By Natalya Jones
By County Grind
By Liz Tracy
By Chris Joseph
By Liz Tracy
By Matt Preira
By Jesse Scheckner
By Michael E. Miller
"OK, I gotta know," I said, with a gesture at Blakki Wayne's bolo. "What's the deal with the hat? It takes guts to pull off a dead man's hand like that."
"Maybe it's gutsy," Blakki said, taking his hat off and studying it with glazed ice-blue eyes. "But I wouldn't care if someone shot me in the head and ended my miserable life." He smiled lazily, plopped the hat onto my head and squinted at me. "Fucking beautiful," he decided.
I looked into the mirror behind the bar and tried to assess my glam-metal factor instead of thinking about what creatures might be creeping into my hair.
"So you guys didn't come out to see the band?" I asked, giving Blakki his hat back.
"I hate them," growled Joe, sipping beer and slitting his eyes at the unoccupied drum sets. "But I've been coming to this bar for over ten years, and it doesn't matter who's playing."
"I hate them, too," said Blakki brightly. "I've been in three bands."
"What's your band called?" I asked.
"I was once in a band called the Lipstick Lesbians," said Blakki, tilting his head as if recalling fond memories.
"Why? Were there lesbians in your band?"
"I'm a lesbian," Blakki said. "I love women. From their nose to their toes, and everything in between."
The band stopped playing around 1:30, the same time my crew ran out of quarters and ended their pool game. Things were slowing down — there'd been more people in the band than in the bar for a good while. They'd done a few Lynyrd Skynyrd songs (someone in the bar yelled "Play Freebird!") and then decided — rather arbitrarily — to pack up their shit and hit the road. It was the kind of wrap-up that only a little bar with loyal patrons has — eventually, everyone gets tired and just goes home. No bar fights, no bouncers, no last call. And as I made my way out the open door, I was damn glad to be in flip-flops instead of stilettos.