Bill Greif will maybe at some point get around to giving a damn about what you’re telling him, but, brother man, it won’t be today. Not while the beer’s cold and not in light of the quality of the last six songs to blare out of the lowered windows of his totaled Celica GT that’s parked on the sandbar at low tide. Don’t y’all worry about the state of his Sears DieHard — he’s got jumper cables and some good buddies hanging out on that jetty around the bend.
You’re on about something else now, but “Caballero Good Times” Bill Greif is having himself a laugh about trying to make a seat out of the styrofoam cooler. Now he’s got ice cold cut-offs, some pulverized cold storage, and a rack and a half of Coors Extra Golds rolling around in the silt loam. “Ah shit, look at them dirty thirties,” he says while pushing the knock-off aviators up the bridge of his nose. “Thought I was sitting on my Igloo.” Don’t worry, Bill says, beers won’t get hot if you drink ‘em while they’re cold.
“Ah shit, play that song again, would you, Linda, baby,” he says still sitting in the half-melted ice and styrofoam flotsam. “Ha ha, hell, never mind, forgot it was the radio.”
He nods his head a few times. “Frequency modulation, my friends” he says before taking a long pull on a freshly opened sandy beer.
Now you’ve moved on to caterwauling about work or the landlord or how they treated you at Hardee’s the other week, but your man Bill Greif is too busy not being too busy. The sun’s hopping off the lake like a new pinball off the plunger of that Alice Cooper machine at the Qwik-Stop. You know, the one that steals everyone’s quarters. Everyone’s except Bill’s, you reckon. Shit, man, another good song, he says.
You can’t help but start in on how much utility bills are these days and how your step-mom stopped paying for yours once your pops found out she was floating you. Bill Greif doesn’t necessarily disagree about the current state of light bills, but right now he’s more attuned to the fact that the smoke from this one-hitter going down his throat feels like a velvet waterslide. Man alive, he thought he saw a cool ass bullfrog in the reeds, but it was just his wallet. “Shit, man, that’s just my wallet,” he says while you’re still on about something or other. “I’ll leave my wallet there in case a bullfrog comes along and needs something to sit on so he can cool his heels a bit. I know how that is.”
Bill’s getting a sunburn, but that’ll go away. Nothing half a tab of Dristan and another toke won’t fix. By the time he has to worry about all the sunburns he’s stacked up, the plant will have closed, taking his health insurance with it, and it’ll all be beyond the point of fretting. Long time until that comes to pass, though. Lotta good songs to hear before all that comes back on him.
“Hey, Greif,” Big Puke yells from thigh-deep lake mud. “Remember when you forgot your dog’s name and gave it an even cooler name instead?”
“Man,” Bill Greif says while thinking about that dog and then some other mountainous good time, “that shit was four girlfriends ago.”
“What was that dog’s second name?” shouts Big Puke. “Dr. Backgammon?”
“Yeah, man, that was it. Good dog. Good song right here, too.”
It’s about now that it occurs to you that Bill Greif probably thinks every song is good. He may have a point about that. Maybe you oughta listen to more music.
“Hey, Bill,” you say to him. He reaches back and lights his cig with a match while it’s still tucked behind his ear. His sideburn catches fire for a moment, but a lake breeze puts it out a second later. He puts the cig in his mouth and looks up at you. “Whatcha got, my man.”
“You’re my steady captain,” you tell Bill Greif.
He points his finger-gun at you, drops his thumb. “You know it, brother man,” he says. “Lemme turn this up for us.”