The Model

jenrecl
This lovely lass turned out to be my most important model now that I think about it. Certainly the one I photographed most.
She would patiently do whatever I asked when I was learning to use my first Nikon camera and some of the shots of her are the best I have ever taken.
Since my paintings used photos for a base it was natural that she was the focus of several attempts.

I believe I made at least four paintings of her. Some came out well… some did not.

I actually sold two that were based on her. She is the only real person, as in ‘person I actually knew’ that was the subject in any of the paintings I have actually sold to date.

This is one of my most commented on paintings when people see a photo of it. It is her head superimposed on a model from an ad I saw in a Cosmo magazine. She did not actually pose for this painting…I’ve never seen her unclothed. But it’s a good capture, I think…

It’s beautiful, to tell the truth…

Even if I do say so myself…

From The Bar ~ Chantilly Lace

websizeAnother segment of a project The Rise and Fall of a Saloon In The Latter Part off The Twentieth Century. These excerpts are not chronological. In fact very little logic prevails… Some of them might even be true…

   Hiring Crew
Job Focus:
The perfect customer space:
A clean table
A clean Ashtray
One drink
One dry napkin
No dead glasses

My Crew Rules were simple:
No drugs or drunkenness on the Job.
Wear What You Want…you know what Looks Good on you…
Gawd HELP you if you show up with chipped nail polish.
“Check your dip.”
Leave Your Lover Home. Don’t Let Your Lover Loiter.

Wearing what you want. Most of the women preferred this. They did not care for uniforms because uniforms are not always flattering. They felt this could affect their tips.
The Nail Polish rule Customers see your hands. A bad manicure looked shabby. Most girls, even those with short nails, used polish because wiping out dirty ashtrays made keeping nails clean difficult at times.
(I kept a bottle of polish remover in the office for those who did come in with chipped polish) I also kept a box of sewing thread and safety pins on hand. You learn that safety pins are a needed item sometimes. “Wardrobe malfunctions” are not confined to Super Bowls.
The ‘Check Your Dip’ rule
This was in reference to what a customer should or should not be able to see when a waitress bent to serve drinks.
You can’t fight nature. A woman’s nipples have a mind of their own and will appear boldly for any number of reasons and can do wonders poking through even several layers of cloth but I drew the line at customers getting a Full View as a girl bent over placing drinks on the tables. Their clothing and their cleavage, their “dip” should never allow the customer to know the color of their aureoles.
The drugs were always An Issue. This was the period of high cocaine usage among the Young and Invincible in saloons across the country. Saloons, after all, are not churches. Still, The Owner had a sudden death, instant termination rule about dealing drugs at The Bar. It was not worth risking his license for Stupidity In Action.
Personal usage, of course, happened but was never officially condoned. When it or drinking became too evident or distracting… ‘Off with her head’ so to speak and she’d be gone.
The ‘Leave Your Lover Home. Don’t Let Your Lover Loiter’ Rule
I hired you, not him!
“No Dangling” This was in reference to smoking tobacco.
There are people reading this today who really have no idea what the air in a Saloon was like in those days. People smoked. A lot. I did. Some (but not all) of my crew did. But what I forbade them to do was to ever (and I mean EVER ) be seen with a cigarette dangling from their lips. I would cross the room and yank it out of their mouths To me it made the girls look hard and tough and I Just Would Not Have It. Tell them it made them look tough didn’t seem to faze them. Tell them it made them look old (not ‘older’… just old ) worked better.
~/~
I hadn’t been on the new job very long when I found that managing a crew of women had its quirks.
First and foremost was the fact, already stated, that waitressing, at least cocktail waitressing, was a transient occupation.
You may find ‘lifers’ in your diners and restaurant chains but not in a saloon. Sooner or later the girl wants out. To get married. To finish school. To just find a different job in a different bar hoping maybe the next saloon might pay more or give them a shot at bartending. Whatever the reason the problem remained that there was a turnover that had to be reckoned with.
Many times I would find that some of the women were unstable and needed weeding out. Some emotionally so and some due to drug use. Some just never caught on to the trade. Firing someone is never a pleasant task but I kept it private and short.
I initially learned to dread the onset of menses as much as if not more so than any married man could. I finally came up with something of a solution that I probably couldn’t get away with it in today’s politically correct world. During my ‘You’re hired” speech I would tell them to let me know when “the moon was on them” so I would know not to kill them because of the mood change. The honesty of this worked out pretty well, actually.
Another thing I did was to read a good, easy to understand book on ailments common to women and they soon found that I understood these things more than most men did. The women already on crew told the New Hires what to expect from me and I had a generally loyal, happy crew.
Some managers like to manage thru fear and intimidation. I didn’t care for that because waitressing had its own stresses without them needing to be afraid of me. My management “style” such as it was was simple. I was a guy in the unique position of hiring the very women I worked with. My ‘style’ was this:
Love them. Love them all. Pet them when they did well and keep it short and private when they did not do well. What happens is their dignity remains intact. Give your crew some love, respect and praise and they will kill for you.
Still, I found it prudent to have an on-call list of temps… girls who, on short notice, could and would get in there with a tray and cover a shift so I was constantly looking for attractive females to sign on as temps or potential New Hires.
The Owner didn’t have much respect for the trade of waitressing. He often said he would like it if I could replace the entire crew every six weeks or so for variety’s sake. He was the only one who felt that way. There was no ‘waitress tree’ where all you needed to do was walk over and pick one…
Whether to hire an experienced girl or not was always a changing decision. I liked the ones I called my ‘War Horses”. There are some women who are so good at waitressing that they can cover bigger floor single-handedly than two lesser girls put together could.
I called them ‘Warhorses’ after the special horses favored by the plains Indians, horses that would go into the thick of a fight with heart and not shy or spook. It was one of the highest complements I could bestow. The difficulty was keeping a Warhorse on crew because they anticipated bigger tips and disliked sharing a floor with other women. They would get frustrated thinking there was more money to be made down the road…
On the other hand there is an endearing quality about a fresher girl, one new to the trade. They were usually younger and hadn’t had time to gain the cynicism that many of the more experienced girls had.
The down side of that of course was that it takes a while, at least a month, for the new girl to get the hang of the call order and until a girl learned a proper call order and other skills of the trade some bartenders were almost cruel in their impatience with them. This also meant customer service was slower. We didn’t have a good training regimen for New Hires which was bad but on the good side the survivors were keepers.
Some New Hires couldn’t take it and would quit. Some bucked up and took hold and became keepers.
Some got thrown back.
When I took over the crew The Owner had already cut back on live music from six nights to three. He had jazz on Tuesday nights and rock and roll on Friday and Saturday nights.
One reasonably qualified girl could handle Tuesday’s jazz crowd but weekends needed more crew because those bands tended to draw better.
On weekends I would book three girls. I called the shift turns “Legs”. The “First Leg” would come on at six and work until eight at which time the “Second Leg” would come on duty giving the other a break of maybe a half hour. Sometimes the First Leg wanted to keep working particularly if she had a couple of hot spots of good tippers.
As lead girl, the First Leg, got to make the call which side of the room she was to work for this very reason, to keep her good tippers in her section.
When required, the Third Leg would come on no later than nine and so it would go. If, as it sometimes happened, the night lost part of its crowd I would allow the girls decide to send one of their number home. I did this to avoid claims of bias. It worked pretty well. Most of the time.
Sometimes I would have to pull rank and make the woman on duty let the next girl come on line. The starting girl obviously wanted to make as much money as possible and would be reluctant to allow the next girl up. But there comes a point where customer service suffered and something needed to be done.
I had to be careful to not show too much favoritism although this was not always possible because my crew was seldom equally skilled. Like any other skilled trade some were just better at it than others. I developed personal biases, too, because I was human. I’d be lying if I said otherwise but I tried to keep a balance. If I had a favorite I was careful not to let her act like an Overseer.
In one area I had a brilliant stroke. That was division of the floor in sections. I made copies of a hand drawn layout of the tables in the building and gave two copies to each of the girls currently on crew at the time and asked them to draw what they thought were fair boundary lines for a two girl floor and a three girl floor.
I took these maps and used them as a basis for the “Official” floor diagram which all of them agreed was a fair, acceptable compromise.
This of course made for “turf” and sparked some infighting if a girl happened to do a little pirating in another’s section.
Great fun was had by all…
   The Mississippi Two Step
When I saw too much infighting starting to happen I would go to each one of them and say “We got a Mississippi Two step going on here and it Will Stop. If it does not stop I will get a bucket of water and hold your heads under ’till the bubbles stop.”
That usually worked.
No one ever asked me what a Mississippi Two step was. They already knew what The Problem was. When I said a Mississippi Two Step was afoot they knew I was aware of The Problem and, amazingly, it would cease.
Usually.
Sometimes a firing was needed but in the long run they felt better served working with what they had rather than breaking in a New Hire.
The position of being waitress manager made me look at women customers a little differently particularly if my on call backup name list was getting thin. That pretty customer might be my next New Hire.
When looking for a New Hire I learned how to scan a woman like other women look at them. That One First Look-Over that is a mental flash picture…a rapid scan. A quick glance that takes in her clothes, how they fit, how she moves, what she thinks of her body and herself which is reflected in how they groom themselves. I learned this by listening to the women discuss how they discussed other women among themselves.
Most guys seem to focus just on The Face or The Boobs. It’s a rare man that learns to do this all encompassing quick scan. It’s a skill that cannot be taught.
…a woman doing this very same scan is merely sizing up the competition…
I additionally learned to ‘look at their edges’ and see if they might have a Daemon or have a Dark Cloud over them… “Looking at their edges” was one of the unexplainable feelings I had. I wouldn’t call it psychic because I have a dim view of such terms but at the same time I felt my knack of ‘looking at their edges’ was more accurate than any other method for spotting a woman who had problems lurking beneath the surface and sometimes the feeling was so strong I would not use the girl or if I did, I used her only sparingly. They sometimes came on board with social or chemical problems of the day and this always complicated matters. And if you complicated matters too much you were Gone.
Most “interviews” I conducted were pretty brief. Talk to the girl, check out her grooming. Always had her show me her hands because this spoke volumes sometimes. You could tell a lot about a person by how they react to “let me see your hands”. I liked a well kept hand and I knew customers always saw a girls hands. They didn’t need to have long nails but they did need to look clean.
If I had any doubts about her willingness to work or even show up I would ask if I could think it over and ask her to come back in a day or two (always specifying the day). If they didn’t show for the second interview I saved myself a lot of wasted time.
Some went like this one…
I was standing near the pinball game. A guy and a girl are playing. I look over at her. Blonde. Blue eye shadow. Short, nice figure wearing jeans. Pretty girl.
It’s quiet. It’s a Sunday night. Not many people in attendance. My back is to the pinball machine and I’m looking over the main room.
Suddenly I feel like I’m being watched and look down to see the blonde standing next to me, looking up at me.
“Who does the hiring here?”
“I do most of it.” I said.
She looks out into the main bar. “It doesn’t look like it but could you use another waitress?”
“You any good at it?
“Yeah!” she said with a defiant yet almost bored emphasis. I got the distinct impression it was the same way Bill Hickok would have answered someone if the asked him if he could shoot a pistol well.
‘Warhorse!’ I knew instantly that she was Very Good at what she did. I also knew she might be overqualified. But it so happened that I had the Tuesday jazz night open as was second leg on weekends.
I told her as much. Not a whole lot of money but it would be a start. Pays minimum wage.
“Can I try it?”
I looked at her a little closer. Looked at her ‘edges” and saw a murky soup a-stirring… Looked into her eyes for the first time. Had a blueness to them that was more than just the color. There was sadness but also there was just an edge of defiance…
“Lemme see your hands!” I said.
She held them horizontally and spread her fingers. Beautifully kept, red painted nails, one small ring on her right hand.
I took her hands and turned them over, looked at her palms a little and turned them over again.
I looked at her and said “I gotta be honest with you… I think you’re trouble on the hoof but I need somebody. You want to see how the place feels come in at 8 on Tuesday. Give it a try.” Tuesday night was Jazz Night. If she didn’t show it wouldn’t be a disaster but it would be nice to have someone on the job. I needed women to work the quiet gigs as well as the busy ones…
She asked what she should wear and I said “…anything you wanted to but no jeans. And check your dip before you get here.” She looked at me quizzically. “Bend in front of a mirror before you leave. The customer must never see the color of your nipples.”
Tuesday night came and she arrived in wearing a strapped green dress; one of those ‘bare shoulders’ things that allowed good cleavage and displayed the tops of her breasts nicely. The dress had a cleverly wrought skirt section that opened as she moved and exposed her legs as they were brought forward in her walk. She had beautiful legs.
And she worked the floor like the pro I knew she was.
I thought she would choose not to stay on because she was a class A Warhorse and those seldom stayed long but stay on she did.
…and brought a freight train of baggage and became a Featured Player in many scenes at The Bar ‘disaster movies’ as she lived her somewhat chaotic life.
That’s how it was… I loved then all…
Never a dull moment…

From The Bar ~The Face On The Barroom Floor~

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Another segment of a project The Rise and Fall of a Saloon in the Latter Part off The Twentieth Century. These excerpts are not chronological. In fact very little logic prevails…

The Face On The Barroom Floor…

Actually, that’s a poem by Hugh Antoine D’Arcy.

This is more about the face on the barroom ceiling.

One of the Bartenders had an interesting idea, one he had seen at another bar somewhere down the road.

The ceiling at The Bar was made of simple twelve inch tiles of pressed paper. His suggestion was to buy new tiles and give them to the customer’s to decorate and put the results on the ceiling, replacing the old ones as we went along..

This went over very well. For every ten tiles passed out we would get six back. The missing tiles usually consigned to closets and are probably still there waiting to be decorated. Some were quite spectacular. One was a four tile masterpiece of a Japanese style tiger.

One was another four tile creation reminiscent of the sixties psychedelic hippie artwork.

Someone put up a cartoon dog. Droopy Dog.

I put one up. By then my artwork was taking hold. I actually ended up putting four up. One pair of tiles was God’s hand reaching out to Adam suggesting the Sistine rendition and a couple of panels of women’s heads, nicely drawn, one in black and white and the other in color.

But there was one I made that was off to one side. It was definitely eye catching and seemed to be the most spoken of. People constantly pointed at it and anyone who made a study of the ceiling project always remarked on that particular panel.

There wasn’t a lot of drawing involved. The lips and eye mostly. The shape of the face was just hinted at by a wash of airbrushed paint.

tile

 

It resembled Marilyn as it was so intended.

In any case, I felt good because I could see how it affected new people. Any artist likes to know that people really like something he did.

The Owner? Well, he never said anything about it. At least not about that plaque.
The Owner… with The Owner, art just wasn’t his thing. He fancied himself a connoisseur in All Things. In truth, he had the artistic acumen of a goat. He tried to control the project of course. Claiming most of it was crap and he wasn’t going to allow it to be put it up.

I argued that the lesser efforts enhanced the better ones and if the project really took off then the lesser ones could be replaced. But The Owner. wasn’t having any of that. He finally said no tile could go up without his approval and the finished tiles just started piling up, unapproved. Some of it unremarkable, some of it superb, all of it colorful…

It got so people stopped asking “Where’s my tile?” as they looked in vain for the piece they had worked on and brought in. Finally people stopped asking for tiles altogether. They eventually knew whatever they made was not likely to go up so they didn’t try.

From The Bar ~ The Large American Breasts

websize

Another segment of a project The Rise and Fall of a Saloon in the Latter Part off The Twentieth Century. These excerpts are not chronological. In fact very little logic prevails…

We needed a waitress who had some flexibility. Time softens the memory but it seemed we needed a girl to work the day shift. This was always a tough spot to fill because of its odd hours, eleven a.m. to one p.m, then back at four p.m. to eight p.m. We might need her cover some night work, too. At the time, our regular daytime waitress was taking some days off…perhaps a vacation, or I was between day shift workers. It doesn’t matter. What mattered was that I needed a cocktail waitress that could work night or day as the job required.

The Bar was pretty popular at the time so I felt that finding a girl wouldn’t be difficult. I was getting asked if we had openings pretty often so I was pretty confident that someone would turn up without me having to revert to newspaper ads. Of course always up for question was whether the candidate would work out but that is an eternal issue with New Hires in any business. In hindsight it sometimes made for episodes worthy of any Hollywood comedy.

Sure enough, a fetching little gamine came in one day asking if I needed a cocktail waitress. She was petite, about 5’1” tall…not much over 100 pounds. She was a pretty girl, more cute than beautiful, barely twenty one, I think. We shall call her “Clarissa” for this telling.

She proudly announced, with a conspiratorial giggle, “I’m Puerto Rican but I also have Large American Breasts.” She made this anatomical announcement with a happy smile. Her pronouncement of having Large American Breasts was delivered with humor, not with suggestiveness. She always said it with a little laugh. Just for the record, her breasts were nicely shaped but were not distractingly large. Not small by any means, but certainly not outsized. She had a nicely turned, slender but well proportioned little figure.

She was one of those women who dyed her dark hair, aiming for blonde but not quite achieving true blonde tone. Still, she was a cutie with a fetching way of dressing and an ever-present smile. All this added up to a pleasing presentation.

When I explained The Job to her I discussed (as I always did) the dress code, such as it was. It was pretty simple…”Never wear jeans, wear what looks good on you.” but I had strictures about ‘exposure.’ One of these was to “Check your dip” before you went to work… meaning to be aware of your breasts and to guard against accidental exposure. Check your outfit by bending forward in front of a mirror if necessary (“checking your dip”). This was to ensure that no accidental boob-baring would occur.
The Rule was that the customer should Never see the color of the girl’s nipples. I liked the crew to look pretty as they wanted to look because I knew it usually meant more tips but I did not want them looking or behaving like tarts.

It was during this conversation that she confessed that she didn’t wear underwear. This gave me some pause. I didn’t mind if a woman chose to not wear a bra but there was a visual risk factor if she went about sans panties. The shorter women often used the square foot rail molding at the base of the bar to elevate themselves while they did their ordering. This could cause unexpected exposure when viewed from certain angles. With some reluctance I said, “Well, OK, just so long as the customers don’t become aware of this condition. No super short skirts. If I hear you’re flashing people, out you go!” She promised to comport herself as I asked and she signed on.

Now as it happened, the daytime bartender was confident in her own effect on men. She was like royalty. The Golden Queen. She had a steady and loyal following. She was a real beauty in the Farrah Fawcett mode and had a knack of making her male customers feel like she was especially attentive to each of them without having to actually get involved with them. This is a rare skill and this kind of bartender is a powerful draw in the saloon business.
Needless to say, she made excellent money.

Clarissa’s first day was, ah, ‘interesting.’ Clarissa had an almost elfin sexual appeal, enhanced by her chatty sense of humor and her extreme femininity in her manner of dress. She always wore dresses, very light and frilly, the kind that triggers fantasies in boys and men. She swept into the job and the sweep had quite an impact. The males, who before had been gazing at the Golden Queen so adoringly, suddenly were sitting on their stools with their backs to the bar watching Clarissa as she laughingly flitted from one table to another taking drink orders. The Boys were all quite infatuated with her even to the point of forgoing their incessant dice games for Carissa’s first few days.

Clarissa’s underwear (or lack of it) was a situation that caused me to send her to the ladies room with safety pins in hand for strategic rearrangement of various drapery openings several times and home to change at least once. The Bar had four good sized ceiling fans and each waitress station had one directly above where the trays were loaded. One hot summer morning the fans were already running when Clarissa came on duty and we got a lesson in aerodynamic physics in the matter of air and cloth.

This being that a fan blowing toward the floor creates a reflective updraft as the air hits the floor and is redirected upward. The effect on a particularly diaphanous dress Clarissa had chosen to wear that day was reminiscent of the scene in The Seven Year Itch. The one where Marilyn Monroe stands over a subway vent causing her skirts to billow upward. When Clarissa went to the waitress station, the fan’s secondary updraft lofted her dress skyward. The threat of exposure caused all sorts of rapid hand flurries as she tried to manage her dress, her money and her tray at the same time. It was really too hot and still to turn off the fan so I sent her home to change as a lesson in using more care in wardrobe selection in the future.

Clarissa would sometimes come in at night to mingle and party. Some bars discourage their crew from coming in off shift but we had no such restraint.
It turned out she was an excellent dancer. I was particularly skilled as a swing dancer. I had a girl I danced with regularly. We’d put in a lot of practice and we were an impressive pair on the dance floor. I took Clarissa for a turn and we jelled quickly. She was quite a bit shorter and lighter than my regular dance partner and she followed well which made her a joy to dance with. She was very petite which meant I could lift her higher easier than my favored partner. Clarissa’s lack of underwear caused some issues while dancing because it was a risk to lift her too high or to spin her too much. Spinning a dancer tends to make their skirts flare and flatten. This would have put exposure of her nether areas at risk. But we made it work and enjoyed our time on the dance floor.

All this caused major friction between my much loved dance mate and myself.

My regular dancer and I weren’t seeing each other romantically but she still felt extremely proprietary about me when it came to that dance floor. We were excellent when we danced together reflecting hours of practice. She didn’t mind me dancing with another woman from time to time because she knew it was good for business because she also knew that she and I were visually untouchable as a dance team. Therefore she was Not Pleased when Clarissa danced with me. She was even less pleased seeing that I was actually enjoying myself in the process. It took some doing for me to get her fur smoothed down. I can’t remember how I did it but I knew I had to avoid a donnybrook between the two. Or my certain assassination on my way home some night.

Clarissa was a fan of Long Island Iced Teas or Margaritas depending on her mood and while she didn’t drink on the job, (a taboo) drinking could cause issues when she was just hanging out… literally. Not so much with her deportment but with her “Large American Breasts.” On two separate occasions the outfits Clarissa wore lacked full containment capability and one or the other of her ‘Large American Breasts’ would come forth to greet the world. I have to admit they were lovely specimens, absolutely perfect in form and pink coloration of areola, but public boob display was not on the agenda for my crew on or off duty. “Tuck it in” had a whole new meaning on those “escape” nights.

When you really think about it, tending bar or cocktailing is a form of show business. The bar staff are actors, each playing their developed bartending or waitressing persona as they go along, always looking for ways to project their chosen ‘character’ role in such a ways as to generate more income in the form of tips.

All things considered, Clarissa was a fun waitress. She was able to flirt with the men (“You’re the Only One”) without getting into trouble with the men’s dates because they could tell it was just her act even when she cited her Large American Breasts. Clarissa was pretty, funny, vivacious and sexy…but there was a problem. When it came to the ‘show business’ she was good on “show” but not so much on the actual “business” part.

Clarissa was, alas, a terrible waitress. She couldn’t add and never got the hang of delivering a proper call order. The nighttime bartenders really didn’t like working with her because of this. Nighttime, particularly on a noisy, busy, Band Night made for too much pressure for speed to tolerate any incompetence at the critical point of ordering and paying for drinks.

She never really got the hang of it at the money point, the all important ordering and pricing, so I had to ease her out and find help elsewhere. That was part of my job. The transitory nature of saloon staff always had me looking for the next ‘star’.

Still, I think of Clarissa often and with great affection. True, she wasn’t a good waitress, but she had her own way of lighting up her shifts. Even after all these years, thinking of her makes me smile…

I hope she’s doing well… she was a sweetie…

From The Bar~ An Almost Ghost Story

Another segment of a project The Rise and Fall of a Saloon in the Latter Part off The Twentieth Century. These excerpts are not chronological. In fact very little logic prevails…

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When I worked for The Bar I dressed up a bit on weekends. I added a vest to my basic attire of long sleeve shirt, medicine bag and The Hat. Not being a fan of neckties, I instead used silk scarves cleverly tied so the knots were invisible. This added a dash of color to my outfit and allowed me to avoid the constraint of total conformity. We called it an “ascot” although it didn’t tie like an ascot normally does. I still dress this way when I want to dress more or less formally.

For almost a year I favored tie-tacks, an accessory meant to keep a necktie from drifting out of alignment. I had a few of these and liked the bit of sparkle they added to my weekend costume.

One night a young man came in. He was a friend I had known from the Gelb days. He was something of a Grateful Dead fan and he told me he had been to the recording session the Dead did in Cairo, Egypt, in 1978. While he was there he said he had climbed to the top of the largest pyramid of the three at Ginza, the Khufu monument, and brought back some small pieces of it. He gave me a small chunk of this material. It wasn’t very large. It was a little smaller than an M & M peanut candy.
Well, of course, this bit of sandy colored stone just radiated MoJo!

I decided to make a tie-tack out of it. I got some sandpaper and very carefully rendered the thing into a small pyramid. It was soft… something like sandstone, easy to work. I had a flat surfaced tie tack so I very carefully mixed some epoxy and glued the mini-pyramid onto it and let it set for the required period.

The weekend was approaching so I checked to see how my glue job went and it looked good. No excess glue and the little pyramid seemed firmly anchored. It was a Saturday night, a band night, a night I usually wore my ‘dress’ outfit, the vest and scarf/ascot and debuted my fragment of pyramid on tie tack. For whatever reason I was extremely conscious of the thing. I was very aware of it thinking about its antiquity and the history and mystery of the edifice it came from.

I went down early and remember it being a moody night, weather-wise. Forecasters had predicted wind and rain so I figured I’d better get there before the inclement weather struck. The duty doorman, Dan York, was a good friend and was already there when I arrived.
I told him about my new tie tack. He had been there when the young man gifted the bit of rock to me and was pleased with the effect. It didn’t particularly stand out but he could definitely see it was a mini-pyramid and pronounced it a good job. I told him I liked it except my very colorful imagination had me being followed by two robed, bald headed guys who saw no humor in my using a piece of their ancient temple for a bit of frippery.

Well, the weather guys were correct. We had a noisy squall pass through our area… rain, darkness, lightning, wind…a very noisy storm front. Right at the peak of the squall, the door to the bar opened and a well dressed man with a swarthy complexion came in and walked up to Dan and myself. He spoke oddly accented English and asked for directions to somewhere…exactly where escapes me now… and Dan cheerfully provided the information he required.
I was curious about his accent so I asked him where he was from.
“Egypt.” he said.
Well, you Know that set the hair on my arms to rising!

Oddly, the storm abated in the next half hour and it was clear the rest of the night.

…and when I got home that night the tie tack was gone. I never saw it again…