A contagious confluence, metaphorical hydraulics in chronofluidity, multiple rippling effects.

Location: Lawrence, Kansas

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Happenings at the Hole

Cowbird and Sarge were regulars at the Hole, good customers and always good for a story or an argument. Sometimes Fast Eddie and his crew would roll in after work. The decibel level would always go up then, as the pinball machine started clanging and clattering and the juke box ran its gamut from country and western to rhythm and blues. Flint Locke wasn’t a regular, but he dropped in occasionally for a beer. Herb thought the guy was wound too tight. As a public service Herb would always punch B4 on the juke—Al Green’s “I’m Still in Love with You”—hoping it would mellow the guy. Flint then would mutter something about “dark music” as he slouched at the bar and nursed his beer. “Y’ oughta call this place the Black Hole,” he’d say, joking but not really. Herb would shrug and let him be. Next time the whole scene would repeat, note for note and word for word.

Except next time it didn’t. Flint walked in after work, took a seat, and ordered his beer. Herb couldn’t help noticing his eyes were red, to the extent that he could see them at all under the drooping eyelids. “Tough day, huh?”

“You can’t imagine. I’ve seen things no one will believe. Now I’ve got to do something about it.” Then he bowed his head in silence, as if offering thanks for his Mickey’s Big Mouth. Herb decided to drop it. The next ones to pour into the Hole were the future rank and file of the South Carolina Aryan Troopers, always ready to toss back a few but curious as to why Flint felt like he needed to turn it into a meeting. Flint looked up from the bar and said, “Git yourselves some Mickeys to-go and meet me out back.”