Shooting Down Cupid: Part 2
One Echo Mike - Nick Jahn
I find myself writing this one in the middle of nowhere. Fresh off of my
less-than-encouraging flight from a major metropolitan area and armed with
a phone number that I never intend to call, I sit down with a friend in a bar -
no wait, in these parts I think they refer to it as a "saloon" - and order me up a
cold one. Although the beer is from the good ol' U.S. of A., because of this
state's utterly wacky liquor laws it is categorized as an import. And "import" is
just a city-slickin' way of saying that this beer is two bucks more than a bottle
of Bud. Ah yes - socialism and selective morals find themselves a happy couple
in where else than a bar. Sorry - make that "saloon."
But I digress. Thank you for indulging me in that trip down memory main
street. So here I am in a watering hole that I never thought I'd visit. I have
been to this Podunk town many times for my job and have said every time that
I would never go to this particular dive. Okay - so I was wrong. But I will say
that there is another dive in town that involves cowboy boots and somehow
scooting, whatever the hell that is, that I made good on with my promise of
persona non visita. Although deeply depressed that I actually came to this
place, I decided that this would be an easy spot to get a phone number - or
two, or three. I feel mighty good about myself as I look around this heap. Yep.
They ain't never seen the likes or heard the lines of me before. I live in the
city! This was gonna be easy.
That's when I spot her across the room. The target. Or at least I think that it's
a woman behind the Cheech-a cloud of smoke billowing up from the table in
front of her. I squint and lean a foot closer as if that somehow would give me
smoke deterring x-ray vision. Whatever - good enough. It's confirmed - a
female sitting with other females. Way too easy! You know what they say: if
she smokes, she pokes. Not that that's what I'm after, but at least I know this
will be a good story. Time to mosey on over. I've never mosied before, but
figured I'd give it a shot and just hoped that I was doing it right. I knew not to
gallup - that would get me thrown out or at least get me horse kicked in the
As I get closer I begin to wonder how I am going to start the conversation. I
don't want a cigarette, so the old standby of bumming a smoke is not going to
work. Hmmm…let's see. Actually, I don't remember what I said at all. Too
many imports, I guess. But I do recall something about her having a couple of
kids and some friends that haven't shown up yet. Kids? Great - then this
won't take too much effort at all. You know how desperate those single moms
are, right? The next thing I remember is asking her what exactly it was that
she did in the Army. Yikes. At this point I really should have been asking
myself a) why am I talking to her about her career in the Army? and b) are the
friends who haven't shown up yet NRA members? Anyway - her response was
totally expected and predictable. "One echo mike." Got it. One echo what!?!
What the deuce? How do you respond to that? Nod your head and act like you
know what the hell that is? Or ask her to explain and risk looking like I just
got off the cattle truck?
Moo. "Okay, so like, I'm not in the Army, so what is a one echo mike?" It turns
out that it's a truck driver or vehicle operator or something to do with
convoys driving through really bad neighborhoods in really bad places of the
world. God bless her for that. Since I myself had a truck driver license at one
point, I figured I could work with it. Let's let it ride.
However, at about that time her five-foot-nine, 230 pound friend shows up
from over Yonder, which is a town not too far from here as it turned out. He's
not the father of her kids, but apparently he's stepping into that role soon.
Ugh. This guy was in shape - round is of course a shape. Quickly reflecting on
the last few minutes of the evening, I realized that I was striking out big time
on a less-than-supermodel, chain-smoking gal whose boyfriend just came off
the Jerry Springer set with way too many imports in me to make a run for it if
I caused anything that I needed to run from. Time to end this one, I thought -
discretion being the better part of one in the morning. We left and headed
back to the ol' standard watering hole where the bartender knows my name.
She's a very cool gal and will be happy we stopped by. If her saloon is still
open, that is.
Wow - that was close. In the taxi I reflect on how I almost got my butt kicked
but at the same time I'm not really sure why I would have gotten in a fight in
the first place. It's not like I made it all that far in conversation with Ms.
Echo-Mike (is that a hyphenated last name, by the way? Should it be Ms.
Mike?) or that her boyfriend was even upset with me. But at the same time I
couldn't get Skynrd's "Gimme Two Steps" out of my head either. Well,
apparently the imports hadn't made it to those little hairs on the back of my
neck yet and they were able to stand up on their own, which is just as well.
Sometimes it's just best to call it a night and live to try a stupid line on
another day. It may actually work. But that's next time. Adios.