“An ‘Uncle Nick’s’ Oyster Bar Saga/Scuffle” – Tanka 424


Right shoulder deep aches

from thirty years ago “talk”

with Badass Biker

 

at “Nick’s” bar’s corner window –

was too big for “the open!*”

 

*(I was just trying to explain to him how impolite to {bartender} Li’l Jan he was, I said to three even bigger biker buds who pulled me away from that corner of the still-talked-about Liquor and Oyster Bar in what had been Jane Sinko’s Tavern on the then-outskirts of Sanford when mom and dad would take their three boys for suicide sodas – a squirt of each of the soft-drink flavors – as they had a quick small beer apiece before heading home but three blocks away.  Now it was a dive frequented by lawyers, bikers, college teachers and seafood lovers and not just a few unsavory elements buying, selling, ingesting or savoring sins and illegalities, in short the kind of place in which I felt at home.  I’ve met little old ladies out for a sip, Danes off the boat in search of Apalachicola Bay oysters with their motorcycle club regalia in full flower, nuclear submarine salts and not just a smattering of high school and college friends and a couple of old Marine buddies, favored bar tenders and their entangles and sometimes my own dad – who preferred I shuck a dozen myself into a clean mayonnaise jar – with their juices of course – to take to his house and make him forbidden-by-diet oyster stew: first saute to wilt only some green onions, whites and greens alike, reserving a few green ringlets for garniture in sweet unsalted butter, toss in oyster liquor and either full-force or half-and-half cream and then just when the edges of the pan come to a simmer with bubbles ringing the pot add the oysters until the fluttery vaginal-looking frills begin to swell and separate, add to a warm bowl and serve with some Tabasco or other hot sauce, ground black pepper and if warranted, kosher salt.  Saltines, but I prefer toasted and buttered rounds of french baguette. The contretemps began by the window into whose sill the brute shoved me, right shoulder-first: I grabbed hold of his leathers and flip-swung him into the corner,  the few patrons there – as it was generally the least-served easily-by-the-bartender area and thus had drawn his vocal and vile ire, scattered and I began my plaint: just put your empty and your cash up by the rail and she’ll be by directly, I shouted into his ear despite biting it as hard as I could while at the same time driving a knee towards his groin as he pounded my shoulder and back of my head with his free right fist and forearm.  Then, as we settled into no stalemate whatsoever, I having released his ear and trying to spread his un-pinned leg by the knee so he would join me on the bar’s floor did my buddies intervene – I saw but one pulled Bowie Knife, held unmenacingly enough by its blade, but Bradley rarely if ever used anything but the hilt – separating us both who promptly returned to our stools and our beers and nothing more was said or done.)

 

 

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