My associate and I pushed our way in the Rose Garden Inn in Drain and walked into a saloon straight from a set of an Alan Ladd Western, minus the carpeted floor, which is terrible for any Western because you can’t see a man’s blood pool on the floor after a shootout.
She was on acid, a light dose she told me.
I looked around. A strange older woman playing video poker was the only other patron. Strange because I had no powers to describe her hair, makeup, attire or body composition. She was beyond description or understanding, even for someone on acid observing her.
The lending library near the wood stove beckoned. I strolled over and found it packed with cheap Westerns from the 50s and 60s. I borrowed two because I was writing a modern Western, a kink one, with lots of meth, one great ass, but no acid.
On the way back to the bar, I noticed the only non-Western thing in the Road Garden Inn—an advertisement for a yoga class above the bowling alley in Drain. I’d love to meet anyone who takes a Yoga class in Drain.
We ordered a couple of IPAs from the female bartender. Resting on the bar, was an old school black and white print newspaper, a 12-pager. The front-page story was about the truth of Jesus’ resurrection. The other lead stories were about dead people who didn’t resurrect. The bartender told me the paper was back in print after a year-long hiatus after the previous publisher died. Who said print is dead?
The bartender was nice and friendly and I drilled her with questions. In short order I discovered her family moved here in ’42, the joint used to be called the Chug-a-Lug, and it once served breakfast and dinner to the loggers who lived in the log cabins out back. I also asked about the 14-point elk mounted over the entrance to the kitchen. It had a plaque underneath that read: “Dick Blomberg. 1974. Brush Creek. Drain.”
She gave me the lowdown. Dick Blomberg was still alive! He still drove a log truck! He would be in any minute for his Happy Hour Budweiser. He probably had a million OTA stories of drinking in Drain and drinking while killing elk.
A young woman entered the bar. The bartender had a cocktail waiting for her before she sat down at the bar. She took a sip and began scrolling through her phone with disinterest. My associate and I liked the look of her so we struck up a conversation. That’s what you do in OTA country.
Amanda was a quasi machinist at a machine shop in Drain that produces exactly one product—a replacement part for a corn husking contraption used exclusively in Cornland, America.
She was a great storyteller and loved to hunt and fish. She loved Drain and doubtless Drain loved her, too. She grew up in Drain and then returned after unhappy stints in the big cities. Her employer offered good pay, health insurance and a retirement plan. Amanda took pride in a job that required perfect concentration or something metal might break loose and pierce someone’s body. I hadn’t heard anyone describe a job with so much pride and with such precise technical detail in decades, perhaps ever. I loved hearing it. She taught me with her words. She inspired me.
We drank our beers and ordered another round. While I waited for Dick, my associate talked with Amanda. I passed the time writing a haiku:
Rose Garden. Drain rain.
Kat’s on acid. Kink Western
underway. Write it.