Melody Jones, a 45-year-old homosexual living in Buffalo, owns a bar that's a ""fifty-fifty"" joint: half strip lounge, half gay bar, one running interference for the other. Part of the nightly show--aside from Brenda the Breast and The Golly Sisters--is the very benign Melody himself. In satin tuxedo (specially tailored to minimize his congenitally deformed left arm), he gets up on the bar and belts out Streisand numbers with a great deal of heart, making music that even the classically-trained piano player Chip recognizes as the real (if vulgar) thing. And Melody's heart finds further haven when, one night at the bar, he gets into a conversation with a young married man named Dixon. Once gay but now semistraight, Dixon (whose wife is out of town for a month) falls in love with Melody--but the romance isn't fated to be. Dixon's wife is returning, and Melody won't have his great passion for Dixon sullied by furtiveness and lying. A sentimental setup--but even against the shadow of all this treacle, Galloway (A Family Album) manages to pull out something creditable: each of the book's various bar-life narrators--strippers, bartender, Melody himself, an aging and bitchy queen named Sammy--has a voice that is clear, identifiable, and rarely rings less than true. Unsuccessful as a story, then, but an assured, small-scale display of narrative craftsmanship.