Bob O Malley's Wedding Reception - part one.
The front door of the Wagon Wheel bar explodes open to Ziggy Pop's "You Got a Lust for Life." Jack steps over the curb and vanishes into the dark doorway.
"HEY JACK, JACK DELLETO, the lanky bartender shouts over the din.
Delleto makes his way through the crowd over to the bar, extends his hand. They shake hands. "How the hell have you been, Snake?" Jack asks.
"Just great," Snake says. "Hey, you're lookin pretty fucken good for a dead man. I heard you fell off of a mountain."
"Who did you hear that from?" Jack wonders.
The bartender points across the room to where a man dressed in a pin stripped suit is swinging from one of the wagon wheel lights hanging from the ceiling.
"George! Shit, I heard he was in jail."
Snake hands Jack a shot of tequila. The men touch glasses and throw down the shots.
"How's the other George?" Jack asks.
"AA." Snake tells him.
"How about Tommy? You see him anymore?"
"What about Robby?
Snake refills the glasses and they drink them. "He's livin in a nudist colony in California and he's got two wives and six children"
Jack looks across the room and sees a drunken Bob O'Malley trying to adjust the rose in the lapel of his black tuxedo. Satisfied it won't fall out O'Malley looks up at the man swinging from the lamp. "Quick, George, name man's greatest inventions!"
George shoots back, "Alcohol, tobacco, and the wheel."
Bob smiles and then suddenly jumps up on top of the bar, and although he is over six feet tall and weighs two hundred pounds, he demonstrates the grace and dexterity of a ballerina as he pirouettes around and jumps over the shot glasses and beer bottles that clutter the bar.
Wedding guests lean back in their chairs as strangers, fearful of his gyrations, snatch their drinks from the bar. Bob fakes a slip as he dances along but he is always in control and never falters. Forty three year old Bob O'Malley is Jim Brown who dodges danger to score the winning touch down.
When he reaches the end of the bar, he jumps to the floor, pulls to aluminum lids from the ice box, and with one in each hand smacks them together like cymbals.
Some people clap but the bemused just stare.
In the back of the room at the wedding table the father of the bride leans over and whispers into his crying wife's ear, "If I had a terminal illness, I'd shoot Bob."
The bride raises a glass of champagne into the smoke filled air and Bob takes a bow but then heads for the kitchen at the other end of the room.
"Hey Bob," Jack Delleto shouts to the groom over the music.
O'Malley stops under a wagon wheel lamp and turns as Delleto steps into the dim circle of light. "Congratulations, you're a lucky guy, Bob. I mean that." Delleto offer his hand and they shake hands.
"Thanks, Mister Cool. You must be a rock star."
Jack takes off the sunglasses.
"TWO black eyes," Bob says astonished. "You know your nose is bleeding. What happened?" Bob wants to know.
Jack takes a handkerchief from his back pocket, puts it over his nose, and squeezes tightly. "It's broken."
"What happened?" Bob asks again.
"He turned pro didn't he?"
"He's 5 and 0. Felix thinks he a natural but he's nothing special. He out weighs me by 20 pounds. Hell, he couldn't even knock me down."
O'Malley shakes his head and then just smiles.
"She's beautiful," Jack tells Bob.
"Thanks Dell." O'Malley puts his hand on his friends shoulder and squeezes affectionately. He looks across the room at Theresa. "Yes, she is." Theresa's mother has stopped crying. The father just stares into the void.
"I 'm feeling real happy today." Bob O'Malley tells Delleto and then he looks away from his bride, passed the archway that divides the poolroom from the bar, and into the dark poolroom. With the light bulbs from the lamp above his head gleaming in his eyes, Bob seems to see something fleeting in a far distance. Slowly, a peculiar half smile forms showing his white uneven teeth.
Curious, Delleto turns his head to look into the darkness of the poolroom, too.
Bob looks down at Jack. "What are you starin at? " O Malley wonders.
"Do you hear them, Bob? Jack asks.
Puzzled , O'Malley asks, "What are you hearing, Jack?"
"Nothin," Delleto succinctly tells his friend. "Nothin."
"A concussion," and Bob shakes his head. "You've probably got a concussion."
Now, Jack doesn't understand, but it does not matter because for a brief moment the two men have shared the same corner of darkness.
Bob says something to Paul Keater and Keater smiles broadly. He slides the rim of his Giant baseball cap to the side of his forehead and the two men disappear through the swinging kitchen door.