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stories & essays


Jota is a san francisco poet & writer who believes poetry always overcomes pr, eventually.


Two-Fingered Shot of Bushmills
Chased with a Budweiser and Ten Marlboro Reds

"You have no new messages" so I hung up the phone and started to whistle, which is something I do when scared or bored, because I just realized that while still behaving as if I was actually employed it would be only a few more hours before the boss would truly find out and I wouldn't be employed anymore. So I went back to the bar and that's when I saw my face on TV and a CG on the screen that said something like manhunt and the talking head of the news anchor droning on about a fugitive suspected of pushing a man in front of bus.

It was all an accident, I swear.

I had followed this executive from Wire and Cableless who I knew was speaking in a couple of days at this big seminar in town at the Fair Oaks Hotel where my client had wanted to speak at this eBiz conference and hired us to make it happen. My boss had given me three weeks to land a juicy plum speaking opp for my guy but I had fucked up and missed the deadline.
There was only one way out.

How was I to know that the busload of Japanese tourists would come hurtling down the street just as I stepped behind Mr. Slick who suddenly leapt right out in front and got squashed against the grill just like one of those winged dragonflies you'd see pasted there on the bumper of your Chevy Impala right outside Joplin on a summer night stopping off for a burger and a milkshake.

Anyway. There's this dead guy in the street now and the driver has bolted out of the bus and is standing there and isn't sure whether he should try to peel the guy off the grill of the bus and at the same time a swarm of excited Japanese tourists buzz right out the bus that's stopped dead in its tracks crooked in the street and one of these tourists takes my picture and starts pointing frantically at me. He's yelling at the top of his lungs and jumping up and down so I don't know how the picture will come out. Cripes. Maybe he saw the cancer in my soul and maybe I blacked out and pushed the guy. The sirens start getting nearer. I break out in sweat and right there I decide to bolt. I'm doing the hundred yard dash and then everywhere around me people begin backing away, a red sea of moppet heads, waving and staring at me like out of the invasion of the body snatchers...I kept running and didn't slow down until I collapsed in an alley, out of breath. I noticed this back door, and it leads into a dive bar so I go on in.

Now there's about six people in here I can tell as I adjust me eyes. I try to act cool and saunter in still puffing but everybody in the place is staring at me. I go to the nearest end of the bar and order a double shot of bushmills neat and a budweiser. The bartender looks at me, looks at my suit and says son, it's ten-thirty in the morning. I mumble something and wave him off as I light a Marleboro Red. He grouses off, a big tubby guy and when he comes back he slams a cocktail glass on the bar and then starts to pour the whiskey. That's when I noticed he has only two fingers. Man, I was sure glad I asked for a double shot.

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