I’ve never complained about spending a night with a bottle of wine and a good book, but sometimes I need something else. Sometimes, I want to go somewhere terrible where strangers shout at each other. Sometimes, I want to shout at strangers.
Sometimes, I want the strangers to shout at me.
When I need to go somewhere terrible, with the highest likelihood of strangers shouting at me, there's no better place in the world than the Nob Hill Inn.
The Nob is unquestionably the worst bar in Denver, if not the world. Their daytime clientele was largely homeless people and the Native American nomads who had been kicked out of the liquor store on the block, but didn’t have enough money for crack. At night, the hipsters come out to drink Stella and gawk.
The plan was to have a few rounds to gather courage, then go shoot my former landlord's windows out. That was also the backup plan. My backpack always had writing material and a BB gun in it for multi-purpose criminal mischief.
The door guy I know wasn't working. The new dude asked me for my ID. Pretending to be a real bouncer. He looked at it for too long.
"What's your address?" Door guy was sweating me like my ID was fake.
"Cut the shit, I come here all the time." I started to walk past him. He blocked the door with his arm.
"Well I've never seen you before." Just my luck that on drunken vandalism night I’d run into the class valedictorian of doorman school.
"Move your arm you fucking lepton."I was asking for it. I wanted him to hit me. I needed it.
He pushed me hard in the chest. I was halfway to my coat pocket with my brass knuckles when Christy, the bartender, came over and put her hand on his shoulder.
"It's OK Travis. He comes here. I know him."
I cheesed at him as I strutted in.
There weren't any attractive girls there, which was comforting. The last girl I took home from the Nob made me breakfast, then stole some of my Vyvanse from the cabinet. I never saw her again. She was a fantastic cook.
The booths were full of couples and old people, so I sat at the bar.
"PB and J?" Christy asked me. She was the perfect milfy hot; a tall slender brunette with a pleasant, understanding face, probably in her mid-forties. I had asked her out once and she was very polite shooting me down.
"You know me." I smiled. She didn't know a single thing about me.
I got my round and got to work on the whiskey first. That terrible country duet with 'Started that night at the hotel' was on the jukebox. The Olympics had just started, and they had the gymnastics on the TV. Some Macedonian guy with a goofy haircut was going ham on the Parallel bars. Alexander the Great's glorious empire lives on. Good for him.
At the commercial break I went to take a piss. The bathroom was uncomfortably small to be public. There was a hammered Native American dude at the urinal making no effort to conceal his dick. I went into the stall and waited for him to leave.
On the way out, I bumped into Travis on his way in. I made a kissy face to him. He fumed. What a cunt. I'm hilarious.
I knuckled down with my drinks and my notebook and wrote everything you've read so far in one sitting. A group of four feasible-looking girls came in and I lost focus.
They walked right up to the bar. It was clearly somebody's birthday. Christy poured them a round of tequila shots with the salt and lime. They slammed them, and whooped and hollered at a shrill frequency.
Chicks are the fucking worst.
I was minding my own damn business pretending to write and marveling at the tiny Hungarian dude getting after it on the pommel horse. To my surprise, the second most feasible looking girl of the group plopped herself down next to me.
"Hey." She said
"You're cute. Take a shot with us."
I smiled like a stupid. “Okay.”
We walked up to the bar and joined her group. "Tequila?" She asked me.
"Sure," I said because I'm a stupid.
Christy poured out five tequila shots. We cheersed to whoever's fucking birthday it was, and took the shot. The girls whooped and hollered again. I wasn’t feeling as good.
The shot hit me right in the puke button. House Tequila and I were never Hombres. Girls make you do dumb shit.
I grabbed my bag and went out back as smoothly as possible to barf in peace by the dumpster where nobody could see.
I tried to make it all the way to the dumpster, but I erupted as soon as the door opened. The burn of bile flared in my nose and throat and it took me five seconds to decide that I didn’t care about these random happy bitches. I wanted to go home.
I hadn't made it two whole blocks down Colfax before a black guy with a wife beater and a gold Chicago Bulls hat came up to me.
"Hey man…you like the ladies?" He asked me.
I swallowed bile to clear my throat. "I like the ladies."
He said something jive that I couldn't understand and gave me dap. I liked this guy.
"Check it out man… these are my ladies. See if you like any of them." He motioned to a group of haggard looking street women sitting at the bus stop.
I looked at them for about 30 seconds and had an interesting socio-economic dialogue with myself.
"Your ladies are great. I like your hat. I'm going to go make rice. Thank you for your time." I karate bowed to him and took off.
When I got home I tried to take off my pants, but forgot to take my pants off first. Unfortunate miscalculation. I tripped, fell, and bumped my elbow against my metal dumbbell. Sitting there with my face in the carpet made me feel insufferably stupid. Something came over me.
I just started screaming. Just AAAAHHHHHHHHHHH. UGHHHHH. BAAAAAAAAAA.
It felt great. What a sweet catharsis! I screamed for a minute or so, maybe longer until someone knocked on my door.
I stopped screaming, got up, and shuffled helplessly to the door with my pants around my ankles. I opened it without even through looking peephole.
A middle-aged Asian man who I'd never seen before was standing there, horrified. He must have been expecting to find a crime scene with a fresh John Doe in it. He found one alright.
"Were you yelling?" He asked with a heavy accent.
'Yes. I'm the yeller."
"Are you… hurt?" He seemed genuinely concerned.
"No. I’m just having some type of emotional breakdown. But I’m making rice."
He didn't know what to say.
"Can you please stop?"
We both just stood there, unsure of the protocol. If he was waiting for an apology, he wasn't getting it from me. He walked off.
I closed the door and shuffled into the kitchen to make rice. At some point I fell asleep. I woke up with the stove on high torching an empty pot and my pants still around my ankles.
I turned on the water to fill the bathtub and took my Prozac.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
DORAN JOSEPH is a 27 Year old musician, writer, and show producer in Denver, Colorado. He is currently editing his first novel, and a book of his short stories, Tasteful Depravity, which will be in print before the end of 2017. Musically, he is a member of two Denver based Groups, Theoretically and the Jew Tang Clan. He is also the founder and Executive producer of Menagerie, a Variety show two years running. His interests include history, chess, and vandalism. He was the recipient of the 2016 Arthur H. Fulburton Award for Pre-eminence in Award-Inventing.