Tossing a pair of dead forties into the trash can, she does a visual sweep of the crowd, checking for anything or anyone that needs immediate attention.
She’s not looking for empty drinks – in her place, people can come up to the bar to get their own damn drinks – but rather, looking to see if anyone’s had a few too many.
Satisfied that she’s not about to have to break up a fist fight or mop puke off the dance floor, she heads into the back to check the night’s take so far.
And like most nights, it isn’t as good as it need to be.
She looks up at the certificate a local magazine had given Wild Bill’s for being a legendary institution of Memphis nightlife and sighs.
Being a local legend doesn’t pay your bills, doesn’t keep the lights on.
Hipster kids from Rhodes tossing out bad puns like “soulidified” that drink their weight in cheap beer keep the lights on.
Regulars that know there way around the place better than she does keep the lights on.
But with economy like it is, there are less and less of both.
At least the band plays no matter what.
Wild Bill’s claims to be the last true juke joint in the Delta. I find it hard to argue with that assertion. Serving naught but 40s, wings and set-ups, and with the best house band in town, Bill’s is the sort of place you’d expect to find in a movie. But, like most hole-in the wall places, the margins are slim and any big disaster could push them over the edge. They nearly closed down a while back after a storm did some major damage to the bar. The doors are still open, though. And the band is still playing.