In October 1969 a young Dale Nichols was driving his old Falcon pickup truck down Ninth Street, heading to work at Flamingo Sports Bar in St. Petersburg, Florida. Nichols had recently bought the hole in the wall after returning from service in Vietnam and enjoyed that he was able to shoot pool with his friends, and afford a liquor license that let him serve beer. As he pulled in around back, a man named Jack, who had begun showing up about three months before, was waiting for him on the green bench outside the bar. Jack never caused any trouble at Flamingo Sports Bar, but was notorious around town for instigating fights at other bars and establishments.
But Nichols liked the guy.
There was something charming about the way he always sat on the same stool, the one in the southwest corner of the bar, which gave him a view of everything that went on around him. It was nice that he was always up for a game of nine ball, no matter how many times he lost against Nichols, or Jack’s friends Clifford Anderson and Ron Tichenor. It was okay that he would prod Nichols with questions about his time in Vietnam. Pretty soon, Jack became a fixture of the place and Nichols felt like he had to turn a blind eye to the flask he would bring in that he’d shoot with a chase of beer.
Legend has it that Flamingo Sports Bar was where Jack Kerouac enjoyed his last drink. On October 21, 1969 at 5:15 a.m. Jack Kerouac died in a St. Petersburg hospital.