So I keep on strolling up the alley ~ stroll by the backside patio of the famous Palace restaurant with a severe parking structure to the other side of the alley ~ stroll by the back of this bar & that store & more trash bins. In the shade beside one bin I discern movement. Oh oh, am I a goner? Why must I be one of the White House’s favorite secret agents? Who volunteered me for this job? Maybe right now is a good time to suddenly start looking for something that pays ~ like flipping burgers.
My eyes blur. The shade is deep. The shade is ~ mystical? The shade next to the trash bin is hiding a tramp ~ and not hiding him very well. He’s sitting on the pavement, his back against the smelly bin. He has found a cool place to rest his bones ~ but this cool place is shrinking due to the sun moving across the sky. Pretty soon he is going to have to move. He raises his arm. He points. “The fucking clown went in there,” he growls.
I turn & look at a not-too-fancy wooden door on which is elaborately printed, “Bird Cage Saloon.” This narrow door is at the back of another plain windowless crumbling-brick building.
I spit out, “Thank you, brother.” I turn & head for the door.
As I reach for the door handle the tramp behind me says, “I wouldn’t go in there if I was you.”
I turn around. This feller is standing up now. Half of him is in the sunlight. He’s long & lanky, stubble all over a haggard face. He’s wearing a black duster coat with long tails, a little western tie at his throat, a shirt that was once white, a wide brim smacked down on his skull. He looks like a very soiled version of Wyatt Earp ~ without gun or badge & in the market for a grave.
“Go around thru the front,” he advises.
“Sounds like a good idea,” I acknowledge. The clown I’d been following could be hiding somewhere behind the backdoor ready to knock me off. He most likely wouldn’t be expecting me thru the front door. This, this, this ghost might have just saved me much harm. “Thanks,” I say.
He glares at me with nothing more to add.
I step further up the back-alley of Whiskey Row. I’m no longer limping. But my back is kinda stiff and my muscles are kind of ~
Plucked like guitar strings…
~ by Rawclyde!
Photo: Wyatt Earp