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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hey! You! Get Out of My Way! Part 5- Enter the 9th Circle

One night, a year earlier at Uncle Charlie’s bar a waiter asks if I will cover at his other job at The 9th Circle Bar when he goes out of town.  I figure that I could use the money; my rent at the carriage house is $560.00 a staggering fee for New York City.
I ask around Uncle Charlie’s to see if anybody has been to the 9th Circle.  Most people look at me like I just got off the turnip truck.  I’m originally from Guilderland New York and I left home at age 15.  I lived in a runaway shelter and various group homes.  My journey also took me to Boston (for a very brief stay) before I ended up in New York City.  I thought I saw all that the seedy side of life had to offer and then I entered The 9th Circle Bar.
I went there during the day to meet the head bartender/manager and to tell him that I would be subbing for one of his waiters.  Little did I know at that time that the waiter would never be coming back to work there.  Allegedly, The 9th Circle Bar was named in honor of the book Dante’s Inferno. 
In Dante’s Inferno the 9th Circle is the lowest form of Hell, even during the day the bar lived up to its name.  It was located off of 7th Avenue South right across the street from the fire department.  Another story I had been told about the place was that it was a hangout for Janis Joplin at the height of her fame.  I guess they had a picture of her at the bar.  I never saw it but everyone knew the story.
I walk up the steps and enter a dimly lit room that smells of smoke and vomit.  I squint both my eyes and let them adjust to the light.  I can barely make out that sitting around the bar are about 10 old bar flies.
“Hey Cookie, look what the cat dragged in.” one of them croaks. “Meow” said another.  I slowly walked up to the bar, feeling like a virgin bride at a vampire convention.   “Hi,” I say, my voice shaking “I’m looking for the manager.”  “Jerry-Poo” one of the old drunks yells out “Your dates here.” “Hold on.” Someone yells, the voice coming from the back of the bar.
At a speed walking pace, comes the person I believe that they just referred to as Jerry-Poo.  He is sporting a blown out perm, tight t-shirt and matching jeans, little gold chain and I believe he has a cold because he can’t stop sniffing. 
“Who ah you, who ah you?” he says in a rapid fire progression.  His voice sports a thick Bronx accent.  I put my hand out to shake his, he looks at it and then looks around at the bar flies.  He decides not to shake my hand. 
“Whadda ya want, whadda ya want?” he shouts at me wiping his nose of the shoulder of his sleeve.  I can hear someone at the bar begin to titter.  “My name is Geoff” I say, finding strength “and I am here to sub for one of your waiters.”  “Fresh Meat” a barfly yells out slapping the bar with his hand. 
“You awr, awr you?” Jerry-Poo says to me.  “How do I know who sent you?” Jerry-Poo snaps, his eyes getting bigger.  Suddenly a loud buzzer goes off, Jerry-Poo’s eyes dart around the room. “Shit, he’s up” he yells out……….
To be continued………
Geoffrey Doig-Marx holds all written and electronic rights to his writting "A Day in the Life". It can not be reprinted in part or whole without his written consent.

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