Closing Time with Tom

20190130_214609The very pregnant bartender sets another whiskey neat in front of me. It’s a pretty typical dive bar filled with bikers and barflies and cowboys and two metro sexuals with a dog. The few tattooed ladies look tougher than any of the men and that is good. After awhile I become fully aware that between the tired rock, the outlaw country, and the gangster rap, somebody keeps playing songs by Tom Waits. This is not the better known Island Years stuff. These are rare and obscure songs from deep in the discography. I keep searching the faces. Nobody in the room strikes me as a Tom Waits type, whatever that is. But somebody in this neon hole has a depth to them that the rest have no hope of ever knowing. Most of the rough trade in the joint are either shooting pool or watching it. I watch them all in the mirror. I recognize a cut from Swordfishtrombones then close out my tab. I flash back to my Hollywood years and my old comrades. A cassette tape cover that read, “Tom Waits For No Man.” Now, ain’t that the truth.

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