The Beauty Bar (or outside)

No need to describe the weather–“Chicago night winds in March” will suffice.

We stood outside the Beauty Bar, the five of us–three bent at the seams by alcohol, one (of the aforementioned three) neared systemic shutdown. He led our court.

“Scientology,” Chad said, “is some crazy shit.”

Libby and I lit our cigarettes and listened. I contemplated another drink–the fourth…maybe–but opted to remain outside, to keep Chad’s court at maximum power. Joe stood to the side of us–tall, lanky, allergic Joe–and there was another person. A woman. Amanda? Alicia? She wore a blue wool coat and knew Chad and spoke to Libby and me openly and smoked cigarettes with the rest of us. What else is there to remember?

“Yeah, like–so the Mormons wrote the third book of the bible, right? But the Scientologists, man–crazy shit. Robots and lasers. They wrote the fourth book. The fourth book,” Chad said after a drag, “is the best book.”

I asked, “You writing the fifth book?”

“Listen. I’m writing that motherfucker. I’m writing it & I’m publishing it.”

“I’d read it,” Libby said while her small body shivered.

“You’re gonna read that shit & love that shit.” Chad looked behind us and into the Beauty Bar’s front window. “That guy’s putting drugs in my drink. Fuck it.”