Inky black Oracle Boulevard reflected the neon lining the street ahead, sparkling and glistening like a onyx pike covered in gooey pitch. This was not the best part of town, but it certainly was not the worst, either. The heat was stifling and the winds nonexistent; the air hung and thickened as it waited for something to happen. I had a job to do, and it was not to just sit here in my car on this short spur of Oracle. I put my car into gear and set out down the road.
I looked to my left; there was the ramshackle white building that housed KOLD-TV. At the time, was I ever glad to leave that place behind. Now, I remember some of the great friends and the great fun we had in that building. Ahead was the towering residence hotel for seniors still able to hold their own against time. And on the corner of Oracle as it made its turn to the north was my favorite little dive in Tucson. That Denny’s was a fluorescent sentinel in the dark calling out to the night owl in me, just as it did so many years ago.
Denny’s is a refuge for those afraid or unwilling to go home, for those that can’t or won’t go to sleep at night. Maybe it was different in the day– I never went into one in the day. For me, Denny’s and its thin, hot coffee was a safe haven from going home.
For a while, some of us found a great escape in that Denny’s, a quick and furious ride that took us all the way to California and back. Every night, for months on end, the Guns wound down in our Oracle Denny’s. We were their guests, their new friends, their local hosts. Mitch was out at Old Tucson one day, shooting God knows what, when he ran into Keifer. That was our first connection.
From then on, there was a draw to the Denny’s. Not every night, sometimes not for days at a time, but every time we heard the call to Denny’s, the Guns were there. And every night the Guns were there, so were we. Mitch, Bob and I; Keifer, Emilio and Lou. Sometimes Christian. Coffee, bring another pot, please. The Guns were raucous and rowdy and loud, but always polite. They were our guests.
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