Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Pub Cook we called Dick in Mouth

** This posting contains buckets of profanity. Enjoy.**

A curious title for this chapter it may be, and thankfully I can’t lay claim to its origin. For that one must look to Allen, who came to work at our little East Toronto Pub some years ago. Allen was an American from Rochester working in Canada under the table. He had followed his girlfriend back to Canada when she returned home from schooling in his fine state. Allen was an exuberant and sometimes gregarious fellow in his mid twenties. He was a capable cook and great company during the frequent slow nights. In fact he was a bit of a riot, finding all kinds of inventive ways to abuse Canadian customs and express ignorance of our cultural and political differences.

He was most often outspoken and frank, reserving just enough guile to present his tone as wit. He played the part of the hapless transplanted American perfectly, boldly ranting about his status as a kept man and regaling us with his tales of woe. Indeed, his girlfriend was a bit of a cold-shouldered shrew. At times she showed some redeeming qualities in social situations, but mostly her role to us was as adversary to Allen. Often she called looking for him promptly at the end of his shift, or showed up to drive him home. As the months with Allen wore on, we began to glimpse her motivation for the short leash.

Allen liked to drink. Actually that is inaccurate. Allen liked to have a drink, but he hated to get drunk. At least that held true when he was sober. He often bemoaned his abhorrent drunken behaviour and its salacious themes as those of a lout. It happened on the nights when his girlfriend was absent visiting friends in Rochester or out on the town. Allen would close down the kitchen at midnight and show up at the end of the bar. Strangely quiet and introspective, someone would surely ask. “Allen, what’s up man, why so quiet?” His answer would reveal his inner demons. “Oh man, I promised the nag I wouldn’t drink. Maybe I’ll just have one. Shit man, I can have one, right? Just one shot of Vodka, she’ll never know. Don’t give me anymore after that.”

The solitary shot of cheap vodka on the bar. I can still picture how he looked at it, stared at it, examined its crystal clarity, its viciousness. Some nights he would stare at it for two minutes before touching it. Then he would raise the glass to his lips, and sober Allen was gone. By the time the empty shot glass hit that bar he would have5 changed. “Woooo! Damn that shit was good. Hell yeah, gimme one more!” It literally happened that fast, it was the craziest thing I have ever seen. Sober Allen was crass. But that little filter that we all have in between our brain and our mouths, his was alcohol soluble. It was made of sugar, and vodka melted it faster than anything.

The things that came out of that boy’s mouth were unbelievable. Other than the hooting and the swagger, the first sign that Allen was getting drunk was that my new name was Dick in Mouth. Actually at that point everyone’s name was Dick in Mouth. “Hey Dick in Mouth, what the fuck is Pea meal Bacon? What kind of retarded fucking Canadian bullshit is this? Who puts shitty ground peas on their fucking bacon? And that shit is not even fucking bacon, some whore asshole in Quebec called it bacon because they can’t fucking speak English. Bullshit!” I would start to respond, “Allen, take it easy man, you love Pea meal bacon, and …” I would be cut off at that point. “Whaaaaaaahaha, fuck you Dick in Mouth, go suck your Mom’s cock. Fag! Baaahhh!”

People at the bar loved it for about fifteen minutes, and then it was time to send him home. The good part about it was that he was jovial throughout the whole episode. Even when he was telling you to suck your mom’s cock, he was smiling. Also, the whole thing from start to finish was over in half an hour. He was a convincing guy, beaming and swearing like a sailor who fucked a trucker who fucked a coal miner who fucked a drill sergeant and had a curse baby.

The drinks would go in fast, one after another, and the argument about cutting him off would continue until someone gave up. He would usually consume about six or seven shots of booze and then go home. Most all of the Americans I have met in Canada eventually go home, and sadly that was the case with Allen. Our lives suddenly seemed as tactful as a church barbeque, dull without all the vigour and profanity. I don’t imagine he stayed with the girl, and for the sake of everyone around him I hope he kept his drinking in control, but never really stopped.

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