Hi all! I wrote a little story about No Tears at the Gathering Place and there was a sap there named Calvin crying in his beer. I would like to invite you for a friendly visit to The Gathering Place. Please come with made up friends or real. Caveat: mention Calvin in some capacity. Have fun!
by Leon Jackson Davenport
(A Short Story)
The Gathering Place was a dingy little lounge that was home to thieves, mercenaries, various tribes of aliens and 6Sers the later being the most dangerous with their fancy ideas and deadly wits. But it was the only place within two light-years to get a bottle of Jack Daniel's. We walked in four abreast, hats pulled low, hands on blasters expecting trouble, damn, we were looking for it. The bar patrons parted red-sea like for us and he appeared sitting at the bar on my right - the man we were looking for.
“Calvin?” I asked.
He looked up wiping a crocodile tear from his eye and answered, “Yes, who’re you?”
Siting down beside him I smile and say,”The names Leonard, R. L. Leonard and I’m about to become your best friend. Barman, Jack Daniel's for me and my new friend Calvin.”
So, we talked and he told me the his tale of woe, clueless as to why we came all this way.
“...so I said to her you can’t leave, because our love was like an E-ticket ride...”
“Calvin, don’t you want to know why I’m your new best friend?”
“Yea, sure. I guess you heard of my tale and took pity on me.”
“I did hear a tale, but it involved you taking advantage of one of us, you remember Anna D, Calvin? The lovely lady you took advantage of? Calvin remember her?’ I move in close and whisper “best night ever, do you remember taking her passed put body up to your room, remember that Calvin?”
Calvin turns off the tear factory and begins to loose a little color in his cheeks as he scans for a way to escape.
“You see, Calvin, I’m your best friend because the gentlemen that you see behind us wanted to come in here and play laser tag with your unmentionales to teach you a lesson. I said, and here is where I became your best friend, I said we should buy you a drink first.”
"I guess I screwed that life up pretty badly, what say ye, OMG?"
"Ya coulda' done better, John."
"But at least I was right about that "predestiny" thing... wasn't I?"
"Life isn't a row of dominoes waiting to be toppled, one-by-one, my son."
"How about those women, you know: Olive, Anna, Jodi... and the rest?"
"You asking me if their feelings were part of some predetermined plan? Boyyyy! You must be out'chur mine! Women gots to go with da' flow, and John Calvin... your shit don't flow on this cloud or in any other gatherin' place in my creation... online or otherwise! "
"So, Leonard and Paul and those other guys... they really didn't feel sorry for me?"
"Son, listen to the Dude. He'll set you right... he always does."
"Calvin, don't look for sympathy man. No one scores a loser. And Calvin... that whole whiney cry-in-your-beard ethos thing went out in '60s, man. Women are lookin' for real men today, like those dudes on Survivor...
Yeah, man... that and a lot of money... always keep the gold card handy, JC.
No problem, man... now about that hat...
(Music up... Happy Trails to You... pan up to clouds over the desert of Las Vegas... fade to black...)
Calvin was the type of guy, who could make a woman run out of a bar screaming as if it were on fire - that's the effect he had on me anyway-until tonight.
He busted through the front door of the Gathering Place like he was the hottest thing this side of Hell; hair slicked back, wearing too much cologne - he sauntered towards the empty stool beside me.
I gave my girlfriend Joanne the "oh shit" look and took a big gulp of my martini-there's not enough Tequila in the world to make this guy look good.
He plunked his flat ass down next to me, ordered a beer, and began telling me how he had submerged himself in books since his witch of a girlfriend had taken flight. We discovered we had a mutual friend in John Steinbeck and that people are not always as they appear.
I met Calvin in the Irish pub in downtown Maastricht in the Netherlands, named the Gathering Place. Although he was obviously an American, he tried to pass himself off as an Irishman, born and bred in the county of Cork. The bartender rolled his eyes at me when he handed him another Guinness. He said in Dutch, "There's another American who wants to be related to a Kennedy, only he forgot his Irish brogue."
Calvin wore a T-shirt that said "kiss me, I am Irish" and I wanted to bop him one on the nose. I said to him, "Have you found your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow yet?" He slurred his words, "No, but I have a four leaf clover. It's in my wallet. Do you want to see it?" I glared at him and his beer gut belly and wished for him to take a walk to the station and take a train back to Amsterdam. We get enough fake Irishmen here in the Irish pub. They all claim to own four leaf clovers, but is a rue to get you in a booth by themselves and get cozy with you. They think that we here in the South are easily impressed by foreigners.
It was 4 AM in the morning. Most of the customers had left. I said to Calvin, "I tell you what, meet me by that lamppost out there and I will really check out that four leaf clover very well." He grinned and mumbled, "Oh, okay," with a knowing smile on his face and stumbled out the door, which I then closed firmly behind him.
"Give me a shanty," I said to the bartender, "and make it a double one. I want to see the sun come up over Calvin's broad departing backside. I love an American who makes a retreat dressed as an Irishman." I mulled that one over for a while and asked him, "Do you ever think we will get a customer in here dressed in a T-shirt that says 'Kiss me I am an American'?" We looked at each other and both shook out heads at the same time. "Nah, impossible."