Wild Goose on the Fly—sometimes true to reality—sometimes true to Mama Goose’s imagination—sometimes a compilation of reality & imagination.
I rolled into Silver Trail Montana one hot morning with my car making one of those funny repetitive noises you don’t want hear, especially when the miles were rolling by without even glimpsing a distant farm house. The main street had a short run of buildings on one side, two of which were empty, and the railroad tracks on the other side. When I spotted a dilapidated garage at the far end of town, I was giddy with relief. The mechanic whose coveralls had never seen the insides of a washing machine assured me it was just a belt that needed replacing, but it would take 3 to 4 hours to get the part and do the work.
Hence this is how I ended up at the Second Home Tavern at 11:00 am on a Saturday morning, since it was the only other establishment open. I bellied up to the bar—isn’t that what they do in the movies—and ordered a bottle of Heineken, no glass. Hey hombre, I was playing the role.
How many years had it been, since I had drunk a cold beer in a bar—-30 years? The beer frizzed in my mouth and down my throat. Hanging on the wall was a neon cowgirl, who was winking her left eye encouragingly every five seconds. Lifting my bottle of beer, I saluted her.
There were only four other people. Sitting at a back table was a woman with melted mascara ringing her eyes nestled up close to much younger man. At the end of the bar was a totally grey man, his hair, his faded jacket and even his skin was the color of cement. Lastly the bartender sporting a sleek walrus mustache lounged against the cooler picking his teeth. Yep, he had a mighty fine mustache. I raised my beer and saluted his mustache, which he interpreted as a request for another beer. Opening the cooler, he grabbed a bottle, uncapped it and plopped it down.
“You wanna run a tab, lady,” he asked.
A tab? I had never run a bar tab in my life, let alone at 11:00 in the morning. “Sure, why not,” I replied. Well I guess I can cross that ‘never’ off my list.
This funny out of body feeling swept over me and I heard myself say, “Bartender, I would like to order a round for the house too.” Ha, I had never done that before either.
Grey Man shuffled over and slurred, “Thanks for the drink, Babe.” His breath smelled like the kitchen garbage cans of my old elementary school.
Wow, I was called Babe. I sat up straighter on my stool. Okay he is drunk and Babe is also the name of a famous pig, but setting those minor points aside he still called me Babe. It’s been a while.
Again I raised my bottle up to salute to my new friend, the neon cowgirl. High five, we are on a roll here.
I noticed a sign advertising nachos. Suddenly I was hungry. ” Bartender I like an order of your nachos please.”
“Coming right up. Do you want jalapenos?”
“No thanks,” I replied. I never eat jalapenos. I swallowed another swig of my second beer. Maybe I’ll get a horse when I get home. While contemplating the idea of also buying a leather vest, the front door flew open with a category five force. A man resembling an unkind Friar Tuck rushed in, kicking aside the tables and chairs impeding his path to the back of the room where the young man and raccoon eyes were sitting.
Shoving a sawed off shotgun into the chest of the young man Friar Tuck spat out, “Cheryl who is this here runt? Hey little man, this is not your lucky day. You don’t go messin’ around with someone else’s wife. Ya hear, you cowering pile of horse turds.”
Slithering down and over the edge of the chair with his hands raised in the air, the young man squeaked out in a falsetto voice, ” We ain’t done nothing. We just talked, drank some beer and put some quarters in the juke box.” Abruptly Friar Tuck jerked the saw off shotgun upwards and blasted a hole in the ceiling. Chunks of acoustic tile slammed to the floor. To Be Continued