Tucson Blues: The Ballad of Muddles Bannon

Updated: Jun 26, 2020

I live life, one muddle at a time.

When you’ve lived my life, seen what I’ve seen, that’s all you can hope for yourself.

Oh sure, making Mojitos seems like a no-brainer. I admit, I used to think so myself. There was a time where all I heard was the roar of the crowd. I would make them 6, sometimes 7 at a time, and nobody got more juice out of a fruit than Mad Muddles Bannon. They couldn’t get enough of me. I can still hear them chanting my name, the sound of the girls screaming “We love you Muddles!”

Yeah, they loved me then. It’s all fun and games until you get cocky… then you get sloppy.


Just the word makes me shudder. It had all gone so wrong so quickly. One day I was the talk of the city, there wasn’t a person from Phoenix to Albuquerque who didn’t know my name, and my reputation was only growing. The next day, I was traveling clear across the country, putting countless days and miles between myself and what happened in Arizona.

I can only hope that no one discovers the events of that fateful night at the Tucson International Airport.

Especially Jamie. This time here is my self imposed penance for the pain I had caused him. A pain Jamie doesn’t even know I was responsible for. I hear they shut down the airport bar not that long ago; they replaced it with a Hudson News, I believe. I hope that means I’m safe. But, I can never let my guard down. One thing I’ve learned about the past, it’s always just behind you.

This is my song. It is tragic, and it is true.

I used to be the toast of the desert, and now, I live my life one muddle at a time, never knowing which one will be my last.

Joey sat and stared at Chris, his eyebrows raised in curiosity. He noticed that sometimes Chris would just stop and stare into the ice machine. One time, he didn’t move for twenty minutes, then suddenly just dove in with the scooper and shoveled ice as if the devil was chasing him.

“What … is his deal?” he asked Jamie.

Jamie tore his attention way from the new driving gloves he was modeling. He was thinking of trying out a new persona, half Mario Andretti, half… Mario. He wasn’t sure about the blue overalls but loved the hat. The driving gloves was a plus, but he was confused as to what to do with the scarf.

He turned to see what Joey was looking at, and noticed Chris at the ice machine again. he shrugged and sighed. “I don’t know, man. All I know is he came here from the west coast, and seemed pretty shaken up. He said he needed a job, and was a pretty decent bartender, so I gave him a shot. Maybe there was some trouble back in cali-land, but he would never talk about it, and I didn’t ask.

Jamie tossed the scarf jauntily over his shoulder, wondering if an Italian accent would be too much. “You-a know-a me… I dont-a judge.” Hmm… maybe no accent.

Unsatisfied, Joey thought maybe he should do a little digging. The poor guy was always so… serious. There was obviously something going on with him, and it always seemed to get worse on Mondays, the closer they got to opening time.

“Jamie, I’m not wearing this green shirt, stop putting it on my bed!” Tyler yelled from the back.

“Heyyyy Luiiiigiiii, whatsa matta with-a the green shiiiirt?!” Jamie replied. Yup… definitely no accent.

Joey listened to the two of them and thought better of his plan. What was one more weirdo in this crazy mashup? “Hey Bannon! We need ice!” he called.

Chris’s head snapped up. Muddles was back in action. “I’m on it,” he whispered.

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