Tales Of The Dew Drop Inne 

 By Kenneth Weene




Angelica showed up about eight looking like a fifty‐dollar whore and shaking her booty like a blender in heat. She was enough of a distraction that Jonny missed a shot, which bit him in the ass when Tom actually won the game, something that didn’t happen often.

Even Ephraim, who isn’t easily distracted, stopped strumming and singing.

I was nursing my Killer’s Delight. It was a drink Sal had created weeks before because he’d watched Oliver Twist and bought too much gin. “Yous guys like gin,” he’d announced, not asked.

Since most of the guys weren’t buying it, Sal had decided it was my favorite and always had a killer on the bar before I could tell him otherwise.

This girl we’d never seen, this Angelica, came in and started making moves. Sal was first because she wanted a drink. “Hi, sweetie,” she crooned and leaned over the bar to kiss him. It wasn’t a friendly kiss—the kind a girl pecks on your cheek. Or even one of those firm lip kisses that say there might be something coming. It’s a tongue in as far as it can go kind of kiss and leaves Sal red and wordless.

“Vodka,” she demanded, “with a beer.” Her voice was low and sultry and her wink suggestive.

Sal bobbed his head and reached for a bottle.

Before the shot and brew were on the bar, she’d moved on to Tom. I watched with awe and arousal. I’ve never seen another woman like her; I wasn’t sure that I wanted to. Her hands were all over him. She found his sack and squeezed. Tony jumped and grimaced but couldn’t say anything – her tongue was down his throat.

How long could that tongue be? Part of me wanted to find out; another part wanted to get out of there. Sometimes instincts just keep warning you.

Between drinks—many drinks, Angelica made her way around the room—tonguing and groping each of us until everyone had the kind of hard‐on you get in junior high school; the kind that feels powerful and embarrassing at once.

“Who wants to take me home?” It was defiant, a schoolyard dare.

“What’ll it cost?” Tom asked. I don’t think anyone else would have had the cajones; Tom didn’t give a damn, not about anything.

“Baby, when we’re done, you tell me.”

The smile on Angelica’s face screamed beware. The grin on Tom’s said this is gonna be something. The rest of us shuffled around and looked uneasy, embarrassed, and envious.

Angelica grabbed Tom’s hand and with a swish of her ass led him out the door. They were gone before Sal could say, “What about your drinks?”

“Damn, who’s gonna pay her tab?” Sal mumbled as he cleared away her empties.

That wasn’t the last question. For weeks we wondered what had happened to Tom. He was gone, disappeared; nobody takes it lightly when a member of the family disappears.

We wondered until Jonny ran into him at O’Grady’s. That’s where the city’s serious pool sharks hung and where the wanna‐be’s went to learn. “There he was,” Jonny told us. “Tom sees me and looks like he wants to slide under that table. I walk over and hold out my hand. ‘How you doing?’ I ask. Tom just kind of gulps. Anyway, I got a game with Jack Morgan – you know him, right?”

​Actually, none of us knew Morgan, but we’d heard of the best player in town.

“I’m watching Jack run the table on me when Tom comes over. ‘You know, Jonny, that dame I took off with.’ I just nod. ‘Well, she weren’t no dame at all. Who’d have thought? That Angelica was a guy.’”

“I guess that’s why she came on so strong,” Ephraim commented.

At least Sal was shook up enough to forget my next Killer’s Delight and ask what I wanted.

I ordered my usual and dropped the change in Ephraim’s cup.


“I served. I saw combat.” That was as much as Captain would tell us.

Stiff and tall, it was hard to guess his age. “Old enough to know better,” he’d told us, “but I’ve marched more miles than you might figure.”

Had he really seen combat? He didn’t talk about it.

Where had he been stationed? He never said.

What had been his rank? We didn’t know that either. He was Captain because he was always inspecting and taking charge. “Too much foam on those beers,” he’d announce when Sal wasn’t careful to let the brew flow down the side of the glasses. “Rack those balls tighter,” he’d instruct Jonny, who’d look up from the poll table and smile indifferently.

Captain would show up day after day for a time and then he’d disappear. “Where you been?” one of us might ask after a long absence.

“In the Army.” Which made no sense until we understood that he was bouncing in and out of the V.A. Captain was one of those patients who won’t stay on their meds. When he wasn’t locked on the psych ward, he hung out at The Dew Drop.

No need to work, his benefits were enough. He apparently had and needed little. Yet, what he wore was always neat and carefully ironed.

Not needing a job didn’t stop Captain from taking an active interest in the world of work. He’d stop to inspect and instruct wherever he could: pointing out smudges on windows and unpainted spots, stopping delivery men with instructions, “Those boxes should be arranged with the biggest on the bottom, not just jumbled like that.” His pseudo‐expertise knew no bounds.

He particularly enjoyed superintending landscapers. “Cut that back a little. You left some clippings. Some of these weeds need more spray.”

One day, Riley, who was working a recycling truck, ran into him.

Captain was busily organizing a crew from Hanson’s Nursery. They were working a condo community over on Foster, one of those that keep upgrading their grounds. The men, most of whom, probably not even understanding his English, good‐naturedly ignored Captain. Their crew boss was doing what low‐level managers often do: lying under a tree taking a nap.

The supervisor came by, saw Captain telling the men what to do, and the men working away. “You’re doing a good job,” he said and patted Captain on the back.

Captain saluted, which tickled the supervisor. He would have said more, but he noticed the crew boss sleeping. “What the hell?” he exploded.

Two minutes later the sleeper had been fired and Captain hired. “You stop by the office this afternoon and fill out the forms,” the supervisor instructed.

Captain snapped to attention and again saluted, “Yes, sir.”

“Yes, sir,” the supervisor muttered as he took off for the next job site.

The men stood around staring at Captain. He stared back.

“Hey, Boss, what you want us do?” one of the workers asked.

Captain’s eyes went vacant. He shrugged and wandered off. Couple days later he was back in the Army.


Bonfire of Poetry

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