There was a sign out front that said the place was famous, or first for something, or both. Inside it was greased hair and bad skin. Inside it was cool. And they made good sandwiches. So I kept coming back. But then the insideness of it all got under my skin. They sprayed for roaches a lot and the residue probably lingered on the rims of the glassware everyone gnawed on. One guy had a perennial low ball plastered to his forehead, like the ice in that glass was going to fend off any bit of heat slipping through the plastic sheeting that hung in the doorway. He had a saying, he’d pat you on the back and say, “It’s really happening now, baby. Now!” Then he’d slug back the lowball. That was a lie, though. The only thing happening inside was several different kinds of endings. So I left and there were dogs and there were babies and there were vintage automobiles and stupid ass poker games between pals who never could read each other’s fallacies. There were baseball games where arguments between rival fans ended in fists and then shared beers. I didn’t share beers. I watched. But I figured out not to believe those signs on the parking spots that said, compact cars only.
by Hank Cherry