Rockabilly Billy and the Texas 5 was into their 5th set in two days. Himself had not yet slept a wink and did not look the least bit wore out or like he was likely to quit soon. It was common knowledge that Ol' Bill hadn't picked up that red hot cherry in more years than an alligator has teeth. But once the word was out, it didn't take long for The Place to fill past capacity.
Bop a Lena was slinging drinks faster than people could order them, and they ordered them pretty damn fast. I did my level best trying to keep up. She like to flew back and forth behind that bar, it didn't matter what kind of crazy drink anyone ordered. She made them all and slung them to me without a word or a smile.
Except for Julia Dream, she was the damnest woman I have ever seen.
Himself closed out the final set with a half-time rendition of Just Because. And when he finished he called out
We sure do thank ye for listenin. Be sure to be kind, rewind, and do what the good book says and tip your lovely bartender!
As the crowd was shuffling out, Himself called out and ordered an Amaretto Sour, which Lena had ready for him before the last syllable left his mouth. Tex the Younger, Rex, Dolly, and Sue all ordered shots of rye, neat. Mr. Rifraff growled that he needed three ice cold beers and a bowl of maraschino cherries. Lena had those orders out licketysplit and I carried it all over to the band. They was each sitting in a pool of their own sweat. Rex pulled his wig off and fanned himself with his long nails. Madame Bub ordered cold water with no ice and a neat shot of Kentucky Rye. Dolly and Sue howled that they were about to strip down and didn't care two shits whether anyone didn't want to see their whatfor. Tex the Younger told them it would be harder to find someone who hadn't seen their whatfors, given what they used 'em for. Rifraff ate his cherries and drank his beer.
The only one who wasn't sweating sheets was Himself, and he just sat there, leaning back on two legs in a chair, his rhinestone Stetson tipped down over his eyes, a beatific smile on his lips.
It took Bop a Lena a couple of hours to clean up behind the bar and around the floor. When we finished, Bill nodded in my direction.
We're going to get some sleep here before we journey ahead, for I am tired and in need of rest in a nice soft bed. Madame Bub and I will retire anon. You have until then to sleep. Follow your better angel, Pilgrim George. She will never let down.
I felt a warm hand on my shoulder, and when I turned around, it was Lena. Bop a Lena smiled and leaned over and kissed my cheek. Then she took me by the hand and led me up the side stairs to her room.
Himself must have felt my hesitation because he chuckled at me from underneath his hat. Come, pluck up, heart; let's neither faint nor fear. Better, though difficult, the right way to go.