Riding Off The Vodka

Vladimir was breathing heavily as he pumped the pedals of his bike. He was riding up a very steep hill outside his home town near the Estonian border. He was riding off a heavy night of drinking. He and some of his band mates had gone out and drank a large amount of vodka over an average period of time. His head hurt a little as he got to about the half way point on the hill. He wanted to sweat. Whenever he would sweat after drinking he always felt better and the more he sweat the better he felt. He had noticed a letter from Babakar sticking out of the mail box when he walked out of his house to fetch his bike. He just left it in the box until he got back but he was wondering what Babakar would want. They had just finished an album called Baobob. Vladimir always wondered about the spelling. In The Little Prince, by St. Exupiary they spelled Baobab with 2 ‘a’s not 2 ‘o’s. Babakar liked the more obscure spelling. John also liked it. He didn’t care he just thought it was funny. “Artists’ he thought. He didn’t think of himself as an artist he just played bass guitar and that was it. He reached the top of the hill and he stopped at the entrance to a monastery. He had been past it many times but had never seen anyone going in or out. There was a gate but it was always open and it was flanked by 2 curving brick walls. The name was written in English. St. Peter and Paul Monastery. He stopped. He had not been riding his bike much this year. It was still early in spring so the weather had not been that good. Today luckily it was in the upper 60's which was warm enough for Vladimir to ride. Given that he had drank heavy the previous night he was glad it accommodated what he felt was the best medicine for this mini hangover. If he was truly hungover he would still be vomiting or at least dry heaving. He hated it when he got to the dry heaves. He would bend over the toilet, or whatever it was he was vomiting into and his face would just become beet red and his mouth would be open the truly acute might actually see a small amount of puke vapor coming out of him but other than that nothing. Then it would subside for a little bit. Then another wave would take him over. Then he’d get the shits. Vlad, indeed was glad he was only suffering from a mini hangover. Mainly just head and body aches.
He was at the top of this great hill he had just climbed and he looked back over the valley he had just rode out of. It was beautiful right now. There was a bright green hue to everything because of the youthfulness of the leaves at that time. Only the fir trees had a dark green hue. Vlad felt good. His headache was lessening, probably more to the aspirin he took before leaving than the riding, and his body was feeling stronger. His hair was dripping wet with sweat. Vlad was a sweater. He didn’t perspire or glow as his ex-wife had once described herself when she was working out. He exuded buckets and buckets of a rich saline solution. A spry mind could probably harvest it and make money off it Vlad had often thought. When he had caught his breath he started to pedal again heading out a country road that ran east. It was about mid morning and the sun was in front of him and off to the right a little. He had his sunglasses on so it didn’t bother him. He kept on pedaling. He was thinking of the conversation the previous night. One of the guys he had played with, a sax player, had been dropping big hints for Vlad to get him into the Headwhiz Consort. Vlad liked the guys playing but he could tell that the personality wouldn’t fit in and he wasn’t going to recommend him to Babakar. He didn’t want to waste Babakar’s time. Vlad was OK playing with him but it was usually in more impromptu gigs where a leader would gather several musicians together and they’d play what originals they knew as a group or some standards that they all knew. That was the nature of last nights gig. He didn’t feel he would fit in with the mixture of people in the Consort. The sax player was a stone bopper when given his druthers. Vlad liked everything and made a reasonably successful effort at being able to change styles depending upon the circumstances. He felt the sax player would be real pushy to do too much bop. They all liked bop but they didn’t want to limit themselves. Ultimately he said Babakar wasn’t looking for any musicians presently. He only did it when he felt he had a need. This got the guy to quit bugging Vlad and he could get back to enjoying his buzz.
He had ridden about 3 miles since topping the hill when he noticed a café at a crossroad. He pulled his bike up and chained it to a post and went in and ordered a beer. He tried a potato beer that they said they specialized in. He had never heard of potato beer but it was cold and tasted good. He also ordered some bread and cheese and fruit. He was hungry with nothing in him but his morning coffee and a piece of toast. The women who brought out the food was a lovely dark haired buxom wench who Vlad instantly wanted. She was probably too young for him. He had to figure she hadn’t heard of the Consort or any other project he worked on so he couldn’t use that as a angle. Ultimately he just ate his food and drank the potato beer and watched her as she moved from one table to the next. She had a gracefulness to her that Vladimir appreciated. Vlad was 40. She was probably 25. Alas. “Maybe she has a mother who is just as lovely.” he thought sadly. Vlad wanted to fall in love but it never seemed to happen. He wasn’t ugly and he was certainly a nice person but he must have some deficiency to him that he didn’t recognize that repelled folks. Not folks so much as pretty women. He ordered another beer just to sit and watch the young lass. Eventually he paid his bill and went out to where his bike was chained up. As he moved the lock’s combination to the right numbers he hears a voice ask
“Are you Vladimir Polchinski?” It was the waitress sticking her head out the door of the cafe.
“Why yes, yes I am” his heart lifted maybe there was a chance.
“My mom loves your Headwhiz group, but I think you guys suck and she plays it all the time. It’s fucking torture. Nothing personal” the girl said.
Vlad nodded his head and politely said “Fuck you too”. And then he got on his bike and finished his bike ride. When he got home he got into the vodka for a little bit and then took a nap.