I’m behind two bums sipping vodka out a water bottle ten feet from a dumpster. We’re standing in a hundreds deep line to get into The Mohawk, an open air venue, to see Sylvan Esso for free. It’s early afternoon and the sun is inescapable. The band doesn’t play ’til dark though many will take the stage before them. I normally catch a buzz for a show but this time only carry drops of box wine in an old can of Rockstar. There’s no point in getting fucked up six hours before the feature. By the time Sylvan step on I’d be post-drunk and in the depths of hangover.
The vodka swilling bums keep sipping from their water bottle. It’s almost full yet they only manage little hits. Each time they tip it back they pucker their face and remark how dog shit this shit is. I can handle a handle of $10 vodka if I have to. This must be the sun-fried, $7 shit.
The vodka bums seem to be around my age but look rough. They’re draped in the canvas clothes of the chronically homeless and appear unwashed. It doesn’t seem to bother them as each is buzzing and in good spirits. I’m technically homeless, living in my car in a parking lot, but have money and use the free shower at the pool. I do my best to pass as normal. A nobody blending with the crowd.
Most of the people around us are young, in college, and collected with friends. The line wraps around the venue, down the sidewalk, then off along the beat down dirt path aside a fence. Since I’m alone I have nothing better to do than listen in on others.
“I’d eat the pussy of every girl in this town,” one of the hobos tells the other.
I think he’s joking but it’s hard to tell. I take note of his teeth. They’re straight but stained yellow, like he swished dirty piss. The kind that comes with dehydration. I imagine him on his knees before a naked woman, her thighs spread, his tongue snaking through yellow shingles to find its way to her puss. He passes the water bottle of vodka to his friend who swills it. I wonder if the alcohol is enough antiseptic to kill whatever Yellow Teeth left on its lip.
The line starts moving. There’s an air of excitement. The wait is over. We’ve been frying for hours but now they’re letting us in. I fish my ID from my pocket and slam what little wine I have. Damn. It doesn’t do shit.
The bums debate stuffing the vodka down one of their crotches but decide against it. Yellow Teeth pulls a crumpled wad of cash from his pocket and says he’ll buy them both beers at the show. I think to ask them for a hit, to swill the shit quick and catch a drunk. But I hesitate. I don’t have to live this way. For me it’s a goof. For them reality. In that split second Yellow Teeth speedballs the bottle at an overfull dumpster to our left. The liquid explodes against the flipped up lid and the bottle disappears to the heap.
“Oh man, was that vodka?” I ask.
“Yeah man it was,” Yellow Teeth tells me.
“Shit, I would’ve drank that.”
“It was dog shit, dude.”
I look at his teeth as he speaks and can’t argue the point. The line shrinks down and I step into The Mohawk, ready to see the show.