I need a smoke. Darkness in this building strains my eyes. I pat my pockets like a TSA search gone amateur. Empty handed. I search for my lighter and the light. I need to see things a bit more clear. Dirty hands, beer breath, and I wear a shell of cold coat whilst the outside air clings to it. Only a few drinks in, you know? Already this bar makes me feel sick and lonely.
A Doors’ song plays on the dated dusty jukebox. No one talks to me. My feet freeze and pain accompanies my vision. They must look tired-they must look red hot. They’ve been open for hours today. My eyes, that is.
I no longer hope for sexual gratification. The lady behind the bar, she, she has lost me. Time flies in this place. She has lost me in time. My bill stays as a reminder of my existence. Numbers, liquid measures, and empty glasses keep me mortal. Evidence of life, I stand by. Her breasts protrude from her shirt; somehow, a push-up bra (maybe) aids, yet her face is undefined. I no longer think of sex. She has hands spread bent over the bar. She arches and stares.
5 minutes later, I forget, I forgot t to check my watch. You know, I swear I know that person over there. I fight-I give them hell, this thought sprints across my mind. I have to know that person. He looks so familiar.
You know the type. The face, that round pleasant I-have-seen-you-before face stuck to an unassuming and very unthreatening neck. Familiar close, I have seen that hair. I know this person. My watch, the crystal numbers change and go up before they start at double zero again. I know that person! What the fuck? Empty glass… Another! Another! I yell.
I realize now that yelling is a bad idea. Lady bartender had management remind me of where I stood, sat, whatever position I was in now, I found out quick. She had at least one decent quality. People listened to her.
They held me in my chair. Wait! But I know that person! I know them! Let me go! It seemed no one was listening.
My feet caught the floor here and there and the metal of the chair and the bar-rail below. I couldn’t really get a footing. I am drunk, I can’t speak but for slurs, and these familiar people hold me down. Faster, I forgot how to walk and generally hold my composure. THEY SHOULD RESPECT THIS PATRON, ME!
A friend tells me, “You will be all right. We love you.” I will be all right? I was all right before anyone put hands on me. Now, now I am some hostage. He shakes his head, no. He says, “It will be fine…” He is almost breathless, a whisper, but blurred. I think of the drinks I had. I must have had too many. He looks familiar. I almost cry. I think of the war, my loves, no one knows me anymore. I hold back. Squinted, my eyes, they leak, shame on me.
The lady bartender looks clean, too clean, but blurry. I have been drugged-I think. I slur into the dim light above. Computer screens in this joint, no real entertainment though. My words fall and break as they hit the ground lost in the commotion.
I am trying to leave now, but they won’t let me go. It seems hours, days, weeks, since I first sat on the barstool. By this time I can’t read my watch anymore, but it oddly seems familiar. Hey! I’m gonna give them hell or leave! Old friends I’ve just met gather round. They bow, they pray. Say! What kind of place is this, I attempt at words.
Last I saw it was morning. Red was coming through the grey from the window, it was facing east. A dawn like this could scare a sailor. Even a World War II Vet. A few people were still around me at the ready to pounce.
I finished what was left of my drink. I did it so everyone could see. There was no cheers, no prost, no festive occasion; there was no community, really. Everyone around, I knew them-they seemed familiar, but distant. There were blurred visages ubiquitous. I looked each in the eye to avoid seven years of bad sex. I put the bottoms up and the drink spilt down. Some landed on my collared shirt-wait, V-Neck now, apparent. There were dots on it. It was a pale alabaster. Wet dribble soaked in. I drooled. I put the glass on the bar in front of my person. Watching the others, those familiar beings. I pushed the barstool out. No one moved at the screeching sound as it slid along the blemished wood floor. With a high elbow I wiped the waste from my chin with a sagging sleeve. I stood. I felt like fainting. I sat back down. Then I left.
Next I saw angel wings and white things. I felt my chest for a beat but there was only stillness. This is me now, I am dead.