I parked in front of the Cattleman’s Bar, went in and ordered a beer. An old man with a plume of magnificent hair, a flowing beard and worn leather sandals on his feet sat three barstools away, wiping droplets of moisture from a sweating beer bottle. He turned to me and asked, “Do you shoot pool?”
“You look like God,” I said.
“Out here, kid, everybody’s God. Do you shoot pool?”
“Loser buys the next round,” he said to my image in the bar’s back mirror. He flipped a coin. “Call it.”
“Tails. Bad luck.”
The cue ball clacked against the solids and the stripes, driving them into the pockets where they rattled like broken bones in a tin cup before dropping to the bottom. He ran the table. “You lose, kid.”
I tossed money on the bar. Amos the bartender brought two beers. We sat hunched up on barstools, staring at each other in the back mirror. “What are you doing here?” I asked.
“Waiting for answers.”
“Answers for what?”
“For prayers, kid, for prayers. The people demand answers!”
I finished my beer, wiped my mouth with the back of my hand. “Make it easy on yourself. Don’t answer them.”
The old man laughed. “I never do, but they keep asking.”
I left him at the bar, wiping moisture from his beer bottle, listening to prayers, and waiting for answers that never came.