the establishment


While heating my dinner over the stove, the bartender and I chatted amicably about simple things. I remarked on the happy, peaceful feel of the music by David Grisman and Jerry Garcia playing on my laptop, and how it nicely accompanied the gently waving silhouetted arms of the ocotillos. He commented on the consistency of the dirt and rock in this area; digging was easier near the bases of the peaks just to the west-southwest of us, which had more natural cavities in the rock. He advised against ordering room service if I was going to want dessert later. Apparently, the servers were pigs. “There’s nothing worse than a cheesecake that smells like garlic”, he chuckled knowingly, “and you’ll be lucky if it isn’t half eaten by the time it’s delivered.” I decided I would take his advice.

My dinner was ready, so I began to enjoy hot spoonfuls of fried potatoes, eggs, and vegetables… oh, and garlic, the aroma of which probably helped to keep the javalinas friendly, despite my reluctance to elicit their services. I still had plenty of a brown ale at my side, which, given the limited selection out here, was a perfectly acceptable beer, and with which I happily washed down savory bites, so the bartender busied himself sniffing at small holes in the floor, scratching at the dust and rock and sniffing again. This seemed to be more out of idle occupation than any real attempt to capture something. I wondered if some of the rodents actually worked at the establishment as well. I thought that must be awkward for them. But the bartender seemed a thoughtful and reasonable type, so I imagine they were able to set aside instinctual differences of opinion while at the workplace.

The black shapes of ocotillo arms continued to waggle occasionally, sometimes as if in an animated conversation amongst each other, at other times without much rush, seeming to simply absorb peaceful observations, like those exchanged between the bartender and myself. Between engagements, we all would come to rest attention on the orange lights in the distance, glittering with an equal lack of hurry or expectation. I thought to myself that I would certainly come visit again, and I returned to the work on my computer, but also without much rush.