Ah, the 1970s. The golden age of denim suits and the butt-chop hairdo. And, of course, classic am radio. Back when self-help was a real movement and not new-age whine. 

But fortunately for us here in the Gutter, some things never change: Yoga is, and will always be, stupid. Turn up the Freedom Rock, man....

Escape by Bill Blick

Davy is in the bar, sipping a brew, waiting on the Man with the Cossack Hat. Pabst’s Blue Ribbon. Ice cold. He is smoking Camels. You could still smoke in this joint. That is how out of touch this place is. The jukebox is playing oldies. Theresa has always liked the oldies. She says they remind her of a time when things weren’t so hopeless, when she didn’t feel so lost.

Davy scans the bar for the Cossack. It is goddamned cold outside and he is glad to be sipping some brew and maybe a little whiskey. This old battle-axe barfly wanders up to the jukebox. Puts her dollar in. Picks a song. Davy is wondering what song it will be. Suddenly, a few bars belts out of the jukebox. An old familiar tune. It begins to set in, manifested in a wave of warmth. A classic. The “Pina Colada” song.

As the lyrics unfold, truth and beauty spiral around his brain. He listens to getting caught in the rain and planning an escape. Wonderful. Euphoric.

The song, about this guy who places an ad in a classified for a woman who likes Pina Coladas ends with a date in a secret rendezvous—because you know he is married—but the woman who shows up is his wife. Goddamn! If that isn’t romance, what is? Hell Davy loves Pina Coladas. And so did his wife.

Getting caught in the rain. It is all so goddamned overwhelming. He thinks long and hard about his wife, Theresa. That little dimple and those freckles on her neck and that ski trip and their honeymoon. Goddamn. So many Pina Coladas. Now he is going to do her in? This is more than a jukebox in a bar. This is truth. This is divine intervention. Force Majeure. Davy gazes over to the door where a devious creature in a Cossack hat is shaking off the snow. Their eyes meet. There seems to be a moment of reckoning in their eyes, and a wave of fear slips over Davy. But he just picks up his hat and gloves and he heads out to the old caddy, doesn’t look at the man again. He will keep his $30K and forget he was ever even thinking of doing this. There is still time to fix what’s been screwed up.

He starts the car and he reaches in the glove compartment. Pulls out a dusty cassette tape. Rupert Holmes “Escape (The Pina Colada Song).” He pops it in the player and begins his frozen trek out into the night again. He dials a local radio station and an enthusiastic Radio DJ answers. Davy makes a request.

That damned song rings out through the Oldsmobile. Getting caught in the rain. And not into yoga. But into champagne. So many memories. So many good times and to think he was going to throw it all away. He is in love again. He starts to sing along. “If you like pina coladas!” Davy is bopping his head and smoking and singing and then he switches lanes. There is a car tailgating him and giving him the brights.

“What the hell do you want?” he shouts. The car pulls alongside of him. Davy looks over to see the car's back seat window rolling down. His brain can’t comprehend why a shotgun barrel pokes out.


Theresa is at home doing her toenails. The phone rings.

“Hello?” she answers.

“It’s done,” says the voice and hangs up. Theresa listens to the deafening sound of the dial tone. She sets down the phone, goes over the radio, and turns up the volume.

"For all you sweethearts out there. A very special request for Theresa, wherever you are. From your husband David, with all his love...."

William “Bill” Blick is an assistant professor and librarian at Queensborough Community College in Queens, NY. He has a Master’s degree in English Literature and in Library Science from Queens College, CUNY. He has published short fiction in Twist of Noir, Beat to a Pulp, Pulp Pusher, Pulp Metal Magazine, and several others.