. He takes the trash they dish and sometimes gives it back, but it’s because we all know that he is Phil’s pet. He is the only one of us that gets notes on his timecard telling him of how he is doing such a great job. He also is the only one besides Gina who can request time off of any kind without repercussions or getting punished with months of shitty schedules. While this may not be completely true, it is how it looks to me at the time.

I come to work on a regular Friday night and am ready to bear it all, Julio, the Heathers, the bar and all its perks. As I glance at the bar schedule to see who I will be working with besides the Heathers, to see who the Floater of tonight’s shift is, I am shocked to see that Julio’s shifts are whited-out. Confused by this I double check to see if I am still scheduled/employed at the bar, which I am and go on with my daily duties. One by one everyone scheduled that day shuffles in. They all take a moment to check the schedule as I do. They all have that same look of confusion/relief to see Julio not scheduled to work this Friday night. Did I forget to mention who is scheduled to take Julio’s spot on the schedule? It’s James. Until now, he only worked the daytime, no big deal shifts. James’ attitude now drifts from bar employee-drifter to a lifer. The question is, is he now one of the Heathers? While another one bites the dust, we are used to this aspect of the bar, people disappearing and getting fired for no reason. We all go on with our nightly duties and the bar goes on as though Julio never worked there.  After a while there is little proof or memory that he even existed, much like that urban-legend of “Bloody Mary.”

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Chapter 16.

As a small child I was very inquisitive and quiet.  This was during the days before the bar. Before I would become self-conscious about my weight, looks or what people thought of me.  It was before the days of Keeping up with the Kardashians, and the Jersey shore.  I was just a boy. 

My mother would always tell me stories about how I, much like Mc Guyver, would always try to figure out things very quickly.  The only difference between he and I was that I would get frustrated easily, quit when I got fed up and end up eating something sweet.  In reality I was never really like him, I mean I never had the attention-span to build anything and it would be years before I had a mullet.  My mother said that I always would create new ways climb out of my crib as an infant.  This was a difficult thing to accomplished be since I, also had to sleep with a brace which was a metal bar holding both of my feet outwards.  The brace was heavy gave me something to complain about from a young age.  This brace, was used to treat my severe pigeon-toe but really just worked as leverage to help me climb out of my crib or play-pen and to create a comedian.

I would keep calm while supervised, then during naps I would study the crib for new ways to escape and nearly give my mother a heart-attack every morning as a result.  Often these missions would lead to success in terms of surprising her, not the heart-attack part.  I would find a way to move my soccer-sized head with legs over the edge of the crib or playpen and somehow end up making my way safely to the ground.  As a child I looked much like Stewie from Family Guy, all head and a little body, a real caricature type of kid.  The climbing out of the pen, during the age of innocence, was before I learned what fear was, before courage had to be earned.  I just did what I felt like.  This, partially, is the mentality that has remained with me through my adult life.  Just as an adult I learned to drink and curse like a sailor.  As a child I worked with this mantra: do what you feel like, find out how things work, maybe taste them and that’s it.  When I was younger though, that concept was followed by, how can I get things to work and get people’s attention on me? 

Once, around 2-years old, my mother awoke to me looking like I had just came out of an alien movie.  This child-like creature who resembled her baby boy was standing near her bed.  As she wiped the sleep out of here eyes, she then realized that I was covered in what looked like blood.  I was like a baby swamp-thing, but red.  Her heart sank and she was ready to take charge, call an ambulance, lift a car from off of me, if she had to, all within a heart’s beat.  It would be any mother’s nightmare to see their child covered in blood.

After a second or two I whispered in Russian, the only language I knew at the time, “I am pretty.”  This, was before I knew how to sound jaded and roll my eyes after that sentence.  By this point I had already learned that the world had a concept of beautiful and that I wanted to be just that.  It was at this point that she began to smell fumes like formaldehyde.  She then realized that the blood-goo was actually globs of a dark red nail polish in my hand.  I had splatter-painted all over the small infant-size body I once possessed.  She immediately started a bath while she went for the nail polish remover before the nail polish stopped my skin from breathing.  I got a fever as a result of this whole ordeal.  All to be “pretty.” This would be just one of many missions during my childhood where I would aspire to be that one which one viewed as pretty or handsome.  It’s funny how then the concept was so simple.  

Thursday, June 7, 2012

What's new?

     In case you have been wonder why I haven't had any new things going on much lately here is why.  As I mentioned before, to supplement the comedy I still have to work.  That has taken too much of my time to say the least.  Lots have been happening.  I moved in with my long time boyfriend.  Looking for an apartment in San Francisco was tough.  Finding a place here was harder than trying to find how Jennifer Hudson REALLY lost the weight!  My bf and I have been together so long that technology has invented new ways for other people to get laid that didn't exist before, Grindr to name one.  Visited family which was bitter sweet and my good friend Brooke got married.  The highlight was where where I got to see a great fat baby, my nephew, Paulie.  Everyone knows, there are three things I love most in life which are eating, fat babies, and complaining.

     Lets complain.  I have had a tough time writing this past month with everything going on.  What the hell is this Bath Salt shit?   What the fuck?  When I was a kid, you were hard core if you smoked behind the school & ditched school. Now all you need is bath salts and a good appetite?  What happened to smoking a fat bowl and calling it a day?

    Lets talk about the Octomom.  This bitch is more annoying than after sex when your partner asks what you're thinking.  She should be locked up.  I as a gay man get told that I can't have kids in many states of this country, but she gets government assistance and publicity?  First off, she needs to be locked up cause she is more nutty than Anne Hatch.  At least Anne Hatch blamed aliens for her crazy.  I don't get why the Octomom is on govt. Assistance in the first place while most states are in financial crisis and dont allow gays to get married which would add to their revenue, but that's another story.  Nadia whatever should just become and entrepreneur and start a shoe making business called, "Little hands do little stitches.

      Why does Donald Trump always have to make a public statement with an insult?  One of his Miss America hos was saying that his competition was rigged.  He then responded that she didn't place cause look at her.  He picks random targets and then goes after their looks.  Whenever he attacks Rosie O'Donnell he always talks about being fat and untalented.  This about a woman who for years a time and on a daily basis entertains the country!  Her pinkie is funnier than Donald Trump's hair.  

      I have cut down on comedy simply because there wasn't enough of me to go around.  I will be spending this month focusing on the balance, booking more shows, writing and creating some new bits.  I do expect to create some more shows for Recovering Commies as well this fall.  Looking for a copy editor still or book agent to help me turn the blog stories into a real book.  Please let me know if you think of anyone.

Thanks for the Support and keep reading!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


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