The nearest bar, The Spotted Longhorn, is an antique dark hole with wood tables and chairs, a by-gone ranch flavor about the place. Most of the fixtures are left-over from the 19th century—longhorns on the wall, sepia photographs of long-dead cowboys in wooly chaps, a bad painting of a nude behind the bar enlivened by a contemporary pin-up calendar. The female bartender is both motherly and salty, and could crack a drunk over the head with her Louisville Slugger and toss him out into the alley—without help. Jack and Ennis look around with approval.
Pretty good place. [Calls to the bartender] Two drafts. And a shot.
[They sit at a rickety table. Ennis tilts his chair back on two legs and it creaks warningly. The bartender shakes her head and Ennis restores the balance. The first drinks go down quickly and Jack signals for another round.]
Where you from?
[unable to dodge a direct question]
Sage. (pause) Wyoming.
Never heard of it. I’m from Lightnin Flats. (pause) Wyoming.
Never heard of it.
[They laugh and shake hands. The bartender brings the second round.]
My folks got a ranch near the Montana line.
I had to get out.
Your folks ranch people?
[Looks at Jack appraisingly throughout conversation.]
They was. Died in a car wreck.
Sister raised me.
Quit school to work and workin ever since. [drinks]
Army didn’t get you?
They can’t get no use out of me. Bad knees, busted ribs. Left leg busted three times.
(Pause) They can’t get no use out of me. [Tosses back the shot.]
You got a girl?