This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
J. Hamilton Montgomery
The wispy October fog that was meandering around the crystal blue crown of Lake Tahoe held my imagination hostage while keeping the 500 SL Benz in a frustrated third gear along the anorexic blacktop of highway fifty. 1 enjoy the hiding qualities of fog, and I'm sure that most would agree that there's some hiding going on in this year of 2011. There's blood in the streets of America again ... and to think of all the good people that die in a days harvest; suddenly an angry thought sprints across my mind, " ... only one Bush death a century ago could of salvaged what's left of this countries self esteem and the dignity of our anemic constitution, not to mention the proud monoliths in New York City and thousands of American lives, civilian and soldier alike." Now coming back to the reality of this spinning blue cartoon, I've always known that life ain't fair, love ain't funny and the traffic lights never did turn blue tomorrow. I break off the highway into the dirt parking lot of some random watering hole that I'd never noticed before, because I'm not a local. and was afforded the gift of being in the majesty of the High Sierras once a year at best. Even though I fell for love here twenty years ago and married as a result of that god-damned gypsy called "love."
!park next to a white full size mountain ready 1980 Ford F-150 equipped with huge
snow tires. Strapped to it's back was an open-road camper shell, across the side of the camper were two beat-up bumper stickers, the first was an Oakland Raiders, (the original one), the other was a patriotic threat that read: "HEY W AS HrNGTON, YOU CAN HAVE OUR GUNS WHEN YOU PRY THEM FROM OUR COLD DEAD HANDS!" 1 really like that one. I cut the engine and find my true aging face of forty years in the mirror, I drag a hand over my mustache and graying goatee and laugh about having no one left to impress but myself, and that seems to get easier everyday. I step out into the clean crisp bite of the autumn air, a healthy change from the asthmatic skies of the urban crush. As I scissor towards the rustic lodge made of real logs, the smell of pine and a faint whisper of a distant stream flirts with my senses before entering the wooded refuge. What is it about that feeling of safety when opening another door to another bar? Myself not being very picky about where I consume my ease of life with an eighty proof soul fix. The door groaned as I stepped inside, the sunlight jumped into the foyer creating a trapezoid carpet of gold light and swirling dust, and just as fast the light was pushed back as the door slapped shut. The guts of this tavern were historic and haunting all at once, the motif of lumberjack and gold miner touched the blue collar in anyone who entered. The only light in this windowless fort came from the tiny white Christmas lights strung around the long mirrors behind the bar and the bent reading lamp over what seemed to be the first steel cash register ever built. There was also the faded red Budweiser box light hanging over the quarter fed pool table with two sticks wedged under the side cushions. It was then that my eyes adjusted to the final light, a soft glow floated up from the jukebox. What I found leaning against the machine poking buttons was a woman that only an artist or critic could describe. The fact that she never bothered to look at me slapped my spoiled ego and immediately awoke the "other me", the great pretender. 2
The mystery woman easily glided back to her barstool as James Taylor's "Fire and Rain" filled the air. Behind the solid oak bar, a large stainless steel door pops open and out steps a seasoned veteran of life. The sixty-ish looking bartender could have been anyone's grandmother. She carried three twelve packs of bottled beer as if they were empty, she
I'm there without
looking at me as she sets the load down and pulls back a large plume of silver hair. "What can I getcha' honey?" "Cuttysark rocks, make it a double." I drop a Jackson on the bar and can't help but do my best 007 glance at the woman with terrible beauty. Another blow to ego as she doesn't meet my first move with any interest. "Here you go sweetie, anything else for you?" As she takes the twenty. "Keep'ern coming please." I take a needed pull from the auburn glass, and guess that the barkeep's or Dotty. I drop a five for a tip and buy a smile. "Thank you honey." She said with honest gratitude. I begin my march over to the slayer of ego, and inside me the costume change was in full swing and with trained timing is complete as I gesture for the stool next to her. With a dangerous stillness, she never grants me a visual touch of her inspired design, her response was little more than a pinched smile and gentle nod in the reflection of the mirror behind the bar where the bottles of liquor stand at attention like deadly soldiers. "I had to take this seat my lady, sitting next to nothing is a waste of experience I figure. She turned to me and said, "Experience is the leading cause of death I figure." I caught her eyes, pretending weakly not to notice the rain forest green gems that could easily grab you at thirty feet and have you talking about them for a lifetime. "I'm Hamilton Montgomery" I said with a touch of Scottish pride that usually elludes me 3 name is probably Patty
until moments such as these. I wait and make mental predictions of her name as I drink: Victoria, Sophie, Geneva ... ? "I'm Isis .." she breathed before finishing off her glass white zin. [cease making love to my drink and down it. Truth be told, I'm a grand drinker of spirits and this alone is easy, yet it makes my oncoming death or suicide tough when you try to die with what you're fine at, (and yes, there is a difference between death and suicide, one can still be alive and dead at once, and suicide, well that just takes a lot of pain and balls.) So I hail Ma' Barker over and she sets us up with another round. Afte the liquid courage sets the stage and the second bottle of wine she absorbed trollied its way through that alluring mouth of hers, the field magically opened up. With a lean accent, Isis spoke honorable of her upbrining in Tuscany. I found Italy in her eyes and Roman strength falling dark brown to the middle of her back. All that was within me could only listen as my heart was being warned by my pissed off past. Time meant nothing next to her as the moment became valuable like the truth. "You're not American ... " She said with a bold stare. "You barely exist while walking hand in hand with shame. These dreams that you covet are aged and exiled as you sit drinking the fermentation of failure while raping me with your lonliness, Can you not see that men like given unto
yourself are from another time? For your survival is a choice, a gift you've
yourself ... this sense of missing and fearful vision within you has finally sacked the castle built in your heart." She gave her face to me with the power of a thousand gods and my offended instinct could only offer a tired laugh with the stall of another drink. Ms. Tuscany has found validation of Scottish bloodlines making love to gnostisism, geometry and genetics in the blue gray secrets of my eyes. She smiled with spoiled victory and need while leading the dance back to the mirror. Suddenly I'm hit with a surreal flash that indeed beauty knows to say "enough"!
"1 know you ... " she declared with strong rememberance tethering the reins of her voice. "l challenge you Hamilton to find me in this moment of spiritual drowning, all along while you divide and conquer me in your sordid mind ... pushing the sword of flesh deep into all of my possibilities." With that statement a revolution kicked off in my loins and motive. I hai1ed yet for another round, because this was going to get delicate quickly. As our drinks were being refreshed she waited for my move, (as they all do) all I could think of was the impact, Ms. Tuscany's beauty
had the same impact as plugging in a Christmas tree for the first time. 1 must engage her logic
with nothing Jess than what the greatest tutor, life, has taught me. I face her and say, "Your tongue and truth are like an icepick my friend. It's not tough convicting guilt."I find the cheap little frame that holds the first dollar the tavern earned, I look for the pyramid on the back. "Life is full of deformed loves, so many loves that peel like paint ... as you sit there so sure of something, tempting what's left of me ... I wonder if anything has truly changed in this tryst of love, hate, laughter and tears?" She gave me a thin patient smile that couldn't hide the lust and sorrow that coalesced through that epic face. "Doesn't it always ... change?" She breathed while rubbing a finger around the top of her wine glass. "Life and love are not sentimental.. .people are." I tossed back into her mental lap as she turned to me with challenge. "Being the writer, you alone should know firsthand that love and trust are the best antagonist life has to offer. There's no partial trust or half loves ... it's whole, or it's sired and nurtured by lies." She said before crossing the most capable legs inside of her cashmere skirt. "Yes ... well, you've failed to mention a pivotal and extremely unflexible element in ali of this, that little petty thief called time." I confessed while suddenly realizing that my life was 5
how half over, and it appeared to have touched her reality as well. «I figure whatever remains the same on both sides of death is worthy of loving." She said so matter of factly as my touchy eyes relapse again over her face, then fall south of heaven over full breasts and down, yes down to the perfect little triangle of her lap. Climbing back up with no answer for her motto, I spy a tiny gold crucifix at the bottom of modest necklace. "And God" I ask? Tying to catch Isis on the wrong side of her thoughts. "And what. .. ? He came to visit and man killed him. Or, my god met your god behind the bleachers and here we are! Who truly knows? Really Hamilton there are some things we shouldn't pick on. Why, do have some conviction that changes this moment we've walked into?" She said with a thread of sarcasm. As if to say I was worried about this philosophical foreplay, please I thought. "No, I have no conviction of such minor matters. But, I will say for the record, it takes a god to create a god and which is more, I'm far removed from these types of organized failures ... besides, we all love being lied to entirely too much." The silence that followed was almost
painful as we walked together in our minds. I had to
have her. .. she needed to be destroyed in the bed for hours by my army of desires and their war crimes. "Come with
me Isis. Walk with me and my shame to that very castle." She saw that all
our posturing would come to an end as all things must. "How can I trust you?" She pleaded with a thread of experienced fear. "How can you not ... ?" I assured. "A woman must be cautious no?" I tilted my head with a breath of cheap laughter. "Caution is for those poor souls that are weak with judgement my friend ... ajudgement as ignorant as Southern hate and just as blind as those
Yankee visionaries." Now taking my eyes from the melting ice of my drink, only to find the questioning eyes of the bartender. "Are you okay buddy?" She asked. "No. I'm not okay ... why do you ask?" The old woman crossed her arms and smiled gently. "Well I, who the hell were you talking to that whole time?" "Everyone." I said as I left my stool and tipped her carelessly.