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He was late again, more than any human is capable. Half an hour waiting on bus station, with few of them passed by. Finally, his smiling face gets out of the last door, pointing to the watch. I wanted to object, but he was quicker, assuring me how he came before the schedule, implying that he was here before me and that he was waiting for me, not the other way around, although physically I was here, at the station, at required time, but apparently, metaphysically I wasn’t. It is difficult to say anything valid and smart, when listening to such bullshit and not for the first time. He was changing the time on his wrist watch for some period, I was certain. It wasn’t easy to get it out of open as I didn’t own any watch and mobile phones were still very scarce. I said something in that manner, but he dismissed me abruptly. No watch, no brain. I had to stay in defense.

At the bar, Milo was drinking one large beer after another, whilst I stick with my small one. He was saying, almost without stopping, of parties of previous night, the night before and every night, to that matter for last ten days. I realized with only half a brain that he has drunk several huge mugs and managed to keep talking constantly. One should praise such technique or send him to heavy drinkers Olympiad. I smiled to that thought, just in time for another joke by him, so he smiled back.

“Can you imagine poor lady, running around with buckets”, Milo had to repeat his “funny” story, “whilst her husband and two sons vomiting around. One in the bathroom, another in the kitchen and final in the living room”. Full of laughter he left. I had to pay the bill and grasp the story. I have felt as garbage container, pour it all on me, I don’t mind. Poor mother with three musicians in the home, heavy drinkers, who can’t stop when offered with various free drinks on parties where they entertain the guests. Oh god, he doesn’t realize, in space of few months, he became such guys, to whom he is looking down saying “I will never be like that, not for a million years”. It is a curse for local musicians here in the Balkans. Easy money, no taxes, as neither government for last several decades implemented any laws on them. People here needs celebrations with few guys portraying as orchestra, singing and playing local hits accompanied with wine, beer, rakija (homemade fruit brandy), vodka, tequila,  liqueur and whiskey, you name it, they will drink it.

Once I offered to Milo, raspberry rakija, what a mistake. He was full of self, drinking entire bottle, embarrassing me at the home of my sister and her young husband, whose parents had the plant down south, on the other part of the country, of this fruit and send him single bottle – for special occasion. Yap that was really my silver moment, the one that hunted me for years. I was an idol, for a week, at his tribe, heavy drinker’s elite group.

His brother, veteran of so many feasts, gave him some small guitar and brought him together, wanting for his baby brother proper job. Intention was worth of any praise, but he has forgotten what is like out there or he never understood the whole situation. When one thinks of it, as outsider, it must be latter one. He did married, but left his wife and twins very soon, returning home – “Over here nobody is nagging all the time. I need rest. My job is so hard.” As others, doctors, lawyers, truck drivers, miners have a walk in the park during they time in the office!? I played tennis with him several times, with 30 minutes waiting, of course, and complaining on his wife and her mother every time. He had time to play tennis, basketball, drink many beers, but not to walk his offspring, ride bicycle to his friend’s cottage at nearby mountain - “I don’t understand why people doesn’t come more often to this heavenly place” – I said nothing in return, but I should remind him of working hours and heavy traffic. Also there is a question of spending some time with the family and prepare some meal, we all can’t come and go, like it is restaurant where we live as it is the case at his old poor mum.

Ten days later, it was the same routine. I didn’t say nothing, which prompted Milo to explain strange event in the bus and why it was late for 45 minutes. Instead of focusing on coming on time, he spent the time constructed impossible story, which only some dubious hedgehog could accept as true and only if one bribes him with lot of apples or ants. I am not sure for diet of such creatures. This time he talked of last week trip to Brussels by car. It was amazing.

“Do you know how many bars are between here to there? And so many different kinds of beers!” I bet he tried them all. He told me about Salzburg.

“There was Mozart museum and pub just across it.” I was sure that museum is still there, and that he didn’t visit it. However he surprised me:

“Some girls from the other car went to the museum and told us of many interesting stuff inside. I was really sorry to miss it, right until I ordered some fantastic schnapps”, smiling and watching me carefully for reaction. I was beyond any, contemplating how one person can change so quickly into somebody else. The alcohol was to blame and the money to buy it. Too much money and free time. Despite arguing how difficult their job is, weekly statistic could prove them wrong. Particularly, when wages are taken into account. Fridays and Saturdays are often difficult to bear, but rest of the week is pretty lean. I remember he told me about one night, during winter. He earned monthly salary that evening, but spent, on Heineken, some 50 Euros more. However it was magnificent night. Worth remembering, at least for me, for him it was just one of many special events. Soon after Milo got really sick, Candida raging on, with open wounds on his lips. It was awful to witness. He asked me what to do. I told him, visit the doctor. His eyes were scared, but his mouth rejected the idea – “The doctor will tell me - stay off the booze. I don’t want that. It is such great feeling. I love it.” There wasn’t anything to say after that. After a while, his organism adapted to new thing around, alcohol in gallons and everything went back to normal.

Next time he called me to go shopping and he promised he want be late. “Usual 30 minutes doesn’t count”, I thought to myself. He really needed my help as the twins’ birthday was coming around. Right from the typical “story from the bus”, it seemed that interesting event waits for him to board it and then follows. This time some granny asks him for assistance although she was in the wrong bus and town. Alcohol was killing his brain cells at astonishing rate. Instead of looking for present, he has already bought some stupid truck, the children are pretty ignorant, they don’t acquire anything expensive, his words, Milo informed of so many girls, night after night wanting to have a thing or two with him. I tried to advise him some caution, they are obviously after his cash, but he dismissed my claims, talking and talking of his after-midnight conquests, using me again as garbage can. Pretty soon I was full, but he didn’t mind, he kept pouring all kind of shit and feces.

Somehow I started working at non-alcoholic pub. He came one afternoon laughing at me:

“You must have something under counter.” I protested and he ridiculed me. At the end, he ordered some coffee, looking at it, like it will bite off his face. I was tempted to tell him about some older referee who, last slow Sunday, ordered rum (without tea) one after another to get into pants of some young female. He was my friend. I didn’t want to think of him as dirty old man, it was enough thinking of him as drunken fool, deteriorating rapidly. Nowadays, he has to take three different pills for blood pressure, vitality is in the past and obesity very much his future. He doesn’t regret any of it opposite to me. I regret all those 30+ minutes waiting on the bus station. One thing is sure I am not staying a minute longer then required. Some lessons are very hard to teach and alcohol – not in my book.

July 09, 2020 23:28

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