Between The Times (5) … Let’s Further Introduce Jessica

jane-fonda-1960s-hairstyle1It’s now way past time to get back to those times. This is a series on our young Marty. Some of the stories that laid the foundation for who he is … or perhaps more accurately, who he thinks he is.

Should you have missed the five introductory pieces, you can visit them here and here and here. And the two most recent episodes (all true by the way) here and here.

You just know Jessica is going to come up again, don’t you … ?

I left off introducing Jessica. Let’s do a quick review. Jessica was Peter’s wife. I had met Peter shortly after my arrival in London. Peter was a work mate of a fellow (Mick) who had befriended me. The crazy part of all this is that I had met Peter in the “City”, the square mile of old London (roughly between Tower Bridge and London Bridge on the north side of the Thames) that at the time housed the major British banks and financial houses. Yet unbelievably, Peter was a habitue of a pub where I tended bar in a far away section of London. The odds of that were catastrophic. No actually, I guess they were providential when you add Jessica to the situation. Are you up with me now?

Jessica would typically come into the pub with Peter on a Friday night. Or perhaps on a Sunday afternoon with their 4 year old daughter while Peter played football (soccer) with his mates on a nearby pitch.

Jessica caught my attention from the very beginning. She was a natural blonde beauty, usually wearing a mini skirt and her hair down and slightly bouffante-style. Think Jane Fonda in Barbarella.  It was the very late 60s after all. Think very Jane Fonda at this time. Small of stature, she nonetheless had a big presence. All heads in the pub turned whenever she came in. I know I wasn’t the only one who thought this … how the hell did Peter … not the best looking man on the planet shall we say … land such a looker like Jessica? Part of the story was their daughter of course. Peter had got Jessica pregnant not long after they had begun dating.

A couple of quick facts here. I was 19. Jessica 25. A much older woman in my eyes. Older, more experienced, more worldly in every way. But I was mesmerized by her.

And she was starting to pay attention to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lament For A Friend – Red Sky In The Morning

Video

large_lament1I didn’t sleep well last night. My aches and pains kept me tossing and turning. Pushing too hard again. And for some reason, Matt, I couldn’t stop thinking of you. All those times we have shared.

Wisdom is not the result of losing something you had. That is but simple regret. Rather wisdom derives from the knowledge and appreciation of what you do have and know someday you will lose.

I have my health. Yours creeps away from you every day, a silent seepage you do not know or realize. How foreign that would be for you if you knew … you, who never did things in increments. You always charged in a massive frontal assault.

The interesting thing I understood is I can isolate when you were at your very prime. No, not those high school days, nor even when you were king of the hill in college. We were what?, in our late 20s when I visited you on the Island Paradise? There you were on top of the world, too. More than the world was your oyster; you were the biggest rooster in the henyard. How you juggled the women!

I marveled how you kept your two not only from cutting each other’s throat, but you actually made them happy. It couldn’t have been easy. But you were always the master politician, playing bravado off of guilt and feigned humility.

How you owned that town. The bars we graced in our light, slim suits and Panama hats! Every night until 5am. There still is no one I’ve met who can out drink you. And then you’d go to work for 9. I at least could sleep until noon before heading to the beach.

And oh, every evening in the bar where you were “Honorary Owner”!  Do you remember how the Entertainer and I were the only ones who had even heard of Jimmy Buffet back then? That was when I knew stuff.  But I was good in that Jimmy set I did with the Entertainer, wasn’t I? At least Maggie thought so …

Maggie.  Yep, I’m sighing. A more perfect goddess I have never ever encountered. How her athletic figure fit so comfortably around my engorged erection as she sat on my lap in the bar all those nights! Her soft kisses smothered me in sensuality as my hands groped wherever the temptation led. And you know, Matt, how Temptation and I have always been the best and fastest friends. We never go anywhere without each other. Even today. Such a pity that her live-in was around that much and managed to interrupt and discover us at so many inopportune times.

That was a magic time for you. I only hope you will always remember it. And I wish I were able to bring back some of that magic. I so wish Robert were still here. He could always make you laugh and took good care of you. He’d be there for you now; he would know how to handle everything. Unlike me. Who feels helpless, useless. Another of my miserable fatal failings come to the fore.

Yes, of course, life was simpler then. But were our castles really made out of such baseless sand? God, I wish I knew

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCyQCNojpQI

Between The Times (4) … Jessica

This is a series on our young Marty. Some of the stories that laid the foundation for who he is … or perhaps more accurately, who he thinks he is.

Should you have missed the four introductory pieces, you can visit them here and here and here. And the most recent here

It took me the whole day to hitchhike from Glasgow to London, and in typical Marty-style, I ended up in the central city late at night just as the pubs were closing. With no cash. Alas I can not tell you the tales of that night as they are well known among my acquaintances. And should they ever stumble upon the blog …  However, I will say that I was befriended by an over-the-top character, Mick, who bore an uncanny resemblance to Michael Caine in Alfie, and whose personal life was more than a match for Alfie’s story. It was the first time I had ever chummed around with a man and his wife and two young children while he expertly handled that situation and his three mistresses. At various evenings in the pubs in the center of London, I met them all, as well as many of his workmates, including one of his best, Peter.

Let’s fast forward several weeks, shall we?

I had found myself a room … what the Brits lovingly call a bedsitter. A small, tawdry room with a single bed on the second floor of a large house on the main thoroughfare in what could be charitably termed the very worst part of town. The bathroom was shared with 5 other rooms on the floor. A toilet, with a pull chain to flush (it took me fully 2 weeks to master the proper pull-technique), sink with cold water only, and a bath tub (no shower) that needed to be “booked” in advance.The bathroom’s final humiliation, however, was the toilet paper. No soft, tender to the touch Charmin here dear readers. No, you got to wipe your sorry ass from a roll of heavily waxed toilet paper with all the gentleness and absorbancy of street concrete. Colored a yellowish-brown. And that was before use.

These were the days when central heating was an unaffordable luxury for most British homes occupied by the workingclass, and my bedsitter heating consisted of a small gas heater that was activated with 2-shilling coins, the meager heat lasting at most 90 minutes before requiring more cash. The gas fire (as the Brits call them) had a 3 foot long wire cable, so moving its position was rather limited. Certainly nowhere near the bed for long, cold nights. And who wants to get out of bed in the shivering night to feed more money into the heater?

Low paying, menial jobs were also plentiful. The daily newspapers were filled with vacancy ads and adverts for temporary placement services for every kind of job. Basically, if you could walk, you were hired. I started work immediately.

There were 6 different pubs within a hundred yards of where I lived. Which to make my local? Honestly, I don’t recall the criteria, but The Bull Terrier became it. Not atypical for the times or the locale (very similar to the pic above), it had grimy yellowed brick outside, and inside hadn’t seen a fresh coat of paint since between the wars. But it was very much the working man’s home away from home, and it rocked Friday nights when Paul came in and played the piano in the lounge and all the old war songs were sung and played.

It took me about a week to understand that I was spending much of my available food money on pints of bitter while learning the specialized skills of dart throwing. The popular pub manager was only too happy to hire me part time, 2 nights a week, one through the week, and one weekend night. It was an excellent arrangement. I saved my food money, got paid to hang out in the pub, and managed to get fully intoxicated each evening I worked. You see in the pub you don’t tip the barman, you buy him a drink every other round or so.  All evening long Marty would have 3 or 4 pints of bitter along the bar in front of customers, as I moved among them between serving, chatting with them over the pint they had treated me to. Thus I also learned the key facilities of listening attentively, commenting sagely, and being everyone’s excellent friend. Plus acquiring the knowledge how to appropriately mix various draught brews and bitters, and mastering the fine art of pouring Guinness for the Irish. All important life skills for a young vagabond as you can well imagine.

It was probably during my second or third week of working at The Bull Terrier that I saw him. Peter, Mick’s friend, whom I had had drinks with several times not more than a month before. And low and behold, he lived in this neighborhood!

I have calculated the chance of that happening. The population of London at that time divided by the odds of a workingman living in my area, multiplied by the inverse proportion of the likelihood of the pub I was working in on that night being Peter’s local on the nights he was home. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 1/8,000,000 I figure.

The odds were so catastrophic against, that clearly it could not, and did not, happen by chance.

Fate was definitely in control. And in this instance Fate had a name. It was Jessica. Who would teach me additional life skills.

You just know Jessica is going to come up again, don’t you … ?