Business per usual at the Devil’s Den Bar by Sandy Olson-Hill

October 11, 2012 Comments Off on Business per usual at the Devil’s Den Bar by Sandy Olson-Hill

Around the stage, clients sit in deuces, plying the air above them with rustling bills, while over the stage, strobe lights flicker on peeling paint and cheap aesthetics, reflecting flesh and lethargy and currency off the mirrored walls.

From behind the bar, Darnette watches while Erin mince-steps to meaningless on the scuffed enamel stage. Next to her, the manager pats the stool beside him, chipping crime scene over the bar room floor. “First time?” he asks, but Darnette is beyond him by the time he turns around.

“I’m just not ready to do this,” Darnette says to Erin as she adjusts her cleavage over the sweaty lacquered plastic of the bar. Between the women — between the music, winging laggard sensual prayer — there is dust … and there is the droning of the Budweiser Clock, until loud and disorderly interrupts, wearing shabby intoxication.

“That bitch took my money,” he says, one fat trigger finger pointing at the polished dancer, ignoring him from across the room. Erin steps away, wringing her tips into flaccid licorice while thinking, what does he want? as the empty jar that reads Tipping is not a Sea in China topples off the bar.

Women gather.

And dancers circle when hard money talks in blank cool collectives.

“What does he want?”

Darnette steps on stage as bouncers shove the man between the push and the pull. Then into the exit crowd the dancers, flock the social vultures circling the sun.

Wings beat between fevers, and business per usual lingers.

Through the door, around the stage, and into the dance, clients wave their monies under the strobe lights. Where there’s smoke there’s fire … and the apathy of angels, reaching for gold between the sky.

© 2012 Sandy Olson-Hill

Sandy Olson-Hill’s poetry and flash prose has appeared in Mindprints, Brushings Art& Literary Journal, Our Stories, Best of Our Stories, WordGathering and Apropos. Awards include Edith Goettling’s Academy of American Poetry prize, SCC Open Doors Short Story Contest, and an Editor’s nomination for The Million Writer’s Award. Formerly a Journalist for the Heritage Florida Jewish Newspaper, VSA’s Artist in residence, Olson-Hill is involved with the Southern Indiana’s Art Council and hosts a writers group at The New Albany Library in Indiana.

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