Having spent the entire day on the road, we were starving by the time we arrived at The Scheme and were excited to find a bar that was serving food. Unfortunately we arrived ten minutes before closing time.
No matter, the owner was going to have to stay late anyway, so he offered to make us a pizza as long as we got the order in immediately. "Large pepperoni!" we blurted out, without thinking about the fact that we'd would not be able to take our leftovers back to the motel for a few more hours.
We had some beer and talked with the bartender while we waited for our dinner. She could tell that we were not from around there, so we told her about our bar-hopping mission. She in turn told the owner, and he came out and started talking with us as well.
I produced my camera to take a few photos only to find my battery dead. The two of them immediately started digging around in various drawers until they found some fresh AA batteries that they donated to the cause.
The pizza arrived, and it was every bit worth the wait. With a braided crust and loaded with cheese, it was mouth-watering goodness thta we pounded away quickly. Still, as expected, we were only able to eat about half of it so put the rest in a to-go box.
The owner then gave us the grand tour of the place, which was part bar, part pizza shop, part art museum.
The art adorning the walls fell into two major categories. One category was art that contained hidden images or optical illusions, such as this piece that seems to point at you no matter what your vantage point.
Most of the rest of the art and memorabilia had an old-west theme and largely dealt with the local history -- including a young local girl who wrote to Abe Lincoln and told him more people might vote for him if he grew a beard. Or an old friend of the owner's ancestors, Wild Bill Hickok and his girlfriend "Big-Nose" Kate.
We ended up staying and chatting with our hosts for about an hour past closing time before grabbing our leftovers and continuing on with our journey
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Our tale would have ended there, if not for the fact that we were carting leftover pizza around with us.
We left The Scheme and looked foir another place to go. We didn't really know the layout of the town, but we saw a well-dressed young couple get out of a car in a parking lot across the street and heading towards the back of a building. "They look like they know where they are going," we decided, and followed them.
We entered the back of the building and went up 3 flights of stairs, finding ourselves at an upscale bar called Big Nose Kate's, pizza tucked under our arms. After a beer here we went downstairs to a bar called Martini's but decided it was too pretentious for our tastes.
As we left Martini's we found ourselves in an unexpected downpour, so we sought shelter with several other people under a nearby awning while we tried to get our bearings and figured out where to go next.
We asked a nearby hipster what other bars were in town. Other than a place across the street with a live band and a over, he said there were no other bars in the area. Though we were out-of-towners we knew he was wrong, and set out walking in the rain to find more bars on our own.
Unfortunately due to poor visibility from the heavy rain (which had not been in the forecast so we were wholly unprepared) we set off in the wrong direction, making it about 4 blocks in the pouring rain with pizza still in hand before realizing our error and turning around. Eventually we returned to the front of Martini's and, continuing 1 more block in that direction, we found 3 more bars. We knew the hipster was wrong!
Completely soaked, we entered a place called Paramount Bar and had a beer. We then stepped back outside into even heavier rain (there would end up being more than 5 inches in 90 minutes), with the anticipation of eating the rest of our pizza back at the motel later being our primary motivation to keep going.
Unfortunately we had not realized out wet the pizza box had become.
The weight shifted.
The sound of wet paper sliding apart.
The sound of a splash as half a pizza plummeted, in slow motion, to the wet sidewalk.
We looked at the pizza, then back at each other, then back to the pizza, then back to each other.
We knelt down and started picking up the soggy goodness , dripping it back into the remains of the box.
"Screw it, it's pointless" we sighed, and as our hearts sank we tossed the pizza remnants onto a nearby park bench and trudged on.
"At least that will make a good meal for a homeless person of it doesn't wash away," I said.
"Yeah, you know what that is?" my buddy asked. "It's a 'Bum Feast'. You know, that could make a good band name, Bum Feast."
"And the first album could be titled Bum Feast: Pizza on the Sidewalk."
The Scheme is located on North 7th Street between Ash and Iron in downtown Salina, KS.