Tuesday, October 13, 2009


We shouldn't have been out drinking; we didn't have the money. But there we sat, on All Hallow's eve, in a booth tucked in the corner back by the shitters and the Terminator 2 pinball game, beneath the cruel glow of the only lights burning above 30 watts in the entire bar. Her hands were busied with tearing apart and reconstructing a cocktail napkin into a flower of some kind or a spider or maybe a tiny umbrella. The music was loud but we barely uttered a single word between us. We conversed with our eyes and thoughts. Two beers sat sweating on the black table. She picked hers up, but only dried the bottom of it with her napkin and tossed it, soggy and unfinished, in the ashtray.

Our waitress came over, grabbed the full ashtray and asked if we were all right. We hesitated to answer. Then her eyes lit up like flares with sudden inspiration. 'Wanna get some shots of whiskey?' The waitress came back with an empty ashtray and deftly tossed it beneath her burning cigarette - her eighth of the night. Her feet tapped as the shots were then placed in front of us. No eyes wandered to the waitress' thighs pushing against the table. The shots were in the air.

'To . . .'
'To overdrawing my bank account to save our lives.' She said this smiling, before she jerked back her whiskey in one gulp, but there was no mistaking the plaintive melody. The shots burned like siphoning a car. Her cheeks caved in around her teeth as she took a deep drag. Combustible breath shot grey smoke like a geyser into the air above our heads. We watched it hang and linger, terrified by its meaning. An unwelcome apparition, its every form told of woe and regret. Finally, it dissipated into the general smog of the bar. Thoroughly spooked, she released her following drags into the crotches of headless passers-by.

I started to say something, but she stopped me. 'Don't.' She grabbed her beer and took a gulp and signaled for the waitress.


ben said...

this was great.

shannon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shannon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.