July 28, 2018

Slumming

It was typical Monday night and I was enjoying a cold one down at this little beyond dumpy bar down a street of sadness that was a stone’s throw from my apartment of depression...in fact, this bar was the kind of place that looked like a lot of stones had been thrown at it, maybe some hand grenades and a mortar or two, but it was dark and cool inside, the drinks were strong, and the people there would come together there to drink alone and be left alone...I was just sitting there almost comatose from a night of drinking when somebody slapped me on the shoulder and said in a loud voice, “Hey, whatcha doin? Slumming?”...being shocked out of my condition, I turned around ready for a fight...but no, it was one of my old pals, the kind of old pal I actually hadn’t see in a long time and really didn’t care if I saw him again or not...he was a pompous blowhard when he was young and it sounded like time hadn’t changed anything...we used to hang around together after we left high school, but then his path went one way and mine went the wrong way down a one way street...I faked a sincere laugh and said yeah, not mentioning the fact that I was a regular there...he said his nephew worked as a bartender there and he had stopped in to see him...I didn’t mention that his nephew was one surly dude...I also didn’t mention I hadn’t given his nephew a tip in some time if ever, now that I thought about it...maybe that explained his surliness toward me...my so-called friend looked like he was doing pretty well for himself...he had a fancy ring, what appeared to be a gold watch, and a nice suit and he definitely stuck out like a sore thumb in this dive and was about as welcome as a sore thumb...he was most assuredly out of place in a place like this place...he said he was a vice-president of some sort or another for some alphabet corporate conglomerate and he was in charge of regional sales blah blah blah...the words flew by my spinning head and didn’t land...I didn’t pay attention when he started telling me about it and I wasn’t paying attention when he finished telling me...I’m glad there wasn’t a quiz afterwards because I would have failed for sure...after he stopped talking, I congratulated him for his most impressive achievements that he was most proud of and that I didn’t give a most damn about...somewhat surprisingly, he asked me what I was up to these days and my mind went blank...I couldn’t even come up with some kind of lie to make it sound like I was doing well, but if I was doing well, I sure as hell wouldn’t be in this place...but finally I put a sentence together and I told him I was a writer...the truth was I hadn’t written anything, or at least anything that had sold recently...he said “Yeah? Well, you oughta get a lot of good stories in a place like this”...I’m not sure what he meant by that but he bellowed as he laughed way too loud for my liking or for anybody elses...then he blabbed on about a few other things like his new wife who was a former Miss America contestant and was now taking flying lessons and so forth and so on...and then said that he had to go...he had to fly to New York City for a big meeting and he rolled his eyes...yeah, I hate having to do that too...he flashed a grin and a look on his face like he couldn’t wait to get out of the place...he waved good-bye to his nephew and closed the door behind him...his nephew watched him and shook his head...“I always hated that sonofabitch.”...upon hearing that, I ordered another drink and tipped generously.

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