Saturday, July 10, 2010

Want a Beer?

Rare for this summer was a rainy day. Fourteen days of sun and excessive heat not only made the grass and trees tired, most of the people on Absceon Island looked brown and wilted, too. But today was different. It started out gray and muggy and it got grayer and grayer, until finally it rained. First a drop here and then a drop there teased the parched ground of what might be. After about an hour of foreplay, the drops of rain began to wet the streets enough for the car tires to kick up some spray. Finally!

It was a nice steady summer rain, the kind of warm, wet environment which induced Prescott Jerusalem to mount his Trek.

Press rode all over the 9 mile long and 3/4 mile wide barrier island whenever he could. Pedaling and pedaling helped his cardio fitness. The rides around the island and down the boardwalk were enhanced by the people watching. So many different kinds of people walked the boardwalk, bathed in the ocean and frolicked on the beach that his eyes moved back and forth like a man with lateral nystagmus. One time, after he bought infrared sunglasses on eBay, he collided with a trash can. He fell off of the bike and he picked up some splinters in his right arm and leg. These special sunglasses were supposed to let the wearer see through wet bathing suits. Pressman thought he could see a cougar's nipples as he blasted by the Philadelphia Avenue beach. When he recovered, with the glasses smashed on the boardwalk next to his bent front wheel, he could see those nipples better than ever. Dark Erasers!

Jerusalem hated his surname. People, everywhere during his entire 37 years, have made the assumption that Pressie is a Jew. Not that he would mind being a Jew, since he believed that Jews were really the Chosen People. All of the Jewish men and women the Presser knew were smart and rich and they all had good families. Press Jerusalem is a career postal worker, whose wife left him two years ago. Alicia told P'man that he was "borzo". He wasn't sure what that meant, but his spouse of ten years moved in with a Lithuanian rolling chair pusher. His name is Bronislovas Miklasevicius; he has perfect buns and he works in front of the Hilton Casino. P'Jeru sees the Brontasarus from time to time as he bikes by the rolling chairmen. They wait for weak legged casino exitees, who need a push to the next casino down the 'Walk, the Tropicana. Alicia's past and present men wave at each other with their hands dorsiflexed and held waist high. They show each other about 4 mm of teeth with their lips set somewhere between laughter and derision. Sometimes male signaling can be odd.

The boardwalk was wet as the rain was moderate in intensity. Press Man gauged the precipitation a 4 out of 10, with 1 being a mist and 10 a torrential downfall. Jerusalem always did that 1 out of 10 thing. People, who knew him, soon got to despise 1 out of 10. "How was your lunch, 1 out of 10?" "Do you like your tires, 1 out of 10?" "Oh you sprained you ankle, how much does it hurt, 1 out of 10?" "What kind of mood is Snively in, 1 out of 10?" Sometimes co workers and friends would anticipate Presser's 1 out of 10 and simply say things like, "I had a 9 weekend" or "My mother in law is a 3". Usually this ploy didn't work because P. Jerusalem would ask what a 1 was and what a 10 was. In short, Jerusalem could make you hate yourself. Most people had to take an aspirin or an ibuprofen after interacting with Pressie.

Today, Press steered his silver two wheeler onto the Washington Avenue ramp. The rat tail was already traced on his shirt from the spinning rear wheel. His dark blue tee was heavy with rain, but his tight black bicycle shorts more or less ignored the moisture. As he turned onto the boardwalk, heading towards Atlantic City, two teenage girls were stopped in the middle of the road, talking. Ordinarily this would have pissed him off, 10 out of 10, but the shorter dark haired girl had on white shorts. Wet, white shorts. Sheer, wet, white shorts through which infrared Prescott could see a medium to dark blue thong. OMG. He did it again. As he went by the girls, he craned his neck around to drink in as much as he could. The front wheel slid on the slick wood, Press hit the railing, then a trash can and then the wood itself. The taller blond arrived first. She helped him up and as he gathered himself, he got a full frontal view of blue. To the idiot, go the spoils!

Push after push after push, the pedals depressed in a rhythmic cadence. After a mile he was wet to the bone. It felt good. The snug shorts pushed and he pushed against the padded central structure of the lycra. Water was coming off both wheels as his sneakers became soggy. He went on through Ventnor and then into Atlantic City proper. The rain was steady. It felt good, not too cold and not too warm. He slowed down as he approached the Enclave, a beachfront high rise. It was for people with more money than he could muster up. Sometimes he wished that he lived in the penthouse, but that was as likely to happen as Alicia coming back to him and his flabby glutes.

On a bench, in front of the tony building, he could see two heads attached to horizontal bodies. As he got closer, he could discern it was a human sandwich. One head, bald on top, the other, lower head, with badly dyed red hair, were close, so close. These were not young people. A flat white derrier was moving erratically like a wounded warrior. Artificial carrot top girl had her left leg over the back of the bench and her right leg up in the air. It looked like that leg was suspended by a sky hook. It was between the dimpled goal post that the white tailed piston was doing its dance. Fortunately, Jerusalem held on to the bike and he missed the next trash can. He laughed. A real laugh, from the belly. As he approached the Hilton Casino, he recognized he hadn't laughed like that in 2 years.

The roller chairmen were at attention. Some were wearing big garbage bags with head cutouts. Others were sitting in the chairs, surrounded by clear plastic curtains lined by running water droplets. Presto checked them out. Brontasarus must be off today. P'Jeru tried not to think of Alicia, but that was easier said than done. The beach bar was rained out. Too bad. Presser liked to listen to the band and drink a beer there. As Lance Armstrong turned around, he almost hit a Hilton employee. He had a small concession just outside the casino door, selling bottles of cold Corona. Jerundo stopped the bike, jumped off and bought a bottle. The rain had stopped and the sun was peeking out below the clouds. A long shadow from the casino building extended past him. Just to his right and in the sun sat an empty bench. He felt his sneakers squoosh with each step. As he sat there, drinking and thinking, a casino hooker sat down on his bench. She was young, maybe 21 or 22. The number "7", "7", "7" started flashing somewhere in his head. He worked up the nerve, he mumbled, "Want a beer?"

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