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Confessions at the Bar Crucifixes and statues of the saints have not miraculously replaced neon icons of Budweiser, Fat Tire, Smirnoff. Votaries remain dance ball lights and embers flickering through a smoky melange of sweat, perfume, pool cue chalk, beer, the bartender's guide to exotic drinks. Supplications heard in bad pick up lines might qualify as prayers among snatches of actual conversation; laughs and tears abruptly surface from the streaming babble as if members of this congregation had found charismatic revelation or hit the bingo. So why the hell on this Saturday night am I listening to Suzanne--call me Suze-- pour out tears and sneers about some guy who dumped her six or eight months ago? She's neither friend nor lover, not even someone with whom to sweat away a few hours disregarding Sunday School lessons. (Her confession's invocation included a liturgy of turn-ons, commandments I violate all except gender and hair.) An answer seems to lurk in dark mirrors of eyes which by morning may be turned toward heaven or strange ceiling tiles. Beyond sacred duties, sacrilegious schemes, there's a special touch of the numinous, of the tie truly binding us--yeah, you, me, Suze and whomever--only to be felt when giving a damn just for the hell of it. I watch Suze's eyes as her words fade; they seem fixed across the room where Mister, if not Right, then Here & Now smiles back at her; she glances at me with what seems gratitude as I excuse myself to make a pitstop and ease away. I silently wish them well in whatever encounter they'll have and wonder if, while reading the wall, priests ever feel the need to piss like a horse.
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