I'd just finished listening to Mike and Dan's blues show on WQNA Sunday afternoon and went to Felber's for a beer.
The day before I'd been at home, drinking with Amy and Tami. Amy had showed up early, and drank whiskey as I drank coffee. Tami showed up about noon, and I switched from coffee to beer. About seven or so Tami left, and I drank with Amy until about eleven, when she left and I went to bed.
Mike (Felber's owner, not the WQNA Mike) collared me as I came in. "You know that blonde you're always in here with? That short blonde?"
"Well, she ran your tab up about ten bucks last night."
"Uh," I said, "I'll pay it, but please don't let anybody put anything on my tab unless I'm with them." Mike got a puzzled look. "She said you were coming in later that you'd ran out of gas."
"Huh? I never ran out of gas! I was at home drinking with her and Amy, and she left. I would have brought them up here, but I can't afford to bring Amy; she drinks too much."
Ruthie was tending bar. "She lied?" she said.
"Hell yeah she was lying!" I was a bit pissed; she'd come up and borrowed ten bucks on my tab so she could go somewhere else and drink with Alan. OK, I wasn't a bit pissed, I was REALLY pissed.
"She's barred, then," Ruthie said angrily. Good girl! I'd gotten pretty sick of Lucy Furr, and made a mental note that she was barred from my house.
Kathy, another Felber's bartender who was off duty and on the other side of the bar, agreed. "Yep, she's barred." I had a few beers and went home to do a few chores; the dishes needed washing and the floor needed sweeping.
The next morning as I was in the shower, the doorbell jangled and jangled and jangled some more. I peeked out the window -- it was Tami. I ignored the bell. She wasn't getting in. I left out the back door, she still banging on the front door and ringing the bell. She saw me just as I got in the car. I locked the doors.
"I need some of my papers!" she said angrily.
"You can get your shit when I get my money back!" She already owed me forty bucks, then there was the ten she'd stolen by fraud, making up that cock and bull story to Mike about me running out of gas.
"I'll call the law!" she yelled.
"Call 'the law," I replied peacefully, happy that she was perturbed. She kicked my car and started walking down the sidewalk.
I fired off an angry email to her when I got to work, telling her I ought to just throw all her shit away like her boyfriend Jessie had done more than once when he'd thrown her out. Including her mother's ashes, which have been in my basement for a couple of years. I wouldn't, of course, but evil expects evil and she believed it. The email war escalated; I told her that once again, she'd gotten herself barred from her favorite bar. The first time had been at the Blue Grouch, wher her boyfriend and she had gone and afterward he'd go there by himself and leaving her at home, despite the fact that there's another bar right next door. It ended with me calling her a homeless beggar and saying I didn't want her darkening my doorstep again.
Her emails were full of more lies and bullshit; she hadn't put the ten on my tab but borrowed it from Mike and it was all just a big misunderstanding. I wasn't swallowing it.
That night Mike said she'd called, crying, saying she was going to pay him back when she got paid Friday; she'd just gotten a job.
He didn't believe her. Neither did I. I had a quiet, peaceful week with Tami out of my hair. And for some reason my money lasted, unlike when she was around.
A few days later I saw Vickie, who'd been tending bar when Tami had pulled her fraud on me. "I woudn't have done it," she said, meaning that she wouldn't have put it on my tab. "I loaned her five, she already owed me another five. As soon as I loaned her the five she went straight to Mike, I knew what she was doing and kept shaking my head 'no' but he didn't see me."
I told her about the cock and bull story about running out of gas. "I don't care if she's barred from here," I said, "but she's barred form my house."
Ruthie said "Hey, the Brooklyn and the Sand Trap made the papers." The Brooklyn is about two blocks north of Felber's, the Sand Trap is about a block south. There was more to it than reported in the paper; Kathy's daughter was involved. Not just involved, but somebody broke her arm with a metal bar. There was no mention of that in the paper. Nor was there mention of fraud; something about rent being delivered to the wrong person. Nor was there mention of the pool cue that the guy who went to the hospital was hit with at the Brooklyn.
"No arrests were made immediately following the attacks," according to the newspaper.
Friday Mike told me Tami actually showed up there earlier that evening, and paid him and Vickie. "Well, I guess she's not barred," Ruthie said disappointedly.
Sunday came again and there wasn't a blues show, so I went up to Felber's, where they were laying out food. Italian beef, venison, cole slaw, pizza, potato chips, and god only knows what else. It was Tami's birthday, but that wasn't what the food was for, of course. They have horse shoe tounaments at the various bars around town on Sundays, and this Sunday it was at Felber's. There were no edible horse shoes, though, only the kind you throw.
Amy called. "Hey, I'm at Alan's, why don't you come by and get me and Alan and Tami and take us to Felber's for a few drinks?"
"You have GOT to fucking be kidding me!" I said incredulously. Alan got on the line. "I saw those emails..." I hung up. Alan's been on my shit list as well; a month earlier I'd come home to find my door jimmied open and my refrigerator empty, and I'd caught him red-handed breaking in stealing food a few months before.
Another beer and Tami and Alan came in. "Well," I said to whoever was tending bar; I wasn't sure who, because they were all three there, "I guess I'll go home and get back to work" and left.
"You don't have to leave," Tami said, "we're not staying."
I ignored her and left. Amy dropped by later; she'd been trying to borrow money from everyone she knew, because if she didn't come up with a $300 fine for driving on a suspended license by Monday morning she was going to spend a week behind bars. I drank a beer with her, and she left on her quest and I went to Felber's.
"They only came by to get twenty bucks", Vickie said. "She had me hold it for her for today. She may not be barred but you won't see her in here any more. She doesn't have any money and I'm sure as hell not going to loan her any!"
The difference between Amy and Tami are striking. Tami's about ten years older than Amy, who was raised under horrible conditions; she was the result of two teenagers tripping on acid in the snow on high school property. She was shuffled from one foster home to another; she's told me some terrible horror stories, which she overcame, went to college and got a nursing degree and license. She lost her license and children after her ex-husband beat her so badly he went to prison for felony assault and she started drinking, and is vainly trying to get off the booze and back to work.
Tami was brought up in a rich family who owned show horses. I've seen photos of her as a teenager riding the horses at state fairs. She went on to become a liar and a thief and a parasite.
Amy called me the next morning. "That judge was cool! He let me go outside for a cigarette before going to jail. I report in at ten, I'll call you when I get out, probably Thursday but maybe Wednesday."
That evening Kathy was tending bar. "I saw Amy this morning, she asked me to ask you to call her husband and tell him she'll be out at ten Sunday morning".
"He's not her husband, just her boyfriend. Where did you see her? She was supposed to report to jail at ten this morning!"
"I was in holding. I had a little altercation..."
It's going to be another peaceful week. Thank God!