it’s Rodrigo y Gabriela.
– – -one of the first things i did for cash in this world was clean up at a bar on one of those highways that gets nothing but lonelier the more you’re on it. It was a good fit for me – i was quiet, didn’t attract much attention, and just tall enough to look legal since there was brown on me more than just fields dirty ~ the perfect type to scrub and bus the sour smells out of a dumpy, truckstop dusted honky-tonk.
It wasn’t all money they gave out for wages, and i have to say, looking back with knowledge of labor laws and how most white folk move about … it was fair for what i did. They asked me no questions and i never let a bottle stand dry too long, or lay unattended if spilled, and always cleaned up blood without a word. i was all about twisting as their oliver if they’d keep their end of the bargains. I’m not ashamed to say i needed them more than they needed me.
besides, warm fries came freely from the cook. and that kept me there more nights than a few.
Spend enough time in a bar, the same bar … night after night, and you get pretty quick at noticing if a guy is gonna cause trouble ~ there’s the same loudness to the posture, the same agitated sway and high pitch of behavior. The trick is identifying which trouble is bark, and which is the bite you keep well the hell clear of. You rarely mis-read a barker … and absolutely dread mis-reading a biter.
There wasn’t often a tussle that didn’t give a good bit of warning on though … the dynamic became predictable and the scales of escalation rather distinct and usable. One could usually count on a well-timed drop of glass, or emptied plate to shatter a moment of stare-down smacktalk between two drunkly heated egos.
But the patterns can become too predictable, players seemingly too easily spotted and avoided. It can become automatic as the sense of when it’s safe to enter a house. It’s a read and response reaction like a dog skirting a threatened toss of a magazine, scooting tail first to a corner’d bit of bed he gets left alone at.
but mistakes can be made.
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