Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Pub Tour

Journal Entry: Andy Paris

Spent my first evening looking for Matt Mickelson, which in effect means a pub tour of Laramie, as he has connections to many bars in town. So I went to the Fireside first, which is now called JJ's. In the small outdoor area sat a young man, alone, who's face showed a shocking resemblance to Aaron McKinney. Maybe he was just on my mind... I walked in, sat down at the bar and ordered a Fat Tire. There was a group of weathered men and women in their early 60s yucking it up (read getting hammered) next to me but other than that it was pretty empty, it being around 6PM (pre-College crowd). Whenever I sit in there I of course find my thoughts drifting to that night, trying to picture it in my mind. Informed by a bar tender with a torn ACL that Matt spends Friday nights at a different establishment, I stayed to finish my beer in a bar that has the same pool tables, similar decor, the same kareoke(sp?) stage... Suddenly a poke in the ribs had me turning around in my stool to find one of the women from the party next to me breathing down my neck, a mischievous grin on her face. Her (slurred) line was, "You look just like Cat Stevens. (beat) Do you even know who that is?" On the way out I noticed the one difference inside the bar: a memorial in the entrance way to a young Marine from the area who was killed in Iraq.

Matt was not at the Cowboy Saloon either. But the bar tender, Chuck, who is in a wheel chair from a car accident 12 years ago and has a birthday two days from mine, tells me he'll be at the Buckhorn. I stayed to finish my bottle of Bud and was once again spun on my bar stool, this time by a wind-stained man's face and a (slurred) joke: "What do you call one hundred skydivers in tie-dye shirts?" Me: I don't know. "Acid Rain." He spent two tours in Vietnam, he says, "28 confirmed." He sells jewelry, but when he says the word, and he often does, it comes through his mangled teeth as "Jewery." He also has a good friend who's a taxidermist. Best in the business. On my way out he calls, "I hope I didn't offend you little brother." Not even close, but his query made me wonder if he had tried to.

So on to the Buckhorn. The College crowd is now beginning to file in. After sitting down, ordering another beer, and being informed once again that Matt was not around, I began to wonder if I'd ever track him down. I was staring up at a ball game, wondering what my next move would be when I was clapped hard on the back. I spun on my stool for the third time in three bars, to find myself staring into the fresh face of Matt Mickelson.

1 comment:

Dylan said...

Andy -

So, what happened after the backslap. I'd like to know about your conversation with him and what he is like. I am in early rehearsal of a production of Laramie Project, and I am going to be Matt Mickelson. I'd love to know what your 10-year-after perceptions are....or 10-year-ago perceptions for that matter. Also, sorry that this says "Dylan said" - he's my kid and has apparently been here.

- Mark