I woke up this morning and I knew this would be a fantastic day. Do you ever feel like that? You just know that this day out of all of the others in the week will be the best day.
I start my day with a delicious bacon, egg and cheese on a toasted bagel at Manhattan Bagels at 18th and Sansom. I then went to the Dollar Store to pick up toilet paper for the salon. When I get there I chat with Achilles and drop off the rolls because I know he didn’t think of it and we were down to a single spool.
“What’s that burnt smell?
“The standup unit in #4 is arcing sparks, and I took it apart so it wouldn’t catch fire.”
“Yea. I don’t want any ‘Final Destination’ scenes happening in our salon.”
Sugar Baby hot Sandy comes in with her equally hot sister-in-law and her little daughter. (See: Sun Stories – Sugar (Grand) Baby). She overhears us talking about it and she’s afraid to tan now because she thinks she’s going to get locked in a stand up unit and burned to death. Even if there were a fire, you could simply open the door and walk out of the booth anytime. None of the beds lock closed. There is no mechanism on the bed for that to happen. Only on the horizontal lie down beds. The only way to lock the hood is to lock it in the open position to run maintenance on the unit. No Final Destination.
I head down to Old City to the Red Owl Tavern. It’s on the ground floor of the Hotel Monaco at 5th and Chestnut. It a good space with great food. The owner of Angel’s Envy Bourbon is there and a group of people my buddy Nigel invited. I later spoke with one of the guests and he said that if Nigel hadn’t invited everybody no one would have known about it and he had invited the right amount of folks.
Liam and his fellow bartender show up from Sofitel. My friend Prova rolls in and sits to my left. Raven hair, electric smile and those dimples. (See: Prova – 2015 to Present – Glow of the Sun) She’s like a rose among thorns.
The lecture is great and informative. I love these tastings. They’re serving Manhattans, Old Fashioneds, and a few other select cocktails. The food is delish, and everyone is having a social time. All of these people are industry people, and I’m the only one who is not. But it always feels like I have such enthusiasm for these brands. I gave a bottle of Angel’s Envy to my brother-in-law two Christmases ago. (He loved it)
The big question I asked was about the name of the brand. I told him that I know when they age the liquor in the barrels that there is a small amount that simply vanishes. They call it the “Angel’s Share.” (There is also a film by the same name and I recommend it!) The distillers assume the angels take their share of the liquor first and that’s why it disappears. I ask where he came up with their name. I always love to know the origins of things.
The owner says he thought of calling it the Angel’s Share. But then he had a great idea. Sure, the angels are going to always take their share, but why don’t I make a bourbon so good that the angels are envious that they can’t have the rest of the barrel!
The afternoon is wonderful, but they say they have to cut it a little short because they have another “invite only” event they have to attend back in Rittenhouse at The Dandelion at 18th and Sansom.
Nigel is long time buddies with the area rep who is there and pulls out his invite. I’m thinking, fuck yea, we’re going to that event too!
“Did you go to the website and confirm the invitation?” his friend says.
“Sorry, dude. Limited space, you had to confirm.”
“Dude… I don’t think your friend is kidding.” I chirp.
“It’s cool. This has been great.” Nigel replies.
I knew we’d just end up going to Sofitel for a bit tonight anyway, but it would have been nice to go to the posh event later.
They give everybody a nice little gift bag for coming to the tasting. Cutting board, a little pairing knife and a little bottle of Angel’s Envy. I’m happy and feeling good after all of that free food and cocktails.
It’s around 4pm and a bit early, but the gang is tuned up. It’s nice to be walking down the street after an event with people I normally only see behind the bar. Nigel has to go feed the meter, and Prova wants to stop somewhere for a beer. I drop off my gift bag in Nigel’s trunk and then we walk up to the restaurant Karma on Prova’s suggestion. Liam and his buddy follow her and Nigel and I arrive a few minutes later. I’ve never been to this bar/restaurant but it looks cool. It’s an Indian spot and the owner gives Liam and I the tour. The place is really beautifully appointed. I bet it really swings on the weekends.
But being in this place brings me back to a story that I once heard. There used to be a nightclub in that space several years ago. It went out of business and they left the place a mess. I was working for a start-up in old city a few years ago and we had an exterminator that would come through every month just to do a maintenance spray around our building. I love talking to people about their jobs so I asked him if he had any good scary extermination stories.
He said there was a nightclub that closed down a few years ago, and they left a bunch of trash in the cellar. It was the building where lovely Karma now stands.
“Roaches?” I quip.
“Crazy mice problem?”
If you have a rat problem you no longer have a roach or mice problem. The rats see to that but now you have a bigger problem. Apparently if there’s enough food and no predators the rats get larger.
“Were they big?”
“As big as cats.” he says.
When I lived in New York I’d seen tons of rats but thankfully none as big as cats.
“So they were like Crats, not rats,” I laugh.
The exterminator cracks up. “Crats! I’m gonna use that one!”
The Crats are long gone and that was many years ago. I’m sure the place is top-notch and up to code now.
So me, Prova, Nigel, Liam, and his coworker are all sitting at the bar. I know Liam and his buddy have to get to work by 6pm but these guys are hardcore and they can handle themselves. Well at least Liam is. His buddy buys a beer, doesn’t drink it, throws down a five and then disappears. But apparently he just does things like that sometimes. So that’s why I’m not giving him a name in this story because he technically doesn’t exist in our little club.
I’m sipping Jim Beam on the rocks just to stay consistent with my bourbon soaked afternoon. It’s quite a step down, but after the good stuff you can always drink cheap shit because you really can’t tell the difference by then.
I step outside for a smoke. I love to smoke a cig when I drink. I think those cigs taste the best. The cig and coffee is another good one. Okay, one more. The cig after a good meal. I don’t do the cig after sex. I have so little sex now if I only smoked after sex, I’d have quit months ago!
So I’m puffing tough and taking in the afternoon and the warmth of my buzz. I’m standing there enjoying the day and my smoke and I see a guy in a wheelchair with no legs. He’s right next to me on the other side of the door to Karma. I feel his pain. He is just staring into space. Looking across the street at nothing. There’s a new CVS over there, (Old city desperately needed one) but I don’t think that’s his directive.
Old City is alive with tourists and people but I still feeling for my guy.
His gaze is fixed on a distant nothing across the street. He’s not asking for money so I’m just chilling.
But then this girl walks by in a short skirt. Lovely legs. I’m a leg man so I have to check it out. This is a daily occurrence for me in the city. I love seeing all of the lovely gams in the city. My head was spinning like an owl when I was living in New York years ago.
The legless wheelchair guy suddenly comes to life and turns his head and looks at the pretty legs driving the lovely lady down the street. He looks at her just like I do. She has broken his paralysis.
Then I think in my drunken mind…
Is he admiring her for the beauty of her shapely legs like me or is he missing when he had legs to walk down the street? Which is it? I think he’s just checking out her fine landing gear. Yea… That’s it. He’s disabled but still appreciates a well turned ankle.
I wrestle with this for a moment and realize I am just half in the bag and go back inside.
The clock is ticking to get Liam to Sofitel.
We have to go and Prova tells me she’s had enough and doesn’t want to go Sofitel. “I can’t do brown liquor anymore”, she says.
I make the huge mistake and tell my friend, “It’s okay we don’t need you there.”
People… this goes back to when Carol asked me if I thought she was fat.
Somehow it’s on that level and baby is really upset. I love Prova and didn’t mean anything by it but I really wanted her to come with us. She took it to heart and was mad at me for telling her we didn’t need her there.
So one of the most beloved friends in my life is now mad at me over a verbal infraction. But girls are that way right? I can slip and down I go. But I figure it won’t stick.
Liam is coming with me and Nigel. We’re dropping him off at work. Prova says she’s staying to chill at the bar and she’ll text me if she s coming out later. I tell her that means: she’s never coming out again tonight.
So we leave her behind.
I get it.
Tune in Tomorrow for the exciting conclusion!
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