Callahan's Crosstime Saloon/Setting

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.


Welcome to Callahan's!

Open the door - the thick wooden door, split by the head of somebody being forcibly evicted (for being an asshole) and never fully repaired - and walk in. See the jukebox in the corner, its neon lights dark and its power cord cut. See the piano with the well-worn keys, and the electric guitar amp sitting beside it. See the dartboard. See the one washroom, labeled "Folks". See the bar, and see that there are a lot of quotes written on the back wall where you'd expect to see a mirror. See that you can see all this because the place is well lit.

You're at Callahan's.

And if this is all you can see, you've come at a time when nobody's in to have a drink (alcoholic or not). Be amazed, because such times are very rare.

Mike Callahan - a big man, with a heart as big as the rest of him - is usually behind the bar. Whatever your preference is, he either has it or has something close, even if he has to step into the back room for a moment to get it. He doesn't have to step into the back room to get Bushmills (or Hawaiian Kona coffee or real cream, if an Irish Coffee is your preference; although they call that drink "God's Blessing" here and serve it in a proper coffee mug). There's a "free lunch" corner at one end of the bar - with beef sandwiches that have enough meat to actually taste.

On busy nights, Tom Hauptman is behind the bar with Mike. A preacher who lost his faith when his wife died, he's found a new family among the bar's regulars.

"Fast Eddie"[1] plays the piano - usually barrelhouse style, which he says he learned at a house of very good repute. (If he thinks you aren't the type who'll raise a fuss, he'll add that the brothel is owned and operated by Mike's wife, Sally.) Jake Stonebender plays the guitar that plugs into that amp; if he's playing on his own, he's likely playing folk. Jake and Eddie have developed a sound that's all their own, neither overpowering the other.

The clientele is mostly male, but by the time they installed the coffee maker for "God's Blessing", women in the Place were unusual but not noteworthy.

The calendar at Callahan's goes Sunday, Monday, Punday, Tall Tales Night... Audience participation on Punday and Tall Tales Night is not just encouraged, it's expected. "Doc" Webster - an actual M.D. - is usually the one who sets the pace those nights, being the regular with the most seniority. The teller of the worst pun or the tallest tale gets his bar tab refunded. (And he gets to go home with one of the more attractive female regulars, Josie Bauer, if both he and Josie are interested in such things with each other. Josie has a thing for men with a sense of humor.)

It's a merry place, most nights. Especially on "corporate" holidays such as St. Patrick's Day and Halloween... but on holidays where people spend time with their families, such as Christmas, the Place is almost deserted.

But if you've got a problem, and you want to talk about it, everything else stops and you've got the attention of everybody in the Place. (If you don't want to talk about it, and somebody starts prying... well, there's a reason why the front door was never fully repaired.) And there are a lot of smart people in the Place's regulars - and some intelligent people and some well-educated people, too.


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  1. No, not that one.