The Barrel’s Inner Sanctum


By Todd Mercer

“Houston, we have a problem,” I say through a slit in the door, but it’s no entre. Speakeasies and the paranoid, always changing the watchword, the pass-phrase. “The bad dog is on the porch,” says the guy behind me. The door opens for him. Every clubster/hipster in town struggles to get into The Barrel. Spit back the right words, plus make the grade on the club’s unspoken dress code, then we’re golden. Finally. Inside it’s our shot at sixteen-dollar drinks. Jane’s getting fitting use from highly impractical shoes. I play Mister Bigshot under neon, here with all the beauty people.

Todd Mercer was nominated for Best of the Net in 2018, won 1st, 2nd & 3rd place of the Kent County Dyer-Ives Poetry Prizes, and the won Grand Rapids Festival Flash Fiction Prize. Recent work appears in The Lake, The Magnolia Review, Praxis and Softblow.

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