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he got to stay and I had to go August 19, 2016

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Poetry, Uncategorized.
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It’s three-fifty a.m. And the bar man is urging me to leave,

“It’s a twenty-four hour place, but, friend you need to find your room,”

He said it matter-of-factly, not sure if I’d be sweet or surly.

“Alright, give me the room number when you swipe to close me out.”

He nodded reassuringly, like I’d made the right choice and said,

“You’re in ten twenty five, don’t forget your cash on the bar.”

I had been fumbling with my hundred dollar winnings from blackjack,

I left fifty on the bar, told him to keep it for his trouble.

He nodded and smiled as if he’d heard the words many times a night.

 

But, he got to stay and I had to go.

 

The drive to LA late night could be done in four hours

If I could make it passed ZZyzz I could make Barstow.

Stop for a coffee and pee break then it’s a easy shot to Slymar

Where I could leave the stench of Vegas behind for my smog-enveloped home.

The wife and kids gone to visit their grandparents in Arizona

Guaranteed no bitching when I turn in a little after eight

Sat in the drive in my 2008 Audi, pushed down my Ray-bans

Just enough to know the coast was clear, verified when the garage door opened

Revealing an empty garage, as  had hoped for and expected to see.

 

And he got to stay while I had to go.

 

The din of realty would be deferred until the wife and kids showed later,

Much later if I could wish it’s six hours from Lake Havasu with lunch and pee breaks.

I dozed in the carport for about an hour before I realized I needed a shower

To get the stence of Vegas off me and put on the sweet cologne of magic LA.

A binge-drinking Dad with a penchant for gambling doesn’t fit the mold

For a sweet, Christian Oxnard girl who’s business is home schooling

A reluctant eight-year old boy along with a twelve-year old pre-teen

Who couldn’t agree with her mother on anything but tried to make something of it.

The little girl struggling to come to terms with adulthood slowly, painfully.

 

Still, he got to stay and I had to go.

 

I stepped outside the black Audi for one final vice, a cigarette,

Not smoking in the car or the house, very strict rules from the Oxnord wife

Which I readily complied, being a vice detective I had plenty of motive

And opportunity to some on the job, even if frowned upon by peers,

It was an acceptable ancient ritual, even if I had accepted new boundaries.

Smoking outside, at least fifty feet from the building, never inside.

So, I finished my cigarette, crushed the butt and ditched it in the trash can

Headed for the door, that shower and some rest before the family piled in.

After a shave and shower, I put on my rob end lie on the couch and fall asleep.

 

And I dreamed about him staying while I had to leave.

 

Would it be so bad to be a bar man at a swank Vegas hotel or casino?

No more chasing bad guys, chasing down evidence, dealing with forensics?

The sordid dreams of a mid-career detective, shackled by a wife and kids,

Mortgage, car payments, chasing after the false gods of greener grass.

Other men’s wives, desiring their one night stands, use em and lose em,

“Yes, honey, I’m better than your old man cause you can have whatever you want

From me that you can never get from him, this is your wildest dream come true!”

And for that brief time the alcohol and drugs would make them believers

I, too, would be a believer for the fleeting moments, roll out and leave, no strings.

Then, I would stay and they would leave! It sounded sweet in my darkest sleep.

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