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Thursday, November 12

Landscrapes: Prologue

It was a hundred and thirty miles to the hamlet of Delilah, a devolutionary journey from freeway to highway to road, from city to suburb to crossroad. The town was small and ugly, in a plain and boring way.

When they arrived, a convenience store, a service station, a post office and a tavern were open. An assortment of pickups and old autos were parked in front of the drinking establishment, where locals came to down a few at the end of the day.

Hammer and Jim-Bean opened the door to the tavern.

Inside, older men and women sipped their drinks and listened to Elvis croon in crackling tones from the dusty jukebox: the dead man's songs brought back memories of when they were younger and the world was bigger.

"We're looking for a room," said Hammer.

The bartender/hosteller looked them up and down.

"Two rooms," said Jim-Bean forcefully.

With a nod and a smile, the bartender rang them up. A credit card was exchanged for a key.

"Been a bad year all round really," muttered one of the locals, sipping his beer at the bar. "There's the sudden drought, and there was that bad frost in the Spring; some farmers might be seeing their last summer. There's no predicting the weather these days. And then there's the whole thing with Tagget."

Jim-Bean pivoted on his heel. "What about Tagget?"

The man peered quizzically at Jim-Bean. "Pardon?"

"Sorry," Jim-Bean flashed him a smile, then addressed the bartender. "His next drink's on me." more

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posted by Michael Tresca at 8:38 AM


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