Posts Tagged ‘hamtramck’

The Beat Your Ass Cafe

November 12, 2011

Patrice Fort was born and raised in a really small town that most people never heard of in Alberta. For those of you in the states, Alberta is a province, which is sort of like a state except that it is not a state. The Fort family slowly moved from the Plaines of Abraham near Quebec City and over the years kept moving west like the Mormons in search of a new town called Springfield. The Forts wound up in no place Alberta.
Fort, if you know the French language, means strong and Patrice was the epitome of a Cro-Magnon man of the modern age. Patrice was a hair over six feet tall and weighed 250 lbs. Patrice was a solid mass of muscle like a human pit-bull. At a young age, Patrice learned that his ice hockey skills were mediocre at best. Patrice was not fast and did not make the best decisions on the ice nor did he have the best shot. Patrice was able to fight and from the age of thirteen, Patrice never lost a fight.
The thing that scared people most about Patrice when they were faced with fighting him was that there was no anger or malice. It was just something he was born and bred to do and so he would pummel opponents who messed with the premier players on whatever team he happened to be playing on. It was during juniors that life suddenly changed for Patrice.
Patrice’s Quebec junior team had gone south to New York City to play in a tournament sponsored by some bank that no longer exists in the states. Patrice had never been to a city as large as New York and had never imagined so much humanity crammed into such a small space in a place like Manhattan. Patrice went into a Starbucks and ordered a tall hot chocolate and watched the unique people that walked down the sidewalk near Times Square. From the Starbucks window, for Patrice it was like watching a freak show at the circus. There were so many different types of people, in varying sizes and shapes. An older woman of about sixty years of age came up and spoke to Patrice in a way he had never heard before. Even though the woman was older, she was shapely and confident.
“Many years have come and gone man and you’re one of the last relics of the Neanderthal period, man. All swelled up with muscles and I suppose you never took one supplement… Man, dig that crazy tune.”
Herbie Hancock was playing Cantaloupe Island over the speakers in the Starbucks. The woman put her hand on Patrice’s large forearm and closed her eyes as the song played. Patrice looked at the strange woman and sort of dug the tune that softly played.
“People are always saying that this or that is the shit. I’m here to tell you that this is the true shit, man. You weren’t around when this shit was devised. People were swinging to Benny Goodman and then cats like Herbie came round and opened people’s eyes to music that could speak without words. 1964, we all thought the world would end, man. Kennedy killed and a cowboy with his hands on the nuclear button, man. Beatles came and what did they say? They said too much but listen to this here, man. I know you can feel it, cave man, baby… I bet you’re hung like a horse.”
It was the first time that Patrice had ever had sex with a woman and the woman was older than his own mother and twice as shapely. There were very few sags and lumps on the old Beatnik woman. They made love, if you want to call it that, several time over the course of an afternoon while listening to cool Jazz and hearing the woman read Beat Poetry by Ginsberg and Kerouac. Patrice left the small basement apartment in Manhattan and was never the same.
As the years went on, teammates came to understand that Patrice was a bit out there but they respected the difference. And wouldn’t respect a man who could kill them with his bare hands. On planes and trains, Patrice listened to Coltrane, Miles Davis and Thelonius Monk through earphones and wrote poetry.

What colour is blue when the sky is gray. Walk down the streets of Detroit like I came from Mars, come to visit bars full of coulorful coloured folk and they think they know me because the press wants to own me, ride me, pride me like a pony and it’s phony. Won’t eat gluten. I’m free like Putin who wants to keep Russia from anarchy after the fall of The Wall and Soviet dynamo. The Red Army Team came to town when I was young. Ate biscuits and drank coffee in a vast land. I followed the road from Alberta to everywhere, man. Everywhere is nowhere and yet I’m somewhere between where I should be and where I am. Sit in the shade sipping wine no words to this Monk tune that rolls through my mind. If the colour blue is true, I hold out hope for me and you… Coltrane, last train try in vain… Gonna sit outside in Portugal or Spain and write a few words on the balcony in the rain… Rinse and repeat that, Cat.

Now to you and I, words strung together such as this meant little or nothing. A long stream of unconsciousness. Patrice was traded from Phoenix, to San Jose to Boston and then went to Nashville and landed in Detroit at minimum wage for the NHL. The Detroit Red Wings were a finesse team that really did not need a lug or a goon to go out and fight to protect the true hockey players of the team. The fighters were an outdated necessity from days gone by of clutch and grab hockey a la Philadelphia in the 1970’s. Detroit grabbed Patrice and never really played him until one day against Chicago, a heated rival who happened to be winning the game and taunted the Detroit team. The Detroit coach, Mike Babcock, nodded to Patrice, who on his first shift, beat up two Chicago players and mistakenly punched a referee. From that point on, Patrice had a home in the hearts of Detroit Red Wing fans.
Most people don’t know the story behind the finger snapping when Patrice takes the ice. To those from out of town or watching on Versus, it may sound like the theme from the Adams Family is being played. Before long, large groups of Beatnik poetry types who frequented Patrice’s café in the Detroit suburb of Hamtramck, began going to Detroit Red Wing games, wearing jerseys that had the name FORT on the back. Scruffy faced young men who appeared to be anti-sports, showed up wearing Red Wing jerseys, snapping their fingers violently whenever Patrice got on the ice or fought. Before long, everyone got in on the act. It was like throwing octopus on the ice.
After home games in Hamtramck on Jos Campau there is a Beatnik café where people drink and read poetry to Jazz. It is called, Beat Your Ass Café. It is nothing more than an old Polish watering hole that Patrice bought to host poetry readings and feature live Jazz. On the walls are pictures of some of Patrice’s best fights with the dates and names of opponents. Patrice usually appears after games and reads his latest poetry while young Jazz musicians play behind him and others. It is standing room only after Red Wing games. Dig that.

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Women in Bars

October 13, 2009

Blackhumouristpress’s Blog

October 10, 2009

Women in Bars

Filed under: Short Story — blackhumouristpress @ 4:02 pm Edit This
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Sarah and Angela made plans for two Fridays in a row to leave their homes in Grosse Pointe to have a drink in Hamtramck which is a little island of a town encompassed by the city of Detroit. After a few cancellations, they met at Small’s. In the main room was a noisy garage band. Sarah and Angela found a table under a television where Fox Detroit was agonizing over the unravelling of the Tigers in the last days of the 2009 baseball season. Neither of them was interested in that nor anything else going on in crowed bar that cool autumn night. Catching up was all that they really hoped to do.

Sarah was the mother of four children and was married to a second generation Greek man who owned his own garage. Demetrius inherited his father’s garage that was started back in 1959. Demetrius made a good buck and lived a fairly simple life.

Angela was the mother of two children, one of which played ice hockey on a team with Sarah’s son. Angela and Sarah became friends immediately and carpooled to hockey games and practices and eventually became each other’s confidant.

Sarah ordered a Long Island Ice Tea and Angela had a Corona Light. A young fat man with mutton side burns, many tattoos and a backwards Lions hat on, put ten dollars in the juke box and played every Ramones tune available. Sarah blinked hard and shook her head.

“Have you figured out when boys become men? This little cherub probably still lives at home and plays drinking games in his parent’s basement in between X Box tournaments with his equally unmotivated friends who are living at home with their parents,” stated Angela, while leaning her chin on the palm of her right hand.

“Um my loving husband is sitting right now in my living room with his brother and cousins, watching a Red Wings game on a seventy two inch television. Four fat Greeks wearing Chelios jerseys, eating wings and drinking beer. I could walk naked in front of all of them and they’d never notice. His fucking brother is such a goddamn pig too. He makes that sound when you’re sucking snot up from somewhere in your throat. It is so damn gross and then he swallows it.” Said Sarah.

“I hate it when his parents come over and the wives of his cousins and brother. Everyone is Greek and they all speak Greek and I’m just running around making coffee for the old people who are ripping on me in Greek because I’m not Greek. Thank god I’m not Greek. Something happens when those Greek chicks have kids. Their hips expand and they grow moustaches. I shit you not. Even the good looking ones get fat asses and facial hair. When I first met his parents they assumed I was Greek and then they wanted assurances from me that the kids would go to Greek school on weekends to learn to read and write in Greek. My Greek god turned into just a fucking Greek. Him and his cousins, brothers, their wives, his parents and their Hellenic hip disease… Honest to Christ almighty. I’m immersed in the fucking white sauce of life.” Said Sarah, while Angela laughed uncontrollably.

Sarah was short with brown hair and carried a few extra pounds. Sarah’s inspiration unbeknownst to her was Angela. Angela had her last child a few years back and began to work out religiously. Angela’s husband had told her that he could not get aroused since she had become more matronly than he had anticipated. Angela signed up for spin classes, Pilates and swam. Everyday she tried to get in between a half hour to an hour of exercise. Within six months, Angela had lost forty five pounds and looked and felt better than she had in years. Angela’s husband still criticized her one too many times. Angela had found more than exercise to occupy her time.

“I have something I have to get off my chest,” said Angela after taking a swig of her beer. “I’m seeing a Polish poet who works during the day as a plumber”.

Sarah laughed as though Angela had told a joke. Angela wasn’t laughing. Sarah reached across the table and grabbed Angela’s forearm.

“I want to hear about this and don’t leave a fucking detail out,” said Sarah.

“I told Tom for weeks to fix the P trap under the sink in the kitchen. I thought he had done it and I open the cabinet to get cleaning solution to clean up a spot where the cat has taken to pissing over and over and the cabinet had fallen apart totally. I could see the foundation through a hole where there used to be wood. I was so pissed. I go into the den and he was looking at porn or something on the internet. As soon as he heard my feet stomping towards him on the hardwood floor, he turns off the monitor… So fucking childish… Anyway I ask him why he never took care of it. He shrugs like my other kids and says he forgot. I was so mad that I went to the hardware store to get the parts myself. I connect it all up and water is spraying everywhere and I’m about ready to cry. There I am under the sink with a pipe wrench and I have whining kids asking for pudding pops and Tom gets upset because he’s trying to watch football and the kids are yelling. He gives them each a granola bar and tells them to play downstairs. Mind you, I’m under the sink with black shit all over my arms and he never attempts to stop watching football which he could tape if he wanted to and help me with something that he should have done. Instead he tells me that I’m going to fuck it up and sure enough I do. Instead of crying, I put on my running shoes and took the kids to the high school track with me and they walked while I ran. I ran three miles and came home and made cookies and never gave another thought to the damn leaking pipe. Tom runs the water and it’s now spraying all over everything under the sink. He says with his smug assed smile that he knew I would fuck it up. My sister tells me to call this handy man named Marek and he comes over the next morning. This guy walks in and I just knew even before he said one word that we were going to connect. He disconnects what I put on and adds some Teflon tape and it works perfectly. Marek tells me that I did a good job except for the tape and he gets ready to leave and doesn’t charge me. I force the guy to take a fifty and I’m thinking that’s that. A week later, I’m right here in Hamtramck at Trowbridge having coffee one night and low and behold my plumber is reading poetry. He’s wearing a pair of jeans and a t shirt and nervously reads his poetry in English with his cute Polish accent. There were maybe a dozen people there and I waited until he was done and bought his book of poems and had him sign it. Well one thing leads to another and we get together and he reads my poems and I his and then one night we go to dinner and wind up back at his place for hours. I can’t tell you how many times we made love. It was love. You know when you’re fucking and when it’s actually the act of love making. Every time is so good and I can’t wait until the next time,” said Angela.

Sarah had her mouth open as if someone had poured cold water on her. Sarah asked the obvious question.

“Tom? Tom understands that I’m there but I’m gone. He can smell it on me that something has changed. He had the balls to say to me the other day that I act too good for him now that I got in shape. I told him that I’m the same person I was when my ass was too fat for him. There’s just less of me than before. Have you started running yet? Are you doing the 3K with me at Thanksgiving?” Asked Angela.

“I’ve been begging Demetrius to let me have a dog. I want a dog that will jog with me. Maybe a Doberman or something that’s built to jog. I’m up to a mile a day. It takes me twelve minutes but I’m getting better.” Said Sarah.

“So if you want a dog just go buy one,” said Angela.

“It doesn’t work that way when you’re married to a macho Greek. He says if I blow him once in a while, I can have the dog. I’m blowing him twice a week now and last week I wind up getting a cold sore and he’s so sure that he’s going to get herpes on his nut sack that he makes me give him a hand job. Can you believe it? Like junior high, honest to god. I get olive oil and am jerking his cock while ESPN is on the gigantic television. He’s just about to cum and Stavros calls for me to bring him a drink of water. Demetrius gets so pissed and then I gotta start all over again. My damn right arm was cramping and I offer to go in the shower with him since I’m on the rag and he’s horrified that I suggested a little shower sex. I told him it will be fun kinda like mixing a porno with Psycho. He could watch my blood go down the drain. Anyway he tells me to shut up because he can’t concentrate. Finally he cums and I make sure it goes straight up in the air and lands on his precious Red Wings home jersey. He jumps up and mops the come off like it was fucking ink. He thanks me and I tell him I better be getting a team of mush dogs like they have in Alaska,” said Sarah.

At that moment a young cocky guy walks up holding a beer. He had longish blond hair and wore a Fedora with ripped up jeans and a sleeveless shirt. He lifted Angela’s purse up from the stool next to her and sat down uninvited.

“What’s up, ladies?”

Sarah liked the attention but Angela did not appreciate it. The young man could not hold a blow torch to the Polish/plumber/poet and she let him know in so many words.

“Um Kid Rock… You may not have noticed that we have chosen this table away from everyone else because we wanted to be alone. We don’t want you to go away thinking that we are going to crawl out of here and into a bed with each other because we don’t play for that team. Had you been in tuned to clues, you may have noticed too the rings on both or our ring fingers which is a symbol in our society of marriage. Now marriage may not matter to you and that’s cool but we really don’t want or need the company right now. I’ll buy you a drink if you go away,” said Angela harshly.

The young man walked off and Sarah and Angela continued to share details of their day to day lives. They shared things about their children, things they wanted out of day to day life and the physical changes they hoped to make in their homes. They shared intimate details of their lives and cherished the time they set aside to check in with one another. The speed and demands of day to day life made their meetings a necessity for sanity and order. They hugged as they got to their cars and promised to meet the next Friday. The next Friday did not happen nor the Friday after that. It would be a little more than a month before their next opportunity to connect. You can be sure that they’ll both have something they’ll want to discuss. They always do.