Depravity in the Desert: the Palo Verde Lounge

April 14, 2006

by Wiley Davis

It is hard to do the good bars justice. A skillful craft with the words is necessary to capture the magic that hangs like the secondhand smoke over a torn, dimly-lit felt, quarters at the gates. The table is never level, but in this twisted landscape of depravity and brotherly bond, this is a pleasant sprinkling of character. The truly good bars are all dives, holes in the wall, places that you wouldn't take your grandmother or a client of any sort other than the illicit. This is the tale of my journey to a place of confusion and intrigue made possible by the Palo Verde Lounge.Well hey there Sid Vicious, So last night, twas a Friday one if ye must know, I went with Dick Rickles to Ziggys on mill fore some liquor cuz he knew this guy that worked there, but it turned out that we weren't getting any good deals and the place sucked, but the kicker of it all is, we ran into heather and Jake there, whom we convinced to go to the Palo Verde with us. So we all go over there, and for some reason the more I drank the more I began talking in this Irish accent. Then the more I drank after that I began YELLING in an Irish accent. So there I am yelling craziness in an Irish accent, that I refused to stop speaking in, and this girl kept walking around with a tray of vegetable and dip because its her boyfriends birthday and she's making everyone at the bar eat carrots and beer. Vile. So then people start throwing the carrots at one another, and when the old bar hag calls last call, everyone, including myself, starts yelling at the top of our lungs because that's the only way we can deal with the sadness of it all…the bar closing that is. One of the things stands out clearly from the night, and that was my yelling of the phrase "Jesus Christ!!!!!!!!!!!!!" which I yelled several times, and which as well was called and I quote "The most heartfelt Jesus Christ I've ever heard", so I sais it again, only louder this time, and it was the best Jesus Christ I've ever muttered in a bar straight away, but the stink of the whole godamned scenario is I haven't the foggiest notion of my reason for yelling it at all in the first place!!! it's a hateful feeling when a guy can't even remember the motivation behind his most emphatic Jesus Christ of all times? Is sobriety the answer?

So there we is all, me, Jane Lee, Jake and Heather. Dick Rickles had ducked the festivities earlier after the Ziggy's debacle which was good for nothing other than the running into of previously mentioned Jake and Heather.

So we all be at the bar-rail, or pad in this instance, shooting the shit that strolls by in the gallery, and drinking the beer that comes out of the wall in the corner behind the bar. Makes ya wonder a bit when the beer comes out of the wall…ah hell, this line of reasoning is going nowhere, no more talk of anything coming out of the walls.

If you're a scrutinizing reader, one that pays proper attention, then you may have noticed that I mentioned a few words earlier about carrots and beer. If you missed it, go back and re-read the damned words and then come back. This carrots and beer thing is absolutely important, as it has everything to do with the underground cabal that a select few of us have unknowingly become a part of, and nothing to do with the beer coming out of the walls, as I've said there will be no more talk of any of that business.

This carrots and beer situation is all new to me, so forgive my lack of understanding. It first became apparent the other day when, low and behold, Wilson, my neighbor down below, asked Jane Lee out on a date while she was valiantly taking orders at the pizza kitchen. He sais to her she says, "do you want to go to the desert and shoot a gun?", at which point Jane Lee is thrilled as any good girl would be at the chance to pop off rounds in the dusty landscape. But alas, and a very sad alas at that, Wilson says he is only jesting and amends his previous invite to coffee instead. None of this matters except, that before all of this went down she sais, he asked her if they had carrots and beer at the pizza kitchen, as if to order such a concoction.

So then, that very same evening, we are at the Palo Verde, and as I said earlier, this girl who had a birthdayed boyfriend on the premises was running around with a tray of carrots and dip, making everyone eat some, so it was there that Jane Lee and I had our fist helping of carrots and beer. Is Wilson who he seems to be? And does he know the type of girl he's dealing with by asking Jane Lee out on a date? The girl who dreams of bud-guzzling construction workers who'll watch football and eat pork-rinds, then give her quick, unsatisfying romps before passing out in time to wake up for tomorrows whistle blowing shift. Does he know that we belong to this underground cabal, or did he just stumble upon this carrots and beer thing haphazardly?

Above the pisser is a vending machine that sells condoms, that elusive French Tickler, and pussy galore photos. Always a curious one, I decide to purchase a sampling of "the finest pussy photos on earth", and deposit my two quarters with anticipation. A little packet pops out in the dispensing tray, and I walk out proudly displaying my new toy! Re-seated at the bar next to Jane Lee and Mariah, I tear open the package only to be disappointed by one solitary photo of a naked woman with enough bush on her crotch to make us all think she's wearing some kind of furry bikini bottom. But making lemonade out of the situation I paste it to my moist beer mug and there it remains for the rest of the evening. When the last-calls have been cried, I take the photo and put it into my wallet, but at the time I had no idea that the very next night, in the very same place, the same girl who had facilitated the carrots and beer phenomenon, would have some porn of her own, and that my pussy galore photo would be required. The underground cabal draws us in even farther. The Next Night Of course it is with great reluctance that I will admit that it twasn't the Palo that we be going this night, as the Palo is a good bar as I've said before, and good bars are like good dogs, good golden retrievers in fact and they live for your companionship and they're just so damned lovable sometimes that you hate to ignore em as much as you do, but sometimes you just can't overlook the fact that they shit in your yard and smell like ass. Besides, we went to the Palo last night, and I was still leery of this underground cabal business and the carrots and beer thing had me wary of the grim implications of it all. So this night we are driving in the blue-bespeckled bass boat of a car that good ol' Dick Rickles drives around in his best Vanilla Ice impersonation, and I jest with Jane Lee over his two George Michael CD's and his Ricky Martin disc as well. On our way that is, to the Limelite, a bar we hear has inklings of ill-repute as well.

Dick's the kind of guy who is your best friend in a way, and he's always got some kind of plan, but mostly they involve ways for him to feel secure in his surroundings. He needs devices, objects, women, hi-fi components, toys, etc..to make him feel safe, and I tell him like me own brother that what he really needs is some perspective. I sais to him, "goddamnit Dick!!! Sell that damned hoo-ride of yours (I refer to his car here) and all that other crap you think you need so badly and hop on a freighter which will take you at least to Panama, cuz of all that canal business, and see what the world has to offer…hop right now onto the perspective express and see for yourself that there is more to this life, and all the others for that matter, than just the frequency response of a new car stereo!". He looks at me with some understanding in his eye and says that he agrees, and the scary part of it all is, I know he's telling me the truth. I know deep down, that he knows deep down that this is what he must do, and immediately at that, but I also know, and he knows this too, that he won't. And for the life of me I can't figure out why all this takes place as it does when we both know what ought to be…it scares me to the bones, and makes me think that something else is going on that I'm not seeing. Something is sucking all of the life out of good people and there's nothing I can do to stop it.

So here we are this Saturday evening, driving around in his car, which Jane Lee believes to resemble a retainer, which I trust it mighty well does, but I have no way to relate as I've never seen nor had a retainer that was all sparkly and blue like Dick's car, but to me it looks like a bass boat, though it's really only an old Nissan Sentra that was once, I was told, under the water and had to be salvaged. Now the only thing sunk is all the money that was poured into the wicked little machine to make it so sparkly. In flamboyant style we arrive at the Limelight but the window neon is black with death and the bar is closed, so we defaultly head west towards the Palo Verde and a depressed fog settles over my mood as I begin to realize that it is all futile, the cabal is pulling us in despite our illusions of free will. Once again we head to the Palo, where the carrots and beer made their first appearance in the flesh, and I realize that we were fools for trying to go against the great magnet, helplessly we glide toward fate in a sparkly blue representation of stuck in a rut.

We arrive, and strolling in come to realize that we aren't alone, as Laura and her boyfriend, sporting a new buzzed doo, are here, and they've brought jay, whom I last met wearing leather pants, him not me that is, and as we will later find out has an incredible capacity for flow. But now we must saddle up at the bar and order the beverages so we go to do that, and once again they have run out of Killians Red, the only decent beer that comes out of the wall here, and I look to my right at Jane Lee, and I sais to her "Janie, yer not a bud girl is ya?", and then she sais back at me, "why heavens no", and I think to myself that this is a good thing, as there's nothing worse for the soul than bad beer, so we both order bottles of Fat Tire, which Janie says tastes like meat, and I can't for the life of me figure that out.

We go off into the corner and sit with the rest of the group, but there's no chair so I must stack two empty cases of beer on top of one another and it makes for a wonderful chair of which I am quite proud. We are seated next to the pool table, the off-kilter one, and as such we are constantly being greeted with the butt-end of a pool cue, and the rear end of whichever shark is running the table at that time. Jay begins to tell us that earlier he was approached by another drunkard who began speaking in tongues and waving his hands about like a mad mime. I see the man off on the other side of the bar and he keeps staring me in the eye and mumbling something, but I pretend not to notice because I have no desire to deal with mimes this evening, especially not the sort who channel spirits.

The stories go round, and I look to my right once again and I see that Jane Lee has a pitcher of beer, but it is Budweiser, and my heart sinks just a little as any heart should whenever quality is sacrificed for quantity, and I say nothing, but am reminded of me own beer's emptiness and I get up to order another one. At the bar again I order another fat tire, and the well-bosomed bartender lady comes back with two beers and I have to tell her that I only ordered one, which I feel sad for doing, but I can only afford the one. So I'm heading back to the table when I see in the corner of me eye the naked supple flesh of a young woman with no clothes on, and I center the image in me eye, and I see that a person is busy scrawling some incantation on the smooth creamy thigh of some girl in a hustler magazine. This perks my curiosity as this isn't normally seen in just any place you go, so I walk up and inquire. A voice to my left answers my inquiry and I look over and low and behold, it's the very same girl who was here yesterday making us eat carrots and beer!

The hustler was for her boyfriend, the one with the birthday, and she was having everyone sign it, so I says to her that I will too sign it, and I do so right on the taught derrière of some young nymphet name starla. But then I remember the pussy galore photo in my wallet, and I sais to her, the carrots and beer girl not Starla, "By god woman, I've got some pussy galore photo in me wallet, I must give it to yer birthdayed man". And she positively beams at this proclamation, so I begin fishing around in my wallet for the woman with the fuzzy crotch, but she's nowhere to be found. Vile.

I sit back down at our table, but have trouble listening to the conversation because all of this underground cabal business is swirling around in me thoughts, and I can't for the life of me understand how all the porn and the beer and the vegetables and the limelite being closed on a Saturday can mean anything, but I know that they do and that one of these days it may well all come together, but right now I feel helpless and confused and so I drink some more and nod my head in all the right places at all the right times and no one is the wiser.

The talk begins dying down as the last calls have been called quite some time ago, and I think to myself that calling last call at the top of your lungs must be one of the most satisfying things you can do when you work at a bar, but also how it is one of the saddest things you can hear when all you do is sit and drink in a bar. Looking up I see on the TV a strange scene involving men wearing jump suits putting some kind of powder onto the naked behind of a newborn baby then throwing him carelessly like a football into the crowd of people watching a NASCAR race, and I can't believe what I'm seeing so I turn to Jane lee and I sais to her "Janie, did you just see that?" and she sais to me "yes, I can't believe I just saw that" her eyes bulging moreso than normal, and the I sais "why do ya think they pitched that baby into the crowd like that?" and she stares at me as if I were an idiot, and says "huh?" and then I realize that she hadn't seen the baby spectacle and was talking instead of Jay and his ability to down whole mugs of beer in single gulps. Jay repeats his stunt so that I can see, and I dare say that I am impressed, but we are being kicked out now and we all stagger out to the world and run through the routine of deciding who goes where and how. And this is the way the Palo Verde Experience ends.

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