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Search for Nightlife: showdown at the Half Moon Saloon

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Half Moon Saloon, 3925 N. Lincoln: Pony busted through the door, took one look around the place, and got hopping mad. She glared at her ranch hands, Goldberg and Lippy. They looked scared. "I want to see the proprietors," Pony told the bartender, setting herself down on a cowhide-cotton bar stool. The bartender put a glass shaped like a boot in front of her and filled it with Sierra Nevada. "I'll tell 'em you're here," he said.

Pony had heard one of the proprietors used to be a rodeo bronc rider. His number, 37, was pasted on the wall near his hat, which had an arrow stuck in it. There were a lot of arrows stuck in the walls. It looked like there'd been an attack.

"I bet there was a land grab," Pony said.

"I hate land grabs," Lippy whined.

Goldberg ordered a burger from the adjoining Planet Cafe and Pony thought about her life--her spread with the 100 Appaloosas, 150 pintos, and 100,000 steers and her wardrobe--a different cowgirl outfit for every night of the year.

Just then she heard some rustling behind her.

"You wanted to see us?"

Pony turned. There were the proprietors, Tom and Todd. "Yes and I've got a bee in my bonnet," Pony said, hopping off the stool. She stamped her rhinestone-studded cowgirl boot. "Where'd you get all this western stuff? How come you have so many cowboy wall hangings and stagecoach lamps? Where'd you pick up that portrait of a colt and its mother and the poster of the Lone Ranger and Tonto back to back, their shoulders touching?

Tom and Todd shrugged. "Thrift shops," they said coolly.

"I'll give you a billion pesos for everything in the place including the stampede sound effects you play when somebody drinks six glasses of beer," Pony said, reaching inside her personalized cowgirl pouch.

"No deal."

Pony's eyes narrowed. Todd and Tom don't even look western and I do, she thought. Goldberg and Lippy looked upset, too. But then they're trained to always be in the same mood that Pony is in or they get fired.

The bartender, a quick thinker, said, "You can have this." He gave her one of the drinking glasses shaped like a cowboy boot.

"Don't you feel better now, Mistress Pony?" Lippy whined.

"Shut up Lippy, it's a little more complicated than that. (Sotto voce) I know, I'll get my stagecoach company to run their route right through this place."

"No," Goldberg said, looking up from his burger. "A stagecoach company wouldn't need to invoke eminent domain. You mean the railroad."

"Of course, the railroad. That's just what I was going to say. J.P. Morgan and I are like this," Pony said, holding two fingers of her fringed parade glove together. "We met--"

"--dated--" Lippy interjected . . .

"--just as J.P. was taking over the Northern Pacific from Harriman. I'll call J.P., he'll lay some tracks and it won't be long before Todd and Tom are working for me and this will all be mine," she said, pointing to the clock with the horse on it.

"Oh, I hope there's not a shootout," Lippy whined.

"Shut up Lippy! Stop being so lead-shy."

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Tom Bachtell.

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