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  • WJ King

WORKING A DEADLINE

“Kiss my ass.” “Blow me.” The sophisticated verbal sparring at the Five O’clock Bar had reached its zenith. That’s really high falootin’, for my regular readers. I was lookin’ for an idea for a story. In lieu of the ‘man on the street’ approach, I’d give ‘man on the stool’ a shot hey get it, a shot. Anyway, “hey Professor, I’ve gotta write a column, any ideas?” He took a swig of his Stroh’s beer and pondered for a moment. He stood, straightened his suit and held his beer up like a salute, “ask your public what s/he has done to bring this troubled world some measure of tranquility in this chaos.” He was a retired highschool, english teacher, who after his fourth drink thought very highly of his oratory skills. He was awarded the sobriquet of ‘Professor’ subsequent to demonstrating his ability of spewing multisyllabic words randomly.


Frank was returning from the beer cooler with two cases of Budweiser for Deb, the bartender. He sat the beer on the bar and returned to his stool and looking at no one in particular, “ya know what, this town needs an ice cream parlor. After fifteen or twenty beers, nothin’s better than a sundae. Everyone agreed, Deb said, “Angelo and I have to go across town for ice cream from a shoppe.” Oh Jesus, that’s a Pulitzer waitin’ to happen.


Jimmy the Nose Nassazoni, smiled at me conspiratorially, as if we shared a secret. Jimmy was all ‘mobbed’ up. At least that’s what he’d have you believe. “Hey Jimmy, you a made man?” “Ha, ha, wouldn’t you like to know.” On more than one occasion, Jimmy blurted out, they’d find him dead before he’d say what he knew about Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance. 130 lbs, 5’7”, brown hair slicked back. He wore a leather coat that came down past his knees. His eyes darted back and forth, always watching for something, expecting the unexpected. Jimmy was the whole package. Before he could start with a mobster story that we’d heard twenty-five times or one he’d make up on the spot: ”Jimmy, you got any ideas for my column? I know you’ve got plenty I can’t print but I’ve got a deadline.” With his notoriety noted and not being ignored, Jimmy gave tacit approval for us to move on.


Kenny Morgan sat a ways down the bar by himself because he was a rat. He’d snitch on his mother if he caught her playin’ the numbers. Of course the worst thing for a rat is when everyone knows you’re a rat. A guy at the juke box says loud enough for everyone to hear, “I gotta load a heroin comin’ in Saturday, who’s in?” Kenny says, “fuck you.” Everyone laughed, “Kenny, you got any ideas for my column?” “These fuckin’ kids drivin’ their fuckin’ cars around the block all saturday night.” Somebody yelled, “what the fuck do you care Kenny, you ain’t had a driver’s license in twenty-five fuckin’ years.” Deb scolded, “you kiss your mother with that fuckin’ mouth?” Kenny responded, “it’s a pain in the ass crossin’ the street. Somebody’s gonna get killed.” We all wondered silently why he hadn’t been already.


My column was 800 words, asking why in hell this end of town didn’t have an ice cream parlor. Most responses I’ve ever had.

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