Tavern in a Small Missouri Town

imageThey perch, in brown boots and blue jeans,  like cats sitting on fence posts, each one atop his bar stool, each one gazing at the Magnavox above the fading cartoon bear.

The bear is spending his day like he does every other: telling anyone whose eyes he meets about the sky blue waters of Hamm’s.

The sun’s heat slips through the screen door, looks to see if there’s anyone it knows, then settles into the familiar embrace of the slowly turning fan blades before drifting off to sleep.

“Humm,” says the fan motor as a cue ball gently kisses a seven and sends it on its way to work. The quarters are lined up near the right front pocket, quietly watching, waiting for their turn.

Everyone knows where this is headed. Keep your eyes on the tv and your hand around your beer. We’re all in this ’til closing time. Someone man the phone.

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