“Thanks for letting us borrow the poster, Hal.” They dare not tell him they folded the flip side up to make a primitive collage and took pictures for posterity. Tough town this was; not a lot of art lovers here, much less collage lovers. May get them thrown in jail. Or worse. But at least it *was* a town now. Thanks to the railroad and its trains.
All fell silent as one passed again, timely enough. A ritual to thank the LORD for the gift of the rails (ha).
Then from Hal: “How’d the bar mitzvah go?”
“Bar mitzvah?” Barry DeBoy uttered, then turned to Hucka D.
“Yes, for Wee Willy. The reason we borrowed the poster, remember? Period piece,” she further explained. “And he loooves dancers.”
“Too much so,” Barry decided to add which made Hucka wince. Don’t go too far, she thought. Let’s ease out of here while the going’s good.
“But it wasn’t a bar mitzvah party,” Hucka D. dared to correct Hal. “Birthday party. 100 years old this week. The ‘Wee’ nickname came about because of his stature, not his age. So irony mixed in there as well, I suppose. It’s an easy mistake.” Easy, she thought, staring at Barry. Eassy.
“Well, anyway, I’m glad he enjoyed it.” From his angle and lighting while leaning against the wall, the butch blonde saloon proprietor studies the recently rehung poster, notices for the first time the fold lines that Hucka D. and Barry tried to smooth out as much as possible. “Fainter,” Hucka D. urged, as they kept pressing and smoothing. 20 minutes. Might have been a *wee* bit too much, turning the now truly flattened lines a tad white, just enough to show in the right light at the right angle.
“What did you say this *Wee* Willy’s real name was?” questioned Hal, prying his eyes away from the poster and to the potential culprits. He was going to check the town registers for recent birthdays. If this didn’t check out then he was going to call the law — no, he decided on the spot. No law needed. He would be the law in this case. And maybe bring in Busting Lester in too. And Billy Goat Burt: a vigilante group he was thinking about here. They didn’t need much to set them off.
Luckily for artist/collagist Barry DeBoy and accomplice Hucka Doobie, the town soon had more worries than fold lines in an antique poster. Because bikers would be arriving thick and fast, jamming the town’s two hotels and turning drinking establishments like Hal’s into mayhem and perhaps even murder. Old fashion style.
(to be continued)