The Maiden Bartender

You met one Iron Maiden fan, you met them all right? Iron Maiden fans wear out those mummy metal patches on their faded, torn jean jackets, even into their late thirties to inject a dark, mysterious, complex, weighty edge such diehard fanatic fans are incapable of generating on their own.  Granted, Bruce Dickenson the more exalted, replacement lead singer star of Iron Maiden, otherwise known as the human air raid siren, boasts a supernatural voice, which pierces through the clouds of Heavy Metal heaven. Still, it’s impossible to not grow tired of his rapid fire, Spinal Tap conjuring caricature of what an English heavy metal howler should like in Samuel Johnson’s speed metal phonics dictionary under Game Of Thrones horse charging music. At least, that’s’ what the Cruise Comedian, Michael Rocker thought, as he entered a colonial constructed, seaside, shipbuilding town of Mystic, CT, where Julia Roberts shot the movie Mystic Pizza, and entertained the grips on the set by fisting her mouth in between takes to ensure they made it her look the most flattering in the face of such frigid, east coast winter light.  

Now, Michael Rocker, a tall, athletic looking, preppy casual comic orders a drink and says, “Hey, what local IPA’s do you recommend? The bartender, a tall, striking, borderline statuesque dirty blond, sporting an Iron Maiden tattoo on her defined, yet not overtly chiseled deltoid replies, “I don’t know, that all depends, on how much hardcore bitter bite you can take. I mean, are you interested in merely quenching your thirst with a session filler beer? Or would you prefer  to get your hardcore freak on for Karaoke night with something boozier and more funktastic like a Fat Orange Cat’s Trippel IPA, stud.” The Cruise Comic says, “I’ll take the Trippel IPA, hot stuff,” as he tries hard not to lick his lips, wanting to inhale her on the spot.

Sitting next to the Cruise Comic at the bar, is a hunched, tired, lanky, dirty blond, long-haired guy in his late thirties, sporting bad acne spots, from a poor diet full of too much beef Jerky and cheap vodka tonics, reeking of stale, Newport cigarettes, stripping the minty cool flavor of any high schooler hoody appeal after the 1st drag whatsoever.  The Cruise Comic get’s the impression, the Newport cigarette guy who’s sporting a black Iron Maiden shirt under his faded, torn jean jacket, is here solo as usual, so he decides to sample some new jokes on him in preparation for his upcoming cruise tour heading to Jamaica for spring break the following morning. Cruise Comic makes eye contact with the Iron Maiden fan and says, “Nice Maiden shirt. You must know the wrestler and Fozzy front man Chris Jericho then? Maiden dude replies, “Duh, who doesn’t? Immediately, the Cruise Comic becomes engulfed with extreme annoyance, regretting his attempt to bond with this local in his attempt to play it cool with the hot bad ass bartender and snaps back with, “Be honest, don’t you think Iron Maiden is a poor man’s Judas Priest, with far less sing along, radio friendly hits, being forced to rely on catchy, merchandising gimmickry to radiate a cooler, far less Dungeons and Dragons nerdy veneer instead? And who is the Eddie mascot on Iron Maiden shirts supposed to be anyway? He looks like a cyborg mummy and a virile Crypt Keeper in his prime had a baby?  Run For The Hills is a good running song, for Daniel Day Lewis to crank up when he trained for his role in the Last of the Mohicans.”

The bartender can’t help but chuckle, doing her best to not let Cruise Comedian know it. Still, she decides to interject, knowing fighting words were just thrown down in this normally peaceful waterfront town and says, “Hey, Eddie, don’t listen to him. He’s not sophisticated enough to understand the intricacies and sweeping historical, majestic sweep that went to Power Slave and the other 40 records of English speed metal mastery at it’s finest. Next vodka and tonic is on me babe, don’t sweat it.” Cruise Comedian is turned on by the bartender’s friendly infused fiery cheer, especially knowing this was her way of pleasing a local and flirting with him big time and says, “She’s right Eddie, that’s your name Eddie just like the Iron Maiden mascot, wow. I don’t know what I’m talking about. I’m just putting Iron Maiden down to feel better about myself. That’s what hack cruise comics do.  I think Poison, Motely Crew and Cinderella rock out just as hard and boast infinitely catchier, kick as metal pop anthems, which ooze forceful, heartfelt personality versus sounding like systematic howling knights on horseback but what do I know Eddie. Didn’t mean to offend your hardcore fanatical Maiden sensibilities bud.”  Eddy’s face become ensnarled in acne scar shades of red as he clenches his callous hardened, burn laden hands and says, “Dude, I’m a dishwasher on a cruise ship, I don’t need to take this shit.” The Cruise Comedian says, “I’m a lowly Cruise Comedian hack comedian, so it’s a wash mate. Looking forward to docking in Jamaica though. This is my impression of Ziggy Marley being interviewed by High Times Magazine for their annual 4/20 issue.  “Ziggy, your dad had 11 kids, but I thought ganja drained your life blaster dry. Ziggy replies, “Fake news man.” Cruise comic finally scores a tension diffusing laugh. Eddie says, “That was a good one. Perhaps, I take my obsession with Iron Maiden a tad too seriously at times. Thing is, you get pretty cagy as a cruise ship dishwasher, all alone with Iron Maiden tunes of wanton destruction stuck in your head.” Cruise Comic says, “No problem dude, I was being a big dick prior, sometimes my riffing veers into full fledged asshole land faster than I’d prefer to. Do you smoke your mind with the crystal specked bud? Eddie the dishwasher says, “Yeah, I mean, what loner burnout Maiden head in high school didn’t. You never outgrow the soothing lift the green gives a loner burnout at heart.  Cruise comic says, “Did you know 4/20 was Hitler’s birthday? I haven’t felt this betrayed since Sly Stallone snuck Mel Gibson into Expendables 3.” Eddie the Dishwasher says, “Oh, so you’re Jewish. That’s why you’re so annoying and pushy with your material. Well, nobody’s perfect except Beth the bartender.”

Beth the bartender commands the stage and clenches the mike to belt out Run for the Hills on the Karaoke stage with incredible, hardcore edge feeling to make a jaded, English metal resisting, cruise comic willing to give British speed metal another shot. All that was missing was a hardcore female touch and some added funktastic feeling with some sexy metal sass to match.

The End

Michael Kornbluth

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