“Isn’t this how a bad joke starts?” Jerome belted out, stomping down the stairs.
Walter looked up from the dilapidated bar. “How’zat?”
“You know, one that goes ‘Two ghosts sit a bar, one turns to the other and says…’”
Jerome took the seat next to Walter, continueing the joke. “‘What’s a fella have to do get a drink around here? And the other goes, I know! It’s like they can’t even see me!’”
Walter’s expression didn’t change. “Don’t get it.”
“Walter, they’re ghosts, right? And ghost are see-through – aah forget it.” He waved a hand, brushing off the dead joke. “Told you it was bad.”
They sat at the bar in silence. A piece of plaster crumbled off the wall and crashed to the floor.
“Old girl Chisca’s not doing so hot.”
Walter looked at him, his eyes full of concern. “Are they going to tear her down, Jerome?
It was a regular worry for them. Their only worry.
“I don’t know, Walter. They haven’t yet. Might not ever.”
Another bit fell off the wall, echoing in the emptiness.
“Was the joke supposed to be funny ‘cause we’re ghosts too, Jerome?”
“Let it go, Walter. Just let it go.”
The Hotel Chisca is one of the most notable buildings in downtown Memphis. Notable for its location at the corner of Linden and Main. Notable for its history as the place from which Elvis’s first record was broadcast on the radio and where he gave his first radio interview. Notable for the complete and utter ruin it has been allowed to fall into by its owners, the Church of God in Christ, who, at last check, had racked up a half million dollars in fines over the condition of the building. The Chisca, if revived, could be one of the crown jewels of Memphis. But in the meantime, it’s left decaying and full of ghosts.