birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Return of the Rat Pack

I am hoping that Frank and Dean and Sammy will stay living, in that picture and beyond, stepping out into the real and wild life they called their own. I'm alone on a Monday night in an aspiring hipster hotel near an airport, waiting in a morning flight too early to have waited until dawn to drive. So, here, and there's a nice bar but nothing but premade sandwiches and hummus and pretzel snacks to eat and it's a long time until morning. The snow is fast and furious outside, but I rustle up my boots and winter coat from the car and bundle up and take to the blanketed street and put my head down and trudge to the cluster of plastic barbeque and styrofoam taco joints. The Park Tavern look the least objectionable. Just a space and a menuthat Yelp would call new American, but not too crowded and warm enough on this -3 degree night and a burger's a burger. Except mine will be fish tacos, beans and rice. That and a beer and three different basketball games competing with the news on the screens around me. I'm happy enough and pull out my phone, because what's one more screen when you're alone? News and email and news, and the evening passes, and I look up at the decor chosen by a corporate designed to invoke a mood, and the rat pack stops me in my tracks. All three in tuxedos, all three artfully cupping cigarettes. Dean leans in, seems to be the raconteur of the group. Frank is blazingly handsome and seems a little jaded, but agreeable enough, has a certain master of the situation look, which no doubt he always did. But it's Sammy who grabs my lonely dinner time heart the hardest. He is cracking up. His face is rocked and racked with joyful laughter.

Whatever Dean just said has left him beyond tickled. And there they are. Three handsome young men, although already not as young as they once were. They exude glamor, style, charm. I'd give up my beer if I could slip into something low cut and sparkly, done a pair of heels, pick up a cigarette of my own and ask these fellas if maybe they want another drink. Ask Sammy if he'd share the joke. But I'd like to keep them alive too, in a tender, maternal, star struck sort of way. Caress those strong boned jaws and trace those voluptuous lips and ask them to turn once more toward the future. And maybe pick up a microphone and sing. Hey blue eyes, how about coming back?

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The Boarding House