After dinner the night before at the Four Way Casino, Cafe and Bar in Wells, Nevada, I figured I'd be a lot better off breakfasting somewhere else. And I was. Surprisingly so.
One of the two brothels in Wells is Bella's Hacienda Brothel. It's one of the only, maybe the only of the Nevada brothels that is owned and operated by a woman - Bella. They also run Bella's Espresso House and Diner, right by the exit for Wells off of Interstate 80. So that's where I went for breakfast.
Now I gotta tell you, I'm pretty fussy about espresso. I make an excellent one at home, I'm particularly fond of the one to be had at El Cochinito - a Cuban cafe near my house - and also at LaMill - a fancy schmancy coffee place near my house. Add Bella's to the list.
There I was, in bumfuck nowhere Nevada, drinking one of the most truly excellent espressos I have ever had. (I drink it straight, no milk, no sugar, no nothin' between me and my near strong enough to walk on it coffee.) I had two doubles and would have had a third if I didn't think it would get in the way of rational driving. It was, without a doubt, one of the very best espressos I have ever enjoyed anywhere.
Breakfast was good, too. Fresh made biscuits, perfectly cooked and spiced homefries, perfectly cooked fresh eggs and a very good sausage patty. I was one happy author on tour. If a night at Bella's brothel comes complete with breakfast the next morning, it is well worth considering showing up in Wells with a wad of cash.
As is, I bought a couple pounds of Bella's Brothel Brew Beans, a couple of Bella's coffee mugs and a Nevada Brothel Cookbook and headed north on Highway 93 through the very top of Nevada and into Idaho.
I lived in Boise from about September 1970 until June 1971. I'd followed a high school girlfriend there because I wanted to get out of Los Angeles and go work among the "real people." That didn't work out so well at first, so I ended up in Boise State University for a couple of semesters. A lot of my spare time was spent hanging out in Hannifin's Cigar Store with that girlfriend. We'd play pinball, leaf through magazines, drink Moxie and listen to farmers and ranchers who sat around the old coal burning stove, trying different kinds of pipe tobacco and swapping lies. So today I went back to Hannifin's. It's still there, but the pinball machine is gone, the magazine rack has been replaced with a wall of coolers stocked with beer and soda pop, there weren't any farmers or ranchers and the guy working there hadn't ever heard of Moxie. Still, I took a couple of pictures. I appear in the exterior shot.
Then I walked around town for a bit. It is a fairly attractive old downtown, the once swank Idahana hotel still perches on the street like a timber town castle - although it is now infested with chichi businesses, and there are a couple of blocks of Basque businesses - something that is new since I lived there. Perhaps the most impressive site, however, was Otis the dog.
Rediscovered Books, where I had my event, was a very nice shop with an excellent set up for events. They've got a loyal clientele and a good, varied stock. They sent out 1200 emails to their list about the event, and did all they could to publicize it.
Still, that's book events for you - three people showed up. They enjoyed the show, asked interesting questions, but only one person bought one copy of Living Room of the Dead - wanting to start the series at the beginning. Another of the attendees apologized for not being able to buy a book until Wednesday, when his unemployment check shows up. Sheesh. I felt like I ought to just give him a copy. But I don't have taxpayers money to throw around, so I can't go bailing out book lovers.
It was one of those nights when you have to remind yourself that book events are for the bookstore, rather than for the audience who does or doesn't show up. It's good to get to know the stores and have them get to know me and my books. They'll sell more books in the long run that way. Still, it's no wonder that so many of us writers drink.