continued from previous post…
The place echoed with a lifetime of screams and sweat. Only now, they were accompanied by a house beat and not the shadow of a looming noose. Hang the DJ. Chalk one up for progress.
By the time we got to Prague we had already spent time in Paris and Amsterdam, not to mention one confusing night in Germany, it wasn’t our first bar, and it wouldn’t be the last, however, it was the best.
Somehow we wound up sitting at a community table with an assortment of young men from all over Europe that were visibly interested in the girls that had entered with us. Your women, how much for the women? Someone bought beer, and it, as they say, was on.
The bonding must have happened sometime after midnight. My companions and I had long been traveling under the single purpose of not becoming a stereotype, the “ugly American,” which of course, has nothing to do with our appearance. One of the things that we had not mentioned throughout our trip was politics. Why would we?
That night, drunk in a dungeon, it was brought out for us. Young men from a handful of different countries went on… and on, about our military and our might. They wanted to know about California and the streets of gold. They were curious and excited about America, which frankly, was the last response we had been prepared for. It was before George W., and apparently, the world loved us. They did not, however, care for Germany.
If there was anything that ran as a common theme it was a united distrust and blatant dislike of all things German. We, as we thought was prudent, stayed quiet on the matter. At one point, someone started singing a song that was anti-Germany, and the whole bar finished it in unison. Apparently, having Europe’s strongest economy and the worst recent history did not make them popular neighbors. I sipped my beer and watched the girls on the dance floor.
They were topless in the European sense, meaning that breasts bared in public were not taboo, but accepted. I tended to fall along those lines. I still do.
The American girls, rather than drinking free beer and having their egos stroked, had long been swept away by men with dangerous accents and possible facial scars. We had plans to attend a show with them the next afternoon, Rage Against the Machine, and the last words I heard from them involved breakfast.
In the meantime, we had become celebrities of sorts, based on nothing else than perception and passports. I found myself the focus of attention by throngs of beautiful women. Either this was the greatest night ever or we were being set up for a huge rolling in the alley. We didn’t care.
At one point, the girl that I had been dancing with said that she wanted me to teach her how to two-step, which I knew to be some sort of cowboy dancing, and she knew to be undeniably American. I figured I could wing it. Hell, I would do the jitterbug if I thought it was foreplay.
The DJ was more than happy to oblige with a nod and a country music staple. I got ready to dazzle them with my boot-scoot boogie, and I may have. I honestly don’t recall if I danced or not. I was drunk and being seduced by a 6′ Czech beauty. I remember I was prepared, but when the music started, which set-off the second all bar sing-along of the night, I think I may have been too busy laughing to dance. It happens.
By the time the chorus came around I felt like I was in a Coors Light commercial. We all raised our beers, and we sang our hearts out:
But the Colorado rocky mountain high
Ive seen it rainin fire in the sky
The shadow from the starlight is softer than a lullabye
Rocky mountain high (high Colorado) rocky mountain high (high Colorado)
It was awesome.
It was also 5 in the morning.
We didn’t have our guidebook with us. In fact, we had lost our map at some point and had been led around by the well-prepared girls from Florida. What we had was the tray liner from an earlier stop at Kentucky Fried Chicken. It showed the city and the various KFC locations, one of which was located a short walk from where we were staying. Everything was a short walk. Some longer than others.
Before the Colonel had a chance to guide us home we were being whisked away by the Czech girl and her friend. They had another bar they wanted to take us to. Who were we to argue?
If you’ve seen the movie Mission Impossible then you know the bridge that Jon Voight fell from, The Charles Bridge. That’s where the bar was, on our end of that bridge, cloaked as it was in fog and intrigue.
We went inside. M, as he was prone to do, somehow found himself sitting in a chair with a girl’s face in his lap. They had no shame. I was extremely jealous.
The girl that had singled me out had suddenly become a ball of emotion. She had man issues, and my resemblance to said man was the reason that she had attached herself to me. He sounded handsome.
I was too drunk to care. D, however, who had made his stake by being the understanding type, took an interest. I sat at the bar and drank whiskey. The sun started to shine on the deep, brown waters of the Vltava.
A man, that seemed old at the time, probably pushing 60, was talking to the girl at this point, and whatever he said, it pushed her buttons. She took upset to a whole new level, and as M and his new acquaintance were standing by the door, I suggested we get the hell out of there.
We were walking in the cool morning light, M, leading the way, following the trail of chicken, and the rest of us a few steps back. The girls were crying, D was soothing, and I was looking at the rapids of the river.
Suddenly it became clear that I was now the object of anger. The girl was upset that I had not stuck up for her in the bar. I had no idea what she was talking about. Didn’t she know chivalry was dead in America?
It seems that the guy that had approached her had called her a whore. A fucking whore to be exact, because she was in the company of two Americans. He had offered her money and promised her a better time. Oddly, he had no words for her friend that was obviously the easy one.
“What did you want me to do?” I asked.
“Hit him,” she cried. “Defend me.”
I looked at the river and turned around. I walked into the bar with a beautiful crying woman on my arm, which was usually how I left them, and came face to face with the accused as he was preparing to leave.
“Did you call her a whore?” I asked.
He looked shocked. “N-n-no!” he said, waving his hands in front of me and backing down the stairs.
The girl was behind me, screaming things like “liar!” and “hit him!”
“Did you call her a fucking whore?” I continued.
“I called her what she is,” he laughed.
I punched him in the face and he fell over backwards, down a few more stairs and crashed into a table on the barroom floor. I kept walking towards him, stepping over chairs and feeling her arms grow tight around me.
(to be continued…)