It was the worst margarita I've ever tasted. Acid and harsh, it was like Alka-Selzter cut with lime. A pale, unnatural foam floated on top.
At the bar, one old geezer turned to another seated there. "Hey, man, how ya doing? I didn't see you there at first."
"It's my 86th birthday."
"No kidding, how 'bout that, we're the same age. You get out to the track much?"
"Naw, haven't been lately."
"You wanna get out there one more time before they shut it down. Then you'll hafta go all the way out to Santa Anita."
"No, I'm waiting for a friend. We're probably just going to have a drink." Then I realized what she was about. "Do you need the table?"
The place was deserted, except for the two old geezers at the bar and another couple around the corner. It was as dark as a cellar, but blazed with LED Christmas lights. At the back of the room, a grand piano was encircled with a padded bar, empty barstools.
"Not right now, but if I do I'll let you know."
"No problem," I said. Satisfied, she stumped back off to the hostess station.
"So what's this?" asked the bartender, wiping down a glass as he stood in front of the two geezers. "What're they closing down?"
"The track, they're closing the track. After all these years."
"They're closing Santa Anita?"
"No, man, Hollywood Park. You gonna have to go out to Santa Anita now."
"No, she's not there anymore. Hasn't been there in years. She used to run the place, though." He reminisced silently.
"Oh, those were fun days. That's when the stars were all going there, the Bing Crosbys, the Bob Hopes, you know all of the stars. Lot of the studio heads. She had a helluva ride there, Marge did."
Laughing. "She didn't put up with nothing. Remember when she fired the telephone lineman, and he didn't even work for her?"
"I'menna repeat that story, yes, that's a beaut." He suddenly started and brought an Iphone to his ear. "What's that? I can't hear you! No, there's too much noise! I'll call ya later."
The chips in front of me tasted like cardboard, the watery salsa all tomato.
"I dunno, maybe I'm getting old," said the second geezer mournfully.
"Ah hell, don't worry, you'll be 86, just like me - but who's counting?"