I saw the sign and still couldn’t quite believe it.

I worked a long time to make this happen, but the sign still seemed a little unreal — like something I’d just imagined for years.

I walked up to the big blue door, turned the new key in the new lock, and walked into the quiet. Early morning sun gave the bar a warmth that the fluorescent lights couldn’t. Get rid of those, I thought. Still a lot to do, but I open today, so best get to it.

Kegs were online and in the basement — proper temp for proper beer. Room temp and humidity were on the nose, everything was dusted and cleaned. I want a fireplace over in that corner, just like he used to have, but that’s not happening, so forget it.

“Alexandra, play Playlist #5.” Music began to play in the background. Good, that works.

The Theatre door opened easily. It ought to, I worked on getting it right long enough. Lights came up softly. Equipment gleamed. Those big crosses I won on a bet, the mission-style spanking benches, those lovely custom leather-and-metal cuffs hanging by chain from the ceiling, the websling my partner made, and that big gold cage given to me when folks heard the place was opening. Yep, looks good. (I had checked the plumbing and the locker rooms the other day.)

Two more things to check: the wall graphic on the far wall of the rec room, and the wooden plaque over the front door. Yes, both look good.

I guess we’re ready.

I flipped the switch under the bar counter that brought the room lights up (who the hell wants to drink in the gloom?), turned off the video screens, and turned on the “C’mon In, We’re Awesome!” sign in the window by the front door.

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”


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