Last Friday, I ventured to Tunica with Ben in efforts to celebrate his sister Caroline’s 22nd birthday. I’m quite superstitious so I placed too many bets on “lucky” seven’s and wound up donating to the state of Mississippi.  The beer definitely isn’t “free.” Too quote Ben, “Free? I’d say your Heineken’s we’re about $30 per beer.” Ben broke even. I always thought breaking even was an urban legend. Black Jack replaced our sleep (and my common sense,) so we opted to stay the following night in Memphis as this where Ben’s sister, Caroline, lives.

 

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After napping the majority of the afternoon, Ben, Caroline, Ben C. (Caroline’s boyfriend ,) and I decided to roam Beale Street in the frigid weather. Ben C. was visiting from Europe and had never been to Beale. One cannot visit Memphis and not walk within “ten feet off of Beale.” We arrive at Silky O’Sullivan’s where Ben orders a diver. A diver is one gallon of well, everything. Remember when bars were smoky and full of drunks? Well now they’re just full of drunks. Silky’s has an outside heated bar area for those of us with the bad smoking habit. I would smoke outside in the snow, naked. It’s that addictive. I’m the only smoker in the entourage, so I head outside alone.

 

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Smoke break #1. While it’s cold, the bar line is also non-existent, so I order a drink while outside. Seating is limited inside the bar, so I also take this moment as an opportunity to sit down. I sit on the last stool at the far left of the bar as it appears to be the seat furthest removed from the other smokers. As I light a cigarette, a guy approximately my age sits to my right. Question one, “Are you from around here?” Without making eye contact, I state, “No.” In five minutes I learn where this stranger is from, where he lived before that, who he works for, where he traveled the previous week, etc. I generally have a friend with me in a situation of this nature, so the following is very foreign to me. In other words, I do not frequent bars alone. Dude says, “Why are you alone? Surely you’re not alone? Are you with a man?” All is stated as one long, run-on question. I tell him, “I am not alone. I am with non-smokers. I am here with a man.” He says, “Nice to meet you,” and vanishes accordingly. I make no mention of this upon returning inside.

Ben, Caroline, and Ben C. in Memphis, TN

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The Diver.