A tale about love.
|Andrew stood at The Sizzler’s bar waving his arms above his head. When he finally caught the bartender’s attention, he pointed defiantly at his empty glass. The dapper, red-vested man behind the bar seemed hesitant but brought the Patron bottle over and poured Andrew a fifth shot.
“Love?” Andrew roared. "You're asking me about love, you came to the right guy!”
The restaurant quieted.
The bartender said, “Sir, I’m going to ask you to lower your voice.”
“This gentleman wants to know about love, and I’m going to tell him about love!”
The man sitting beside Andrew took a quick glance at his gold Rolex.
“What do you want to know?” Andrew asked him.
“Just waiting for my wife, pal,” the man said without turning.
“Your wife? You’re waiting for your wife? She’s right now humping your best buddy!”
The man turned his head to look at Andrew. He was a good deal older than Andrew and outweighed him by thirty pounds. He said, “Son, I’d be careful if I were you.”
The restaurant was silent now. Three cooks in floppy chef-hats ducked their heads to peer through their window. Even the buss-boys stopped to watch.
“Love!” Andrew continued. “It hurts, and it hurts bad. She’ll cheat. You think she won’t cheat?”
The man pushed his glass of red wine away and stood to his feet.
Andrew, hearing his name called, now looked at the far corner of the dining room and saw his three friends half-standing and waving him back to their table.
“Take my advice,” Andrew said, turning back to the man. “Don’t let the bitch out of your sight!”
The man looked at Andrew for a moment more, then swung.
Andrew ducked the punch, lifted his head, ducked a second punch, and in a very well-practiced fluid motion, head-butted him in the jaw, which dropped the older man to his knees.
Andrew left through the gap people made to get out of his way. He found himself outside on Hollywood Blvd, turned left, and began walking. He wondered about his friends back at the bar but didn't stop. It felt nice to be walking. Ten minutes later, they all three came jogging up out of breath and calling his name.
Catrina got to him first. Johnny Tee and Martin were still trying to catch up.
“What the hell bullshit was that?” Catalina asked. She grabbed Andrew by the arm, and he stopped. “You can't keep doing this!” She looked up into his rosy eyes, her own eyes wide with anger. “You-Can't-Keep-Doing-This!” she shouted.
“I know,” he said and began walking again.
Again she caught his arm. “Let her go!”
Pedestrians shuffled to pass around them. There were headlights and brake-lights and white sodium streetlights. The world spun.
Andrew began walking again.
His friends told him the car was the other way, but he didn't stop, and they followed along four paces behind. They saw by his shoulders he was crying, and they looked at one another and hurried to keep up.