Just behind the puddled alley of Ronnie's dive bar, lust was brewing within a young man at a ramshackle house show. Catching the direct glance of a cute, short-haired blond girl sitting on the floor against the wall, he distractedly continued his conversation with the pearly-smiled brunette on the other side of the living room.
"Oh you do dental surgery?"
"Not the surgery actually, I'm the assistant."
"So do you get to put people under?"
"Yep, I get to gas 'em."
"Nice. I've never been under the gas."
"It's great. You sit back, and then right when you think you're about to get started, the dentist tells you you're all finished."
He caught the blond looking at him again. This could go on all night, he thought. But he didn't look back for too long. He returned to the "so what do you do?" party small talk.
"I need to go to a new dentist soon actually." he said over-excitedly as he looked the brunette girl in the mouth. "One of my teeth is messed up and needs to come out."
"Oh I can give you a professional recommendation if you'd like." This was spoken as if a wink ought to have followed.
"I love my dentist. He's on Damen and Cortland."
"Cool, yeah. My last trip to the dentist wasn't too great. I actually just picked up my x-rays to bring them somewhere else."
"Oh, this dentist is so good, here let me write down his name for you."
As the band set up to play at the far end of the dimly lit apartment, the brunette pressed a show flyer against the paint-chipped, beer stained wall and wrote a name and number on the back. To the blond across the room, the guy appeared to have scored some digits. So she ceased eye contact for the remainder of the evening.
But the blond would have been out of luck either way, because this guy was married. And he made sure to mention his wife at the beginning of his small-talk conversation with the brunette. Had he not, maybe that pen and paper would have been used for her own number instead. Long gone are the nights of meeting artsy girls with lofty hopes of summer romance. Now a fully fledged mid-20's gentleman, the point has finally come where the only numbers he gets from pretty girls are their recommendations for dentists.
His wife was only two blocks away too. The only reason he went out to this house show was because his friend was performing between bands (some bad poetry that only punk rock kids can forgive). He threw a few bucks in the donations jar anyway, even though his friend wasn't getting a cut. Gotta support the local arts. Or something in that realm, somewhere...
They turned to watch the band. Bearded mountain punks from Arizona. The Portland type--dirty faces and every article of clothing with a cut-off somewhere. Cut-off jeans shorts above the knee, black t-shirt cut to a frayed sleeveless, and their shoes might have even been cut at the ankles. They played that gypsy rock of the Gogol Bordello brand. A single snare drum, mandolin, banjo and acoustic guitar all worked at rapid speeds and out of tune. Totally unplugged, of course. The rain outside was almost louder.
The sudden downpour kept him from going home to his wife, who only stayed at the apartment to take care of their new dog. He stepped out back to call her between songs.
"Hey, he read already, like, half an hour ago. I'm just gonna try to wait this rain out."
"That's fine. How'd he do?"
"Good. You know. About 30... 45 kids here. It's nice to blend spoken word with music like this. I dig these kinds of house shows. I'm glad I was able to come support."
"Well let me know if you want me to pick you up in case the rain doesn't let up."
And at that moment, he decided to run through the rain. Why not get wet for the one you love? Actually, that's generally how it should always work...
He ran past Ronnies' bar where the scummy clientele smoked Camels under a sliver of an awning. And as he ran he heard other music playing throughout the neighborhood, none of it acoustic gutter punk. Wild gospel seeped out the cracked windows of Salem Iglesia. Droning shoegaze from another corner of a Logan Square two-flat. The reggaeton thumping behind closed windows in the cars at the stoplight. Music was all around him, even through the softening rain and yelling of bandwagon Blackhawks fans. All would go quiet when he opened his door.
He found his love. Their muscles ached together, and they stayed in for the night.