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the girls, loud and untamed like a pack of squawking hens, found haven in the harbor of Hendrick’s Tavern on 87th Street. It was another endless summer in Southern California, and we were all terribly in love with each other under a single drunken roof. Johnny Cash filled every corner and crevice from the bar sink to the sockets of the pool table. It was an unfolding stage and we were all characters in a chaotic, imposing production. A crap shoot of wild creatures, we scattered in from the East Coast, Midwest and as far as New Zealand and South Africa. Night after night we swarmed around the bar with Mr. Jameson by our side. I was borderline alcoholic that first full month at the Henn House, situated in my bar stool sitting pretty with rosy glasses on. Sure, I was ignoring my piling bills, lack of health insurance and overall instability as a young adult. But when I sat among my misfit peers, I was just another perfect vagabond occupying the white space with an adrenaline filled shot glass. I came to California lacking foresight into my future. All I was sure of was an overwhelming desire for change. The protective flower pot I was raised in quickly became a suffocating fortress against my overgrown New England roots. I loved every piece of my childhood. I had a large backyard with a pool, and I flourished in high school and college calculating every step diligently by my well-rounded involvement in student council, music and sports. The full line up was there in terms of education and upbringing, but I had one little flaw. One little demon in me that was craving attention and at 25 years old, I was bloodthirsty for it. Drama. That’s right, I missed drama and the undetermined forecast into what was going to happen next. Maybe I should blame Facebook, because isn’t that what we blame all of our social disorders on these days? Or, maybe those polished, “Why you should visit California,” commercials that make it look like you could bump into Gwen Stefani picking up groceries at Vons. Whatever the reason, I was ready to jet off to the sunny beaches of California and soak in every bit that crazy, hot mess had to offer. I got off work late one night in early January, and headed straight to the Henn House to claim my seat at our dining room bar table. The Henns worked downtown during the day, but by night they were just about anything they wanted to be. The Queen Henn was nearly unrecognizable behind the bar during the day hours. Clothed in hippie garments with pale skin and foggy eyes, she handed out shots like medicine to her patrons. They all came to see her because she inspired them with her double life. Once the sun set, she took to the stage and breathed new life into the broken souls crawling in at 1 am. The Queen Henn had an energy about her that took you by the throat. The frailness she held at times behind the bar virtually disappeared once she got her hands on a microphone. Her personal life was fraying at the ends, but you’d never know it when she got up there. Sure, we were all familiar with the industry and the shady, somewhat questionable territory that partners with being a bartender or server of the nightlife species. The bar itself provided no barrier to the bartenders who would drink as much and sometimes more than the patrons themselves. It was fair game. The Hare sat with her glittering blue eyes at the corner of the bar, greeting me on arrival with the same squawking I’d associated with the voice of a loved one. She was a ringleader of the constant madness with an oversized spirit, the confidence of a lion and the heart of a forget-me-not. A dramatic aura circulated through the oxygen beside her, and if you thought you could escape her charm, you were mistaken. Everyone fell in love with her because she was already in love with you upon introduction. Still hung over, I denied any shots or drinks in an attempt to revive my skinny weak body, but boy, was I happy. I had never been in worse shape. My muscles slouched, my bones ached, my feet covered in blisters and Band-Aids. The past week I charged through a battle, running all over town. I was working and partying in equal increments, sniffing out every corner of my new city possible. 12 TAE MAGAZINE

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