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Bar Code

(2005)
The title is a pun on the fact this story takes place inside a bar and the fact my friend really has a bar code tattooed on his arm.

You know, those scannable lines of ink with numbers at the bottom.

In addition to being written as something of an homage to Hunter S. Thompson, ten jukebox songs are buried in the piece. After you read the story, perhaps you will want to learn what they are.

an excerpt from this contemporary short story …

Murio’s is one of my favorite watering holes, a dive at the west end of Haight Street on the last block before the entrance to Golden Gate Park. There’s something intrinsically ironic in the fact the Park begins where Haight Street ends.

Out front of Murio’s you can’t help but stumble over descendants of the Great Hippie Scare of the 60’s clogging the sidewalk. These street kids are for the most part under 21 which is too young to get into Murio’s. Scruffy clusters of them mill around in front of Rockin’ Java or lie on the cement with their backs propped against the wall, nose rings dangling from punctured septums, drinking various liquors from brown paper bags, taking surreptitious tokes from glass bongs and openly selling drugs.

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You can always tell when a new shipment arrives from Humboldt: The sales pitch becomes more frequent and fervent. You can’t walk a block down Haight without a dozen sotto voice offerings. “Kaih-buh” threw me for a while. Had to ask a friend who translated: Kind buds.

The full and complete name of the place is Murio’s Trophy Room and three very tarnished silver urn trophies are ensconced in a display case opposite the front pool table. The pool tables are in the back, but one is in front of the other which is why it’s known as the front table. Taz often breaks the rack with his cue ball flying into the air. Susan, the current owner of the bar, is convinced he’s trying to hit the trophy glass.

The original owner named the place after himself and the tallest trophy in the case is etched with John Murio’s name as a singles winner, 1933, Vancouver, B. C. John played tennis before he ran a bar. There is a giant ten foot long plywood replica of a

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