Every once in a while, when I'm feeling social, or really just need to get the !@#$ out of The B.U.I.L.D.I.N.G, I'll actually go out for a drink. And since I don't tend to want to drink in a crowd, mostly because whenever I do people either want to !@#$ me or !@#$ with me, I pick bars where you won't be disturbed because everyone there wants to be left alone.
One such establishment is the Black Rat of Armagh, which is one of the darkest, nastiest Irish bars you will ever see in your life. They say the founder was arrested in 1952 after being caught doing something truly horrible with one of the waitresses and a pool cue, and every member of the coroner's inquest was sick for weeks after viewing the evidence.
The atmosphere hasn't improved since. The floor hasn't been mopped in years, the lights are all burned out, the booths may be boobytrapped, and the bartender will smash bottles against his forehead for tips. You don't want anything out of the tap if you value your GI tract, and you'd rather !@#$ in the alley outside than dare to go in the men's.
Every time the Black Rat gets picked up and put down when the city converts, the neighborhood it lands in gets just a little more unpleasant to have it there. It's like it's the bad kid in the back of the classroom, dragging the other students down with him.
So that's where I go for a drink. They keep bottles of Singha there just for me because they know I can't !@#$ stand Guinness. And they know on the night I'm there no one will go home in a bag, because I'll !@#$ SPYGOD VISION anyone who tries anything into permanent incontinence.
Which means it's less fun for the regulars, but that's their tough !@#$. If I don't keep the place at least a little clean there's less chance that he might show up.
You see, sometimes I have an ulterior motive for going out for a drink. Sometimes I go out hoping that I'll run into Aaron, again. And the Black Rat is one of the few places he'll go when he's in Neo York City, for pretty much the same reasons I go there.
Because he's also had more than his share of being !@#$ed with, and just wants to be left alone.
Sometimes people ask me what it's like to be immortal. They read the fact sheet, however bogus and redacted all to !@#$ most of those 'facts' are, and want to know what it feels like. It must be heaven, right?
And I'll them them no, son. It most certainly is not.
I mean, don't get me wrong. I like having it as a tool in the arsenal. I like the fact that I can wander into a firefight buck naked except for a hat and a gun and walk back out the other side with only a few scratches.
(That's not to say I'm indestructible. Far from it. I have my weaknesses, and canny readers of this blog may have already guessed what a few of them are. Hint: not alcohol.)
But as for the actual reality of living forever, it sucks. It's not what you're promised in the movies or comic books or daydreams that don't involve naked people doing everything you want. Or maybe do, depending.
It's highly and horribly overrated.
And I know what you're thinking, son. You're thinking 'Gee, SPYGOD, you've only had that eye for, what, maybe fifty years? How on earth would you know that immortality is a crock when you've only had half an extra human lifetime to ponder it?'
That would be an excellent question. The answer is because I got some inside intel on the matter from someone who actually knows.
And Aaron hates it. He really !@#$ hates it.
Buy him a drink and he'll be happy to tell you all about it, provided he doesn't just look at you with that look (the one that once made Dick Cheney !@#$ his pants back in 1984) and then get up and leave. Like I said, he'd rather just be left alone.
Aaron says that immortality is about permanence in an impermanent world. It's about getting to know and love people, only to watch them grow old and die in front of you while you stay exactly how you are. It's about watching people learn from their mistakes and change while you're just standing still and going nowhere but in a little circle.
And the notion that meeting new people and making new relationships somehow salves this pain? It's bull!@#$. It turns out that people have this tendency to be repeated by the world, over and over again. Before long every new face you see has little pieces of a dozen other faces inside of them, and you always remember all those people when you're making new friends.
But then they aren't just like those people, before, and that makes you upset and sad, and more than a little nostalgic for those times long past.
He told me these things back in the 80's, when he was in the White House, guarding Rappin Ronnie. I didn't believe him then. But as the decade went on, I started losing more friends from the War. And when I went to go see the ones I still had, and saw they'd become doddering old men and women, frail and broken and waiting for an end to come around at last.
And there I was, untouched, like a picture on the wall come to life and trying to sneak hooch into the VA rest home.
The next time I saw him, out drinking in a place just like this, I told him he was right. And he looked at me, drunk as !@#$, and just laughed in that evil, window-shattering laugh of his.
I hope he's at the Black Rat tonight. I have some questions I need to ask him. I know he probably won't answer, but I can usually learn more from what he doesn't say about something than what he actually does. He's funny like that.
And I don't feel like joking around with this !@#$ right now.
(SPYGOD is listening to Personal Jesus (Depeche Mode, by way of Marilyn Manson) and is about to pollute his stomach with something truly terrifying.)