Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Anyway, tonight

We found a tavern (light spilling on the street from the double doors, oak and strapped with brass) where there was a welcome.

After drinking the local cooking beer with Fusel and various men (the women, in layers of cotton and silk, don't come out nightwards), where my shining baldness was subject of much conversation (these guys have big black bushes of hair, or fifteen feet of dusty turban), we've retired to the back room for guests.

The electric has gone off (it's past midnight, and the grid is pumping up to the arctic circle and the miners there; no light for us), so we're lantern-lit in this nook.

I'll take a minute to describe this place. The floor is stone flagged up to a burning fire where two big dogs lie. The tables are round and thick and the chairs low and upholstered in stretched leather. The ceiling is in shadow. Heads of dead things, imperfectly stuffed, are hung on the walls. There's a short bar with candles on, and golden glints from metal there. And there's this big glass fronted budweiser fridge in the corner, by the door, with one light occasionally flickering behind the stacked bottles inside.

Fusel, slumped in a chair by the fire, has his chin on his chest, so I see his fat moustache, and pipe, silhouetted; his eyes backlit orange. He's staring into some distance that ends around a mile away and underground. He's stopped talking to the old man (equally piped, equally silhouetted) sitting with his dogs.

I'm further from the fire, and have that thing where my front is too hot, and my back cold. But I have a beer, and am trying to smoke a pipe (a black curved stove) that I can't keep alight.

Somebody should tell a story right now.

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