Kelsey’s Bar – Salamander Baby – Kelsey’s Bar Reprise

I’m hearing all kinds of stories about Kelsey’s Bar. They say they refurbished the joint. Ripped out all the old seating, trying to make the place look respectable. Say they flat out ruined the place. Killed the ambience, the seediness. I decide to check it out for myself.

First thing I notice as I walk through the door is the joint is crowded. Can’t even get to the bar for hipsters and students. This is not good. I need to create a diversion. I start coughing and spluttering “damn this wretched disease”.

Next thing I got the whole bar to myself and a choice of barmaids and whiskies. I pick the blonde and a straight Kentucky mash.

“Hold the rocks sister.”
“You want ice with that, mister?” the broad behind the counter asks. “Sure” I answer. She’s around 5’11″, with legs made for stamping on any guy who gets in her way, and what she makes up for in looks she lacks in brains. Maybe she can help me.
“Say, doll -What kind of coat can only be put on when wet?”
She looks at her fingernails then burbles “a raincoat?”

SONG –      Salamander baby, take me way down south

Tallahassee mama, I can’t stay here no how

I look up to the stars I see nothing

I look into your eyes I see a black, black heart

Salamander baby, take me down

The main bar room is full of shifty looking folk and things don’t get any prettier in the smoking area. Some of these guys look like they haven’t noticed the personal hygiene aisle at the grocery store, like they think shaving foam is some kind of new cheese. I’m standing next to a giant mass of tangled ginger hair starts speaking. The only way I can figure out there’s a guy behind it is from the light bouncing off his glasses. Hair don’t wear glasses, and beards don’t talk. As he begins to disentangle and move the hair from his face I notice he has a moll. She’s around 5’10″, wears heavy make up and shades and never speaks or changes her expression. I wink at her and she doesn’t even tell me to take a hike. I figure maybe I’ll follow it up with a smile but before I get a chance to a siren sounds. Half the punks in the joint freeze, mid-conversation. The rest of ‘em make for the fire exit. I decide to use the main door, no need to get jumpy. As I walk past the bar I turn to the blonde broad behind the counter and say;
“It’s a coat of paint. The answer is a coat of paint.”

Green River, Wyoming (storyjazz version)

I’m driving cross country, New York to San Francisco. I’m with a dame. Let’s call her Talulla. We pass through some pretty swell towns along the way; Iowa City, Ogallala….. But we don’t stop at any of those places. No, we stop at Green River, Wyoming. I ask the guy at the motel if there’s any place ‘round here trading in liquor. And that’s how we wound up at Shooters Bar and Grill. The entrance to the joint is at the side of the building, facing the parking lot. We step through the gap where I guess a door once hung, and down along the dark, narrow hallway. There’s a door on the left, and there’s a door on the right. The door on the left is the bar. The door on the right is the restroom.  We turn left.

Being a gentleman I let Talulla go first, so she can check if there’s any bar brawls in progress. She gives me the all clear and I follow her in. There’s a couple vacant stools over at the far end of the bar. I take one, Talulla takes the other one. The bartender looks at me and says “are you gonna sit there?”
“Sure” I answer. I was already sitting there. Maybe he couldn’t think of any better questions. Maybe he thought I was real short. Maybe, maybe, maybe.
We’re on our second beer when some kinda cowboy walks in. He’s got a holster attached to his belt and looks kinda agitated about something. I notice folk looking over at us and whispering, kinda weird. I figure maybe we oughta go and sit at the table over by the exit.

A waitress comes bounding over. She’s got a smile as wide as the Boysen Dam and is wearing enough make-up to paint it. Twice!

“How are you guys doing today, where y’all from, where y’all goin’? California? I sure wish I was going to California, get the hell out of this stinking one horse dodge.”

Then she looks around. She leans in real close. Her smile is gone, replaced by a look of fear, dread, maybe even grave concern.
“Listen. You gotta get out of here. That guy over there is Crazy Horse. He’s crazy as a coot. You were sitting in his seat. He’s been sitting there for thirty five years. Make like you’re going to the restroom or something, I’ll try and distract him.”

Then she straightens up. She pulls at her blouse till a button breaks free and hits the floor. I tell Talulla to go powder her nose, I’ll be out in one minute flat.
I start counting. Not out loud, that might arouse suspicion.

Thirty seconds. The waitress is on all fours chasing the button across the wooden floor. Crazy Horse can’t take his eyes off her.

One minute.
I’m sitting outside in the Buick. But… no Talulla.

Two minutes.

Still no Talulla. Sweat starts pouring off my forehead onto the steering wheel.

Three minutes.

Still no Talulla! Maybe I should go back inside and see if she’s ok. No, that might be dangerous. I turn on the engine
.
Four minutes.

Talulla appears through the gap where I guess a door once hung. She shimmies across the parking lot like she’s taking a leisurely stroll on Malibu Beach. She climbs into the Buick and my foot hits the gas.
“Where the hell were you?”

She turns to me and says….
“I had to pee”

Midnight Stink

It’s midnight. The fog is thick. I move along the street like a cat on thin ice. There’s a certain menace in the air, a bad smell, something ain’t right here. A kid jumps outta the shadows asking me to go into the liquor store and buy him beer and cigarettes.
“Beat it Buster” I tell him, and walk on past. Then I hear him whistle behind me. Next thing there’s a whole bunch of goons in front of me. Can barely see ’em thru the fog. A lone street lamp bounces off the hand of one of the punks. He’s holding something shiny. A watch? No, too big. An iPhone? Wrong era. A flick-knife……?
My heart starts pounding and my blood runs cold like I’m in some kinda bad 80’s song.
Then…
A hand grips my shoulder tight. I try to turn around but…….