It was raining. Raining like all the gods were pissing on me at once. But Whiskey wasn't sleepy and I was losing a four-decade's-old battle with recurring insomnia. We looked at each other and silently decided a trip to the Tempus Fugit was in order, divine urine be damned.
I wrapped myself in an old oil-skin coat I have had since the 1980s--a coat old and worn but staunch and impenetrable, I threw on a similarly staunch and impenetrable pair of Wellingtons, and Whiskey and I headed out into the flood. In just under 20 minutes we were sloshing down the labyrinthine hallways and stairways that led to the Tempus Fugit--a place as dry as a dessicated cotton ball in a furnace.
Whiskey shook the wet from her fur and I threw my hat and coat on a rickety rack by the entrance and settled onto my stool. In a trice the bartender provided Whiskey with a wooden bowl of cold water and had pulled me an eight-ounce juice glass filled with Pike's Ale (the ALE that won for YALE.)
"The rain," the bartender said to me, "the rain."
I nodded and pushed my now-empty glass in his direction. He filled it effortlessly.
"It is a rain at the end of time," I said.
"And, you," he said, "is your end of time nigh?"
I laughed at that and sipped gently at my Pike's.
"I saw his Eminence, my cardiologist, yesterday. I don't have a clean bill of health, as yet, but I am nearly whole."
"Ah," he said as he began swabbing the teak of the bar with a well-handled white terry rag. "Ah, to be whole in this, a time of half-measures, could be a detriment."
Again I laughed and again I sipped gently at my Pike's.
"Herzschmerz," he said, not looking up from his terry.
"Heartbreak," I translated.
"There's a lot of herzschmerz in the world. It's become a meaner place."
I nodded in agreement.
"As Sammy Glick said, 'going through life with a conscience is like driving with your brakes on.'"
"Well, personally, I think we'd all be a little better off if we all drove a little slower. Maybe my gypsy cab-driver wouldn't have crashed into that concrete wall."
"It will do you no good crying over spilt Town Cars."
He filled me up a third time. Whiskey, still wet, was still sound asleep.
"Maybe the cure for herzschmerz is to slow down. To not blow with the prevailing winds."
"The opposite of Captain Renaud. Yes. Don't accept our cruel, more mercenary world. Don't think it's ok to shop on Thanksgiving. Some things just aren't right."
"Most things," I answered.
I pushed two twenties his way.
He pushed them back.
"Happy Hannukah," he said "Happy Thanksgiving."
Whiskey and I walked slowly home.