A Taco Bell Outside of Time

The other day someone asked me about the old Bonafide Soul Club nights at the Tick Tock Bar n’ Grill, where there was neither grill nor clock. So I said, don’t worry about how all the photos taken on that dance floor were blurry, as if the cameras were sweating too. No need to recall how good I was at hiding our coats so they wouldn’t get stolen. Forget the 45s, some held together with scotch tape, some more hiss than horns, every last one the best thing you’ve ever heard. Inconsequential are the memories of huddling under the giant satellite dish out back, as are the birthdays and the shirts we saved for those nights. Never mind that it was a scene and now it’s not, that one of the DJs was a creep all along and the other moved to New Orleans. What you need to remember, I said, is the relief of walking into the unrenovated 90s Taco Bell around the corner at 2 am, ears ringing. The feeling of a weird Mountain Dew flavor cooling a raw throat. The limp streamers hanging from the ceiling were tired stalactites, and we were tired stalagmites. We slumped from one decade into another that still wasn’t this one.


Danny Caine is the author of the poetry collections Continental BreakfastEl Dorado Freddy’sand Flavortownas well as the book How to Resist Amazon and Why. His poetry has appeared in LitHubBarrelhouseHobart, and DIAGRAM. The 2019 recipient of the Midwest Bookseller of the Year award, he lives in Lawrence, Kansas where he owns the Raven Book Store. 

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