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One particular Angel of Turquoise has wings of dead riverbeds, budget casinos, ghost towns, and the glimmer of mirage lurking deep under the primaries. Illusion is bone and remnants, and it glints from the sunken eye sockets of the Angel as they tend bar somewhere west of the great Salt Lake and east of Reno.

You might think there's water to be had there, and there is, but you've got to come with an offering. Silver used to be traditional, or gold. No wedding rings that proved pyrite: pure heart's gold in American denomination or stamp only. None of this Canadian nonsense. Hubcaps will work, off old Fords and obscure car brand. No alloys, no plastic, nothing off a Jap car or German box.

Haul your offering right up to the bar, in the dim light of the Budweiser sign. Ignore the shriveled remnants of mine workers stuck in purgatory. The Angel is polishing a chipped pint glass, and has track marks like played-out mine shafts speckling their bare arms. They won't put the glass down, or make eye contact, but they'll nod towards the chipped plastic restroom sign when you slap down your forfeit.

Order a Bud, slip onto one of the stools, and who knows how long you might sit? Or when you might come out? 2010 now, maybe the Nixon administration when you swagger out drunk in the desert night. It's your choice. Drink and stay. Leave, without your offering. If you choose to go on, you'll head past the dull-eyed drunks at the scattered tables into the hall with the burnt-out bulbs.

And out there in the back there's an old pump. It'll give off some rust and dust and silt when you pump it the first few times. The last time you pump it, though, the sweetest drink of water you ever saw will pour like benediction into the tin bucket and cross your lips with the heat of lighting, of Jack Daniel himself.

At the bottom of the bucket is a key to a sky-blue Cadillac, and where it takes you, only the Angel knows.

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