Wednesday, May 19, 2010

You come into the bar, out from the cold and the mottled slush, and it's warm in here. It's also almost empty: you, the barkeep and the tall, lanky fellow at the bar. That's good, you're looking for a quiet place to get out of your head and into a beer or two.

You sit down far away from the lanky fellow, and order a beer. The barkeep looks at his other customer, then pops the beer open for you. "On him." He says.

You say, "Thank-you" to the man and swish down the first refreshing gulp, savoring its roll down to your belly. You smile.

"You're welcome," The lanky fellow says. He asks, "You want to see a magic trick?"

You laugh, and this guy bought you a beer, so sure, why not? "Yeah, why not?" You say.

"Wonderful." Says he. He sidles over and smiles real wide. "It's a gross one, and you can't tell anyone *where* you saw it. You can tell people 'bout it. But don't tell 'em what i look like, or where it happened, alright? Those're the conditions. Agreed?"

You nod, smiling with curiosity.

"I can swallow your arm." The man says, grinning even wider.

And you laugh. What else could you do, at such a ridiculous statement?

"No, I'm serious. Take your coat off, roll up your sleeves if you've got 'em, and put your arm down my throat."

You think for a moment. You ask, "Is this like sword swallowing?"

"It is almost exactly like sword swallowing, yes, only for me? It is less dangerous. Now go on."

So you roll your sleeve up and the man stands and rolls his head a bit. "Just limbering up." He says.

Then, pulling at the corners of his mouth, he lisps at you to put your hand in his mouth, so you do.

He gestures for you to push a bit, so you do. A bit more: he's gesturing as if guiding a car into a parking space, and a few moments later you're shoulder deep in the man's face. He raises his heavy eyebrows at you, grins as best he can, and slowly, carefully, you pull your arm out.

The barkeep hands you a towel, and you wipe off the drool, of which: surprisingly little.

The lanky fellow sighs. "I was at a party once, swallowed a woman's leg not knowing her boyfriend was one room over. That was in . . . Montana, I think. Didn't end well for anyone."

You ask him: "So, can I buy you a drink?"