I’m driving cross country, New Jersey to San Francisco. I’m with a dame. Her name is…. let’s call her Talulla. We pass through some pretty swell places 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. Driving a couple thousand miles can make a guy thirsty, and, it would seem, even a dame.
We pull into the parking lot of Shooters Bar and Grill. The entrance to the joint is at the side of the building, facing the lot. We step through the gap where a door most likely once hung, and down along the narrow and shallow hallway. There are two doors, one on the right and one on the left. Straight in front is a brick wall. The door on the right is the entrance to the restrooms. The door on the left is the entrance to the bar room. We turn left.
Being a gentleman I let Talulla go first, make sure there’s no bar brawls in progress. She gives me the all clear and I follow her in. There’s a couple vacant stools at the end of the bar, I take one, Talulla takes the other one. The bartender looks at me and says “is that where you’re gonna sit?”
“Sure” I answer. I was already sitting there. Maybe the guy couldn’t think of any better questions. Maybe he thought I was real short. Who knows.
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. The other folk sitting at the bar start looking over at me and Talulla and whispering to each other. I figure maybe we should go and sit at a table that just opened up, over by the entrance.
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? Damn, I sure wish I was going to California, get the hell out of this stinking one horse dodge.”
She’s talking loud, smiling from one ear all the way to the other ear. Then she looks around. She moves in closer to the table. The smile is now gone, replaced with a look of dread, terror, maybe even grave concern. She starts to speak again, this time in a low nervous whisper.
“You gotta get out of here. And quick. Don’t look around. That guy at the bar is Crazy Horse. He’s crazy as a coot. You sat 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, starts flapping her white cotton blouse till a button breaks free and shimmies over toward Crazy Horse. I tell Talulla to go powder her nose, I’ll be out in one minute flat. She leaves her drink on the table and casually walks out.
I start counting. Not out loud. That might arouse suspicion. She’s gone thirty seconds. I quickly scan the bar. Looks good. I stand up slowly and move towards the door.
Fifty five seconds.
I’m sitting in the car outside in the parking lot. No Talulla.
Two minutes. Still no Talulla. Sweat starts pouring off my forehead onto the steering wheel.
Three minutes. Maybe I should go and see if she’s ok. No, might be dangerous. I turn on the engine
Four minutes. Talulla appears through the gap where a door maybe once hung and walks slowly over to the car 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?” I ask.
“I had to pee” she says.