The Sunrise Saloon


A place where I stand and think, If the race war pops off it’s me and my half-Mexican friend against these 700 cowboys.



We’ve got on Jordans.

Different colors, same style, bought same day on deep discount in the dumb mall.



Does Michael Jordan make a cowboy boot? Hat? Flannel shirt?

Being honest, I’d wear fucking lederhosen if it had a Jumpman on it.



People are dancing. That’s why they’re here.

Why are we here? That’s what we don’t know.

They do a lot of goddamn twirling around.

Ponytail man picks shorty up like they’re figure skating and she does some shit with her legs.

Ethnic comrade says, Get a less weird hobby!



We know people here, is I guess why we’re here. Because they are. But when we walked in and edged around all the miscellaneous cowboys and saw the makeup of our squad—saw the dudes that weren’t mentioned in the text—we almost bounced. Like talked about it. Like should we? Probably should.

But didn’t. Walked up. Said, Hey.



One of the unmentioned dudes has on a vest, though. Seems like some shit a dude would recommend in a book he wrote about how to get females to talk to you in places like this. Like, put on a vest and she’ll ask about it and you’ll say some shit and if she touches her hair at any point during this interaction that means you’re definitely in there, buddy. 



Rest my elbow on the table and it’s sore. Because fell and busted my ass in a parking lot. Because one time people thought to settle in a region where the ground gets ice on it and 150 years later I decided I’d up and join them.



Man on YouTube said to clench your asshole while walking on ice because it raises your pelvic floor and that’s nice for balance.

Other man on YouTube said to walk like a penguin.



Yo, the band: I don’t give a fuck what Jenny’s phone number is.



Conversation about places we’ve been worse than The Sunrise Saloon.

Mormon funeral: better, we decide, because free food. Because Jell-o salad in four distinct colors.

Supervised drug test bathroom: better, too, because quiet enough to hear yourself piss.


At 10:24

Ethnic comrade says if nothing changes by 10:35 we bounce.

You’re trying to stay that long? is what I ask him.



Outside on the curb we walk away like penguins. The Js, though, still look fresh.

KJ KERN got an MFA at the University of Montana. He won the 2016 Big Snowy Prize and the 2012 Glendon and Kathryn Swarthout Award in Writing. His fiction has appeared in Montana Quarterly. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

He can be reached at