The stranger did not show his hand. He kept pouring shots of whiskey and then slugging them down. But then he changed his routine. Reaching into the pocket of his vest where most folks might keep a pocketwatch, he pulled out a silver dollar. He then with no thought given, he began to spin that silver dollar through his fingers. Quite impressive. That dancing dollar had me hypnotized and I kept wondering how many long, lonely it had taken him to master such a skill.
Out from the back room, Jesse made his entrance. On the hour, this could-be town drunk came out to play his shift on the upright piano. He'd play tunes for forty-five minutes or so and then take a booze break in the back room. Needless to say, as the night wore on, Jesse's playing became more reckless and raucous. Some nights, his shift ended when he'd fall off the bench. Usually Gracie and one of the boys would help Jesse back to his cot in the storage shed. Yet the man could play that piano. They say he learned to play in his mama's cat house back in Memphis.
About three songs in, Gracie would take her turn singing while Jesse played. She was not half bad and that smile made her voice sound far better than it actually was.
So like clockwork, Gracie strutted and swayed her way over to her stoll by the piano. Every eye in the place watched every one of those luscious steps including the eye of the stranger.
With a nod to Jesse, she sang "Sleep Time Gal." And the stranger? He kept spinning that silver dollar.