Tag Archives: culture

Coffins

Thought we were kidding?
Thought we were kidding?

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

Deputy Zach bagging the bad guys.
Deputy Zach bagging the bad guys.

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.

Germans getting in on the fun.
Germans getting in on the fun.

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

Even coffins lose their cherry.
Even coffins lose their cherry.
Saloon girls enjoying two stiffs.
Saloon girls enjoying two stiffs.

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.

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The Barroom Chronicles… Vol 15 Freaks of a Feather

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.

Krash Montana… Also known as Number 1

“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.

What I thought may have happened.

“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.

The Shithouse Poet Returns – The Men’s Room… The Barroom Chronicles… Episode 9

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.

If you're weak kneed, sensitive, or a stick in the mud, do not attend!

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:

Shithouse Poet at it again!

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!                                

Lady, keep your hands to yourself!

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!    

Orson Welles has served 'whine' in his time... but he agrees literature is best enjoyed upon thy throne!

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.

The Parking Meter… The Barroom Chronicles, Episode 7

The meter relaxing after hours.

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.

Nursed back to health.

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.

Standing sentry at the White Trash Bash.

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.

Partying with its captors! An outrage!

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.

Our beloved expressing its opinion.

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.

Sea foam green or Powder Fairy Blue?

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!

The Midgets are Coming, The Midgets are Coming – The Barroom Chronicles… Episode 5

You’re going to have a what?  Really? We can throw midgets? Where did you find the midgets? You sure this isn’t another April Fool’s joke?

No doubt about it, the previous year’s prank was going to be a hard act to follow, truthfully, I didn’t think it could be done. You may remember The Name Change Party.  If you’re new to The Barroom Chronicles, check out Episode 2,  The Prank That Keeps On Giving.

I had serious reservations that the latest idea would fail miserably. The reactions to the previous year’s stunt were such that I thought everybody would know I was up to shenanigans. My level of resignation was such that on the day of the ‘Midget Toss’, I was going to write April Fools across the Midget Toss banner and call it good.

But thanks to the enthusiasm of an employee,  the event created memories, spawned a tradition, and relegated The Name Change Party to ‘opening act’ status.

“What do you mean write April Fools across the banner? Don’t be a putz,”  Wendy Rae scolded  “I’ve been getting phone calls all week. We’re going to pull this off.”

To the rescue!

The problem was, I didn’t have a clue how, and as far as I knew there wasn’t a midget cavalry coming to the rescue.  The joke was on me.  That afternoon, I learned that well laid plans are great, but sometimes it’s better to improvise.  As the hour approached, I left home armed with the two dolls that would serve as midgets, my computer (for DJing), and a reinvigorated imagination.

Anyone who has ever organized an event will attest, the biggest fear is that it will bomb.  Despite all the good intentions, planning and advertising, people will find other things to do that night.  When that happens, it’s hard not to take the failure personally.  Whatever I was expecting driving into town that night  wasn’t what greeted me.  The bar was packed. There wasn’t a parking place within blocks.  The pressure was on; for me, pressure is motivation.

Eric the Midget

During the weeks leading up to the event, I spun a beautiful web of bullshit.  When questioned if this was an April Fool’s joke, I swore that it wasn’t, saying that the date was the only time the midget troupe was available. Then I deflected the questions by saying not only were we going to have a contest for longest throw, but we were going to put Velcro on the courtyard’s fence and hold a contest for highest toss.  I took it a step further and said that Eric the Midget from the Howard Stern show was the headliner.   I later learned the greatest skeptics were won over by this info.  The chief skeptic admitted buying my line after googling Eric the Midget and  seeing that he was a real person.

Up to this point my only real plan was to drop the dolls off at the Fat Belly Deli and asking Guido to hold them until they were needed.

Outside the bar I took a deep breath before stepping inside. The crowd welcomed me like a conquering hero.  As I set up my computer and got the music going I was swamped with questions:  “When are they gonna get here? Where are they now?”

My answer: “They’re coming from Seattle on a short bus. They’re suppose to be here by midnight. In the meantime take a ticket, we’re having a drawing, the winner gets to tase a midget.”

“What?”

“You heard me. Tonight we’re tasing a midget.”

Not quite a midget tasing, but you get the picture?

Now, that was an interesting sociological experiment. Some people were revolted and refused a ticket, others were fascinated, others were excited. One gentleman followed me around and asked for the tickets that others refused.

The buzz generated was as loud as the music. And then, as fate would have it, I received a phone call. Truthfully, I don’t remember who it was or what it was about, but the timing couldn’t have been better.  I got off the phone, went to the DJ booth,  interrupted the song and made the announcement that the midgets had just entered Montana and that they were about an hour out.  A rousing cheer filled the bar.

Fate conspired in our favor that night, the Ghost Rails Inn – our local bed and breakfast – was holding a murder mystery.  A costume murder mystery.  The group was dressed in 1920’s attire and had come to the bar for an ‘after action review.’  Little did I know they were employees of a Missoula newspaper and our stunt got an article.

As the minutes ticked down, I organized my elves.

Number One:  The ‘winner’ of the tase a midget raffle would announce April Fools over the PA.

Number two:  The man who would deliver the ‘midgets.’

Number three:  Two girls from the murder-mystery who  would climb up on the bar and unveil the “April Fools” banner.

Finally the time had come, I made the announcement that the short bus had arrived. A cheer went up.  We held the ‘tase the midget’ drawing. Our ringer was called to the DJ Booth. Guido kicks open the door and throws the two dolls across the barroom floor and yells:  “Here’s your F#$#ing  midgets!” Our ringer cries “April Fools” and the girls unveil the banner.

A moment of stunned silence fell over the bar.  Then pandemonium broke out:  Some people laughed, some clapped; others booed, some called me nasty names. A very large man from the murder-mystery group who was dressed in knickers and armed with a golf club, beat on a doll until he decapitated it.

Me: I was laughing so hard I escaped to a bench outside the front door. Soon I was greeted by a parade of the humorless.  I was called many nasty names, told I would lose many customers and that they would see to that my name was drug through the mud. I laugh even harder, pointed to another banner that read ‘Free beer tomorrow’  and said: “See you tomorrow.”  As you may have surmised, I subscribe to the idea that there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

Six months ago, the leader of the group stopped in for a beer. We talked about that night. He asked: “Do you know why I was so pissed?”

I shrugged. “Don’t know.”

“I can’t believe I fell for your crap two years in a row.”

To his credit, the midget toss was two years ago and he hasn’t fallen for another prank. But then again, we haven’t tried.  My dream, to find a big name musician who would play our humble dive on the first weekend in April.  Of course everybody would think it was a prank.  When word got out that it really happened, I would have a permanent prank license.  One can dream.

Part 2:  The Day After

It may seem that the poor midgets got lost in the shuffle. Nonsense, they both have earned their place in infamy. The poor decapitated doll’s head currently rests on the bison’s left horn. The surviving doll didn’t survive much longer. The next day, Easter Sunday,  we pushed the line further and created a new tradition.

A longtime regular, who was a ringleader in the wheelchair episode,  stopped by the get the midget toss story.  Somehow or another the idea came up to tie a noose and hang the doll from the road sign.  Is it obvious we have a macabre streak?  I believe it stems from a misspent youth watching too many reruns of the Aadams Family.

Imagine the scene, a beautiful Easter Sunday, a dozen or so  people of all ages standing on the front deck with hands over their hearts as the noose is set and tied off.  The  ‘midget’ swaying to the rhythm of Jimi Hendrix’s  Star Spangled Banner.  I still chuckle from the looks we garnered from passing motorists, not -to-mention that poor young family, dressed in their Easter best, who just happened to be walking past.

Much like the lighting of the Olympic flame, the hanging of the midget has become tradition.  Almost every special event is kicked off by a similar opening ceremony. For the midget, it’s Groundhog Day.  At least she gets to hang out in front of  a cool bar.