The Rogue Voice


March 01, 2008

Bush and Bukowski: Hail to the chief

‘These drinks are on the biggest shit-head and worst president in the history of the country!’

I’m not wasting George Bush’s money on those who do not support my magazine. Even a drunk has his pride and standards.

By Dell Franklin

Being the owner and publisher of a literary journal, I know exactly what to do with the $300 George Bush intends to send me to stimulate the economy: I’m going straight to the bars and spread the wealth and get drunk.
Running a magazine is a losing proposition. I’ve never had more fun and suffered a bigger financial disaster. Most journalists in the old days were chain-smoking drunks who hung out in pubs. I’m just a drunk. For many years I was a bartender. So what better way to uphold my image than to start my binge out in Morro Bay at the Otter Rock cafe? Why? Because they advertise with me. Why should I spend my new-found windfall in an establishment that will not sponsor The Rogue Voice?
Besides, the Otter Rock has food. A drunk needs fuel for stamina if he wishes to complete a day and night long $300 binge; though there is the strong possibility I will take along Ben Leroux, the 300-pound window washer who writes a column for me, and the bearded runt, Stacey Warde, our tormented editor. Since they are poor, why not treat them, even if I do have a way of making them feel like beggars?
Anyway, in the Otter Rock there will be some fishermen and local swine who once habituated Happy Jack’s, a notorious dive where I tended bar for eight years before it was sanitized for the yuppies. I’d go in there for old time’s sake, but since they don’t advertise with me, I’m not wasting George Bush’s money on those who do not support my magazine. Even a drunk has his pride and standards.
When I raise that first crackling mint-fresh hundred-dollar bill in the Otter Rock and twirl it around like a magic wand, there is a good possibility I will indulge in a resounding imitation of Mickey Rourke in the Charles Bukowski movie, “Bar Fly,” and bellow: “A round for my friends…and that guy in the corner, with the patchy beard, smoking generic cigs, the poor bastard doesn't look like he has med-ical coverage—medicate him with a shot of Jack! Another round for my friends!” And I will repeat this mantra until the first hundred is spent and we can find somebody to drive our drunken butts to Cayucos, where, in Schooner’s Wharf—whose owners run an ad in my paper—the second hundred donated to me by Generous George will be twirled in the air.
“Another round for my friends!”
“Here here.”
“That broke real estate guy in the faded silk shirt. Give the poor bastard one on me. Gotta spend money. Gotta stimulate the economy. Gotta help America get going again. Another round for my friends!”
The Schooner is a handsome joint with a second-deck ocean view.
Locals are togged out in Hawaiian shirts, surfer shorts, hemp sandals, while tourists might belong to a down-south yacht club. So be it. We will want to sit at the bar, not a table. We will switch to high-end straight booze, glasses brimming over, and savor the ocean and sunset, mellowness settling in.
Oh yes.
Goddamn right.
Ecstasy, brother, as the Rogue crew enjoys its own brand of celebrity status and hero-worship.
Special pleasure is taken when a recovering alcoholic born-again Christian bone-head who led cheers at Yale football games and weaseled out of ‘Nam buys our drinks. “These drinks are on the biggest shit-head and worst president in the history of the country!” I will bellow, and those along the bar will nod and hoist their glasses and bottles in a toast to ineptitude.
When that second hundred is gone, our staff will be seriously impaired and hovering between the delicious Golden Glow aspired to by all dedicated boozers and the first signs of blackout stage. This is the time to retreat across the main drag to the darkened confines of the Old Cayucos Tavern, which runs an ad with me, and where grunt laborers and those disenfranchised from the wealthy trappings destroying the character and charm of our little beach burg will be hunched over beers and shots, sourly discussing the broken economy while serenaded by country western, preferably Johnny Cash.
Well, we will play Al Green and Marvin Gaye and wave that last hundred in the air. “Another round for my friends! And that guy in the corner who needs a haircut and is suffering from unemployment depression—a shot of whiskey!”
During the spending of this last bill, not much will be remembered. This is a good thing, possibly, especially when massive hulking window washer Ben Leroux, a former gridder and hoopster from Northern Idaho, acquires a demented glint in his eye and begins to feel persecuted at being poor, downtrodden and womanless. Watch out, folks!
And so, with the last $20 remaining from the country's dwindling coffers, I will buy one last round for my friends and hail George Bush for the only constructive, worthwhile and humanitarian move he’s made in the seven-plus years it took him to ruin the country: bankroll a well deserved and necessary binge for three Army veterans, malcontents, non-believers and dissidents who wouldn’t have a beer with him if he were the last person on earth!
P.S. If I get $600, we get us some hookers. §

Dell Franklin is publisher of The Rogue Voice. He can be reached at


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