Last night I stopped in at Clyde's Place. That's the little bar down the road a piece from where I live. Now as you know, Virginia does not really have bars. You gotta sell enough food to justify getting a license to serve alcohol. Clyde does that by selling two-dollar hot dogs. (But they are really good hot dogs.) Anyway, those hot dogs and his pretty good stew are enough to make Clyde's a real restaurant in the eyes of the law. Most bars in other places have a two-drink minimum. Or a cover charge. Clyde has a one-bowl minimum. I was in for the one bowl. To go.
I stepped inside the dimly lit joint, (that's probably a better way to describe Clyde's), it was largely unoccupied. Just a couple sitting on the same side of a booth and my neighbor Barry sitting alone at the bar. As my eyes adjusted I looked around and since there was no one else there I joined Barry at the bar.
“Hello Barry,” I said, “You finally sold that Cadillac that's been on the lot for so long?”
“No. I mean yeah, sold that thing a few days ago. Why you asking?”
“Well,” I said, “You usually nurse a Pabst for an hour, but Clyde here has just poured your second Scotch since I came in. And it ain't cheap Scotch. You get that much outta that old Caddy?”
“Hey Clyde!” Barry yelled to the other end of the bar, “Get Bunkie here a hot dog. No, make it two. Put 'em on my tab.” Barry has always called me Bunkie. I don't know why. I sure didn't suggest it.
“No, it's not the Caddy. Lost my shirt on that one. I've discovered the secret to prosperity. Really I have. Eat your hot dogs while I tell you about it.”
As Clyde set the paper plate holding two hot dogs in front of me I settled in for what I knew would be an interesting tale. Barry is like that.
“Between the high-dollar scotch and four dollars worth of hot dogs you must have really found something. Stock market?”
Barry stared at the mirror behind the bar, took a sip of his second drink and said, “Did you know you can pay your bills on-line?”
“Yeah, I do that,” I answered.
“Did you know you can set up a bill to be automatically paid every month with a credit card?”
“Yeah, I do that too” I said. Now I'm starting to wonder where he was going, but with Barry you get the whole story from start to finish or he starts to ramble. I let him ramble.
He started back up, after draining his new Scotch. “Clyde,” he said, “refill this please sir,” Turning back toward me he continued, “did you know you can pay one credit card online with another credit card?”
“Yeah,” I replied, “but I don't do that. I either mail a check or use my debit card.”
Barry grinned, took another sip of his newest Scotch and said, “I did that too. For years. It's too old-fashioned. We need to follow the leaders and change our ways of thinking. Now all the money from the car lot goes on the debit card from down at the bank, while my credit cards are paying each other every month. Automatic-like. I even set it up so one of the cards pays Pee-Wee, my mechanic and car washer, every other week. You'd be amazed at how fast that debit card balance grows now.”
He then turned around, leaned back with both elbows on the bar and just grinned.
“Hey Clyde,” I called. “Bring me a go-box for this other hot dog. I gotta get home now.” I left Barry there basking in the glow of his new-found prosperity.
The idea hit me as I passed Barry's Used Car Emporium. I turned around and drove on the lot.
There it sits. A low-mileage Chevy Silverado. Bright red of course. That's what I'll bid on at the inevitable auction. Hell, I might even get the whole place at a real steal.