It’s a foggy night, you’ve been traveling and maybe your eyes are heavy. You pull off the freeway in the hope of finding a cup of coffee. After rounding a corner you find yourself in a small town. Nothing moves – even the fog seems asleep under the tungsten glow of streetlights. The sidewalks are pulled up so tight that even stray dogs feel unwelcomed. Distractions could be dangerous in a place like this, you think. You turn off the radio, grip the steering wheel a bit harder, and focus on the road The hum of tires your only company.
Ahead a red glow pierces the night like a puddle of blood in virgin snow. Maybe you squint to bring it into
focus. The glow turns ominous and you fear you’ve made a wrong turn. You consider turning around and finding the freeway, but instead press forward. The light brightens in the dense fog like the eye of a demonic Cyclops. Exhaling, you convince yourself it’s just your imagination playing tricks.
What’s that? Something moved under the light. Eight legs saunter into your headlights. Is it? What the ….? Is it some sort of reptilian octopod? Maybe you tap the brakes; maybe you punch the accelerator. No, it’s four guys carrying a coffin. What? You slam the brakes. As if you’re not there, they slide the coffin into the back of pickup truck and close the tailgate. They wipe their hands on their pants and cross the road in front of you. Your eyes follow them under the glowing red light and into a Tavern.
What do you do?
A) Punch the gas pedal and get out of town.
B) Park your car. You found your coffee or maybe a spirit.
C) Circle around the block before parking nearby and investigating what’s in the coffin.
D) Realize you’re in rural Montana and this is par for the course.
The preceding event may or may not have happened. The participants are bound to secrecy. If you drive by our humble establishment under better lighting conditions, you can’t miss the caskets leaning against the fence. They’re like our welcome
mat. Okay, maybe we have a morbid sense of humor – or maybe they serve a more utilitarian purpose, if you know what I mean.
The real story is they came about as props for our Railroad Day Shootouts. Like a case of herpes, they showed up and never left. For locals, they’re luggage that have faded into invisibility in plain sight, until an occasional car pulls over, the occupants hop out and take turns posing for pictures in or alongside our ambassadors of the macabre. Or maybe it’s our way of saying stay awhile – until we tire of you and slide you into the back of a truck on a foggy night.
This post could very easily be an addition to The Barroom Chronicles, except that this is a fictional story, even though the Humming
Bartender may or may not be inspired by someone who is destined to receive his own episode of the nonfiction series. The voice is James Morrison, the narrator of Cemetery Street. Montana Rural is the continuation of his story. Enjoy this sneak preview of my work in progress, Montana Rural.
By the time we reached the bed and breakfast all I wanted was sleep, but my father insisted on buying me a beer. The three of us trudged down the street and slipped inside the semi-crowded bar. We plopped ourselves around a small table and within moments we were accosted by a humming bartender with an alien tattooed on his neck. “Hmmmm… Welcohmmmm to Boyd and Chadwick’s, where the beer’s warm and glasses are dirty, tonight’s special is if you don’t like it you can shut the fuck up! Hmmmm… What can I get you? Hmmmm?” he asked.
Diane and my father looked at each other and I tried not to laugh. I had firsthand knowledge of Reginald’s antics and until I noticed him when we walked in I never thought of subjecting my guests to his whims. When we hesitated, he said in a fairly good English accent: “Come on now mate, hurry the fuck up, I ‘ave other inmates to attend to.”
Dad and I ordered two beers and Diane ordered a Cosmopolitan.
“Hmmmm, I’ll be right back… Hmmm,” he hummed and shuffled away.
“That was rude,” she commented and then added: “He’s kind of a strange bird.”
“You can’t imagine,” I told her. “He’s name’s Reginald and he’s a local legend. People come from miles around.” What had me interested was what kind of drink he would whip up for Diane. I was fairly certain he had never made a Cosmopolitan before and he wouldn’t waste his time looking it up; he was known for throwing concoctions together and demanding that you finish it.
A few minutes later he returned with our round. “Hmmmm Two Beers and a Cosmo – politan.” He somehow managed to switch accents from gay to English between syllables.
Diane looked from her drink, which almost glowed neon green, back to the bartender. “Ummm, this isn’t a Cosmopolitan.”
“Hmmmm… What do you mean? It’s good enough to be on the cover of any magazine. If you don’t like it, take it to the compliant department.” He pointed to the front door where a Compliant Department sign hung over the doorway. “Now if you’ll be kind enough to pay me eight dollars I won’t complain. Hmmmm”
My father handed him a ten and told him to keep the change.
“Hmmmm… Blessed plenty,” Reginald said in a southern accent before humming and shuffling off.
“Wow,” Diane said watching Reginald again switch gears attending to someone else.
“The best part is that he believes he was abducted,” I said.
“By?” My father asked.
“Wow,” Diane repeated before turning her attention to her cocktail. “I’m afraid to drink it.”
“And you thought there wasn’t any culture in the sticks. You wouldn’t find someone like that in a city,” I said.
The both of us watched as Diane sipped her drink. “It’s not bad.” She couldn’t contain her fascination with the bartender as he bounced about. It wasn’t long before he came back to the table to check on us: “Hmmmm… ’ow’s your drink m’lady?”
“Good, what’s in it?” Diane asked.
“You like it? Hmmmm.”
“That’s good, because it’s Alien Piss with a pinch of Spanish Fly… Someone will be busy tonight. Now if you’ll excuse me… Hmmm” He clapped twice, pirouetted one-hundred eighty degrees and shuffled off.
“He’s unreal,” Diane said half-amused, half-insulted.
When we turned in for the night, I couldn’t help burry my head under the pillows. Just in case Reginald wasn’t lying and he did spike her drink, I wasn’t sure how thick the walls were and I didn’t want to hear the results.
Sometimes is best to leave an event alone, allow the dust to settle, before gloating about ruffled feathers and sandy vaginas left in its wake. As the proprietor of ‘The Evil Bar’ in our tiny town, and a person who may or may not have been involved with the genesis of such a stunt, I believe the smoke has cleared enough to let the world know of such hijinks. This thought is based on the equation: Comedy = tragedy + time. Though there was no tragedy involved, there may have been numerous pairs of soiled underwear and/or attacked hearts, unless you take into consideration those without a sense of humor, their skipped heart beats and dirty drawers could be construed tragic.
On July 19th, 2012 at approximately eleven PM Mountain Daylight Time, roughly an hour before Aurora, Colorado entered the cultural lexicon, a couple of cohorts had a nasty idea for a practical joke. Of course, I couldn’t resist. Those of you who follow this blog know about the ‘old west gunfights,’ we hold during Railroad Days, our little town’s yearly celebration. The night in question, we were walking through the scenarios for the following Saturday.
“Hey,” Cohort #1 said, “I have an idea.”
I should have known it was a bad deal.
Cohort #’s 2 and 3 said the idea rocked. “Let’s do it.”
I wasn’t at the ‘other bar’ to witness the event. But, I’ve heard the story enough, it goes like this:
Cohort #3 walked into the other bar and said there was a bunch of drama up at ‘The Evil Bar.’ Cohorts 1 and 2 were arguing about money that 2 owed 1. Being that both 1 worked for 2 and as someone said later, 2 owed a few people money, made the premise believable. A few minutes later 1 and 2 appeared in front of the other bar in the midst of a heated argument.
Now, Number 1 is an actor. He has the ability to get into a role and make it work. Outside of Al Pacino, I’ve never seen a better Tony Montana. Being gangster isn’t a stretch.
Number 2 is a loveable giant. Everybody in town adores him and he can possibly be the kindest person alive. Not to mention he can cook up a storm. So imagine the scene when 1 called out 2 in front of a small crowd of people who have drank with 2 since Camden was a prairie. Then he has the audacity to pull out a replica revolver and fires a shot into 2’s chest. Number 2 did his part and fell back against the outside wall. People scattered, the manager came unglued and the bartender, who happened to be walking by, allegedly peed her pants.
Meanwhile, those of us left behind at the ‘Evil Bar,’ were listening for two shots. Like Number 1 demonstrated before leaving, holding the revolver gangsta style while saying: “Pop, Pop.”
We giggled like kids hearing the first shot, imagining the mayhem. “Hey,” someone asked. “Where’s the second shot?”
The simple answer, things never go as planned. After the initial shock and awe, Number 2 had to jump up and proclaim “It’s just a joke!” The manager, a mellow 50 something gal, instantly turned into a grizzly bear and allegedly read the riot act in numerous languages, leaving the three Cohorts pleading their case why they shouldn’t be eighty-sixed.
“What’s going on?” I asked a regular who had tagged along to witness.
“Oh man, it didn’t go good.”
“What happened? Where was the second shot?” I asked, panicked. I imagined 1 getting the tar beat out of him.
“Nothing that bad,” the witness said. “1 and 2 are buying rounds to make it good.”
It would be an hour before the three amigos returned. “So?” I asked.
“They called us freaks and told us to go back and drink with the rest of the freaks,” Number 1 reported. The comment confirmed my suspicion that freaks of a feather really do drink together.
I saved this nugget for July 4th, because for our nation’s birthday there’s nothing like dusting off an old prank. Four years ago today I launched a fictitious presidential campaign tour which sent ‘Robert’ hitchhiking and riding the rails across the country in a seventy-seven day whirlwind.
Judging by the response it received on Myspace (does anyone remember Myspace?) one wonders what could have happened if there was a campaign staff in place. For a peek at that ridiculous page click here. But then again, when you’re running mate is Irving Richard Knightly and who went by the moniker I. Dick Knightly, it’s easy to get attention, especially when you throw in the slogan: “Vote for Robert and get Dick Knightly.”
What a fun endeavor, especially when e-mails and phone calls requesting to
interview Robert started coming in. “I’ve been following him, when is he coming to our town?” numerous reporters asked. The excuse was given that no one at campaign headquarters knew where he would be next, after all Robert refused to be ‘itinerized.’
If I would have played it smarter, oh what fun we could have had. The problem was, the real Robert, didn’t want to partake in the hi-jinx. He’s a very private person who graciously lent his image and his knowledge of days spent riding rails, the location of hot and cold yards and more importantly, the location of great bars across the country to the campaign.
So starting on July 4th, 2008 daily updates were posted to the Myspace page and Robert’s wordpress page. (It looks like the blog page isn’t in existence anymore) Here’s how it worked. Using online railroad maps, I plotted the route of a campaign trial. When the railroads didn’t cooperate with a required campaign stop the solution was simple, Robert got off the train and hitchhiked. Each day our candidate would stop in numerous actual bars across the lower 48 and give his campaign spiel. When a bar was selected, I would look it up online, gather information and stories about the establishment, throw in a character or two from our little Montana town, and presto, a campaign stop was born. I learned more about dive bars and local politics across the good ole USA than I care to admit.
At the end of any given day Robert would ‘send’ his summary of days events to HQ via Blackberry who in turn would update the webpages with The Robert Blog. A thousand words is worth picture, so with that in mind, I’ve included Robert’s ridiculous platform and a random post from the campaign trail.
The next challenge? Converting the blog into a novel. My intention was to get it done in time for this year’s presidential campaign, God knows one of Robert’s lines would have been perfect for this year: “You know the country is in trouble when a presidential candidate is named after a baseball glove.”
If you’re brave, I’ve dug out Robert’s platform and a random post. I enjoyed rereading the platform, especially with four years hindsight. I especially like the idea of repaving roads white to combat global warming. And yes, each plank is named after a Star Wars Movie.
Dirty Bum Platform
Section 1: Domestic policy: The Phantom Menace
Section 2: Election reform: The Attack of the Clones
Section 3: Economic policy: The Revenge of the Sith
Section 4: Environment and Global Warming: A New Hope
Section 5: Foreign policy: The Empire Strikes Back
Section 6: Personal Liberty and Responsibility: The Return of the Jedi
Section 1: Domestic Policy: The Phantom menace
A) Infrastructure: The Dirty Bum understands that our nation’s infrastructure is in serious need of repair. We will attack this problem by creating the twenty-first century’s version of the CCC – the civilian conservation corps. If a person is newly unemployed, they will have the choice of joining the CCC or not receive unemployment insurance.
B) Health Insurance: The Dirty Bum feels it is a national disgrace that our country is the only industrialized nation not to have health insurance for its citizens. Our first priority is that each and every American will be covered, entitled and receive the best medical care available.
C) Mass Transportation: The Dirty Bum will decriminalize freight hopping and encourage people to ride the rails as a means of travel cross our great nation.
D) Immigration: The Dirty Bum will annex Mexico making it the 51st state thus eliminating the influx of illegal immigration. The annexation would eliminate the impetuous for Mexicans to cross the border and thus stem the tsunami of illegals. This move would also increase the GNP and provide greater vacation locales for the residents of the first fifty states without the need of passports. It will also redefine the deep south.
Section 2: Election Reform: The attack of the clones.
A) Who isn’t sick of stuffed shirts scamping about Iowa and New Hampshire like Amway sales reps. To the Dirty Bum, they appear like prostitutes desperate to sell their charms. It is my opinion that a penny of tax-payers money spent on this dog and pony show is one too many. If elected I will force the issue of campaign reform with the following initiatives: 1) The campaign will be limited to the calendar year of the election! I would like to see a campaign season of three months but realize that most candidates would explode if not given the time to expel the voluminous gas they generate. 2) Not a penny of taxpayers money would be spent under the auspices of matching funds. This money would be better spent funding health care. 3) I would like to see a spending cap so candidates cannot buy an office! To honor this year’s attempt, I will suggest we name this “The Romney Clause.” Mit, you would have been better off donating your money to your favorite charity! Then we could call the provision “The Santa Clause!”
Section 3: Economic Policy: Revenge of the Sith
A) The Dirty Bum party will abolish the IRS and do away with personal and corporate income taxes. The party realizes that this will place the accounting profession in jeopardy. So be it, if accountants followed their own advice, they will have enough money saved to enjoy an early retirement.
B) In lieu of income taxes, we will implement a nation sales tax. This tax will be 3%. This serves as a consumption tax and encourages savings more than IRAs, 401ks and the numerous other vehicles that create and employ redundant levels of bureaucracy
Section 4) Environmental Policy: A New Hope:
The Dirty Bum accepts that global warming is a reality and a threat to humankind. Understanding the seriousness of this issue, the party is proposing the following solutions as first steps in combating climate change. These solutions have a direct impact on the domestic economy by means of creating an estimated 22.5 million jobs while impacting said issues and our nations infrastructure.
1) A basic rule of physics states that dark colors absorb heat and light colors reflect heat. Following this tenant, we will encourage congress to fund legislation to repave all roads in the nation white, thus reflecting energy instead of absorbing, lowering the earth’s core temperature.
2) We will also promote the production an estimated 2.5 million large scale ice machines in which the product will be spread over ecologically sound areas to: 1) Promote the reestablishment of glaciers 2) Refresh watersheds and 3) Lower the earth’s core temperature.
3) Limit the hours of congressional sessions; the purpose being the amount of hot air produced during said sessions raises the atmosphere’s temperature by an estimated .13 degree Fahrenheit.
Section 5: Foreign policy: The Empire Strikes Back.
The Iraqi Crises: The Dirty Bum will look to our checkered national history to give solution to the Iraqi debacle and bring our soldiers home safely. We admit that the reservation system in the states is a disgrace, but despite its flaws, it may provide the answer for an exist strategy and secure the oil – we all know that’s why Bush invaded, lets admit it, take our lumps and do what we set out, plunder the oil fields – the Dirty Bum will create three reservations in Iraqi Proper: The Sunni, The Shiite and the Kurdish. With the warring parties secure we can go about the job and thus stabilize oil prices and thus our economy.
Afghanistan: The Dirty Bum agrees with being in Afghanistan, we have a job to do in eliminating Osama bin Laden. We will focus our military might on capturing him, reducing Al qida and the Taliban. Once this mission is complete we will withdraw and go about retooling our military for future challenges.
Section 6: Personal Liberty and Responsibility: The Return of the Jedi
Well over forty years ago, JFK uttered the words: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” I feel it is time that we as a people revisit his words. We must end the sense of entitlement that many of our own feel, express and demonstrate; we must again learn that a greater sense of self-fulfillment comes from contributing to a greater cause rather than leeching from such a cause. Under my administration, I will promote self-reliance, community spirit and national pride.
Random Post: (1st person, in the voice of the candidate)
I woke up in a cheap motel room, snuck into the bathroom, took care of business and moved towards my backpack sitting on a chair when I felt an eye on my back and imagined the other upon the door. I exhaled, knowing I was busted trying to slip out onto the campaign trail.
“Where you going?” Shari asked.
“Getting a cup of coffee,” I answered.
I should hire her to create a documentary of my campaign, I thought as the toilet flushed. Sitting on the edge of the bed, I absentmindedly watched Headline News till Shari emerged from the bathroom. Awkward, at least for me, small talk filled the air between us till we hit the C-store.
“Why is your old man in the can?”
“He’s a bit hot tempered. He beat a fellow he thought was sleeping with me.
We were just friends, nothing ever happened. Don’t worry sugar plum,” she said patting my knee. “I won’t utter a word and Moses, he don’t follow politics and anyhow, he can’t read. You’re free and clear.”
“Keep an eye on the road,” I responded. The prospect of driving closer to a man – with his wife – in prison for assault was unsettling. I was a gut check, for if elected, I would be facing crises that would require intestinal fortitude.
I considered not reporting on this fandango, no one would ever be the wiser and I could continue onward without drawing attention away from the issues, but, it would be a missed opportunity. Unlike John Edwards, who made himself look silly, I am standing up and saying that I committed biological indiscretion. I screwed up and I had sex with this married woman.
I hope you enjoyed this foray into political nonsense, somehow I get the feeling if politicians were this honest we’d be better off.
It was only a matter of time, you knew it was coming – the yin to the women’s room yang, or is it the yang to the yin? Who knows? All I know is that I can’t help reading this stuff multiple times a day – no wonder I’m twisted.
Without further ado, allow me to reintroduce the shithouse poet – the Men’s Room edition.
Warning: If you’re sensitive, easily offended, or are politically correct… Oh wait, you wouldn’t be here. If you managed to stumble across this blog and don’t know my tastes and find it offensive, tuck your skirt in or leave before you stain this beautiful poetry with your tears of sensitivity and good taste.
Phew, now that we handled that and you’re still here, did you ever consider that good taste is a euphamism for a humorless stick in the mud. I know of such a person who took offense to what follows and in protest demostrated his outrage by urinating over the bathroom walls. But then his name was on the wall and next to his name is an activity in which I cannot confirm nor deny the said person is alleged to have participated.
Without further ado, let’s step into the men’s room. Just don’t step on the butt print in the floor. We don’t know where that bottom has been other than sitting in wet concrete at a specific point in time. (Hopefully picture is forthcoming. An edit is required to live up to wordpress standards.)
The first thing you may notice is a note about our town:
Alberton: Where you don’t lose your woman, you lose your turn!
Placement is everything, and it’s no wonder I have a complex. Every time I pee, this chestnut stares me in the face:
Why are you looking up here, the joke is in your hand.
Of course there’s plenty to read about men’s favorite topic, and it ain’t football, hockey or basketball:
I like them in frills… I like them in lace… But I like them better when they sit on my face!
Snow is like pussy… Fun to play in, you never know when it will cum, and only some of it is clean enough to eat!
Here’s to the breezes that blow through the treez’s and lifts little girl’s dresses above her kneezes… Lil boy seezes, does what he pleases and catches social diseases.
A trick is a trick, a ho is a ho, it ain’t no fun less you get some mo.
Now that we’ve discerned a man’s favorite topic, here’s a little lit about what we do when we get what we want:
The religious amongst us pray: Now I lay me down to eat, I pray her muff don’t smell like feet, and if it smells too much to lick, I hope she’s good at sucking dick!
Others boast our own accoutrements: It’s as long as me arm and thick as me wrist with a knob on the end as big as me fist and it just longs to be kissed.
Other’s wax poetic: Love me tender, love me sweet, wrap you lips around my meat! Watch me smile, watch me grin, watch my cum run down your chin.
Other’s wax to the wax: I’ll love you tender, I’ll love you sweet, but it won’t be my lips you’ll see on your meat. We’ll see a smile, we’ll see a grin, and we’ll see who’s cum is running down who’s chin!
And then there’s the result of such shenanigans: As I stand here trying to piss, I think of the girl who gave me this!
When us men tire of pussy, there’s always our best friend:
My dog is smarter than you… She’s spayed!
It’s a dog’s life… If you can’t eat it, fuck it, piss on it.
Some of us prefer a different kind of pet:
I’m not a Spring Chicken… I’m the Rooster!
And often when we sit to contemplate we give birth to the following drivel:
Here I sit buns a flexin’ givin’ birth to another Mexican!
Often contemplation leads to the philosophical:
Civilization exists by nature’s consent – subject to change without notice.
If the creator was a pessimist, he would have put your asshole in the middle of your face!
And then there’s the management’s promise: We shall serve no whine before it’s time!
Please ignore the beauty right above the hopper, it may cause you to piss on the walls: Blankety Blank, you Blankety Blank, don’t you?
That’s funny, it didn’t cause me to do it either…
I’ve hope you enjoyed this tour into the filthiest of all places… and I’m not talking about the men’s room, I’m refering to man’s one track mind.
Did you ever have one of those days when you scratch your head and say: “What the F#$%?” In my part of the world, these days are, well, an everyday occasion. But sometimes I’m so amazed that I end up scratching both my head and my butt. This past Saturday was such a day, a perfect storm of silliness and awe that makes you think: wait a minute, is this really happening?
Another such day was an afternoon a little over three years ago when two elderly ladies came into our fair tavern. Along with their brooches, one was wearing a smile, the other was wearing a snarl. I was on the phone growling at a vendor and didn’t recognize the impending good granny, bad granny routine.
Little did I know they were the messengers for a sinister organization – The Senior Citizens of our Town. “We have a petition to deliver to you,” the bad granny snapped as she handed me the piece of paper.
I took it from her and read the first line: “We the Senior citizens who’ve lived in our little town for 50 (and up) years find your sign “Welcome pimps and hos” offensive. ((Actually the sign read: Pimp and Ho Party, Saturday Feb. 14) Yes, that’s right, it is our way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.)
Like some sort of sixth sense, or maybe it’s my built in bullshit detector , whatever it was, I sensed displeasure with their message. They weren’t visiting to proclaim my greatness or draft me as their candidate for mayor.
“Listen, I’m in a bad mood, I don’t have time for your nonsense,” I said.
“Read it!” The bad granny snapped.
“Stick it,” I replied. I can be such an anal aperture. “And while you’re at it, buy something or leave!” This always works on the non-paying, especially if I’ve never seen the person before. Listen, being a customer has its priveledges – mostly throwing me a line or two of grief. This was different, I had to draw a line in the sand against the Granny Gestapo.
“You really should read it, it’s kinda funny,” the good granny chirped.
“No drinky, no stayie,” I barked. (I really didn’t say that, but it sounds good.)
Their task complete, the Grannies walked out the door with their heads held high. It wasn’t till a couple hours later that I cooled my jets enough to peruse their masterpiece. And I thought we were offensive, we’re completely bush league in comparison. This is what their note read:
“We the Senior citizens who’ve lived in our little town for 50 (and up)
years find your sign “Welcome pimps and hos” offensive. I believe that
parents of young children will also find it offensive. However if you
really think that calling people denigrating names is the way to appeal
to potential customers you are neglecting whole classes of people…
You have your Spicks and Micks and Dagos and Wops,
Your Hunkies and Junkies and “pigs” (for cops)
There are Bucks and Squaws, slant-eyes and Frogs
Your Rednecks and Polacks and female Dogs
You’ve got Chinks and Finks and Pansies and Dykes
Niggers and Limeys and don’t forget the Kikes,
There are Greasers and Japs and the German Kraut,
Just so you didnt leave anyone out…
Why not have an all-inclusive sign “Welcome Scum of the earth, this is your
home away from home” Better yet how about a really family- friendly
sign. “Welcome friends and neighbors!””
There was almost fifty signatures signed at the bottom of the page. My wife and I got such a kick out of it, we promptly posted the petition with the names on the bar’s Myspace page. Remember Myspace? It makes me feel as old as the Gestapo.
I did take the senior’s advice. Two new banners went up. One proclaiming a Kikes and Dykes party, and another for party that gained traction for a couple of years. The Scum Ball.
Oh, I almost forgot about what happened this Saturday. In addition to our Spread your Wings Party, we had another wedding at the bar. That’s strange enough, but it’s not terribly unusal, it’s the third. What makes this one odd was not that the mother of the bride was summoned from the golf course, she didn’t know her daughter was getting married. Apparently, forty-eight hours early, neither did the bride. The story goes the happy couple met a few days prior to the wedding. Move over Vegas!
Even though I can’t remember the date, I’ll never forget the day. It marked the arrival of the most controversial conversation piece of my tenure. This object has been kidnapped more than Patty Hearst. It has been held ransom, it has been rescued, only to be kidnapped again. It’s been stowed away in a Tee-pee and went missing for almost two years. It has been given up for dead. It is… The Parking Meter.
Little did I know when an old regular brought it through the door, it would come with more drama than a cute bar fly. The old regular found the parking meter washed up along the river bank. Knowing my sense of humor, he brought it to the bar and donated it to the cause.
It is speculated that the parking meter has lived a tough life.
It obviously was Shang-highed from it’s original location, had its guts ripped out, was thrown into the river and left for dead. Who would have thought the meter would survive such a perilous journey only to wash up on the banks of our humble town?
We nursed it back to health, welded a wheel to the post enabling it to stand on its own. For years it stood sentinel in front of the bar, bilking quarters from gullible tourists. Often I’ve been asked: “What’s the deal with the parking meter?”
To which I still reply. “Ours is a poor town, we can only afford a single parking meter. Everyday a business takes its turn hosting the meter. ”
I have to say, nothing yells sucker like seeing a schmuck throw a quarter in the slot and turn the knob. Especially when the glass is so mucked up you can’t see the meter’s hand. I guess its condition adds authenticity to the the town’s economic status.
Life quickly settled into routine for the Parking Meter. Spending sunny days standing before the bar like a guard before Buckingham Palace. At closing it was faithfully carried inside only to be returned to its post the next afternoon. Soon its hours were increased and it stood on duty twenty-four hours a day. Who would have thought that anyone in our fair town would set their sights on the parking meter.
But bar wars, jealousy, and pranksters are funny things, and the meter’s existence became interesting. I fear its morals have been corrupted, and it has seen the inside of more bars than most. As you can see by the picture, our meter is suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.
Ours is an opinionated meter. Often it displays its thoughts via signs posted on its body. Maybe it outspoken nature contributed to its troubles. Whatever the reason, our meter went missing. It seemed lost forever. Despite rewards, bounties (with all due respect to the New Orleans Saints), All Points Bulletins, it whereabouts remained a mystery. For two years, speculation was rampant, the idea that a pissed off Kawasaki owner was put forth.
Then, something miraculous occurred. Last month, a bartender showed up one afternoon with a huge smile on her face. “You need to come outside. You’re not going to believe what we found.”
In the back of her boyfriend’s pickup was our meter. A little banged up, but nothing a little TLC and a weld couldn’t fix.
Where was the meter found? Along the river bank, in the same area where it was originally discovered. Hmmm. The plot thickens. Despite the intrigue, the meter is home, standing sentry in front of the bar, ready to let it’s opinion be known, especially when it comes to matters of importance such as the color of the bike to our right. I say it’s powder fairy blue. The owner insists the owner’s manual claims it’s sea foam green. To which I respond. You’re right, the sky is green. If the meter goes missing again, I think we have our guy!