A jukebox throbbed in anguish in the corner. And there was a payphone. There were darts and a misleading sense of activity. There was a newspaper rack. There were cigarettes. There was a mirror, bottles, tables, a rail, coasters, cocktail napkins, condiments, the smell of grilled onions, restrooms, darkness, warmth, smoke.

The News took a seat at the bar next to its friend the Snow. The Snow had travelled here to spend the weekend with the News and their friend the Heat, who had not yet arrived. They all liked to get together every now and then to drink, tell stories, and plan future blizzards and heatwaves.

The Snow ordered the News a gin and tonic. For now they sat there not saying much, watching the game. It had been an exhausting year for both of them, what with the Snow creating danger and accidents across the midwest, and the News reporting it. To say nothing of the heatwave, noteworthy for the large number of lives lost.

But the blizzard had been spectacular. The President, during this whiteout of the News by snow stories, had pledged the military more money than they had ever had. It made both of them a little excited—the News and the Snow—and there was no chance to think about it. The News had had to make a quick trip to Afghanistan for an exclusive interview with Osama Bin Laden after that had happened, and hadn't yet had a chance to congratulate the Snow on its fine show in January.

Then, at last, their old friend the Military walked in the door and took his hat off and took a seat at the bar beside them. The News and the Military were very close friends.

The Military ordered a round. The Military usually payed about a million dollars for a pint of beer, or a billion for a mixed drink. The drinks were mixed by powerful computers and served in an aluminum snifter sealed with a special coating. The News had another gin and tonic. The Snow had a brandy.

They always enjoyed their discussions. Whenever they got to talking about future blizzards and heatwaves, the Military always had an opinion. Timing was crucial, the Military believed, and the others all liked to listen to his ideas.

There was a lone typist in the corner wringing out pages, the clatter of the typewriter lost amidst the terrible loud rock and the conversations people had, voices wandering lost in the din.

Johnny Werd walked in and took a seat at the bar.

The Military turned to the News and said, confidentially:


The News nodded knowingly.

  the Bartender serves up Melancholy Hour the Bartender serves Happy Hour putting it to bed the News: evening edition the News: morning edition the Secretary and the Administrator discuss a private matter pertaining to a possible problem the Secretary has a doctors appointment the Secretary does research on the Internet the Administrator stays at work late the Administrator goes to work about dawn the Administrator lies awake all night the Janitor gets drunk at night the Janitor goes to work in the afternoon the Janitor gets up in the morning Werd falls asleep at night Werd gets drunk in the evening Werd goes to work in the morning