The Stage Call,
Providence, Rhode Island

I’m at the Stage Call in Providence and needing nothing. Twelve assorted strays are in the place, two at the pool table, needing points, needing attention, two or three in the john, no one playing pinball. Three singles huddle in the booth behind me, huge slouchy gals done up in perms and shiny blouses and maroon lipstick, needing everything. There’s a wiry guy at the bar making small talk with the easy lady who brings his beers. He’s eyeballing her, leaning toward her and keeping the contact sweet, except that she’s chewing gum, like me, and wears glasses.

“You think it’s a dive?” she shouts over the dance floor, watching the band set up. “Really?”

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