The Running of the Bulls
By James Cooper
They were the young bulls, eager to head east and test their worth as men. The wisdom of old Bulls wasn’t even imagined as the four rode to ‘the end’ in JJ’s Jeep Wrangler. Coop and Glowbrows sat in the back seat with their outside arms wrapped around the roll bar. They were numb from the booming bass of the sub-woofer underneath by the time they arrived in Montauk. “We need a bottle to pregame,” declared Gordo from the passenger seat. “Jimmy, you’re the biggest, you go.” “No way Steve, not with this baby face,” Coop replied. They were the closest of the four friends, always using one another’s first names. “You go Gordo, you’re a small George Michael with that scruff,” JJ said from the driver’s seat. “That’s funny stuff from the female Andy Garcia, Gordo said before conceding.
They started the night with much ado about nothing, basking in the splendor of a beach fire, sharing a bottle of Southern Comfort. “Ugh this stuff is hot garbage,” JJ said, passing the amber colored spirit to Gordo. “What’s good enough for Janis Joplin is good enough for ME,” he said, before taking another long pull on the bottle. “OooWHOA, that’s some illen gasoline!” Gordo cried, as all his good looks seemed to drain from his face, leaving behind an ugly grimace. “Gordo, you OK? You look constipated dude.” “I’m ok GLOW, walk in front when we go to the bar? Your brows can light our way like Rudolph and his shiny nose.” “Looks like Gordo has the liquid courage,” JJ whispered to Coop. “Oh Glow with your brows so bright, won’t you guide us to the Old Shebeen tonight?” Gordo sang with glee. Glow was turning an angry red as Coop turned to JJ, nodding emphatically in agreement before bursting into laughter.
There was a small line outside the Shebeen as the bouncer sat on a stool checking ID’s and chain smoking cigarettes. “Ugh, my ID sucks, “JJ said to Coop. “Relax bro, that guy’s from the Emerald Isle; he won’t know your ID is fake.” Just then, everyone heard the sound of breaking glass and the eruption of an alarming din inside. “Ahhhh Bee’Jaaysus, are yih serious,” the bouncer said, leaping off his stool. In no time at all, a disheveled guy came flying headlong out the door, landing in a heap. “Go away outta that, yuur a feckin buckled eejit!”
Once inside it was like stepping into an authentic Irish pub. The speaking was ‘Dublinese’, a dialect that blended colorful phrases, underworld slang, and even imports from U.S. television to form the ‘colloquial language’. “Do we need a passport?” Glow said, in amazement as the friends made their way through the crowd. It was plain to see that East End had long reaching fingers of attraction, welcoming the Irish for the summer. They were the waiters, chambermaids, store clerks, and cooks; jobs created by the growing influx of vacationers to ‘The End’. The Irish worked hard to play hard, dancing, fighting, and drinking room-temperature pints of ‘The Black Stuff’. “Jimmy, I just love me some Irish girls,” Gordo said, as he sauntered into a group of dancing girls. Coop took the opportunity to slip away, shaking his head as he went, unnoticed.
“Look at Steve man; he’s bumbling into everyone out there. I had to eject before the crash and burn.” He said to Glow after finding him sitting at a table on the edge of the dance floor, enjoying a beer.
“Train wreck, he’s gonna piss someone off, said Glow.”
“Yup, speaking of piss, I gotta go.
“Excuse me; do you know where the bathroom is?” Coop asked a scrawny redhead.
“Yeah guy, the line for the jacks starts behind me. Me names Shaun,” he said extending a feeble, freckled arm that was dwarfed by Coop’s ‘meathook’.
“Jaaysus, yer mammoth.”
“Ugh, thanks, Coops the name,” he said shaking Sean’s hand.
“WHOA, who’s that?”
“Niiiccceee Ayyyeee? That won over thaar is nun other than Miss Rosaleen; ‘the rose of dooblin’.”
“She’s beautiful,” Coop said, realizing he was still shaking Sean’s hand.
“Bang on, that’s a hot bird fera slag.”
“A slag?” Coop said, with uncertainty in his voice.
“Sure, yhar won over there is maaad fer da mickey.”
“Oh, so you wouldn’t want anything to do with her?”
“ Feckin SURE she’s a ride, Id eat chips out of her knickers.”
“I thought as much,” Coop replied grinning.
Glow found Coop as Sean was nearly trampled by a girl twice his size as she stumbled off the dance floor.
“Feks sake, sit d’ hell down barrel arse and take the weight off the floor” The girl regained her composure, taking a moment to tidy herself up. Then she looked at Sean with stone eyes and a stiff upper lip.
“Fek off, ya liitle fart of a fella.” She replied in a calm, even tone.
“Budweiser, they had those here?” Coop said in disbelief as Glow handed him a frosty one.
“In short supply, drink up,” Glow replied.
“Thank you. Oh Sean this is Timmy. Timmy, Sean.”
“How’s she cutting Timmy?”
“Good, I think?” Glow replied, confused by the slang.
“Hey, you see JJ?” Coop asked.
“Yeah, he’s been shacking up in that dark corner all night.” Glow said, nodding in the direction.
“Yup, there he is,” Coop said, crooning around to get a better view. At first, JJ was just a dark shape with his back toward them, eclipsed by a larger dark shape. Then as the pair turned with the music it became apparent JJ was swapping spit with the very girl that had just about trampled little Sean. “OH AWFUL, just awful.” Coop exclaimed, losing his composure.
Jaaaysus, that fatso? I’ve seen better heads ina field chewin’ grass.” “Surprised Coop?” Glow asked, giggling with amusement.
The night had grown old fast. The music stopped and the bartender announced last call. It was closing time as the lights turned on overhead, bright enough to make most squint. The doors opened up and the greater majority of the Shebeen’s occupants spilled outside into a sandy lot. The regular patrons never moved from their stools.
“Djasee yhar waan over thar? That fella’s off his nut.” Sean said of Gordo.”
“Bang on thar Bud,” Coop said, speaking tongue-in-cheek.
Sean graciously bid Coop and Glow farewell before going his own way.
“Jimmy, Jimmy, d’ya want a fag me lad?” Gordo asked as he smoked one himself. He was surrounded by party girls, planning their after-hours, giggling at his antics and court jester-like personality.
“Steve, let’s go.”
“What? Na, I’ll have nona dat, meet me ladies.”
“STEVE! You’re talking in a bad Irish accent BRO! It’s embarrassing and I imagine insulting.” Coop said, practically lifting Gordo off his feet as he grabbed his arm, influencing his direction.
“But what about AFTIES?”
“NO!,” Glow and Coop said, unintentionally in unison.
They continued to walk together back to the jeep, unaccustomed to finding the streets vacant and quiet.
“Where’s Jason, Jim?” Gordo asked sheepishly, leaning on Coop as his legs began to fail him.
“Missing in action.”
“M.I.A? What are we goanna do!?
“Sleep in the jeep till he comes back, what choice do we have?”
The three were just closing their eyes; Coop and Glow in the front with the seats reclined and Gordo in the back, his hairy legs draped over the center console. “I didn’t realize I was doing that. Speaking like that was so addicting.” Gordo said to Coop in a sorrowful whisper.
“I know it tis Lad, it’s ok.”
The night ended just as it had begun, with much ado about nothing. The pink splendor of a pre-dawn sky and the songs of birds heralded in the sunrise of a new day.