(from The Cincinnati Review, Summer 2009)
Except it’s not actually a bar. It’s a fake bar, for show, that for some reason, or no reason, has hired a jazz trio. And none of the characters are curious about the fake bar. They marvel at how realistic it looks but, when left alone, don’t get up and fiddle with the taps and bottles. They don’t get a straight answer as to why in hell there’s a fake bar and they don’t pursue it. Oh, of course. Fake bar. Can you get us something from the real bar and bring it on over? How many times will I accidentally sit down at a fake bar? Fake bar fake bar fake bar.
This story was funny, and unsettlingly non-linear. Because the narrator is so wordy and over-explanatory, I assumed things would unfold in some sensible arc. Instead, it surprised me by going free form. It worked and it didn’t work in the same way that jazz does and doesn’t: Either your audience approves your out-there daring or they drink up and leave because you’re just honking out random notes and calling it art. Sometimes a little of both. Eye of the beholder, etc. I liked the story.