"Actually, I was not the only legitimate living descendant of the Laughing Man. There were twenty-five Comanches in the Club, or twenty-five legitimate living descendants of the Laughing Man--all of us circulating ominously, and incognito, throughout the city, sizing up elevator operators as potential archenemies, whispering side-of-the-mouth but fluent orders into the ears of cocker spaniels, drawing beads, with index fingers, on the foreheads of arithmetic teachers. And always waiting, waiting for a decent chance to strike terror and admiration in the nearest mediocre heart."
Le Mixeur Sharky: Nine Stories is Sunday, March 11, 5-10pm, at Inner Chapters Bookstore & Cafe, 419 Fairview Ave N, Seattle. Tickets are $25 (includes 3 cocktails) and should be pre-purchased here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/229073
Sometimes we here in Seattle get lucky and some really super bartender from another city moves here. And sometimes we get even luckier because that really super bartender gets really even more superer once he or she (for she, stay tuned for soon post on Tomic-Beard, Marley) lives here and tends bar in Seattle.
Of course, it's not luck. Seattle really is just that really super to lure in really super bartenders like Nathan Weber and then use its really superiorness to make him even more really superer.
Are you still reading? If so, let me tell you a little about Nathan. He worked bars in San Francisco. Then he moved to Seattle. When I met him he was working at Tavern Law, where he'd eventually assume bar managerial duties. He probably worked other places in Seattle too, but in keeping with my vow not to ever research anything I write about (research = fascism, as you know), I don't know anything about that, nor would I admit it if I did.
I can remember times when I couldn't get a damn seat at the damn bar at Tavern damn Law because it's so damn popular, but Nathan would manage to make it out to my table to chat about my drink and other things. He always seemed to stand right behind my head where I'd need to basically hold my head upside down in order to make eye contact, and nodding in agreement became an act of gymnastic contortion. I speculate watching me do this made Nathan laugh, and thus, he gets to create a drink for The Laughing Man.
Nathan's now at Canon and Rob Roy. He laughs a lot at both places. Occasionally, a patron says something like, "Hey dickhead, stop laughing and make some drinks!" Nathan just laughs, then mutters under his breath, "Fuck you asshole. I'll laugh all I want. I'm in love, with life, my job, and my fiancee." Then he makes the asshole something awesome. Something like The Laughing Man, also known as Eagle's Blood.
THE LAUGHING MAN, AKA EAGLE'S BLOOD
Here's the version for making at home...
1 ounce Averna
½ ounce Ramazzotti
½ once lime juice
¼ ounce muscovado syrup*
dash angostura bitters
freshly grated nutmeg
Combine all ingredients with ice in a shaker.
Shake and strain into a chimney or Collins glass.
Add ice and top with sparkling wine.
*Muscovado Syrup is made by combining muscovado sugar and water at a 2 to 1 ratio. Demerara sugar may be substituted.
For Le Mixeur Sharky, Nathan "The Laughing Man" Weber is going to carbonate these beverages and bottle them. Like in sealed bottles where carbonation finds no exit. Order one and we'll pop it open for ya.
SO WHAT DO YOU WANNA TELL US ABOUT THIS STORY ANYWAY?
The Laughing Man is an incredibly intricate story within a story, so summarizing it in a brief space is a hopeless endeavor. A group of boys called the Comanches revere their male adult leader "The Chief." They engage in many after-school activities but mainly sports, mainly baseball. It is a boys' club. The Chief tells them fantastic and elaborate tales of The Laughing Man, a mythical character from China who was horrifically disfigured in childhood by kidnappers, exiled and rejected by humanity, only to become the world's most cunning thief and criminal mastermind and a hero to many.
When The Chief falls for a woman named Mary Hudson, the boys struggle to accept her presence into their boy world, then struggle to interpret and understand their own childlike affection and perhaps love for her. When the romance ends badly, The Chief ends the love affair for all the boys before they have a chance to understand their own feelings. All is made worse by the adults' insistence on ignoring the childrens' questions, on shielding them out of everything that's going on, leaving them to guess and make sense of tiny little fragments.
The Chief's broken heart leads him to end the Laughing Man tale heatbreakingly, breaking the hearts of the Comanche children. He was an adult hero to the boys. But he was too weak to acknowledge the fullness of a child's humanity, and too weak to overcome his own romantic frustration in order to nurture the wild and beautiful spirits of the children who counted on him.
"Offhand, I can remember seeing just three girls in my life who struck me as having unclassifiably great beauty at first sight. One was a thin girl in a black bathing suit who was having a lot of trouble putting up an orange umbrella at Jones Beach, circa 1936. The second was a girl aboard a Caribbean cruise ship in 1939, who threw her cigarette lighter at a porpoise. And the third was the Chief's girl, Mary Hudson."
"She was a yellow bird and I was a red and blue and green fish. The birds explained to me that only I could save her because we were both humans, except we were also fish and birds. Every day when we were hungry we went to the store, and there was a bear who was the bodyguard. But we were too sneaky for him, and we would sneak past and buy a Hershey bar and a Skittles. And The Special DE Light Force (pandas who had armor on them and didn't like birds or fish) were trying to get her, but she wasn't captured because I had a watch and I turned into Hellboy and saved her. When they were destroyed we were going to another city. There were fish and birds who were going to help us, but there was a shark who didn't want us riding on him, and the fish and the birds were all over him. And then the shark didn't care and decided everyone could ride on him.” -Sharky