- Was she drunk and disorderly before we arrived?
- Deep-sixed, in fact (however ineffectually)?
- Or merely Athabascan?
A few hours in Darwin's Theory ain't gonna unravel the mystery. And more's the pity, because I want to like the formica tables, the free popcorn and curmudgeonly crowd.
Beered up, I push it. I corner Dixieland Chappie and ask him exactly what type of redneck joint this might be (trusting in the universal principle that straw-boater aficionados rarely indulge in bigoted head-kicking or that I can at least field any ineffectual body blows).
"You don't live here. You don't understand," he replies.
"Nope. I don't. Tell me, then."
But no one explains a damn thing. Except the Athabascan lady who drinks two brews, holds my hand, and cries because her son slightly younger than me is in the hospital, following a motorcycle accident.
When she shoulders her duffel and leaves the pub, she has more dignity than all of us together.
As the Indigo Girls sang about this very Anchorage dive bar: "How did we get so turned around? Why did we make it so hard? Can't we cut it out while it's tender?
"Give us something good to remember."
*Astute readers may notice some narrative time-lapse ... um ... yeah. I went off and did lots of stuff. And now I'll ration it out in gumdrop portions like some spinster aunt being a candy-dish dictator. Such is the price of free entertainment, mon ami...