Producer/Engineer: Bill Pollock
Editor: Sarah Rendo
Cover: Rob Mitchell
One night in the late 40’s a bunch of bus boys were busy soaping up rags in the bar of the Missouri Hotel. It had been a long night but now it was time to flip the chairs and sweep beer caps into dustbins. The bus boys worked hard and before long all the glasses stood tall and sudsless on the drying rack.
Soon Arnie the bar keep was handing out nickels and sending the bus boys out the door. When they left, Arnie poured himself a tall glass of Nasty Boy and soaked in the silence. For twenty minutes everything was still and Arnie even began to wonder what would be like to fall asleep in a museum but then he was jarred awake by a clatter coming from the peanut pantry.
Arnie wondered if maybe one of his busboys was scratching around for a few peanuts but when he climbed down the stairs he found that the peanut pantry was empty. Arnie walked to the corner and found a tiny mouse door that had been boarded up. In the cracks of the boards a faint light filtered into the peanut pantry.
Curiosity aroused, Arnie kneeled down and popped the boards off the mouse door. He stuffed his head into the mouse door and found a miniature speakeasy. Arnie pushed away the cobwebs and under the glow of one mutant lightbulb he saw six tiny figures sitting at a table dealing cards and smoking cigars at a green velvet table.
Even more shocking was the sight of Arnie’s dead dad Barnie behind the mouse-sized bar. Barnie waved at Arnie and walked to the door. He patted his son on the tip of the nose and gave him a big kiss.
Barnie said, “Hey look it’s my beautiful son! Watch out, these goons are soaking wet but they play for keeps,”
Arnie asked, “Dad, why did you shrink?”
Barnie said, “I never said it was terrific. This is just the way these things happen.”
One of the six rose from his seat and threw his cards down on the table. He pulled a machine gun from his side.
“You’re all crooks-every lousy one one of you!” Jerry the Goose shouted.
The other five loosened their hands from their cards and placed them below the table. Arnie could tell that they weren’t reaching for their keys.
Another of the five said, “Careful Goose, we’ve got your numbers.”
Goose said, “Joey that’s a gas, a real gas- them numbers are crooked just like the fence post at your mother’s house.”
And without hesitation Goose flipped the card table over and sprayed bullets at everyone at the table. Barnie’s dad Arnie took cover inside Arnie’s nose. Predictably, the other five pulled out their own guns and began to fire. It was as loud as a tiny junior high brass band and bullets times infinity rained throughout the hideaway. But even though thousands of bullets passed through their bodies their wounds were bloodless. It was an eternal standoff between ghosts.
As the shooting continued Barnie climbed out of Arnie’s nose and into his son’s earlobe.
“The angels told us we were gonna be tiny, like potato chip crumbles but they also said that we could play with our guns and drink our drinks as long as we wanted.”
As the bullets pounded the air Arnie said,“Huh, so this goes on every night then?”
Ghost Dad Barnie said, “Dem’s da rules, sonny boy. If you want to get some sleep tonight I'd go home now. They’re going to shell each other for more four hours before they get thirsty and I serve ‘em up dem salty peanuts.”
Arnie said, “Uh, okay, Dad, bye, I love you. I always wondered what happened to you.”
Barnie said, “Me too son, me too!” and Barnie placed a tiny kiss on his cheek and sent him out the door.