Friday, October 16, 2015

The Elephant Man

We'll call him Lumpy. He's this very strange dude that hangs out in the bar. But not strange in a "I bet he'd be interesting if we just got to know him" way. Strange in a "I bet he'd murder us and keep our heads in his freezer while he stitched our skin into a Zoot suit if we just got to know him" kind of way.

Lumpy comes in during the day mostly . Usually drunk. When the girls would serve him at the bar he'd order bottles from the bottom of the coolers so he could stare at their asses while they bent down for them. Once he was caught taking picture of one of the girls. He's no longer allowed to use his camera in the bar. All of Lumpy's jokes involve murdering and dismembering hookers. He's no longer allowed to tell jokes in the bar.

When I used to bartend Lumpy would always ask to sample various beers on tap, then give me his long-winded opinions how much malt was in each particular one, or whether or not the brewer had used too much rice, or hops. If I didn't pay enough attention to Lumpy, I'd usually hear him holler "Heeeey Tar-Bender! Oh Taaaar- Bender!" I know. Hilarious. Other times he would just make sort of yipping sounds and I would tell him to knock it off or he'd have to leave. He ends up cut off. Then he always insists on going to the bathroom before paying and usually spends a half hour in there. Sometimes he falls asleep in the stall. Sometimes he talks to himself in the mirror.

Lumpy is dirty. He's got meth-head teeth. Looks like he's always just finished tearing apart an engine. He's also got this strange large lump on the right side of his forehead. It's like he was smoked in the head with a golf club and the welt never subsided.

Lumpy staggered to the bar the other night but didn't come in right away, he kind of hid around the corner of the bar for a few minutes before sauntering in. I asked him for his ID and promptly got an inventory of every card in his wallet as he announced each card filed through in the search for his picture ID. Lumpy has a license to drive a forklift and is an AMA member.

Lumpy was wearing his sunday best, dirty sweats, a denim vest and a ball cap you couldn't see the logo of. He sat down at the bar and ordered a beer and then proceeded to attempt to talk to the prettiest girl in the bar. She politely ignored him and focused her attention with laser precision on her friends as he drunkly tried to get her attention, tapping her arm with the back of his hand. I almost felt bad for him as he tried to join their conversation. Thats when he reached over and took a shot from the bar in front of them while they were looking away, trying not to make eyecontact with him. My sympathy ended there.

Big A was already within arms reach of him when I arrived. Our manager was telling him he needed to pay for the shot and leave. Ok he said. But he had to go to the bathroom first.  Go figure. She said fine. Big A hung out by the bathrooms to ensure he didn't try to make a run for it. Lumpy bounced off both walls of the hallway as he staggered to our bathrooms.

Lumpy came back out and tried to walk by the bar, but Big A grabbed him and turned him to face our manager who was ready with his bill and the debit machine. Lumpy dug through his wallet, taking inventory again, of each card in there before producing his debit card. It was an Edmonton Oilers debit card. Figures.

The Oilers Card. For when you don't want to pay.
After repeatedly punching the wrong buttons on the debit machine Big A (a full foot taller than Lumpy) stood over his shoulder and pointed to each button he needed to push. Turns out Lumpy had the same amount of money in his pocket as the Oilers have had Stanley Wins in the last 25 years.

The manager got tired of this game and said screw it. For the six bucks he owed us it wasn't worth our while. Big A guided him out while I cleared a path in case Lumpy decided to get squirrely.

I took my spot back at the door with James. Lumpy stood for a second before turning on me. Apparently he had something on his lumptastic mind.

"What's your name?" he demanded.
"Joe..." he mused "I think you're lying to me"  he's smarter than he looks, but I wasn't giving him any credit. I looked at James.
"What's my name?" I asked.
"Joe" he said flatly. I just gave Lumpy a 'well there you then' shrug. Lumpy teetered while he mulled that over.

"You know what 'JOOOOOEEE'.... as if Joe was a fake name I give to drunks and he'd somehow outsmarted me.
"What?" I asked.
"Jooooeee....I spend a lot of fucking money at this place..." he said lifting a finger for emphasis. I think he meant to point it at me but ended up pointing at some empty space between James and I. James had had enough.

"Time to go" he said with enough edge in his voice that I knew he was short on patience with our filthy patron.

Then Big A came out with Lumpy's debit card in his hand. He pushed it into Lumpy's chest. Lumpy clutched at it and almost dropped it.
"Don't come back" Big A said before turning to head back inside. Apparently he wasn't in the mood to argue about it.

"Time to go" James repeated. Lumpy started to walk away he turned and pushed a finger into James shoulder and started to say something. I stepped forward and told him it was time to go, again. He caught the drift and staggared away.

A couple days later I stopped in to pick up some take out from the bar and was telling the story to the staff. One of the waitresses told me that he came back on Sunday looking for his debit card. He said he must have gotten a little carried away Saturday night because he lost his card and couldn't remember leaving. The waitress told him we had given him his card back already and that he wasn't welcome back. She said he was really hurt by that and said that it was too bad because he really liked our bar.