Car 6

Car 6

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Luck of the Irish

On the weekends there are people who have routines. There are 4 young women who attend University of St Francis. They rent a small house together. Every weekend they have the same ruotine and I have lost count how many times I have shared a piece of the routine with them. They go from their house near the school to a Irish pub owned by two brothers called O'Charley's. It is the reigning dive bar in Joliet for many people. After a few rounds there they will head over to the neighboring town, Shorewood and hit Skooter's Roadhouse. Skooters is a country western themed dance bar. It is THE place to be if you are under 30 and always packed. Unless it is a regular, I hated picking up there. The fares were good, but people in their twenties are still learning their bodies have limits and puke a lot, scream WHOOOO! For no good reason and are generally idiots. These four ladies are in a routine and generally control themselves. The worst they do is one passes out sometimes. Overall, they are bublly and happy and I enjoy the banter.

One night I was taking them to O'Charley's and I asked, Kelly, the one who engages me the most, why they go to O'Charley's. Her answer was interesting. “It reminds me of the Irish dive bar my uncle owned when I was growing up. My dad used to get laid off a lot so he would work for my uncle and I hung out there a lot. Ya know. Family business, family free labor and the was like having an extra dozen alcoholic uncles. But there was also something that happens in Irish bars like these and it doesn't happen a lot.”

“What is that?”


“Magic?” I asked.

“Yeah. I can't explain it because it happens different each time. Somehting happens that you do not forget. Most of the time it is good. Someone wins the lottery, gets a job after being out of work for a long time, a just married couple sneaks out of the reception hall for a pint, a mysterious visitor comes in and makes the night unforgettable. When the magic happens, you tell the story and it is not as good for the people who just hear it. They do not feel it. They can't know how the air changed. So I like to come here because when the magic happens, I want to be there.”

“So why Skooters?”

“Duh! Dancing and cute guys, Patrick!”

I dropped them of and they piled out ready to take on the bar.

As soon as I reported that I was clear with the ladies I got a page to pick up out of one of the hotels near the mall a few miles away. The destination just said 'bar'. I called dispatch:

“Car 22 to dispatch” I said over the radio.

“Dispatch to 22, go ahead”

“This run at the Hampton, did they have a bar in mind?”

“22, they are from Ireland and don't know the area. Be a good ambassador and help them find a bar.”


When I pulled up to the hotel I did not have to ask for a call out. They were sitting outside smoking cigarettes. They would have looked like the brothers in “The Boondock Saints” except their short wool coats were gray.

They were young and clean shaven and looked to be in their early to mid twenties. They smiled as I pulled up and in a thick Irish accent one of them asked if I was their taxi. As soon as I heard their accent, I said yes and they hopped in.

“Okay, young men,” I said, “My name's Patrick, where are we going tonight?”

“We don't know,” said the older broher,”We've never been to America or Joliet before. Your name's Patrick so we trust ya.”

“Wait,” chimed in the other,”only his name is Patrick, what about his heart. Are ya Irish?”

“Part of me is,” I said,”the other bits are Lithuanian and god only knows what else.”

“Then we trust the Irish part.”said the younger.

“How very nationalistic of you.”

“He's now always like this,” said the older,”He doesn't trust Americans.”

“Neither do I” I said.

“But you are an American.” said the younger.

“Yeah,” I said, “makes shaving in the mirror every day a bitch.”

They laughed and then I got back to the point. “So what do you want from a pub tonight? Conversation? Sports? Pool? Darts? Dancing? Girls?”

The younger piped in excitedly,”Girls and dancing!”

“But with magic!” said the older.

“Did you just say magic?” I asked.


“Alright, boys,” I said,”We are going to O'Charley's where magic will happen and some girls might let you come with them to Skooter's Roadhouse for dancing.” With that, I hit the meter, told dispatch we were going to O'Charley's and put the cab in gear.

Along the way I learned that they were with their dad on his business trip. He goes to the US and London often but has never taken them overseas. He is in Joliet for two weeks so this is their first exposure to America. The oldest loves American Football and is a Green Bay Packer fan and is hoping to get his hands on the rental car to do a day trip to Lambeau field. He even plays American football in a league back home in Belfast.

I told him I know some people that have a unique experimental church in a bar called “The Managerie” in Belfast. He said he knows the place and it is on University St. The younger brother is VERY put off by the concept of church and feels Ireland and the world would have less death if the whole thing went away. He is a musician and a University student studying business.

They asked me what American's know of Ireland and I told them about what we have done with St Pat's day. They got a huge laugh out of the green beer and plastic green top hats. Then came the fear about girls. This came from the younger.

“I'm not looking to fuck about. I just want to have fun and dance. Patrick, do you think the girls will like us? What do we say?”

“Son,”I said, “you guys are going to be the golden boys in there. You will have no problem and need no clever lines?”

“Why?” asked the elder brother.

“You have Irish accents and you are not from here. That alone will get you to the dance floor. You wanted magic? You ARE the magic!”

“So why this Irish bar?” asked the younger, “Why not just the Skooter's?”

“Because it is so damn loud in Skooters that you will not be heard and just blend into the crowd of nothingness.”

“So what do we do at the bar? We don't wanna look like guys out with their daddy.”

“You go to the brunette bartender who is working tonight, order your favorite drinks loud enough to be heard, Then, should you see 3 or 4 girls about your age at the bar, tell them your names, say you are from Belfast, and you would like to know where to go to go dancing. If they ask you about Ireland, say whatever you want. We are Americans, we dont know if it's true or not. Hell, where is your dad right now?”

“Sleeping at the hotel, he had a long day at work,” said the older.

“If anyone asks about family, just say you hope your father is at rest,” I said. “Look, I have enjoyed talking to you guys. You are fascinating and cool and just be yourselves and keep talking and the most important thing. Ask them questions about themselves and be very interested in what they say. That is where the magic will happen and it will change the very air in the room.”

“Magic it is,” said the younger.

“To magic!” said the odler!
“You don't have a drink to toast with yet.” I said.

“Oh yeah!” said the older.

I dropped them off. Later in the night dispach told me that the irish guys wanted me to know I am a 'fooking brilliant magician'.

The next weekend I took the ladies home from Skooters. Kelly told me that magic finally happened and it was just like home. I asked her for details and the ladies just giggled. As they left, Kelly settled the fare and tip with me, looked at me and said, “Luck of the Irish got a boost last Saturday, didn't it?”

“Who me?”

“Yeah, you. I just got another Irish uncle. Good night magic man.”

“See ya, kiddo.”

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