One-eyed Jimmy was not a nice man.
Ruby Less Begonia was saying as he regaled the woman and
men at the bar with tales of his olden days in Promisetown.
Usually the stories were about Baby Jean Hudson, the owner
of the City Scape Bar and Grill, or Fruit and Fiber, a
lesbian couple who owned one of the largest gay
conglomerate bar and motels in town (their names were
really Tanya and Carmen - but Ruby affectionately, or was
it bitchily, referred to them as Fruit and Fiber because
of their swishy but firm mannerisms).
"One-eyed Jimmy," Ruby was saying, "Swirled into town
during the summer of - oh, I don't know, '79 or '80."
customers sat with their eyes following his every move,
their drinks sitting before them like soldiers.
man was hell bent on change and had a million ideas
regarding how this bar should be run. He appeared in this
room one day and sat in that corner over there with Baby
Jean." As he said the words "Baby Jean", Ruby looked over
toward the intercom, a knowing smile on his face. "The
twat," he continued, "was taken in by this jerk's charm
like you wouldn't believe. And she saw this as a chance
for her to remove her ridiculous son, Tooey, as manager of
since Jean Hudson had installed the intercom system (the
same time she'd installed all the mirrors in the room),
Ruby had taken great delight in making fun of her to her
ear. He knew she was upstairs listening to his
conversations with customers and, as Ruby had told Maxwell
one day, "She's going to get one helluva an ear full
during my shift!"
"Jimmy," Ruby continued, "told everyone he had one eye.
Said he lost it in Vietnam when he got hit in the eye by
an arrow. Jimmy sat here one day and explained to all of
us how a Vietcong shot the arrow from a bow and that it
had been dipped in human excrement. Told a sorry tale
about how he'd almost died and how, in retrospect, it was
a blessing that he'd only wound up losing an eye. I had a
bad feeling about him right from the get go."
customers sat spellbound sipping their drinks..
you see, eventually The Baby felt sorry for him and
eventually offered this turkey a job, as manager no less.
He'd swagger in here everyday with his tight jeans and his
one eye covered with a great big black patch. He had
bleached, blond hair and a smarmy smile. Looked to me like
a poor man's hustler." At this point Ruby, looking over at
Max, who was sitting with Cynthia at the end of the bar,
said, "No offence Max."
taken, Mister Begonia."
Cynthia choked on her club soda and Ruby, wincing,
Jimmy liked to take his drink - then again, who didn't
back then, right? But he'd come in and insist that I give
him cocktails all night long. I'd comply, of course,
because he had The Baby wrapped around his little finger
and she'd given him run of the whole place, carte blanc."
paused a minute to fix a few drinks for some customers and
then continued. "The guy was a little perky freak and
looked a bit like an undersized Hitler. Acted like it too.
one day," continued Ruby, "Jimmy shows up at the beginning
of my shift, about four in the afternoon, and proceeds to
get snookered. By six he's seeing double 'cause he's
pissed and I'm seeing double 'cause I'm pissed off. The
trouble is that The Baby is in the corner watching it all
and giggling like some schoolgirl in love.
trying to do my business and she's hollering the way she
does about what a lousy job I'm doing.
"Anyway, by nine o'clock, Jimmy's sitting over there where
you are," Ruby said, pointing to a mesmerized tourist at
the corner of the bar, "And he's paralyzed. Literally, the
man can't pick up a drink.
about my business, actually relieved that he's so tanked
because then I don't have to listen to him. The Baby has
been carried, passed out, upstairs by Tooey, and the place
is pretty quiet. Just the way I like it.
o'clock finally rolls around and there is still no peep
from Jimmy. He's sleeping like a baby with his head just
resting on the bar. I go about my stuff, breaking the bar
down, cleaning up, that sort of thing.
"Suddenly, Jimmy jumps up and starts yelling about how
I've been robbing the bar blind. How there's no cash or
that half the cash is in my tip bottle. I'm looking at the
freak and realize that he's waving a beer bottle at me
like he's going to hit me in the head with it. So I did
what any normal guy would do."
silence fell over the bar, imposed intentionally by Ruby,
who had turned away to move some bottles around on the
back shelf of the bar. After a minute, the customers
couldn't take it any more. Three of them, simultaneously,
yelled out, "What did you do, Ruby?"
turned around, waited a beat, and then said, "I threw a
drink in his good eye."
"NO!!!" several of the mortified customers hollered. "What
"Well," Ruby said, "Jimmy started hollering and waving his
arms. Called me a few bad names and screamed, 'I can't
believe you threw a drink in my good eye.' Things like
what happened?" Cynthia asked.
Jimmy told me I was fired and I told him I quit. You know,
the usual shenanigans for this place," indicating the City
Scape Bar and Grill."
his eye?" Max said.
"Well," said Ruby, "His good eye was fine. I mean, he just
patted it with a paper napkin and kept yelling at me. It
was his bad eye that became the talk of the town."
"Well," smiled Ruby Less Begonia, "When I hit him in the
good eye with the cocktail I was drinking, I didn't aim
very well. Half of it hit his black patch. Guess I must
have been pretty violent about the whole thing because the
force of the splash caused his patch to begin to slip ever
so slightly. As he yelled at me, it slipped a bit more."
--?" someone whispered in the totally quiet room.
eventually I was able to see that Jimmy's eye socket had a
very healthy eye in it. An eye that was staring directly
at me. And it looked rather hateful."
said Ruby, "The bastard had two eyes."
can't believe it. What a schmuck."
"Naturally, The Baby was furious when she found out, but
she had to save face. So she kept Jimmy on for a few more
days and then canned his ass. No one in town would talk to
him after that and he moved back up fjord within a week.
Naturally, after Jean discharged the jerk she had to ask
Tooey to take over again."
"Whatever happened to Eddie, Ruby? Does anyone know?"
never heard a thing about him after that."
minute the bar was absolutely quiet. So quiet, in fact,
that you could hear a pin drop. At which point a small
click was heard coming from the intercom by the cash
register. The sound of Jean Hudson signing off and going
"Good-night, Jean." Said Ruby. At which point half the
people sitting at the bar screamed out, "Good-night,
Next: Bit 14
Max loved his work