Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Birth of the Cool

A combination of factors -- the impending trip, a discussion about romance, listening to the new Hold Steady album (which seems apt) -- brought back a memory from waaaaaaaay back, the first time I went to Prague.

The scene was this little bar off of Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí, if you like diacritic marks), its name long-forgotten (or transcribed in some long-forgotten notebook). Expats bitched because the Budvar/Czechvar was too expensive (at this point, that means it was the equivalent of about $1 per pint), I loved it because I hadn't yet discovered that $1 a pint was expensive in Prague, and because it was entirely staffed by stunning women. The apparent manager/ringleader of hotness was this voluptuous redhead, a little worn down by life but all the more appealing for it. The young American goofball who kept coming in was completely enamored (though a little horrified when I asked about food options, and in an effort to communicate in English, told me they had "hooves" -- only much later did I realize she meant chicken wings).

Anyway. One blustery night (a chilly night in Praha), I was at the bar, reading and surreptitiously watching the redhead's bottom, when this guy came in. Young guy, leather-jacketed, smoking a cigarette, with a slumped world-weariness about him. The Czech Bogart.

One of the staff members was distinctly displeased to see him. She shot him a look that managed to say "Boy, have you fucked up, buddy. You've fucked up and it's irreparable." (in Czech.) He looked at her with sad, but accepting eyes.

Wordlessly, he handed her a folded note.

She tore the note into pieces, punctuating each rip with angry exclamations. She threw the pieces into an ashtray, lit a match, and set the note on fire.

Czech Bogart just looked at her some more. Then he bent down, lit a new cigarette from the burning paper, turned around and slouched out of the bar. Never said a fuckin' word. Coolest guy I've ever seen.

1 comment:

Brushback said...

That's friggin' awesome.