Saturday, April 12, 2008

Western Saloon

There is a modern drinking saloon, somewhere in the middle of the southwestern North American desert. Outside the premises is a barren wasteland, there are no houses, schools or people. The only sign of human society in this environment is the deserted saloon. Inside, there are signs of years of use. The wooden floors, made of a light blond wood are well worn from boot heels and dropped beer bottles. The walls still reverberate with sounds, yet a silence has begun to creep in, as if all the dwellers of this space left very quickly.
There are two rooms, although they are only separated by two protruding 2 foot walls, extending from both the southern and northern walls. The small dividers merely give the slight illusion of separate rooms. The smaller space that one walks into from the desert is the bar room. The southern and western walls, nearly thirty feet tall are made only of glass. The heat of the day pours in. The small rectangular room is empty, save for a wooden bar and the five matching wooden stools topped with red leather seat cushions that line it. Behind the bar is a wooden stairway and carved banister. They lead to a small loft space, where the barkeeper would sleep when the last of the unruly customers would saunter home at 4 in the morning.
To the right of the bar room is the gathering room. The room is arranged with clusters of four or five high- backed wooden chairs clustered around a knee high wooden table. There are dozens of seating arrangements in the large window-less room. The only light comes from the windows in the bar room, and the light in the gathering room is cool and diffused, creating a darker stillness within the space. Along the northern wall is a row of dark brown leather booths. Decorating the northern wall, from the top of the thirty ft wall down to the booths are a series of mirrors.
There are seven rows, each row consisting of seven equally sized rectangular mirrors. The mirrors have a dark wood border/frame. Each mirror is 3 and a half feet tall and 2 and a half feet wide. In the center of each mirror is a large image of different men on horseback. This is a commemorative series depicting the men who led and won the battles for the west. The men all glare directly into the eyes of the observer, delivering such an intensity that it appears as if the horse and rider could burst into the room at any moment, bringing the smell of leather, dust, and horse sweat with them. They are all dressed in the style of the times, except the rogue two who wear leather cowboy jackets. Despite these the two wild ones, they all have large moustaches, dark military uniforms, and the posture of one who believes absolutely in manifest destiny.
In some subtle way, the mirrors are also advertising cheap American beer, although there is no overt name or signage. The advertising and message seem to ooze from the mirrors, psychically communicating their campaign without any need for direct linguistic transmission.
Out of the 36 mirrors, there is one…on the last row from the top and the last one on the right. He is an Indian man. He rides a chocolate brown horse and he is also wearing a cowboy jacket although he is practically naked besides this and his loin cloth. His hair is black and long, blowing wildly in the breeze. He stares solemnly out, knowing what is to come. He is only 39, but looks battle worn and hard, his cool black eyes defeat any attempt at subversion. This is the warrior who led his people to battle, defeating the invading white army only once before annihilation.

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