A Writer’s Book of Days Exercise: Memories

There’s a bar in Austin, Texas, called “Jake’s Place.” I’ve never seen it, but Cayle used to talk about it sometimes, back when he still let himself think about the outside. It looks like a hole in the wall dive on the outside, with a scratched up door, blacked out windows, and a neon sign that doesn’t stay on right. On the inside everything gleams the way it does in the Broken Fellowship, which takes a whole lot more effort in the real world. Not like the owner could just rub a subroutine and polish the place up, right?

Cayle found it one night when he was ditching some tracers. He looked at the outside, and thought it’d be a good place to hide. He didn’t find what he expected, but he did find out that Jake, whoever he was, wasn’t the sort to let badges into his bar. The bouncers kicked the tracers on their ass and the bartender asked him what he wanted. He was a loyal patron from then on.

The bartender was a woman name Crissie, with the “ie” and everything. She wore her hair in pigtails and looked like she’d done her own turn as an effective bouncer. I think Cayle had a crush on her, but if they ever hooked up, he didn’t say. Instead, he went on about the way she listened to people, really listened, like they had all of her attention. Even when she was cleaning up or pouring drinks, if you were giving her more than an order, you were her only focus in the world. Cayle said it like that was a good thing.

I’ve been listened to like that, but it’s always been a bot or a plant, or something else that has its own reasons for the focus. Maybe that’s the difference. If she had any other reason for it, he never knew.

I asked him once, if he wanted me to try and find the place, but he didn’t. He had to leave Austin pretty quick; he only made it two more stops before they caught him. We didn’t meet until five years later. That’s a pretty long time on the servers. From where he sits, Jake’s Place is probably long gone. I guess he doesn’t really want to know.

Now and then, I pull up a search screen, and almost put in the details. Something always makes me close it, though. Maybe I think that if I know, then I’ll have to tell him. It’s a thing, you know?

And maybe I just want to think that it’s there, that a place like that could still exist in any city in this world. But you can’t run a place that doesn’t welcome badges anymore, no matter how it looks.



by | Sep 16, 2011