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Friday Cold

During work hours yesterday, Chris and I decided that we wanted to give KC's least-known brewery a try. Inside the Ameristar Casino there's a brewery called Amerisports. I'd been there once before, and was entirely unimpressed. However, that was before I'd developed my affinity for hoppy beer, so I was willing to give it another shot. Chris had never been. Actually, he'd never been to a casino either, but we didn't have gambling in mind last night. The idea of waiting in line to sign up to join the casino, so we could enter it, so we could lose money, did not appeal to us.

I intentionally directed him through less known routes to get there, following Front Street through the East Bottoms and coming up Chouteau Trafficway to route 210, and then down the backroads with the comically low speed limits(20 mph) that just brand them a ridiculous speed trap for the singularly-minded Randolph Police Department. We followed roads overgrown with shrubs and bushes, among grasping wretched grey trees, and we agreed that it would be a good place to leave a body. The contrast was unreal when we turned into the casino's massive complex. There was parking for tens of thousands, and there already were thousands there, spending their paychecks on a Friday night.

We approached the brewery on one of the casino's indoor "streets," and saw a line of pear-shaped middle-aged people waiting for a table. Amazed, we stood at the end of the line and saw over all the short people that there were plenty of seats up at the bar. We helped ourselves to two of them, and promptly had a couple of "Face-off" Pale Ales in front of us. As Pale Ales go, it was very mild- not much flavor, and was very light on hops. We both agreed that it was fine, but not something for which we'd come back.

We made our lengthy exit of the casino's multiple square miles of property, and headed into North Kansas City. We were close enough, and Chris had never been, so we went to Paci's. As usual, the beer was cheap and delicious, and I'm pretty sure the bartender remembered me. Chris had to make a phone call before we walked in. I wasn't so keen on standing out in the cold, so I went in and got a beer and a table. Unfortunately, the tables were wreathed in smoke, burning the use out my eyes and nose. When Chris came in, I insisted that we sit up at the bar.

After Paci's, we went to Grinders so he could eat something. I ate dinner before going out, so I was fine. Within a couple of minutes of sitting down, Phil arrived on his lunch from work at the Star and joined us. We sat and had a nice conversation before Phil had to pack up and head back to work, but soon afterward, Chris started to feel rumblings and sourness in his innards. He patiently and painfully waited for me to finish my beer(and his), because he intended to give me a ride home. I was half-expecting Erp to join us, so I told Chris to just go, and I'd be fine. He made his queasy way out and went home.

About four minutes later, I got word from Erp that he would not be joining me. So I settled the tab, zipped up my jacket, and headed out into the blustery cold. I reached the bus stop at 19th and Main at 11:27pm, and the scrolling readout said the next bus would be along at 11:40pm. The front door of Bar Natasha is literally right next to the bus stop, so I figured I had enough time to get out of the cold for a couple minutes and have a beer. Unfortunately, when I walked in, I was informed that doing so would cost me five dollars on top of the overpriced beer. I did an about-face and went back outside.

11:28pm. I remembered that the 57 usually comes a couple minutes before the MAX, but since I was on 19th, I realized that the 57 would be on Walnut, one block to the east. So I walked over to Walnut and waited for the bus. By 11:36pm, the bus still hadn't come, and there was no sign of it. I decided that I didn't mind at that point waiting three and a half minutes for 11:40pm, over at 19th and Main. So I walked back, and was standing under the red readout that read 11:38pm. After flashing a bunch of times, it displayed that the next MAX bus would come in a half an hour. Angry, I hailed a cab.

The driver was on the phone for the whole ride, jabbering away in whatever African variant of French it was, so I wasn't too keen to tip him, even though he didn't screw around getting me where I was going. The meter read $5.50, so i took out my wallet. I had five ones and four twenties. I handed the driver a twenty, and he told me he couldn't break it. I explained my cash situation to him, and he settled for the five ones. Justice was served.

3:44 PM, Dec 1, 2007

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