Mid fall is the time of year that I wax poetic. I even become a bit melancholy and listless. On those sorts of days, I just pick myself up and head out to a local watering hole….
In my smallish town of Forsyth Missouri, there is just one bar. A venue that locals refer to as the Mug. The proper name is John’s Frosted Mug, a business named after the owner John Sumner. I remember sometime about three years ago when some of the letters over the entrance had fall off leaving the spelling as the ‘Frote Mu’ (pronounced Fro-tee mu). I’m positive that not a few vacationers mentioned the venue by that name when they got home. ‘You went where?’
So, it was on a Friday, in mid November, that I chanced to go there and down a few brewski’s. On this particular day, I was taking sort of a gamble as it was also the 13th day of the month. Now normally, I’m not very superstitious, but is was also 2020 and that gave me pause. We’d had riots in the streets, Covid-19 and a messed up Presidential election among other sordid events. It was the kind of year that left many, including myself, a tiny bit jumpy. I even pondered staying home. But then, I thought to myself, ‘that’s just being silly.’ I grabbed some clothes and headed over at about the 3PM hour. (Three PM is the start of happy hour, don’t ya know…)
Arriving at the front entrance, I had taken note that there were just a few vehicles (liked three) parked around the building. It was fairly early, after all, and I knew from experience that the real crowds wouldn’t begin congregating until closer to the 5PM hour. I strode into the joint and looked quickly around to see if anyone was around that I knew….
The first individual with whom I was mildly acquainted was a large framed fellow by the name of Bobby. He was sitting at the bar with a doll figure that looked remarkably like him. Normally I don’t prefer to sit with men who come with their dolls, but as the pickings were rather slim, I sat down in a chair to his left.
Using my side vision, I could make out that Bobby was busy doing something to his doll. I dared not turn my head to see more clearly, at that point in time, as I was afraid of what I might witness. Thankfully the bartender, a woman named Carly, choose that moment to approach me to see what form of liability I desired to consume.
‘Gimme a Miller Lite’, I told her in what I hoped was a masculine manner. She looked me up and down, frowned slightly, and went off to fetch a cold bottle of my favorite brew. I then turned my attention back to Bobby. Thankfully, Bobby had finished whatever he’d been doing and had sat the doll off to his left and a position close to me. I stared at it intently. As the doll was wearing shades, I couldn’t tell if he was staring back at me or was merely asleep. I decided not to press the matter. I then did what most people do when presented with an awkward silence… I pulled out my cell phone out and began playing with it.
A minute or so later, my beer had arrived and I took that first swig of the day. (A very satisfying snippet in an otherwise mundane day). It was at that precise moment, just as the beer was moving down my throat, that Booby remarked. ‘Hey bud. Saw you looking at Fred here?’ His hand was pointed directly at the doll thereby assigning it a name.
I looked up at him and stuttered, ‘Why no… no! I was just admiring your friend here. Fred’s his name. Right?’
Bobby placed his hand protectively between me and Fred and retorted, ‘You all better not let me a catching you talking to him. He’s my friend, not yours!’ With that, Bobby grabbed poor old Fred and hustled him out of the bar and over to his car and drove off. That was the last time I saw old Fred which is what I related to the local police a few days later.
Shortly after the man and his doll left, another couple with whom I’d made an earlier acquaintance arrived at the bar and came over to sit beside me. I’d relate their names to my readers, but will not as I have a desire to keep breathing. So, let’s say their names were Charlie and Sharon. Charlie opened the conversation by asking me not to speak. Seriously? I had no response available to me, did I? So, I just sat there sipping my beer quietly. The seconds of a dull life ticked on by….
Nothing much then happened, that is until two new people, a man and woman sauntered in from a side door. I mistaken thought that I knew them, but quickly found that I was in error. Nevertheless, they introduced themselves as Steve and Debbie, and went across the bar to occupy a pair of empty bar stools. I then lost track of them until someone shouted ‘Hey those two left without paying!’ I looked over to where they had been seated and saw the space were bare. At that point, both bartenders were in a mad dash out of the building, while another customer dialed 911. Exciting times, eh?
A few minutes later, the two bartenders returned, and I assumed that they were unsuccessful in the apprehension of the nefarious felons. Yet for some reason, as they walked by, they were both staring directly at me! It then dawned on me that most everyone saw me butt hands with both those crooks when they first entered. ‘Oh boy’. I thought to myself. I quickly finished my beer and slunk out of that place to go find the solitude that only an empty apartment can provide.