Steve's New Bar

(The Real Bar, soon to be the Royale, on South Kingshighway)

Steve says there needs to be a new sign outside. Something illuminated and irrepressible. An old-fashioned one, maybe, or leastways a little classic: neon lights but not so outdated that it ain't swank. Modish even. Nothing too gaudy. Or maybe....

Something to light up the night sky, or at least this patch of curb along Kingshighway. Something like Steve's car, his '71 T-bird with the suicide doors: bold, seductive, enigmatic. Josh and I stand outside Steve's new bar, enjoying the last of the afternoon's waning sun, admiring the radiant automobile that lounges there, its unusual aerodynamic, its strange and magnificent color, curious green. They don't make that color anymore. What color is that, exactly? Batman would drive a car like this, if it were black, and so would Elvis.

But there needs to be a new sign outside.

Steve just bought the place. There's a venerable wooden bar, vintage 1930s or '40s. There's an unnerving picture of a clown hanging on the wall. The kind of thing that gives children nightmares, Steve's father says. I'm one of those children, I admit. Laughter. "I'm naming the place after my favorite car," Steve says. "I'll have to buy another Oldsmobile now."

A customer arrives. An old and new regular already.

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