The Dead Nazis
Maybe it was the white power
haircuts or maybe it was just
the profusion of really crude
offensive tattoos of screaming
banshees and death head rock
band logos, that put me off,
whatever it was I thought,
"Time to reach inside that
old box of barroom dirty
tricks for the shot that stalled
an alien invasion." I acted
calm and vaguely respectful
said, "How would you boys
like something really different?
Something no one has been
able to drink more than two of
and remain upright?"
"What's it called?"
"I don't know if I should tell
you or not. Might spoil the
surprise." Their response was
about what you expected,
"What's it called, asshole?"
and they made it sound like
"Okay, you asked for it,
The Dead Nazi."
"We'll take two to begin with."
"If you're able to drink those,
the third one's on me, as in free."
"Start pouring and don't worry
about how many we can hold,
we'll take care of everything."
"I'll bet you will." I mixed them
fast, under the bar, so they
couldn’t see what was in them
and filled a couple of shot
glasses before they changed their
minds, holding enough elephant
tranquilizer in reserve, for the next
couple of rounds. I watched them
going for it as if it were some
kind of perverse game of liquid
Russian Roulette, started clearing
off all the remaining wads of
cash from the bar; where they
were headed, money wasn't going
to do them any good.
Maybe serious drinking became
an avocation instead of recreation
after Papa had taken one too many
African safaris that ended up as
Bushwhacking a path through
a jungle wall of vegetation after
the plane crashed, instead of
the more traditional routes and
methods of hunting as: on foot,
with porters & machetes, guides
& with a specific destination in mind.
Or maybe it was after he got to
the point where he could only
write word one after he'd had
a morning constitutional, the kind
poured in shot glasses that he'd
drink with sipper straws until his
hands stopped shaking. Judging
from most of what was published
from that period, after he took
the back of his head off with a shotgun,
his manuscripts were better off as kindling,
or lost in a briefcase on a train to nowhere,
like the youthful writings purportedly
were. In those early days, drinking
was all part of making the scene,
an Art to be refined along with
everything else & it never took place
before noon & was a reward for hard
work well done instead of the be all &
end all of everything.
Bio: Alan Catlin retired from bar wars after thirty four years working in his unchosen profession as a barman in various establishments in the capital district including twenty five years at the Washington Tavern. He has published well over sixty chapbooks and full length books of both prose and poetry. Some of his more recent books are "Near Death in the Afternoon on Becker Street", "Self Portrait as the Artist Afraid of his Self-Portrait" both from March Street Press and "Drunk and Disorderly" a selected poems from Pavement Saw Press. To date he has received twenty Pushcart Prize nominations, seventeen in poetry and three in prose, but has never won one, which must be some kind of record for futility.