Oregon Tavern Age: Hallelujah

It was stone dead quiet inside the South Jetty. No TV, no radio. Even the video lottery machines were silent despite two OTAs playing line games and losing.

I was editing a manuscript, a novel written by a former Navy carrier bombardier, about his experience in the Vietnam War. This book is soaring. I love helping bring the writer’s dream to fruition.

Something entered my peripheral vision. An OTA woman dressed in gray sweatpants was standing in front of the digital jukebox. In all my visits to the South Jetty, I had never seen a single person patronize it. No! I craved silence to read the wonderful novel and give it my full attention.

She punched up a selection and I braced for impact. I didn’t brace well enough.

A sonic explosion blasted me out of my chair and the manuscript went flying. I’d never heard the song before and it was awful, a mix of rock, rap, metal, country and crap. The guitar solo rattled my colon. The fluorescent lights flickered. I had an instant headache.

The woman at the jukebox turned to me, cupped her hands to her mouth and yelled, “I’m sorry!”

She came up to me and said she had picked the wrong “Hallelujah.”

Wrong Hallelujah—great band name.

She wanted Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” but somehow got Shim’s. Shim? We’d both never heard of him. Or was it a band?

I accepted her apology and the bartender mercifully turned down the sound on the jukebox.

The woman went back to the jukebox and made another selection. Jesus, what was next.

“Cocaine” by Eric Clapton came on. The woman started dancing and turned around to me and said, “This takes me back.”

I had no doubt.