Status: As long as you are
Physiology: here you are immortal.
You leave the gazebo and float across the intermittent hum of heavy traffic trundling across Western Avenue like a sail. Odysseus buffeted by an Aeolus spring zephyr steering the drunken caravel of his corporeal vessel into the port of his Penelope, the ache of his Ithaca, the longing to return home. On Bloomsday eight years ago you did more ‘shrooms than a Mario brother and found yourself dancing at the now defunct Red Foxx Den in downtown Peoria, a seedy gay bar where everyone was going into the bathroom to do either poppers or each other. Under the variegated din of the stampeding ecstasy-induced strobe lights you transition into Homer’s peripatetic protagonist and you are certain you need to go home, find your Penelope, kill her suitors before bedding your bride on the intractable mattress holistically hewn from sylvan and olive oak.
There are drunken mermaids who smoke Newport cigarettes with syringes in lieu of fins, there are half-formed dwarves ferrying venereal diseases you have never heard of from middle earth, there are lumbering downtrodden dragons drinking draught beer with mired Minotaur’s occluded in a labyrinth void of light.
The tunnel near the fairy-tale entrance to the Flumes in Bradley Park.
En route walking to Heading avenue from the Gazebo you begin to float as if in a stain glass bubble. It is Sunday afternoon going on three o’clock.The corner of Cedar and Rohmann somehow transitions into Charybdis and Scylla and you notice that Mike’s tap is swamped. You frequent Mike’s weekly and it is one of your favorite bars and a cultural oak stump and historic landmark in the applauding bluff that is West Peoria but you have never been inside the bar when it has been this packed before. It is a dive bar and you have never seen more than six people in the bar at one time.
You have just had fuel. You could go to Mike’s and see what is going. You still have a 20 spot left. You could go in and have one more beer to help you crash.
Your plan is this: stop in Mike's for a quick nightcap even though it is three in the afternoon. Then go home and sleep it off before going to work five hours later.
Mike’s Tap is the size of an ice-fishing shed with spearmint siding and is technically a garage. It is fraught with men clad in flannel with ill-trimmed moustaches and saw dust for facial hair who look like they just came back from a week long fishing expedition in the boundary waters. Everyone is gruff and drinking cheap beer under a Clydesdale figurine chandelier relic. Mike’s was a stag bar until the mid-seventies and they still mix drinks in the same fashion. A Jack and coke consists of one long elongated five second coppery pour followed by two drips of Coca-Cola added to enhance coloring. When you order a Bloody Mary they had you the hot sauce and a vial of garlic powder and tells you to have it.
You are drinking. Odysseus' final port stop on his sojourn home.
Such Darkness. Such Light.