My private life’s an inside joke

Written by

Bright Eyes – Shell Games

“Okay, let me put on some clothes and I’ll be down.”

It was five p.m., but my phone call had awoken Rat. A few minutes later, he stuck a face framed by a homeless beard and shoulder-length hair out his apartment door.

“Here, you can use Lucy’s bathroom,” he said when I mentioned that I needed to pee.

“Is Lucy your roommate or the cat?”

“The cat.”

Rat is better than most at introducing visitors to his city. “We have to go to Yesterdog, it’s one of Grand Rapids’ only unique joints. Then we’ll go to Founders, a good local brewery, and then maybe a whiskey bar.”

And so, with the Pea Coat I found among my luggage wrapped around me, we stepped back out into the Michigan winter. The air in Michigan has a crisp, almost refreshing quality that you remember later when thinking nostalgic thoughts, but it gets so cold it burns when you’re in it.

Rat filled me in on his job, coordinating transportation for movies in the area.

“Amy Smart sat where you’re sitting,” he said, jabbing at my passenger seat with his elbow. “I saw her tits.”


“Danny Trejo sat there too. He gave me a hug.”

“Even better.”

“Bruce Willis makes a cameo in the other movie shooting in town, but I don’t care, Danny Trejo gave me a hug, man.”

After spicy pints of beer at Founders, we drove to a dive bar where some friends of him were playing a gig. I have a weakness for long islands or whiskey gingers under $5, so by the end of the show I was trashed.

“Hi! My name is Zac! I’m homeless!” I slurred while shaking the hand of the drummer’s mom. She escaped my grip and scurried off to her van.

The whiskey bar served Rolling Rock in mason jars for $2.50.

“This bar creeps me out because it feels specifically designed for me. PBR and Rolling Rock for $2.50, over 200 kinds of whiskey, they even play music I like.” The Smashing Pumpkins was on.

“Like it’s the Truman Show?”

“Yeah. So I like it, but I get weirded out.” I sipped a neat shot of Woodford Reserve.

Back at his place, Rat put me in the extra half-room, which served as the pot room for his hippie roommates. I was too far gone to care that my feet extended off the couch and rested against the wall.

Later that night, I woke up to find Lucy burrowing into my chest. She purred satisfactorily as I snored into the night.

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