Chapter 3: Taylor Swift & Time Travel.
Taylor Swift. She's Bob Dylan in feminine form, (only much easier on the eyes), and a song of hers was blaring loudly from a salon next door to the bar. Merle had worked his magic on my poor banged up nose. He prescribed ice packs every hour and a punchbowl full of vodka. I wasn't sure which was helping more, but by the time we retired for the evening I was feeling pretty good.
Back to Taylor Swift, here's a little tip I picked up. You can always tell when you are by what's the most popular music on the Top 40 list. Now most music snobs would never be caught dead listening to Top 40. Too mainstream I guess, but honest to Guinness it is the best way to tell time when you're in a pinch.
As for guessing where you are, well, if you can't figure out that much on your own then you're really are in a fix. Or you've had one too many pints and should not be driving home.
Merle nursed his gin and tonic while sitting on the bar stool next to me. The orange glow of the neon sign above the bar was deepening the wrinkles that lined his face. He was aging a decade every night it seemed. The business had been taking it's toll on him. As his apprentice it was my duty to learn everything I could from him before he retired. We both knew no one really stops working with the ministry. All the years of traveling would catch up with you at once. Rumor had it you turned to dust, as no one who ever retired was ever given a casket to be buried in.
The grave what was occupying his mind tonight. He was six feet under in thought when I jarred him awake.
"Old man. You're in your head again. Quit swimming around where I can't see you. 'Specially when you ain't got your swimmies on." Usually humor had a way of busting through his brain fog.
"Squirt, don't go getting patronizing on me. I don't need diapers. Not yet anyway." He smiled, the neon light now dancing in his eyes.
"Are we done here? Or do you need to finish off your old man drink before I get us a car?" We'd been doing nothing but charting and analyzing time-ways since first light. Aside from my frolicking with the stupid, fat sailor, we hadn't had much of my break.
"No, no. I'm done for the evening. Let's call the car and get your pansy pants back home before you do something else stupid."
"Fair enough." I agreed, hopping off the stool with a bounce.
The curb was cold beneath our feet, and the night air had a whispering chill to it. Taylor Swift's voice airily chanting a teenaged lullaby as our car pulled up to whisk us off to the perish.