Joe’s Place

Joe Maynard is his name.

Nobody knows for certain where Joe came from. Originally that is. Joe had been a lot of places before he settled down in Capital City. Why Joe came to Beta Prime, well, that’s something a lot of people have speculated about.

Not to Joe’s face.

One thing was certain. Joe loved his place. He lived above it and was rarely seen more than a kilometer or two away from it.

It’s where I eat a lot of my meals so I guess you could say I’m a regular. Joe let’s me run a tab and I settle up every two weeks when I get paid. I eat breakfast there almost every morning, usually with my team, Sarah and Josephson, and often with my friend, the local parish priest, Father Nathan.

Ralph, the ex-con cabbie who introduced me to Joe’s my first day dirtside on Beta Prime, generates a fair amount of business for Joe’s. His wife Alice is a waitress there and knows every regular by name and favorite meal. Makes things convenient you could say.

If you want Earth comfort food, Joe’s is the place on Beta Prime. Not just Capital City mind you, all of Beta Prime.

Joe’s is more than just food though. Joe’s an aficionado of Classical Rock Music. Also called blues, rock ‘n’ roll or any of the variations of rock. You get the idea. Real music played by real musicians. With feeling, not this computer generated tones people call music these days.

I like to kick back with Joe and talk music history. We discuss the great bands of centuries past. Bands like The Rolling Stones, who happens to be The World’s Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Band, at least on Earth, The Cars, The Ramones, The Kinks, The Clash. Blues legends like Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker. You get the idea. Or maybe you don’t.

Joe plays the good stuff as background music, which makes for a killer atmosphere. He’s also got fantastic reproductions of posters from the various tours of these classic bands, album covers, you name it, displayed on the walls of his place. He’s even got some real 500+ year old memorabilia, but that stuff is locked away in a safe place.

Great food, great music and great décor, what more could you want? Nothing, I tell you, nothing.

Joe opens his place up in the morning for the breakfast trade which is pretty brisk due to shift change at that time of the day. Joe’s is located in the dividing zone between middle class and working class neighborhoods in the Southeast section of Capital City. A lot of factory workers, miners and drones that work in cubicles who changes shifts then. Lunch trade is okay Joe says but dinner is busy.

As the long dinner rush ends, Joe’s place changes into a tavern. That’s where Joe makes his real money. Not just selling booze, but the deals that get made there. Nothing too illegal or I’d have to look into it and Joe knows it. As far as I know, and I haven’t thought about it too hard, Joe doesn’t run a book there. He does take a lot of calls though in the evening.

Things can get rough when the clientele changes at night. That’s where Giganto and Baldie come in, Joe’s two bouncers. Not the brightest pair, but nobody gets past those two with a weapon, except me, unless Joe says it’s okay. And nobody, and I mean nobody, causes trouble at Joe’s unless they want to find out why bouncers have that job title.

Joe doesn’t say much about his past and I respect that. There’s a lot in my past I don’t want to talk about. I have the feeling Joe’s done some bad things, really bad things, and came to Beta Prime to start over. Lot’s of people wind up here on this frozen ball of ice for the same reason.

But Joe’s good people. Takes care of his people and looks out for his neighborhood. He doesn’t like for anyone to know, but helps Father Nathan out from time to time feeding the homeless in the parish.

Just don’t cross Joe when you meet him and things will be fine.

Oh, and be sure an order the cheeseburger and fries.

Tell Joe Inspector Sullivan sent you.

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The Thomas Sullivan Chronicles and Other Stories