Four.

Nick, the Manager

Nick was at The Well for years. Whenever new owners came, somehow Nick remained. Either because he was Mob or because of his OCD.

Nick was a clean freak, but a fixated clean freak. His fixation was the bathroom. It was spotless. The rest of the bar was never clean until Gina got hired. But the bathroom was cleaner than a hospital gurney. Nick spent more time there than behind the bar, which was cool with Gina. She told Nick she’d quit if he made her clean the bathroom.  Might not seem like a big deal, unless you’ve worked at a bar full of drunks and junkies. Puke and needles, piss and shit everywhere.

You’d think if it started clean, they’d try to keep it clean. Well, maybe they did, but they didn’t, especially on dollar draft night, or when a batch of heroin came through, which was often thanks to I-95. Drugs smuggled into Florida and destined for New York hit every city along the way. And when dope hit Baltimore it always hit The Well. And when dope hit The Well the Vagrants hit the bathroom.

There’s nothing more disturbing than a grimy, smelly, puke-covered Vagrant in a grimy leather jacket passed out against a shiny, clean, white tile wall. The contrast was stark. As soon as Nick bounced the Vagrant he would re-clean the bathroom. One summer he had it retiled: floor, walls, ceiling. And floor drains installed. Ever since, twice nightly he would douse the whole bathroom with bleach and hose it down. Crazy Joe suggested he leave the junkies in there when he cleaned it.

Nick was a strange guy, a potbellied Steve Buscemi with a better mustache and less hair, but greasier. He must have been forty years old. It seemed like he had been at The Well forever. Me and Joe knew him since junior high, when we started drinking there. We got high with him, even got him laid once by Flo, a nasty biker chick we knew. I don’t mean she was ugly. Actually she was kind of cute for her age. But she would have been cuter if she hadn’t drunk so much whiskey for so many years.

Flo was nasty because she was into golden showers. Not just into them, though. She couldn’t get off unless she had a dude to piss on. She liked to straddle a man and piss on his chest while masturbating. She could cum three or four times in a row, each louder than the last, at least that’s what I heard. So we thought Nick, with his bathroom fetish, might like Flo. We figured the two fetishes were somehow related.

And maybe they were. Nick and Flo dated for six months, even got engaged for a couple of days until Nick found out what Flo did for a living.

We knew Flo from Joe’s uncle, Gina’s dad. She drank with us sometimes. She was cool and always paid so we didn’t complain. One night we were shooting tequila and Nick joined us. It was late and the bar was dead so he did a few shots and flirted with Flo. That was before he tiled the bathroom. In fact, that was why he tiled the bathroom. Flo stayed past closing that first night and a week later Nick had the bathroom gutted. After that, whenever Flo showed up Nick kicked us out at closing. We thought that hooking them up would get us into the Mob, until Nick found out that Flo was a piss pro.

One night at The Well, Nick got a call. He slammed down the phone and ran out the door. Everyone knew that no one else was working. That was years before Gina. It took a minute for the Vagrants to realize the liquor was unguarded and another minute for the riot to start. Joe and I grabbed a bottle of Jack and hit the side door.

Flo told Nick she was nursing her sick mother. He found her down on the Block, in a backroom lounge, pissing on men for money. He walked in just as she was walking out. He freaked out and decked a dude. Then the bouncer beat the shit out of him and had him arrested for assault. He never told anyone about it, and we never told him that the anonymous caller was Gina’s jealous dad.