Lonesome Cowboy Bill

We left the bar with all the bloggers, the journalists, the undercover publicists and beer-drenched philosophers and headed up the Bowery.

For some reason, she couldn’t articulate why, Shaina felt compelled to take the stairs down into a basement bar, walk through a small hallway, and enter a smoke-filled den. Twelve heads looked back at us, all smoking cigarettes, drinking beers and whiskeys, wearing cowboy hats. All of them were wearing cowboy hats.

We sat on stools and the bartender plopped a hat on each of our heads.

“Who do you think you are?” he asked.

I smirked. “VIPs,” I retorted, and put my heavy bag on the bar.

He grabbed it and put it behind him, straightening his hat. “You’re not a VIP. That’s a VIP,” he said, and pointed next to Shaina at a B-list actor in his late 20s. “And that’s a VIP, too,” and pointed to a television newscaster.

We drank beer and danced with the B-list actor. The PhD met up with us in a tuxedo. Lit cigarettes danced in the dark bar and a writer named Xander whispered heavy verbs into my hair.

We filtered out after last call, the twelve or fifteen of us, slowly emptying into the damp summer night in a cloud of stale smoke drifting up the Bowery toward morning. I forgot Xander’s last name. I forgot the cowboy hat.


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