It was the last Saturday in Lima, so the plan called for the boys (and one girl) to head down to Los Incas, where many a heroic game of Texas Hold ‘em has been played throughout the years. These days Pizza St. is a lot less shady than it used to be, but it’s still shady enough.
Inevitably you find yourself engaged in futile, redundant battles from the local service industry. The object of these conflicts isn’t to beat you at any given time, instead, they’re meant to wear you down so that one afternoon you show up, say, “fine dammit, take all my money” and disinflate like Tom Brady’s balls.
All relationships are based on the designation of rules…but don’t think that the established rules won’t change when confronted with Pizza St servers. Typically you get a Pisco Sour if you order an entree, but you still ALWAYS have to ask for it before you order the food. You have to repeat this action even when the waitress says, “ya, ya, yah…you’ll get your dang Pisco Sour!” I swear to you if you don’t ask for the Pisco she won’t bring it and she’ll know NOTHING about this crazy “deal” where you’re supposed to get a free Pisco. “What are you talking about you lunatic? That’s never been offered by this establishment…” YOU GAVE ME ONE YESTERDAYYYYY!!!!
We made the mistake of thinking we’d be getting our unopened Pilsen tall boys for the price of S/. 10 per bottle as we had forever, but that went out the window. On an early expedition, I sat down and asked for this deal, the deal that my father’s fathers had enjoyed going back to the discovery of this continent….blank look.
“We’ve NEVER offered that.”
“But look next door!”
Next door was a huge billboard with a banner saying 2 Pilsen tall boys for S/. 20.
“We don’t offer that.”
“YES YOU DO!!! Can’t you call somebody? NO? Ok…I guess we’ll have to go next door.”
And we went next door and drank and it wasn’t as good because it wasn’t Los Incas, and then our usual waitress showed up and asked why we weren’t at our usual table, and we explained the situation and she was crestfallen. She assured us the problem would never arise again, and it didn’t…but there are always other problems.
Anyway, The Kid was scheduled to arrive with his new ladyfriend, the Queen of the Desert (she was a girl, don’t read too much into that movie reference). Also coming was Canadian Bacon and maybe Seattle (turns out he couldn’t make it). That was it, a small game, social, good for drinking and knocking bottles half full of Pilsen and plates of Tequenos onto the floor. The glory of Pizza St.
The Kid had cleaned me out the last game of Poker utilizing an aggressive style where he refused under any circumstances to fold. That eventually wears you down as you sit there folding yourself awaiting cards. He beat me on clubs on the river and had grown weary of taking my money so he packed up his chips and slipped onto a bus. I needed my money back though, so I was happy to play this last Saturday in Lima.
Canadian Bacon was new to cards, and Pizza St. Immediately when he arrived, whistling a tune by Bryan Adams, he whipped out a bottle of Maple Syrup and started telling us about a skit by the Mckenzie Brothers he was sure we hadn’t seen. But I am from Wisconsin, and I needed to speak only one word (with a long “o”) and he recognized me as a brother and all was good.
It came Canadian Bacon’s time to deal and he began telling us how the third act of Christopher Nolan’s “Inception” was too long. I said I agreed and he flipped out (because I was trolling when I said it I admit it). Eventually we got some cards dealt, and The Kid’s pocket rockets were defeated by 9/2 offsuit when Bacon got a miracle deuce on the river. The Kid sat dejected. Queen of the desert said, “I knew that was going to happen, I always lose on Aces…I’d rather bet the 2s”
We pitched out our lists of the best movies ever made. By now we’d gone through about S/. 140 in Pilsens. The list was incoherent, but as the saying goes, a drunk speaks the truth: Seven Samurai, There Will be Blood, Casino, Goodfellas, The Departed is my least favorite (why? That film is frickin’ awesome!!!), The Empire Strikes Back, Breaking Away, Taxi Driver (we were Scorsese heavy), The Man Who Would be King (I didn’t think of that one until today actually), No Country for Old Men, and Strange Brew…and some less reputable choices.
Only once did money fail to flow in its proper direction from the outside world toward myself. The natural order was restored to balance. As always I finished this season of Pizza St. Poker breaking even…more or less.
Then the team dissolved into the night, off to fight new battles with idiot taxi drivers who forget how much they said they’d charge and then refuse to follow a rational route to get where you’re trying to go. I’ll miss my Pizza St. Poker, but it’s precious because it only happens a dozen or so times a year…kind of like Packer Games.