At Second Reading Book Shop in Alton, Illinois, the owner tells two young ghost hunters, "I can say from personal experience that there aren't any ghosts in this building, but I've seen some really scary creatures going into the bar next door."
Later that evening, no one next door at Mike's Ten-Pin Lounge seems all that frightening. The bartender threatens to get scary if her replacement doesn't show up. The demands of her patrons aren't helping, either. Every time the jukebox changes songs, they scream for her to turn it up or turn it down.
"I'm sick of trying to please everyone. If I did that I'd be in rehab," she says before doing a shot of Jäger (her third).
Her replacement arrives fifteen minutes early. She's younger, dressed in a T-shirt and jeans. She wears little makeup and has her curly hair pulled back in a ponytail. As the retiring bartender does a little dance of joy, the new bartender walks behind the bar and drops trou.
The new bartender wrangles her black-bikinied bottom into a bar of black leather chaps while visiting with the cluster of women at the end of the bar. They'd been engaged in a Dixie Chicks versus Toby Keith argument with the only male in the place until Chappy arrived. Somehow he didn't care so much about putting a boot in anyone's ass once she got here.
The original bartender, so thrilled to be heading home, puts some Nickelback on the jukebox and dances behind the bar. Overtaken by the moment, she lifts her shirt, revealing a pair of untethered 51-year-old breasts.
"I get happy when I get to go home!" she announces. Indeed, her joy is apparent.
Not that any of this is surprising. The bar did make it into RFT's Alton Confidential piece in late '08.
What is it about Alton? The gravitational pull of the river confluence just tugs clothes away from bodies, perhaps.
Mike's Ten-Pin Lounge 18 East Broadway Alton, Illinois 618-465-6565