Saint Patrick’s Day at an Irish pub, and Abe Jewish. I had to laugh.
Despite my misgivings about getting in, it turned out Abe did know a guy, and within minutes of arriving, we had our own table under one of the big tents erected on the outside terrace.
“They should call this Saint Patio’s Day,” Abe yelped, as he raised a pint of Guinness. He was determined to celebrate the unseasonably warm March by chugging beer in the open air.
“Slainte!” I said clinking my draft glass against his bottle.
I sat back watching Abe’s head swivel as his eyes devoured each passing waitress.
“Hey stranger,” a female voice called out. I turned and saw Sam fighting through the crowd heading toward us.
My heart leapt at the sight of her and Abe’s jaw dropped when he saw the dress she was wearing—a white, sheath dress with an open side—skin-tight and thigh length. She looked gorgeous.
I stood up to greet her. “Sam—what are you doing here?”
“Same thing as you,” she leaned over and kissed my cheek.
I glanced down at Abe’s wolf-like visage.
“This is Abe,” I said.
“Hey Sam.” He flashed her his most winning smile.
“Ah, buzz with the fuzz—what a great idea,” she smirked.
He grinned back. “I’ve been called worse.”
I had told Sam about my blossoming friendship with Abe, and she didn’t really approve. I decided to intervene. Sam tended to get indelicate. “So, are you here with friends?”
“A friend,” she corrected, “Marcus, actually.”
My heart sank. The one person in Sam’s life I abhorred, and she had to be here with him.
She read my reaction and added defensively, “It’s been pretty hectic lately and I needed to get my mind off things.”
“Yeah well, Marcus will do that for you.” I tried to soften the edge in my voice, but couldn’t quite do it. I hated the guy.
She looked hurt. “I better get back. Have a good time, you two,” she smiled at both of us, then headed for the bar.
“That’s one beautiful woman,” Abe sighed after her.
My face went rigid. A small nerve was jumping in my jaw. My stomach hurt.
Abe looked at me. I tried to feign nonchalance, but he saw right through it.
“You hate the guy, right—you want to lay him out?”
“Who, Marcus? I wouldn’t waste the energy.”
“What’s he like—a snob, a real pansy?”
“Yeah—how’d you know?”
“Ah, these guys are all the same—bottom feeders, just trolling, waiting for their chance to cut in. I’ll go bitch slap him for you, if you want.”
I choked and almost sprayed beer in his face—the thought of Abe slapping out Marcus was so ridiculous—I began laughing hysterically.
Abe’s eyes crinkled. “You don’t think I’d do it? That fruity guy over there with the pink tie?”
I doubled over, I was hardly able to breathe, I was laughing so hard.
“I’ll kick his ass, Abe went on.
I was so weak I was crying. “Stop, Abe—please, stop.”
He reached across the table and clapped me, like a bear cuffing me with his paw—like a fuzzy bear—I lost it again.
We sat there the two of us—Abe’s eyes crinkling, a silly grin on his face and me, tittering like a schoolgirl.
When my shoulders finally stopped heaving, I sat back wearily and wiped away the tears.
“You’re an asshole, do you know that?” I growled.
He raised his pint and gave me his Colombo smile. Now, how could I resist that? I just loved the guy.
“You feeling better now? Cause if you ain’t, I can go over there and—”
I put up a weak hand. “Okay, okay—no more. You did it—made me laugh—I think I cried too. I’m good now.”
He caught the eye of our waitress and drew a circle in the air with his index finger. She nodded and dropped more beer.
I reached for my wallet, but he threw a twenty at her and waved her off.
I took a deep breath. I felt purged—cleansed, like I had undergone some kind of emotional catharsis.
“You feel better now, don’t you?” he asked.
“You know, you’re not friends with someone till you laugh and cry with them—we’ve done both—so I guess we’re friends.”
I smiled at him. I knew we were friends from the moment I saw him—and he didn’t have to say it, but I was glad he did.
© 2017 – 2018, John J Geddes. All rights reserved.