A Federal Case

Cruising down the boulevard, Denver’s avenue of schemes and dreams.

She pauses, looking out the window at Invesco, imagining its tarmac moat packed bumper-to-bumper, her tables and bar stools filled with fans in dressed in blue and orange. "We'll see this year," she says. "Hopefully, we'll make it this year."

It's not clear whether she's talking about the team or her bar. -- Joel Warner

Rose's Hair & Nail
1079 South Federal
1:55 p.m.
Early afternoon is the slow time at Rose's Hair & Nail. No customers are wandering the blue-and-white tiled floors, shopping for knock-off purses or looking at the array of antique vases filled with fake flowers. In fact, only one person is here: a Vietnamese beautician who watches over the front desk and the ancient salon chairs.

Right now I'm the only one sitting in one of those chairs, and she pulls her cuticle trimmers and nail clippers out of her purse and proceeds to run through the same manicure/pedicure routine that thousands of beauticians around the country use, expertly executing each step of the process with a slightly bored look on her face. But at 2 p.m., something happens. She gets up and switches on the small television at the back of the salon, then sits back down at her foot-bath station, occasionally glancing at the screen while she continues her work.

It's Jerry Springer time, and as Jerry introduces everybody on this day's show, Rose herself returns from a lunch run, dropping the food in order to bustle over and help with the manicure. She and the other beautician work in companionable silence. There's nothing like being pampered by two people at once, hand and foot, especially while you're watching an episode of Springer titled "Babysitters and Battling Broads."

"Jerry Spring crazy show," says Rose. "The people crazy. Two girls fight over ugly man."

If you ask, she might tell you about the episode when the ugly and obese man took his shirt off, and how his upper-arm fat drooped and jiggled while he made love to the camera. Rose watches Jerry Spring every afternoon, to kill time until the customers arrive. Most people come in after work, she says.

But for now, she has Jerry Spring to keep her company. "Why they have audience?" Rose wonders. "For laughing and yelling?"

Even with "Babysitters and Battling Broads" in the background, the beauticians get the job done, and once my nails are dry, I have to tear my eyes away from the screen and focus on payment. For a mere $30, Rose and company have done a fantastic job on my hands (French manicured) andfeet (shiny and blood-red). And with the ultimate in trash TV thrown in, it's a real bargain. -- Amber Taufen

Newsland
9295 Federal
2:37 p.m.
With just two ceiling fans for relief, the sweet, familiar scent of newsprint and books with yellowing pages hangs heavy in the heat. A few regulars navigate the maze of wooden magazine racks with ease, making small talk with the employees as they pass.

Kit sits at a desk behind the front counter. She looks like a librarian is supposed to look -- glasses, a makeup-free face and a loose jean jumper that stops just shy of her ankles -- and says that this store has just about any periodical that anyone could want. There's a wide variety of sudoku and crossword puzzles, as well as rows of magazines from as far away as England that cover crafts, quilting and home decor. There are Sunday papers from every major American city, even Maui, although most don't come in until Monday or Tuesday. The gun-related reads -- with titles like Small Arms Review and How to Make a Silencer for a .45 -- take up almost an entire wall. There are shelves for politics, art, music, cars and every sport imaginable, plus tip sheets. Lately, customers have been flocking to the section that contains dozens of magazines dedicated to fantasy football. And of course, people come in looking for smut, Kit says, motioning to the hand-lettered "XXX" sign peeking out over a corner.

Kit, who's worked at Newsland for seventeen years, moved with the newsstand from its former home at 92nd Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard to this nondescript strip mall six years ago. Newsland now occupies the former home of Clay Drug, which Kit remembers well. "The changes I've seen," she says, then tells how when she was a kid living at 73rd and Lowell, she'd walk over to this spot on Federal. Everyone knew Clay Drug back then. "Clay was the standard," she says. "Old Man Clay" himself slept in the back of the drugstore in a room with an intercom, so that customers could wake him to get prescriptions filled any time of the day or night.

That half of the building is empty now, except for a few desks. Kit walks over to the window, and then by Clay's old room, to point out the bullet holes left by people trying to rob Clay Drug. If anything like that were to happen today, she says, you'd need to remember which side of the street you're on before calling 911. Westminster ends on this side of Federal. Across the street is Federal Heights. -- Jessica Centers

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