SAL, CRUD BUTCHER: Being here with you makes me happy.
ME, CRUD BUTCHER: I love you. If there's a way to love you more, I don't know how to do it.
SAL: It's prejudice, the way I feel about you. You are always, to me, the levity generator I've long believed you to be.
ME: It's not a bad prejudice. As far as prejudice—
SAL: In a world of familiar hurts, you remind me of unexpected potential.
ME: Now let's butcher some crud!!!!
SAL: I'm drinking a "Subtle Diagnostics." You?
ME: Make mine a "Hotdog Bun–Borne Mustard-Slathered Wrench."
SAL: Do you mind eating in the restroom?
ME: Don't mind if I do. As a matter of fact, I do mind if we don't.
SAL: Waiter! That okay?
BARTENDER: [momentarily stops whistling; nods; resumes whistling; serves drinks]
SAL: [rising with drink in hand; standing; stretching] I figure we can score adjacent johns, unzip these Ziplocs [pat-pat-patting sportcoat chest], and tuck into the salami-on-smashed-wheat sandwiches I made for us yesterday and then left sitting out on the kitchen counter all night. They're body-warm. [making moves toward restroom] Mushrooms OK?
ME: [following Sal to restroom, opening "Gents" door for both] I'm fine with mushrooms. I love being here.
SAL: Me too. With drinks.
ME: You could barf into my mouth tonight and it wouldn't faze me. I'd probably laugh. Imagine the sounds we'd bounce together off the restroom tile. Sometimes you're just happy, you know?
SAL: I know the feeling. I love books, and books make me happy, but happiness of the type you're describing isn't something I learned from books.
ME: I feel you. I fill you.
SAL: To say the least.
ME: How's your wife?
SAL: That's on a need-to-know. She's good. She's for my eyes only.
ME: And the kids?
SAL: They're perfect. Even when it's time to brush teeth and they shout YOU'RE NOT MY DAD ANYMORE, I know they love me. These angry moments come and go. Everyone's very healthy.
ME: I don't know why, but you talking about your kids reminded me of the phrase [making air quotes with pairs of fingers] "...and its frustrations." There was this recent day in the library when I found myself paralyzed, unable to read a full sentence. I had that phrase [air quotes again] "...and its frustrations" stuck in my head all day. It was so bad that I couldn't look at a word in a book without mentally tacking the phrase [air quotes] "...and its frustrations" to the word.
SAL: Weird. Give me an example.
ME: So for example, I'd look at the word DOG and I'd say to myself, in my head, DOG... and its frustrations. Or I'd see the word GRAPE, or BIOGRAPHY. And I'd think GRAPE... and its frustrations or BIOGRAPHY... and its frustrations. It became a frustrating, repetitive, terrible pattern. One had to go have sex with one's hand, if you know what I mean, to relieve the stress. Reset the console.
SAL: Yucky. Get ready for me to barf into your mouth. Ready set?
ME: [opens mouth wide] Ahhhhh.
SAL: [enters toilet stall, closes door] Barfing into your friend's mouth and its frustrations. [sits down, gets comfortable]
ME: [enters adjacent toilet stall, closes door] Frustrations are everywhere. Free dessert and its frustrations. Perfect love and its frustrations. [sits down, gets comfortable] Joy and its frustrations.
SAL: Temple Grandin and its frustrations, or—
ME: Rope fence and its frustrations. Licked bullethole. Shot potato. Semi-broken. Can you still hear me okay?
SAL: Yes. If my youngest was here right now he'd be screaming and crying in your face. I love him but I'm glad he's not here with us. I hate it when my child screams. I hate hearing it.
ME: Me too. Hearing your children scream — any children screaming — is no fun. I'd never enjoy that. The absence of screaming children and its frustrations.
SAL: A really loud scream. Then another. Then another. Then another. The welcome absence of skull-penetrating powerdrill screaming... and its frustrations. The frustrations of a little peace and quiet around here. A little solitude for a change... and its frustrations. Plenty of time to relax and enjoy yourself... and its frustrations. Plenty of money, too... and its frustrations. Being able to stop and think for a minute... and its frustrations.
ME: Nothing is without its frustrations.
SAL: Right, nothing. It's like when every fortune cookie talks about the things that happen in bed. We all go to bed. We're all frustrated. We all know what it's like to go to bed frustrated. We've all experienced fortune cookies. We've all experienced frustration in bed. In the boudoir.
BARTENDER: [enters restroom, whistling]
ME: There's the waiter, I think I hear him whistling at the urinal. I'm ready for another drink. You?
SAL: Yes. [raising voice] Waiter, please make mine a "Guy Lombardo Wikipedia Search."
BARTENDER: Yes sir.
SAL: Is it okay that we're using the restroom as a bar?
BARTENDER: It's fine. Unconventional, sir, but no problem. [suddenly louder] And what about you, sir? Are you ready for another drink?
ME: Yes. Make mine a Burglarita.
BARTENDER: With frozen pork-belly chunk?
ME: Sure. Can I also get it with chocolate smoke?
BARTENDER: Yes. Be right back.
SAL: I've never had a Burglarita.
ME: Bullshit. You order one every time we get together. I'm drinking this one in honor of you.
SAL: If you're doing it for me, I don't know why you want the chocolate smoke. That's what's bullshit.
ME: We're already spending a bunch of money. What's another three dollars.
SAL: I still remember when the cocktail ingredients weren't a la carte. We're getting too old. Hang on a sec. I'm gonna switch stalls. I'd like to shit in a different toilet than the one I'm using for a chair.
ME: Go for it.