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"Jerry Garcia's missing a finger. That's why he can play positions that nobody else even thinks about," Dudley says and tosses down another Kamikaze. The band has been on break and the absence of ear-splitting noise has provoked Dudley to start talking again. For Brewskie, the missing finger is an intriguing notion and he lifts his eyes toward the smoke-stained plaster near the ceiling.

"Kind of like having some emptiness built into his music--like zen," he says. The band is returning from its break. The keyboard player is doing something really weird with the sound system--talking from the deepest part of his voice into over-kill reverb, saying, "Get up. Get up on your feet. Get ready for the FUNK," and he sounds like the Devil himself.

"I don't like that. I wish he'd stop," says Hialeah, putting her hands over her ears.

Jerry Garcia walks in through the back wall. He is almost substantial. He carries his guitar. Looking holy and sanctified, he casts his fire-filled eyes around the bar and begins to play. From the empty space where his finger used to be, spring samurai warriors. They carry trays of sushi which is still alive and squirming ever so gently. The samurai wear silk baseball jackets with "NISSAN" embroidered into their backs. They begin to mingle in the crowd asking all the girls for their phone numbers.

Garcia gets uncomfortable with the whole tawdry spectacle and changes the key. Tennessee--hound dogs, moonshine liquor, and guns. Emperor Tojo lays a gray plastic pistol case on the table between Brewskie and Hialeah. She doesn't seem to realize that the efficient looking, shock absorbing case is meant for carrying a pistol but Brewskie does. Garcia is completely gone now, leaving only the ghost of the space where his finger used to be.  -- From the "Lost Weekend." For the whole story, click here.


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