L’Ape musicale  

rivista di musica, arti, cultura

 

   

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Scene 2

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.

JACK

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.]

JACK

Where you from?

ENNIS

[unable to dodge a direct question]

Sage. (pause) Wyoming.

JACK

Never heard of it. I’m from Lightnin Flats. (pause) Wyoming.

ENNIS

Never heard of it.

[They laugh and shake hands. The bartender brings the second round.]

JACK

My folks got a ranch near the Montana line.

I had to get out.

Your folks ranch people?

ENNIS

[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?

JACK

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?

ENNIS

[Nods.}

Alma. You?

JACK

Not right now. [Drinks beer.] I hit a run of bad luck, lost my truck. I’m broke. This sheep job will let me save money.

ENNIS

I’m savin up too. Me and Alma’s gettin married. Start a horse ranch, maybe.

BARTENDER [Obviously eavesdropping]

You guys workin for Aguirre? Up on Brokeback? [As if she didn’t know]

JACK

Just for the summer.

BARTENDER

You want to bring plenty a whiskey.

It’s a bad mountain.

I seen crazy men come down end of the summer. Isolation.

Aguirre don’t let nobody take a day off.

Stay up with the sheep and the wind you go crazy.

Isolation.

JACK

He already told us his rules. ‘No whiskey’ is one a them.

BARTENDER

What he don’t know won’t hurt him. [She holds up a quart of whiskey questioningly.]

JACK

Make it two.

ENNIS

Each.

[Interlude]


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