Every Friday night in the Twilight Lounge, middle-aged single people congregate in flattering lights and search for someone who will relieve their loneliness if only with a touch and a smile on the dance floor.
Moody bartenders and cocktail waitresses rush to serve them, chain smoke, and keep an eye on the clock. A glitzy singer with bony legs and quivering cleavage and her cocky partner with a neatly combed hairpiece entertain them with imitations of Patsy Cline and Elvis and encourage them to relax, open their hearts, and dance to Misty and I'm in the Mood for Love.
Smelling of Mennen and Old Spice, the well-scrubbed men hold in their stomachs and hover over the women who sit at tables around the dance floor, their faces caked with foundation, rouge, and lipstick and their bodies perfumed and clothed in last year's fashions.
Nibbling on cocktail skewers of orange slices and cherries and sipping Perrier water and diet Coke, the women wait for the men to dull their inhibitions with bourbon and scotch and ask for a dance before the music stops, and the bartenders sound the inevitable last call.
Copyright © 1996 Frank Zahn. Published in Meat for Tea: The Valley Review -
English Breakfast, Volume 8, Issue 4, December 2014, p. 53, http://www.meatfortea.com/pdfs/meatforteav8i4.pdf; Perceptions: Prose
and Other Poetry, Grove 49 eBooks (Kindle Edition) 2016 (earlier version under the title
The Lazy Leopard Lounge); REFLECTIONS: A Collection of the Author's Short Prose
and Poetry, Vancouver Books (Kindle Edition) 2019.