I was in one of those moods. Poke the bear I think you call it, in some contortion or other.

I wandered into Captain Tony’s in the middle of the afternoon. This is neither the ‘place the to be’ nor the ‘right time’, but in I went and clung in the shadows.

Captain Tony’s is deep downtown on a street with perpetual puddles, near the harbor where the big boats stop for the day, passengers flow into town like a Pink Tide with the goals of getting sloshed and hopefully meeting Jimmy Buffett. Captain Tony’s is a clothing optional skank-dirty bar with interesting art on the walls, and from the ceiling bras dangling like drying pheasants, the stalactites of sag.

That afternoon I went into Captain Tony’s, as I said, I was in an odd mood. The bar was ringed with hunched drinkers and to the side of the open door on a stool sat a young cowboy, in a stetson and a sleeveless checked shirt. He was sweating. He was a nervous wreck. He could barely make eye contact with the room. He was between songs when he said, ‘Any requests?’

This was an opportunity, shall we say, testing ‘crowd reaction’. You know, for L.A.R.S., the Large Animal Research Station I head.

I yelled loudly, ‘Anything but Country.’ The musician did not look my way, his body stiffened. Meanwhile the patrons and the bartenders turned as one and gave me a death glare. Like a lowing herd, Heathen, heathen, heathen, I could see their thoughts in their wild eyes.

The humorless bunny struck up something definitively Country. I strolled over his way. He never looked at me. I dropped two single dollar bills in his jar and walked into the beautiful sunshine and shook that awful noise out my of head.

Town is so changed. Some favorite bars are gone, boarded up and forlorn. Musicians scattered across the country to paying gigs. We’ve lost a lot of fauna.



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