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Payne’s Bar-B-Q (2002)
Essay by Joe York
Bingo was here before us… his pockets bulging with balloons, his deft fingers drumming the redcounter, his eyes fixed on the smoke-stained menu board, weighing pork against beef, beef against sausage, electing his lunch and handing over the money he made mangling his pocket’s plastic into giraffes and wiener dogs.
Thurman the loan officer was here, too. So was Adrian, the videographer; Rex, the recycler; Eunicia, the life insurance sales rep; Lonnie, the lawn care king; James, the attorney; Davis, the plumber; William, the paining mason; and in the middle of them all Hornton, who in 1972, hung up a pig outside and lit a fire under an ass on Elvis Presley.
But none of them are here right now. Darrell, who runs the place, says it’s too hot, says they’ll be out when the sun gets down a little more, when the short hand gets on the five.
All that’s here of them are the cards and the push pins that hold them fast to the bulletin board to the left of the counter, which stands in its porcine patina a thumb-tacked testament to the power of pork.