Thirty years ago tonight I left my rented room in Binghamton, New York’s First Ward, crossed the Chenango River and walked to Bobby Dee's, a locally renowned bikers' bar famous for its life-size replica of a wild stallion rearing up on hind hooves from an illuminated pedestal atop the building's roof.
I remember ordering a Molson Red and taking a seat at one of the empty tables on the edge of the darkened dance floor. There were a few people hunched over drinks at the far end of the bar. A too bright ceiling lamp cast a lasso of light around them. It reminded me of the famous Edward Hooper painting, the cafe scene turned poster art featuring Marilyn, Elvis and James Dean as silent patrons.
Dulled by the refer I'd smoked earlier in the evening, I was caught off guard by the slamming steel door as a couple barged in off the street. She swung free of her man’s leather-clad arm and dropped like a rock into the seat beside me. "You look just like him! I mean it, you really do!" Before I could respond, her fingers were in my hair and I tasted Marlboros and Juicy Fruit as she pressed her cold lips hard against mine.
She jumped up then, sort of tripped back against her boyfriend and gurgled, "Don't you love his glasses, he looks just like him!"
“Yeah sure” he said, giving her a hard shove toward the bar and looking at me with blood in his eyes. "But you’re not John Lennon are you amigo. Somebody just blew his fuckin’ brains out.”