With a flourish I signed my first ever bar tab and handed it to the bartender who was absent mindedly stroking his mustache.
In farewell I winked at the neon cowgirl and slid off my barstool intending to head straight for the door. But for some reason I listed to the right and hit a table. My internal GPS messaged me, recalculating, recalculating. Once again I headed for the door, this time I listed to the left and hit another table.
“Hey Lady, you okay?” asked the bartender.
“I am fine, just fine,” I said. ” Bump knee, don’t you know. Old football injury.”
After hesitating a moment I said firmly, ” Yes, too many pyramid cheers at the Dallas Cowboy games.”
” YOU were a Dallas Cowgirl?” His voice was laced with a mix of incredulity and lust.
With the expertise of a seasoned burlesque star I jutted my hip out, laid my hand on it and looked him right in the eye over my shoulder. I polished off my nonverbal answer by executing a little shimmy.
The bartender hopped the bar, grabbed my arm and opened the door for me. “Say do you still keep in touch with any of them?”
Arching my eyebrow I said conspiratorially, ” Privacy and security issues are always a concern.:
“Oh sure sure, I understand. Hey if you come back in, there will be a free beer and an order of nachos with jalapenos waiting for you.”
“Thanks,” I said.
Slowly I teetered my way down the street to the garage. Feeling pleased I mentally crossed another never off my never list. I never imagined I would ever be a Dallas Cowgirl and for a couple of minutes I was one. Merrily I jutted out one hip and then the other. Men get off the hook about their knees with vague references to football injuries, which neatly detours around the concept of old. I merely put my own spin on an old classic.
My merry mood took a dive into Lake Oh No, when I spied my car still in the garage with the hood up. The mechanic stepped out of the gloom of the garage and skillfully aimed a splat of tobacco juice into a five gallon bucket sitting to one side of the door.
” Ma’am, turns out the spindle holding the belt is shot as well . Gotta order the part from Bozeman. With the weekend and all startin’ tomorrow, the earliest I can get you back on the road would be Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning at the latest.”
“Monday!” Where’s a Dallas cowgirl’s poms poms, when she needs them? I was agitated and craved to shake something—NOW. Even my beer hazed mind grasped that shaking the mechanic wasn’t prudent.
“Sorry Ma’am,” he said. Carefully he tucked another wad of chew under his lower lip.
This man was definitely eroding my Dallas cowgirl mood by repeatedly calling me ma’am. Stop the bus. Houston we have a problem. Where was I going to lay my weary body at night? In the backseat of my car?
The mechanic anticipated my question. ” Maybe you didn’t notice, but there’s a small motel when you come into town. It isn’t much, but it’s something.”
Pulling my suitcase and lugging my bag of books I headed down the street. Minutes later I spotted The Sleep Good motel. Obviously the motel itself hadn’t been sleeping well, because it looked mighty tired. In sharp contrast parked at one end was a jewel tone gypsy caravan which looked like it had been manifested by Disney Studios.
As I was registering I asked, ” Whose fantasy gypsy caravan is that?”
“Oh that’s Lumina. She’s a gypsy woman who comes thru once or twice a year. We let her park there. Apparently there’s some special energy center hereabouts, which opens up at particular times of the year when the moon is rising or so she says. I don’t really get what she’s talking about, but her money is good as any. ”
As I was fumbling with my key, the door to the caravan opened. A woman about my age, but with an aura of drama I have never been able achieve stepped down.
She spoke to me like she knew me. ” You must come and see me. I will tell you things. You can share my Romanian soup with me.” Then she closed the door.
What????? To be continued