The Observer, Arkansas Times shutterbug extraordinare Brian Chilson and newsroom FNG Benjamin Hardy slunk from our bedchambers over the weekend to hit the late-night bars like Midtown Billiards, Discovery and Electric Cowboy for an upcoming cover story in advance of a City Board vote on whether to shutter the Class B permitted clubs at 2 a.m. instead of 5. Mr. Hardy and The Observer's sometime frienemy David Koon will be making the case that the 5 a.m. clubs are actually a good thing for Little Rock.

Keep an eye out for that next week. While Yours Truly used to be quite the night owl, shutting down some of those same 5 a.m. clubs, we've now entered the Sargasso Sea of Old Fartdom. We're usually sawing sequoia logs by 2 a.m., dead to the species until our eyes fly stubbornly open at dawn. Our body seems to have found its happy place at around six hours of sleep these days. Back when we were Junior's age, 14, we would blissfully sleep a number of hours that would make a housecat say, "Damn, he sleeps a lot," and were content to sleep anywhere. Bed of a speeding truck, mound of leaves, school desk (all too frequently), stretched out on hard concrete, all soft and comfortable as featherbeds to our young and supple bod.

We miss those days. We have become a near-insomniac Princess and the Pea as the years have burned on. Lay a nickel on the box springs and The Observer's shoulder blade can read "In God We Trust" through the sheets and stuffing and pillow-tick. Ditto with any noise louder than a mouse belch. Something in the house goes "plink," and our eyelids roll up like old-timey shades. Light sleeper, like our father before us. And once we're awake, we're awake, end of story, six hours of sleep in the bag or not. It's bitterness and reruns of "The X-Files" for the rest of the night, and the next day feeling like we've been beaten with a rubber truncheon.

But we digress, as we often do. Brian picked The Observer up at 2 a.m. Saturday morning at The Observatory, The Master of the Chateau having been forced to down two cups of coffee and three Aleve just to get our britches on and buttoned, shirt on right side out, and shoes on the right feet. Though we weren't happy about being out at that hour, there was still a loveliness to it, Brian's headlights swimming up Maple Street in the cool, dewy night like a phosphorescent jellyfish.

In the car, both of us commented on the idiocy of being out that late, and commiserated on the things we do for this job. We breathed how we were too old for this shit. And then we launched into stories of how we weren't once. Lost nights, lost bars, spilled beer, American history and the deep dark of our youth. The sleeping city slid past the windows, full of yellow light. We told the stories we could tell. We both thought, but didn't speak, of those we couldn't — no less fondly regarded, but which we wouldn't admit to anyone should we be dangled over the rim of the Grand Canyon by Russian gangsters.

Night, when you're young, is for choices, and we have made them. Some of them we made wrong, there in the velvet pocket of 4 a.m. — or close enough to wrong to make us wonder all these years later. Those are the ones you don't speak of. Those are the stories you'll take to your grave, furrowing a brow and smiling a wistful smile that's bound to make all the damp-eyed kin crowding around your deathbed puzzle over what Great Grandma is thinking.

If midnight is The Witching Hour, then 2 a.m. and beyond are named as well, my friend. Call them: The Hour of Questionable Decisions. The Hour of the Longest Kiss. The Hour of Boldness Born of Desperation. The Hour of the Busted Lip. The Hour of Trading the Morning for One Moment in the Dark. We remembered all those hours that we couldn't speak, the memories we dare not say.

And so, instead, we rode in silence, in a drowsy, wakeful dream of the past, and the city slid by and by the windows on our way to meet Mr. Hardy.



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

People who saved…

Readers also liked…

  • Private option hits speed bump

    Health centers raise objection to Medicaid waiver.
    • Jul 25, 2013
  • Visionary Arkansans 2014

    They make an impact in science, arts, social justice.
    • Aug 28, 2014
  • Arkansan of the Year: Asa Hutchinson

    For embodying the story of the modern Republican in Arkansas — and for finally winning — Gov. Asa Hutchinson is our Arkansan of the Year for 2014.
    • Jan 15, 2015

Most Shared

  • The fall of Boehner

    Nothing so became U.S. Rep. John Boehner's tenure as speaker of the House as his manner of leaving it. Subjectively speaking, he has never appeared to believe very much of the nonsense his position required him to utter. An old school politician who literally grew up working in the family bar, his conservatism is of the traditional Midwestern kind — more Bob Dole, say, than Ted Cruz.
  • Warrior

    As a young man, Ted Holder helped Arkansas take some of its first steps toward LGBT equality.
  • Huckawho? Ex-gov is yesterday's flavor

    Given the wild gyrations of the Republican presidential nominating race, I write these words knowing that a future meal of them remains possible, but nonetheless: Mike Huckabee is toast.
  • First Nixon, then Boehner

    Like Richard Nixon's resignation speech 41 years earlier, John Boehner's sudden valedictory from Congress may be said to be the old politician's finest moment.
  • Razorbackula and a tour through the police blotter

    A certain morbid curiosity about crime is one of the few silver linings of living in a place where the per capita crime rate rivals even the shystiest hellhole corners of the country. So that’s our topic for the week, crime reporting.

Latest in The Observer

  • The falling boy

    The Observer wrote some weeks back about our trip to the Arkansas Railroad Museum in Pine Bluff, a gem of a spot with a large collection of vintage rolling stock that is all open so you can clamber up and over and through the old cars and cabooses and locomotives, sit in the driver's seats, and pretend you're Casey Jones. If you're a train buff or have a kid who is, get thyself to Pine Bluff. That's an order.
    • Oct 1, 2015
  • Earthlings

    The Observer recently flew for the first time in a little over 16 years, and to Texas, of all places. Spouse's car was getting a little long in the tooth, and the Mobile Observatory even longer of chopper, so we'd been scouting around for a new ride for a while now with very specific criteria: Honda, CR-V, low miles, within our budget, and a color other than grey, silver or the doughy tan that some automakers grandiosely call "champagne."
    • Sep 24, 2015
  • Mr. Pockets

    In advance of Junior turning 5, Spouse was determined to find something to enliven a backyard birthday party. The Observer suggested a large bowl of chips. Spouse suggested The Observer go to hell. When Spouse struck out with magicians, she threatened to dress up like a clown. Thankfully — particularly for Junior's future therapist — The Observer's mother stepped in to recommend Mr. Pockets.
    • Sep 17, 2015
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »


  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Most Viewed

  • Warrior

    As a young man, Ted Holder helped Arkansas take some of its first steps toward LGBT equality.
  • Rapert wary heartbeat rules not implemented

    Emails to Health Department, Medical Board demand proof.
  • Oh, pioneers!

    Ted Holder and Jennifer Chilcoat were long in the fight for LGBT rights in Arkansas
  • This Supreme Court brought to you by big business

    Also, pope fever, bye-bye Boehner, more tilting at windmills from Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, driving Dixie down and more.
  • Good exposure

    Lera Lynn of Athens, Ga., who provides a Greek Chorus-like mournful background to season 2 of HBO's "True Detective" showed off a vast range of country-influenced music in an appearance at South on Main last Thursday night.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: No rights for tenants in Arkansas

    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9G2Pk2JZP-E

    • on October 4, 2015
  • Re: No rights for tenants in Arkansas

    • All these landlords have a big mouth. It's time to shut their mouths by suing…

    • on October 4, 2015
  • Re: Warrior

    • Ted since Hendrix. Hero. Good guy.

    • on October 3, 2015

© 2015 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation