Short Story – Monday Morning

I was feeling pretty wretched that Monday. I was meeting Mike and Sleaze in Hinanos, a beach bar in Venice, California.
It was 9 am as I parked my truck outside the pub. Walking from the brightness of the morning into the gloom of the bar was an achievement in itself.
I sat at a stool taking a minute to adjust the sight.
“Morning Al!”
The bar being circular made for interesting conversations with those on the opposite side, which was where Mike and Sleaze sat with bottles of beer and shots of whiskey
“Oh, yeah, thanks Mike do you have to shout?”
Sleaze peered up “Rough one last night you Irish git?” He said chuckling away.
“Indeed it was . . . I think.” I said, grinning at the memories of a drunken orgy with 2 sisters from Woonsocket, Rhode Island, at least I think that’s where they were from.
“You ready to rock and roll, we have a house in the valley to do you know?”
God, the last thing I wanted to do was drive out into the San Fernando Valley and paint in 100 degree weather.
“Give me a minute” I said sucking down my double vodka and asking Mary Alice for another.
Sleaze peeked up from his drink once more “Yeah Mike, give him a minute . . . and me would ya?” He said in his thick Boston Southie accent.
“Couple of old women you two. I’ll have another please darlin’”.
So we all slurped and coughed for a few minutes trying to come up with any excuse not to drive to the valley.
Mike stood unsteadily “Come on girls, let’s do it.”
At that precise moment a fleet of caravans and mobile homes and cops pulled up outside.
“Oh my, what have we here?” Said Mike rhetorically.
We all peeked out through the dirt encrusted screen.
“Appears to be a film crew.”
“A large film crew at that!” added Sleaze.
“Well well well” said Mike, turning to sit once more. “Give us another round please Mary Alice.”.
The LAPD had its own film unit for blocking off streets and keeping crowds back. It was easy money for mostly old timers and retirees from the force.
Mike plucked out his cell phone and dialled.
“Mrs Scwartz, sorry we’ll be unable to make it today. Yes, trucks blocked in by police business, can’t move . . . sorry . . . yes Wednesday should be fine. thanks, bye.” he winked conspiratorially.
After an hour or so of letting the film crew take over the street, Mike got up unsteadily and headed for the door.
“Come ladies.” he said.
Outside once more into the blinding sun we went.
“Sleaze, you got the Hilti gun in your van?”
He nodded and pulled it out of his truck while Mike removed a couple of “2 by 4”s from his pickup and a skill saw.
“Al, grab a few cans of paint will ya?”
We piled our equipment by the door of our favourite bar.
Mary Alice had seen it all before and so was not phased.
“Ready?” Mike winked at us both just as the cops began to stop traffic.
“Aye!” Sleaze and I answered in unison.
Mike started his skill saw up and began to cut into a chunk of wood he balanced between the high curb and the street. The noise of the saw was bad enough when used properly but Mike moved it around during the cut making it 10 times worse.
Sleaze moved the Hilti gun into position, pushing the nozzle up against the sawn piece of wood and pressed the trigger. A Hilti gun shoots steel nails through the wood and into solid concrete. The cartridge uses a gunpowder charge and so sounds a lot like a gunshot. You should have seen the cops reach for their weapons.
I just mixed up a few cans of paint and set a tarpaulin on the sidewalk.
That was about as far as we got. One cut of wood, one nail and two cans of paint unused.
Sleaze and I went back into the bar and ordered another hair of the dog. Poor dog was bald by now.
Mike came in a few minutes later and handed us 1000 dollars each for not working for the 3 days of the shoot, “Told em we had to replace all the wood siding, big job had to be done this week.” he said giving Mary Alice a big hug and a fifty.
This happens often in LA, production must go on.
Just one of my many quirky tales of 26 years in California.
And if you happen to walk past Hinanos at the end of Washington Blvd you might still see the two steel nails imbedded in the side walk, the piece of wood is long rotted away.