There's no shortage of watering holes near my apartment, so I asked Dolores what sort of bar she'd like to go to.
"Some place with strippers," she said. "Mama hasn't seen a good piece of tushie since Oprah wore girdles."
We walked down Halsted Street to the Lucky Horseshoe, an establishment noted for just this sort of entertainment. Dolores hopped up on a stool and ordered a cosmopolitan and a bowl of hay.
"A bowl of what?"
"I said hay, bartender," said Dolores, fishing a pack of Virgina Slims out of her purse.
"What'll you have?" the bartender asked me.
"A Coke with lime," I said.
"Ooh," said Dolores. "Don't hold back, killer. You mind if I smoke?"
As she'd already lit up, I decided the question was rhetorical.
"So," she said, taking a deep drag, "I bet you're wondering what the hell I'm doing here."
I couldn't disagree, and said so.
"Well," she said, "I tried the retirement thing. Got myself a nice little condo at Twelve Willows and figured I'd just cruise along until it's time to head to the big fiber festival in the sky, but–you ever live in the country? I mean deep country?"
I shook my head.
"Too damn quiet. No shopping. The nearest decent cup of coffee was four hours away. And the goddamned cows mooing every morning at 4 a.m. was driving me batshit."
"I don't mean to make assumptions, Dolores, but I thought sheep preferred the country," I said.
Dolores slugged down the last of her cosmo. "Mother's milk," she sighed, waving the empty glass at the bartender. "Another of the same, kid, and send Emilio over here."
"I did the farm thing until I was old enough to duck out. Never suited me. I wound up on a commune outside Seattle for a coupla years, had a thing going on with this ram who turned out to be a bigamist, so I split. Fell ass-backwards into a modeling gig with Woolrich, that took me to New York, picked up an MBA in marketing, yadda yadda yadda. The usual."
Emilio, a member of the Lucky Horseshoe's corps de ballet, sauntered over to us and presented his very original interpretation of "Baby Got Back" on top of the bar.
"Oh, now that's more like it," said Dolores, peering over the top of her glasses. "Come here, honey chile."
She slipped a five-dollar bill between her teeth and Emilio deftly removed it without the use of his hands.
"Where was I?" she said vaguely.
"Yadda yadda yadda," I said.
"Oh, right. Anyway, got an ulcer and high blood pressure from agency work, so I went into academics for a while. But when Columbia denied my tenure I told them if groundbreaking work on the Oresteia wasn't to their liking they could kiss my wooly ass. Which brings us to the present, and my need for another cosmo"
"I'm afraid I still don't quite understand what you're doing here," I said.
"And I'm afraid I don't quite understand how you can nurse a Coke with lime all night, but then life is full of mysteries. Look. You need wool, I got wool. You got an apartment with a view of the lake, I got a pen with a view of a cow's ass. I give you wool, you give me a pied a terre. I call that synchronicity."
Dolores, however, had grabbed her purse and jumped off the stool and was following Emilio's retreating figure toward the back room.
"Don't wait up," she shouted. "See you tomorrow morning. Or Wednesday at the latest."