A new establishment for the wetting of ones whistle occurred frequent enough in the coal mining town of Black Heart. Sure as the day ended in y. One might say that if the fine folks of Black Heart were interested in reading and writing.
Oh, they could sing the lyrics to a song longer than could be said in a single night, and cough up coal dust in minor key clouds. The miners hollowed the heart of Black Heart Mountain with acapella melodies and the occasional beat boxing booms. The Company wouldn't spend a wooden nickel on instruments to accompany the miners. They even supplied the rotgut to the Company ™ bars, distilled from sawdust not fit for the floor.
There were some twenty bars that lined the streets of Black Heart, but only one of them wasn't run by a Company™ Man. Though it took more than a few days for the folks of the town of Black Heart to realize what that meant.
At first folks thought never no mind when Miss Silver opened up a new place down the street from the Company Store™. Except to remark that Miss Silver and the girls who served her rot gut whiskey were mighty fine on the eyes. But then they got to noticing that their rot gut didn't actually rot out the bottom of a glass. They got to noticing that Miss Silver and her crew were full up of musicality too.
When talking about a town of Welsh coal miners packed up to California to work the dark seamy ventriculation of Black Heart Mountain, musicality counted for a lot.
Oh, Ms. Gwyneth Jones from the Black Heart Temperance Society spent a day or two out front of "String Silvers", as she did with every place time to time on Main Street. But she went away soon enough with the recipe for ginger beer – guaranteed to be alcohol free - and the promise that the Methodists could hold meetings in "String Silvers" on Sunday morning. This was much appreciated since the only church in town was the Company Store Church™ and folks only attended on required meetings days.
For as Mr. Owen Jones, Mr. Alan Jones, and Mr. Bryn Jones – they were no relation to each other except in the greater tide of Welsh humanity – sang as they sauntered somewhat whiskey loose in their steps, "I won't owe my soul to the Company Store."
The ladies – Miss Mini-Tricorn and Miss Mini-Top Hat – in "String Silvers" played the melody of the man who lifted the barge and lifted the bale. Out of a cunning brass horn, the fiddle of sweet Miss Silver blasted out the melody of the miner, who worked for a dollar more, but kept hold of his soul. That was all it took to pull all them Joneses in.
Little did they suspect that Mr. Smith, who was a Company Man™, was in fact after control of the miner's very souls, which had a lucrative value when bundled with certain futures. Mr. Smith sneered at the women playing their hearts out on the street and he twirled his black curling moustache, which the company had imported all the way from their factory in Itali, New Jersey. His own moustache came in ginger and fine, and would inspire no despair. The Company Player Piano™ - patent 11666 - plonked out an ominous tune. The Company Men™ clomped and they stomped heavy booted feet on wooden floors built for the reverberation of the Company Main Street™.
Miss Silver came out and she played the sweetest response. Miss Mini-Tricorn and Miss Mini-Top Hat danced a powerful backup. They had each other's backs. They had each other's beats. They slapped palms and bumped fists. Mr. Smith was clearly beat. At least when it came to owning the souls of the town of Black Heart.
Mr. Smith fumed. He snarled. He went into the office and he flipped through a book of accounts. He picked up a fountain pen and he dipped it in red ink. He drew lines on the pages while the Company Men™ ominously tapped their feet. Oh, they tapped their feet while Mr. Smith sent a wire down the Company Telegraph™ line - patent 22666.
The miners were singing sweetly at "String Silvers" when the Company Train™ pulled into the tiny station. The folks of the town puffed their chests with pride to see the coal smoke billowing out of the Company Whistling stack™ - patent pending. Only to deflate when Mr. Smith unveiled what the Company™ had sent. It was a monstrous contraption full of dials and tuba tubes and wide open base and a wax roll to plonk out a Company Tune©. When Mr. Smith turned a crank and he dropped in some coal, the contraption belched out an infernal melody that grabbed at their souls.
The miners moved as ones fully possessed. They herked and they jerked, they even somewhat disturbingly twerked, as they went down into the mine.
Mr. Smith said in that kind of spoken refrain that sometimes happens in songs, "Miss Silver, we don't need your kind of melody here." Mr. Smith he twirled his moustache while the Company Men™ slapped off a few triumphant steps. Mr. Smith laughed. Oh, he laughed and the Company Men™ danced.
Sweet Miss Silver with coal dust on her cheeks stood in front of her place. She picked up her fiddle and she played to the heart of the mountain. It wasn't a jig and it wasn't a brawl. It was the song of the sailor, home from the sea. It was the song of the hunter, home from the hill. It was the song of the miner, home from the mountain. She played it in minor key.
The infernal contraption was bigger, the Company™ was bigger, but the people of the town had the power, at least when it came to singing. The choir took up sweet Silver's melody. They sang and they busted down the Company Tune©.
But Mr. Smith was not to be thwarted. He siddled his way to sweet Miss Silver's side. He smiled and he cajoled and he wheedled, and he got her to go for a short walk by the railroad's track. It wasn't far from there to tying her to the railroad's long rails. The very line that carried the Company Coal™.
Miss Mini-Tricorn found the fiddle. Miss Mini-Top Hat found the bow. They out danced the Company Men™. They did flips and they did turns. They moved their arms and their hips. They untied sweet Miss Silver and none too soon. The Company Train™ thundered down the Company Tracks™ with an ominous Company Whistle© and the Company Player Piano™ rolled out an Ominous Company Tune© as Mr. Smith twirled his Company Moustache™.
It's said that those ladies played the Ballad of Jayne©. It's said that they played the Ballad of Lisa Simpson©. But no, they just played some darn good fiddle, and some Amazing Grace(public domain), though no one was quite sure there Miss Mini-Bowler with her steam powered bagpipes came from.
What folks do know, is that moustache fell right off Mr. Smith's face. He tore up the accounts and the Formerly Company Men(new name not chosen) danced them to dust. Mr. Smith sent a telegraph up the line and soon the miners were singing in a major key as a train pulled up with a full set of electric harps to make the work safe and easy down in the ventricles of Black Heart Mountain.
The ladies got on their horses, as yet not seen in this tale, and into the setting sun they did ride, with a merry wave and a melody for the singing town of Black Heart.