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Story

The bartender
Part 2
Part 1

October 22, 2004
iranian.com

I needed to close the shop for a minute and get the frat boys some weed. I got my roommate Javad on the cell.

"Yo, Jivi," I said.

"What?"

"Remember you bought a bag of weed from the neighbor and it turned out to be manure?"

"Yeah, how can I forget that? That bastard is gonna pay for it when he's released from the county jail," Javad said.

"Hey, you still got the manure?"

"Yeah, it's sitting somewhere in the apartment."

"Do you think you can drop it off at this address in Malabo?"

"Why? Do you need to fertilize some plants?"

"No, I just might be able to recover your losses."

"No shit?" Javad said.

"Yeah, I got these guys here that can't tell the difference between piss and tequila and they sure as hell can't tell the difference between weed and a pile of shit."

"You Da man. I'm there," Javad said.

I walked back to my station. A lady in her thirties approached and asked for milk!

"Sorry, did you say milk!?"

"Yes, milk," she said.

"Would you like something in it?"

"No!"

"Are you sure? You mean just plain milk?"

"Yes, my faith doesn't allow alcohol," she said.

"And what faith is that?"

"I'm Bahai."

"Well, good for you and bad for me," I said.

"What do you mean?"

"You know, if everyone was a Bahai, I would go out of business."

"That was a racist remark. I don't appreciate that," she said.

"Racist!?"

"Yes, you need to stop makin' fun of people's faith."

"I wasn't makin' fun of your faith."

"Yes you were. I can spot sarcasm from a mile away," she said.

"Are you for real?" I asked.

"Yes I am. You think just because someone doesn't consume your poison, that person is subhuman? You think you're so cool because you suck on that disgusting bottle, don't you?"

"Was that a question or a comment?"

"It's because of men like you that we have wars and crimes against humanity," she said.

"Wait a second. I think you're taking this a little too far."

"And there is nothing more unattractive than a man with a bottle of beer in his hand. And nothing is more sickening than a man who pushes alcohol on others."

I opened my big mouth again.

"Listen lady, I'm sorry if I insulted your thing... "

"My thing?"

"You know, your faith. I meant no disrespect."

"Yes you did. You belittle people to feel good about yourself."

Okay maybe she had a point.

"Listen, I'm sorry. Okay. Enjoy your milk."

"Fuck you," she said, slamming the glass on the counter and walking away.

I noticed that the host lady was glancing at me from the distance. This was not good. She slowly walked toward me, came behind the bar, and stood next to me. I'm done for the night, I thought.

"Listen, I'm sorry about that," I said. "I really didn't mean to upset your guest."

"Oh, don't worry about her; she's a bitch. Got anything juicy so far?"

"Well, let's see, some of your guests hate Jews, some are cocaine addicts, your little son is alcoholic, and I pissed in some guys' drinks; other than that, nothing unusual."

"Okay, keep your ears open and let me know if you hear anything worthwhile," she said.

"Will do."

A sharply dressed gentleman in his early fifties walked over to my station.

"Grand marnier, please."

"Good choice."

"Do you believe these people? The amount of arrogance; it's sickening. I swear I'm ready to move out of this town," the man said.

"I hear you."

"After all I have done for them. I mean, I have invested my life and money to save them."

"Save them? From what?" I asked.

The man looked at me like I was mad.

"You obviously don't know who I am!" the man said.

"Should I?"

"Well, since my face is beamed into millions of Iranian homes everyday, just about everyone knows me."

"Are you a movie star?" I asked.

"No, my damn agent can't get me a part. With all these movies they make in LA about terrorists, you would think my agent could land me a small part," the man said.

"Then, how are you famous?"

"I'm the owner of one of the most popular Persian satellite TV stations in LA. You must be the only Persian who doesn't recognize me!"

"Oh, yeah. You look kind of familiar. I think I recognize you. I love your shows."

I had no idea who the chump was but I would say anything for a good tip.

"Thank you! I prepare intensely. I feel like Jay Leno; I have given my life to my art," the man said.

"Yeah. Must be nice being well-known," I said.

"It's hard work. It gets annoying after a while. You feel like you can't go anywhere. Now I know what Jack Nicholson goes through."

"So, like, how do you feel when so many eyes are on you? Do you get nervous?"

"No. My job is to bring freedom and democracy to Iran. I'm a motivator. I love it."

"Say, do you have a job for me. I always wanted to be on TV," I said.

"Sure. What can you do? Can you juggle?"

"Juggle?"

"Yeah, I need entertainment--something that attracts younger crowd. Can you sing and juggle at the same time?"

"No."

"What's your talent?" the man asked.

"I can make fart noises with my armpit."

The man stared at me for a while as if he were picturing me making fart noises with my armpit.

"I'm not sure if Persian audiences are ready for that yet. What else can you do?"

"I can break-dance."

"Perfect. Give me your card. I'll have Khordadian call you tomorrow. You guys can get together and come up with couple of dance numbers. You'll have your own show--one hour a week. Just get in there and dance 'till you drop'.

The man said hello to some friends and walked away. The cheap bastard didn't even leave a dollar.

An older man dressed like a teenage rock star came up to the bar.. He had a flashy silver shirt and black leather pants tucked in cowboy boots.

"Bud Light."

"Coming right up. And how're you doing tonight?"

"Don't ask," the man said.

"What's the matter?"

"Girl trouble," he said.

"Well, that sucks."

"Yeah; have you been in love?"

"Me?"

"Yeah, have you been so in love that you couldn't eat or sleep? So in love that you couldn't think anymore?"

"Not really," I replied.

"Let me tell you: it's not pretty--especially if she turns out to be a bitch."

"Oh, one of those," I said.

"Yeah, she ruined me. I was one of the hottest Persian singers in LA. I opened for Black Dogs in Vegas. There was a talk of me opening for Googosh. But she ruined me. My CD sales went from thousands to zero in six months. The Black Dogs don't even talk to me anymore."

"Man, sorry to hear that. Where did you meet her?"

"In a club. I was performing one night and there she was, gazing at me. Beautiful face, gorgeous little nineteen-year-old body, so full of life," the man said.

"What the hell! Did you say nineteen?

"Yes, nineteen. She messed up my life. I left my wife of thirty years for her; my children don't talk to me anymore; I lost my house, car, everything," the man said.

"Man, how old are you? You must be in your fifties."

"So what?" the man said. "Just because you are in your fifties, that doesn't mean you're dead."

"She must have been your daughter's age," I said.

"Actually my daughter is twenty-six."

"Let me get this straight," I said. "You met a nineteen-year-old in a club and left your wife for her?"

"Yes; love knows no age. It happens, but now I know. She used me to get to the Black Dogs. The whole thing was a scam and I fell for it," the man said, crying.

"Here, have another beer--on me."

"Thanks. Now if you excuse me, I'm gonna go talk to that sixteen-year-old over there. I think she is checking me out," the man said, walking back into the house.

One of the frat boys approached the bar.

"Amigo, what happened to the weed? Have you got it?"

"Yeah, let me go check."

I ran back to my truck and found the dried out cow shit in a plastic bag, sitting in the back of my truck. Javad jumped out from behind a tree.

"Yo, dude. You really gonna sell this shit?" Javad said.

"Oh, man. You scared the crap out of me. Yeah, it's sold."

"You rule. I'm outta here," Javad said.

"Okay. See you."

I ran back to my station. The nervous frat boy was tiptoeing by the bar and chewing on his fingernails.

"Here it is. The best in town."

"Jose, my main man. This is gonna be so good. So, like, we're new at this. So, how do you do this?"

"It's like in a Cheech and Chong movie, roll it and light it," I said.

"Cool, man. Here's the cash. Love you, Carlos."

"Yeah, peace out."

The frat boy ran back inside. An older gentleman with an entourage of younger Americans in black suits walked to the bar.

"Martini please."

"Yes, sir."

"Are you an Iranian-American?" the man asked.

"Yes, sir."

"Have you registered to vote?"

"No, sir."

"Why not?" the man asked.

"Not sure. Should I?"

"Absolutely. I'm running for the US senate on a Republican platform. I'll be the first Iranian-American in the US senate, and I need your support. I need every Iranian-American to register and vote for me. I'll bring real changes to this country, which will benefit the Iranian-American community."

"Great."

"Would you like to hear about my programs?" the man asked.

"Not really."

"Well, I'll tell you anyway. I will push to rid Middle East from all Arabs -- I mean terrorists. I will push for a regime change in Iran. I have the endorsement of Iranian-American Moslems, Jews, Bahais, evangelical Christian right, Israel, and the Coalition of the Willing. I'll do anything to free our homeland. I'm going to rent fifty airplanes and fly to the Caribbean,"

"You mean to Iran," I said.

"No, fuck that. I'm going to the Caribbean for vacation."

"Oh, I see."

"I need your vote. It's time for us Iranian-Americans to matter. It's time for us Iranian-Americans to influence policies," the man said.

"Yeah, sounds good."

"Good. Now, on a personal note, I hear you got some good pot in the back. Be a good Iranian-American and get me some. I smoke a little for medical reasons, of course," the man said.

"Yes, of course."

"Nice meeting you and don't forget to vote for me."

"You got it."

The man and his entourage walked away.

Well, it was one o'clock in the morning and the host lady wanted me to punch out. That would give an hour for her guests to sober up and head back home. I counted the money in the tip jar: a whopping 4 dollars and three pennies. I started to disassemble my station and take it back to the truck. I placed the last box of drinks in the truck and headed back to use the restroom.

I walked in the restroom and found the four frat boys in there. Two of them were out cold and the other two were sitting on the floor, puffing the cow shit.

"Hey, Jose, this is some good shit, man. Where did you get it?"

"Only the best for you guys," I said.

"Man, you got to tell us where to get some more, dude."

"My neighbor. I'll have him contact you when he is out," I said.

"Cool man. We love you, Carlos."

"Yeah, that's what your mama said."

"Did you just say, 'that's what your mama said?'" one of the boys asked.

"No, sir. I said, have yourself a nice day."

The restroom smelled bad. It was as if a big cow had taken a dump the size of a bowling ball in there. I washed my hands and walked out in a hurry.

On the way back I spotted somebody snooping around in the back of my truck. I looked closer and recognized the kid who was earlier hustling me to get drinks, pulling two of my most expensive vodka bottles out of a box. I ran and grabbed him by the neck.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" I said.

"Hey, man, let go," the kid said.

"First you lie to me to get drinks and now you're stealing from me?"

"Man, let me go. You're hurting me."

"I should kick your ass. You think you can just walk in here and steal?"

"Man, you better let go or I'll scream."

"Scream? I'm gonna turn you in. You're going to jail tonight, you little fart," I said.

"Man, I ain't kidding. You better let go."

"Oh yeah, what are you gonna do? Huh?"

The kid dropped the bottles and started screaming, "Rape ...! Help me ...! Rape...!"

"What the hell!"

"Help...! He's rapping me...! Help!"

All the people in the party ran outside and came to the back. I found myself staring the partygoers in the eyes while holding the kid by the neck. A few of the guys jumped on me and pinned me down to the ground. The kid ran to his mother, the host lady, and started crying, "He told me to come back here with him. He said he has candies back hear. Then I came here to get candies and he grabbed my neck. He wanted to rape me."

"He is lying," I said.

"No I'm not. He's a child molester, mom. He's an awful man," the kid said.

"Don't believe him. The kid is making up the whole thing. I caught him stealing drinks. I swear."

"He is lying, mom. He told me that he wanted to play priest and alter boy games," the kid said.

"What?"

"Mom, I'm scared. Please take him away," the kid said.

"I show you scared, you little bitch..."

I was picked up by the host lady's servants and tossed inside a shed. The police arrived a few minutes later and before long, I found myself inside a police car, heading downtown.

"You know what they do to child molesters in jail, right?" the cop said.

"No!"

"Oh, man, you be a very popular fellow in there."

"Really."

"Yeah, you'll have frequent visitors at night. They'll love you in there," the cop said.

"Is that right?"

"Yeah; just wanted you to know," the cop said.

"Well, thank you and blow me."

"Did you just say, 'thank you and blow me?'" the cop asked.

"No sir; I said, thank you for the warning."

My bartending career came to an abrupt halt that night. No Iranians in their right mind hired me after that incident even though the kid admitted later that he had made up the whole story, after his long juvenile record was uncovered.

I'm thinking about moving on to a new career--something prestigious that will make my fellow Persians proud. I might open a taco stand on Hollywood Boulevard. We'll see how it goes. >>> Part 1

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