The Raging Rose Saloon
"See?" Goldie said. "See? . . . Don't need anybody sayin' the
Stones are comin' here. . . . Don't need any of this. Things tough enough
as it is. Let me be, Gil, until you're free 'a all this nonsense."
There was a pleasure still dear to me, even during those days of Stones
mania in Central Massachusetts, and that was leaving Worcester a half
an hour or so earlier than anybody at the Farm thought, and detouring
to Bridgehampton on my way home. Bridgehampton is a very down-to-earth
town. Divorcees come to live there after the breakup of their
marriages. A lot of mainline truckdrivers live there. A lot of mainline
drug users live there. I'm told that guys sometimes hide out in
Bridgehampton if they're running from the law. Crap-shooters, drifters,
busted-up confidence men, and teenage thugs all pass each other
silently on the streets of this town, ignoring each other, going about
their business, and saving all gossip, palaver, and currying of favor
for the late afternoon and early evening hours, and for one of two
local pubs either the New Goldener Spa, or the Raging Rose Saloon.
It was the latter for me, this fine afternoon the Raging Rose
Saloon. I pulled up in a cloud of dust, top down in my blue XK-E. Sat there
for a minute, hi-fi blaring at me through the six speakers recently installed
in my twelve year old sports car. I was listening to the tape I'd made of
A face appeared in the window, gaped querulously at me for a minute,
and I shut off the tape deck. It was Goldie, formerly of The Pub in
North Brookfield. Before that I don't know. Goldie generally wore an
apron, and ran this place in Bridgehampton all by herself junkies,
crooks-on-the-lam, divorcees, and all. Goldie had a lot of miles on
her, and it showed in her face, which was creased with pain. Yes, pain
you'd have to say. Goldie looked old, but she really was quite young.
"What the hell are you doing here?" Goldie drawled at me, now standing
in the doorway to the Raging Rose Saloon, and smoothing her apron.
"Whadd'ya tryin' to do, upset the clientele?"
"Goldie," I joked. "You ought to be happy to have me. Other
club owners are. Tends to stimulate business, they tell me."
"Got no need 'a that. Got no need 'a reporters nosing around here. You
know the kinda' folks we have hangin' out from time to time. They don't
need the publicity. Board 'a Health people comin' in the next day and
tellin' me the dog can't stay, and that the back of the bar needs
sweepin' out. Don't need any 'a that.
"Look," she said with particular emphasis, pointing to a large American
car which had just pulled into the dirt parking lot. "Don't need this,
either. Underage most likely, crazed with all this talk about that
stupid band 'a yours. Don't need any 'a that."
Goldie was right. Some kid looking about seventeen years of age had
just slid into the Raging Rose parking lot, splashing the left front
tire of his father's car into one remaining deep puddle. He had three
girls with him, and two other guys. The girls acted as though they had
just achieved the satisfaction of a consensus concerning me, and
concerning my automobile.
"That's him," the one girl said. "He's got to come first. To check
things out. Him and that car of his. Gotta be the right place."
Another car pulled in. Only three young people inside this time, but
every bit as much full of themselves.
"Hey, hey," someone from the first car shouted to the second car.
Everybody in both cars jumped out, slamming the wide car doors shut
behind them, and began to work their way past Goldie and into the bar.
Goldie didn't bother to check I.D.'s. She was fuming.
"See?" Goldie said. "See? You go on home to that farm 'a yours,
and let me be. Don't need anybody sayin' the Stones are comin'
the Stones comin' here, and you better tell those guys from the Telegram
that it's hurting business havin' them here each night, takin' up a booth all
night long, nursing one drink apiece, watchin' the door like they always do,
and playin' those damned Stones records on the jukebox. Don't need any of
this. Things tough enough as it is. Let me be, Gil, until you're
free 'a all this
A third car pulled into the parking lot, indistinguishable in regard to
its appearance and the motives of its occupants from the first two.
Kids, looking for the Rolling Stones. And then another big car pulled
in. Driver giving the "thumbs up" sign to the kids who had arrived only
a few minutes earlier, and who had apparently pumped some dimes into
the phone as a favor once they thought something might be going on
that the Rolling Stones might be coming.
I could see I wasn't going to get any sunset drink reverie here at the
Raging Rose Saloon, so I smiled at Goldie, took the six or seven steps
back toward my blue convertible, sat down into it, and left the parking
lot with a roar and a splash through the same silly puddle. I waved
goodbye to Goldie with two fingers, through the rear-view mirror. She
was still standing in the doorway to the Saloon, arms akimbo. She was
making sure I left.