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Thursday, September 3, 2015

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Don the hunter in Friendly Lounge--Italian Market








Friendly Lounge. Sixty-four-years-old, Don was a building contractor for more than three decades. His crew typically had six employees. When he was 58, he fell while working and cracked his neck, several bones in his right arm and hurt his back. He retired two years later.

At 18, Don got married, but it only lasted two years. He has one child, a 42-year-old son who lives on the Jersey Shore.

Don has a 32-foot boat, moored at the Jersey Shore. He enjoys fishing in the open sea.

Don has 22 guns, and he's hunted all over, including in Mongolia, a trip he took 10 years ago with a doctor and a dentist, "I figure if I get sick, there's a doctor right there, and if I need a tooth pulled, I'll be OK too." He wants to go to Africa next.

The high altitude in Mongolia bothered his joints and made it difficult for him to walk, "I just wanted to go home. I told them, 'I need a helicopter! Just get me out of here! I don't care how much it costs. You can have my gun. I just want to go home!'"

He couldn't. Their guides drove Don and the other Americans across the bumpy desert. Don ended up killing the first argali of the day, which meant that he had to eat a piece of its raw testicle, "I got sick that day and all of the next day. Oh man, it was terrible!"

The Mongolians were the friendliest people, Don said, but the food wasn't too good. "When we gave our guides their tips at the end of the trip, they were all sitting on top of the SUV playing cards!"

On the way back, they stayed for a couple nights in Seoul, South Korea, "That was wonderful!"

Don's dad was a bartender for several decades at Villa di Roma, a popular restaurant in the Italian Market.

Don tends to show up at the Friendly Lounge just after it opens at 10AM. Today it was 94 degree when he left. With his bad back, it takes him twice as long as a normal person to walk, but luckily, he only lives two blocks away.

"You might not make it," I said.

"Thanks a lot!"



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1 comment:

Swza said...

Vile. Thankfully there's no way he'll make it to Africa

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About Me

Born in Vietnam in 1963, I came to the US in 1975, and have also lived in Italy, England and Germany. I'm the author of two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), five of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007) and Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009), and a novel, Love Like Hate (2010). I've been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories From Around the World, etc. I'm also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013). Blood and Soap was chosen by Village Voice as one of the best books of 2004. My writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and I've been invited to read in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Leipzig, Halle, Reykjavik, Toronto, Singapore and all over the US. I've also published widely in Vietnamese.