Don't Forget to Close Your Eyes
Trembling apparition of a bloody walled saloon—that was what we walked into. Legend had it, down in the cellar, there was half a dozen kegs of dark beer begging to be drank, a one eyed cat named Uno, and an unfinished Bob Dylan record that if spun slower sounded like two blondes on a rainy day.
I had a nearly empty canteen in my hands. You had a baby boy singing gospel hymns in yours. The barkeep asked us if we were thirsty. I raised the warm canteen to face level and shook my head, no. In your delirious state, I think, you might've raised that baby boy who we'd found days, maybe even, weeks earlier, asleep by the wishing well, a fifty cent piece pasted to each of his fingerless hands, and a note written in all caps across his forehead, too illegible to read—except for the first three words (DON'T FORGET TO).
Desperate to sit, we found a spot, somewhere in the corner, on those kinds of chairs one can spin full circles on. The sun beamed like blown glass and out the window, across the road, demanding my eyes' stare, was this brick shattered shack no larger than a porta-potty.
"Yeah that used to be where Little Big lived," the bar keep said smiling at me before I could ask the question. He had a low and drawling southern accent and, every time after, that I heard him speak, I felt my insides grow more uncomfortable (possibly 'cause of the accent, possibly 'cause of what he said. I guess now it's not all that important).
He said: you're little. Here I heard the baby boy singing—"I once was lost"—in a faint tenor, raspy and filled with generations of untouched heartache—"but now am found—like a blues singer just discovering sorrow's most concave hole—"was blind but now I see."
"And I guess this," the keep continued, "I guess all this, I mean, it's, you know, supposed to be the big."
He gave a laugh, one that felt way too genuine considering nothing funny had been said. Then after taking a long gulp from an unlabeled dust flooded flask he'd pulled out of his pocket, the man said something else, "but still, that out there, that sure as hell has got to be one of this world's weirder places."
W.J. Nunnery was born in Madison, Wisconsin and has lived there his entire life. Currently, he is a creative writing student at Concordia University St. Paul.