When the week wound down, most hunkered into their economy cars or onto subway platforms underneath city streets. They waved bon voyage to their professional obligations, before the brief weekend hiatus. The 9-to-5ers could notch another 40 hours under their respective leather belts and find solace in the grind that finally halted, if only for a day or two.
Then there were those knightly warriors who ventured willingly, wholeheartedly into the evening of the final weeknight. They answered the call of the weekend with the beckoning of their craft. These were not retailers; they were journeymen, true artists, who had each carved out a niche in Barter Barry’s grocery store. And they awaited to be great, in faithful anticipation, for the arrival of Mr. Friday Night.
Tokyo Craig would bomb out of the double back doors, leaving them swinging, like a cowboy entering a saloon. His impetus momentum ushered a four-wheeled flat table packed high, near the fluorescent ceiling with boxed apples, various citrus orbs Duck Ã l’orange-bound (if they were lucky!) or stacked-on trays of loose beefsteak tomatoes. He earned the nickname Tokyo Craig from that one installment of the Fast and the Furious franchise, “Tokyo Drift.” When the produce-loaded conveyance glided diagonally smooth, guided by its levitating operator who’d hover along the brown linoleum floor, Craig was synonymous with drift.
He was the initiator, polite intimidator, all-too-kind instigator of the Dry ‘Duce Party that convened in a hobbit hole perfectly excavated under the stock room stairs for pallet jacks parking 8-foot cubes of perishable foods. His bristly Gandolph beard could not conceal the grin he greeted each and every person he’d meet.
Sir Charles Advertblastcastle III
Sir Charles wielded the four-wheeled table as if it were the Norse god Thor’s hammer, Mjölnir. He’d flip an empty upside down with one arm and hold it over his shock of blond hair, as if to summon the lightning and the thunder into that back room. Of course, Advertblastcastle would elevate these carts to the sky only to pile them on top of one another. This created space in the excavated hobbit hole where his fresh produce flew from the stocked shelves onto the store floor. Perhaps Sir Charles did have command of the electricity, as he dynamically conducted his faithful followers to “put it on the shelf.”
Lex Mantooth (Wes Mantooth’s older brother)
Upon those who deserved social justice, the No. 2 Channel 9 evening news anchor Wes Mantooth would throw at them the “Book of Burns,” which older brother Lex wrote.
However accomplished an author he was, Lex was best in the moment. And whenever Lex Mantooth inflicted a particularly stinging dig, he’d add insult to the ego wound with his signature one-liner, You just got Lexed.
Ever leveraging his edgy lexicon, Lex never hesitated to coach colleagues on how to deal out their very own personal brand of verbal badassery.
When Mason showed off his giant classical harp, retrofitted with a machine gun-mounted base, Lex assured him that any one of the following lines would adequately narrate this weapon of mass harmonizing:
“Enjoy the heavenly melody of angels, while I send you to Hell.”
“I came here to do two things: play some harp and kick some ass. And it looks like I’ve done played all the harp songs I know.”
“Listen to this music, asshole.”
Wise Man Wade
Wise Man Wade possessed a more subtle approach. His metaphysical sixth sense kept a constant dialogue with the bustle that was Barter Barry’s. And his adept mind raced, running on the knowledge of everything. Ever the inquisitor, Wade interconnected each and every node into an intricate web reference, from which the Barry’s community benefited. He was at all times attuned to the Friday Night…
Then there was Vik. He had become acquainted with Mr. Friday Night more so than any other. On the most opportune of occasions, and the stars aligned just right, some great men could inch the needle that measured fun’s factor near 10. On Friday Night, Vik ticked to 11. He radiated that extra oomph always and his energy was contagious.
Mr. Friday Night
The aptitude of Mr. Friday Night was not so easily distinguishable from any of the other warrior poets. In fact, his essence assumed a je ne sais quoi that no human could accurately articulate.
Yet let me make an attempt…
Mr. Friday Night was the Higgs boson particle array of the back stock room. His presence, merely existing in said premises, emulated a wave frequency that enabled all of those gentlemen scholars to perform in the way they did at each week’s close. An ethereal resonator was He, Mr. Friday Night, who embodied the dark and mystical entity of evening’s promise.
His Field of Dreams (and Choice): the excavated hobbit hole under the stairs, where He summoned the divine inspiration and shed it upon Tokyo Craig’s ability to emcee another ‘Duce Extravaganza, which was just code for camaraderie. As a catalyst for the positive activity, Mr. Friday Night elevated these men to the hyperaesthesian heights of evolved consciousness.