"That guy has bought me so many beers."
"He has booked me for so many gigs."
These were the things that I heard from the high rollers last night, over and over, as they dropped more than the requested $1 into the hat for Brett Underwood.
"For Brett ..." they said, dropping in $5, $10 or even $20, rather than the $1 I asked for, "bartender style".
In the end, we raised $151 to defray the cost of replacing his stolen bicycle wheels, which I thought would hurt him since it happened just before he left for a planned two-week vacation, unpaid like all bartender vacations.
He is coming home to at least $151, which he will spend, no doubt, on us.
It was night of unabashed Brett love at CBGB, a wake for a living man, a man who was living large in Madrid while we played music and scuttled up money for him.
I asked all donors to sign a baseball for the former SLU hurler. It is now quite an artifact. With the $151, I'll be giving this guy a baseball signed by: Ray Brewer, Marc Chechick, Sam Coffey, Heather Corley, John Eiler, Joe Freeman, Fred Friction, Eric Hall, Matt Harnish, Frank Heyer, Jason Hutto, Chris King, Tim McAvin, Tim Rakel, Colin Michael Shaw, Dana Smith, Dave Stone, Joseph Sulier, Sarah Truckey, Christopher Y. Voelker, Joe Wetteroth and a bunch of other people I must be forgetting.
Not a bad snapshot of the South Side scene.