Oregon Tavern Age: The End

I sat at the bar of Turkey’s, the greatest OTA joint in Oregon. Not too far away, the Rogue River flowed and the boats plied the slack current hunting for salmon.

It was 4 PM or so. I nursed a Hamm’s and useless coverage of the Olympics played on television. A commentator was trying to convince me the athletes were heroes. Meanwhile, a headline reads: “ Simone Biles Smiles In a Tie-Dye Bikini After Tokyo Olympics — Here’s How You Can Mimic Her G.O.A.T Style.”

It’s rough being a millionaire hero, especially if you’re depressed.

The keg from the local craft malt liquor wasn’t working for some reason, sort of like America these days. Actually we know the reason America isn’t working these days—sheer stupidity. And to think that affliction didn’t even bring down the Roman Empire, but just might bring down ours. I welcome it.

That Turkey’s was even open was a miracle more profound than a Republican voting for Trump’s impeachment or conviction. Turkey’s had shut down when the Pandemic struck and never bothered to reopen with all the mandates for masking and social distancing. There was no way to social distance inside Turkey.s It sat 12 patrons on stools at the bar with no room to stand. It’s the smallest tavern I have ever seen and is one of the last taverns in Oregon, meaning no liquor served, and it will never be served as long as Turkey (the owner) owns it. He told me so. He didn’t need the money or hassles that come from serving liquor.

I was talking to my buddy Kip, OTA to the heart and soul, a painter, a storyteller master, an inventor. He was the man who asked me several years ago when we were watching hummingbirds feeding outside the window of Turkeys, which was going on right now, “Have you ever seen hummingbirds fuck themselves to death?”

It was an OTA question for the ages, and then he answered it for me, recounting a time he’d seen such a thing sitting at the bar at Turkey’s.

But now the talk was different with Kip. He said he had another painting gig, a seascape mural in Gold Beach. Then he started telling me the story of how someone from the locale had a relative who owned a coffee shop in Portland, right smack dab in the downtown protest shit, and that this owner knew karate, and had accommodated the homeless people with leftover coffee and stale baked goods, but he would not truck with the “Antifa” and when they came calling to smash up his front window, he used his karate skills and kicked some “serious fucking ass” and the cops just cheered him on and thanked the karate man because their hands were tied by the commie and pussy mayor of Portland.

I nodded as my listened. The Hamm’s tasted like shit. The Olympics looked ugly. The OTA woman with black eyes from a fall onto some rocks looked sad. Turkey’s looked dingier than usual. The whole scene begged for a mercy killing and that broke my heart and soul because this was the best storytelling bar in Oregon, and Donald Trump and Fox News ruined it forever. It was never coming back. The clientele wanted to talk about Antifa and Biden and immigrants and the Covid hoax and AOC and socialism and I wanted stories of ospreys dropping eels from the sky or pulling a patron’s tooth in the parking lot with a string and slamming truck door!

This really is the end of OTA life as I knew and chronicled it like no other writer in Oregon history. There are no stories if the denizens of OTA country merely talk Trump. That son-of-a-bitch murdered OTA. He put a hit out on OTA life and these sons-of-bitches took the contract and shot themselves.

It’s over. Dead. Deader than a door nail and a door nail is a lot more interesting a storyteller than the Trump addicts in OTA country talking Trump bullshit.

PS: I returned to Turkey’s the following day for a private wake and someone had gifted the joint with a box of cucumbers from a garden. All the OTA men and women were yukking it up and pop gunning puns about how the cucumbers would be great as dicks and dildos and might satisfy a partner better than the real or plastic thing. Well, at least it was organic!

Hearing that, I wept and wept hard. It was a cruel throwback to the halcyon days of OTA. Did it signify hope?

No. It was just a reflex reaction in a corpse chilling in a morgue.