portion of the artwork for Shane Graber's stories

Shane Graber

Friday night, so we head to Chalet Lounge like we used to, T, Mel, and I. Darkness paints every edge even though twinkling white Christmas lights line the place. Metal tables spread comfortably apart, the front cleared for a little dancing space. A live band plays. Anne Murray song, I think.

Pitchers cost five dollars, thank God. Shots run a dollar on special before nine. First pitcher and a round of Jacks on me. Mel only wants one because she works first shift at the putt-putt. Has to be in by seven to vacuum greens. A little hangover won’t be too bad. Putt-putt about runs itself. Me and T, we’re in between jobs at the present.

The house band reminds everyone to help save Dave. Some guy missing in Costa Rica. Posters hang in the bathroom, behind the bar. What are we supposed to do about it?

Guitarist wants people to come and sing, think of them as a living, breathing karaoke machine. I better get up there, Mel says. T joins in.

“Buy me a shot?”

“All right.”

Would have done it anyway. I’m a lot of things, but bashful isn’t one of them, not on five shots and a pitcher.

“Know Harry Nilsson’s ‘Coconut’?”

Guitarist says she thought I’d never ask. I do a good Harry Nilsson. Everyone makes a big deal. T and I go for that shot.

Bartender puts two shot glasses in front of us.

“Sweetie, that’s some of the best ‘Coconut’ I’ve heard.”

Mine’s on her. Old girl’s cute. Didn’t notice before, but sure is now.

I slam mine down before T. “You still owe me a shot.”

Time goes missing somewhere. Next song is the last one.

“Tacos is everybody’s scene, man!” The guitarist rips an E chord, the very best chord for rock.

“Save Dave!” I yell.

Place goes quiet.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 28 | Spring 2010