Ablutions (Paperback) by Dewitt Patrick
A nameless barman tends a decaying bar in Hollywood and takes notes for a book about his clientele. Initially he is morbidly amused by watching the regulars roll in and fall into their nightly oblivion pitying them and their loneliness. In hopes of uncovering their secrets and motives he establishes tentative friendships with them. He also knocks back pills indiscriminately and treats himself to gallons of Jameson's. But as his tenure at the bar continues he begins to lose himself trapped by addiction and indecision. When his wife leaves him he embarks on a series of squalidly random sexual encounters and a downward spiral of self-damage and irrational violence. To cleanse himself and save his soul he attempts to escape ...