Opening the bar door he glanced in. Neighborhood toughs like to shoot pool and drink beer. In this particular spot a revolutionary aspect existed amongst the usual tone. A constant push was needed to keep these guys in line, Biff mused. Presumably, understated links between bar staff and law enforcement checked any active participation in crime. This type didn't join the yob firebrands he’d seen dashing through the streets at sundown. No, as community matters headed towards a confrontational boil – left versus conservatives – most alcoholic druggies remained aloof in their own awful world. By and large, they refused to act overtly on the chance of offending the local police or right-wing element. They watched quizzically as the students and labor members rioted. They dodged scrutiny by loafing in the bar and stayed away from that. It remained for others to made sense of dissent. Nonetheless, through occasional provocation against authority, the underworld leadership did acquire respect among their more strident street counterparts. One way or the other, it was a strange, dicey trek for those estranged from the salaried workforce. As cab drivers and waitresses they became subject to situational impediments that restricted serious money-making. Mired in debt, they learned to practice deception about the actual intake and outflow. Arguments over less than twenty dollars were routinely heard. Svoboda found this poverty easier to take if one didn't make a fuss about it. A pittance was gathered and nothing salted away. It was all marginal. You rarely got ahead. Continuing pressure from the other down-and-outers required push-back. So it was that street smarts were under constant development. The lowly had their systems, their tipping points and the rest of it. Surviving without a good job stretched your nerves and furthered wild in-fighting for control. Inevitably, there would be that scary dive through the sustaining income floor. No more putting on airs. Getting enough to eat generated a process punctuated by disappearances and reappearances from the local scene. Throughout, curious in-crowd signals seen by the straights as gibberish, acknowledged amongst them a passing association with death cults.
At the moment, two drink servers were chatting. They exchanged comments about bank balances sliding to zero. They made much of how the cook had thrown off his apron and stormed out the back door. The woman next to Ida Thuga was not a beer machine, she maintained, and would not be treated as such. Because of this and that she was down to her last ten bucks. That wasn’t counting a personal check from someone who owed her that couldn’t be cashed. And lo, she was expected to treat this as standard operating procedure. Meanwhile, a desultory form of tavern organization leavened the mayhem.
“I want to wait on someone,” said.Ida “I’m dying to serve.”
A scatter of laughter erupted from the other. She cast an eye at the drinkers nearby.
Biff Svoboda headed for...