I put my empty beer glass on the bar, with a sigh, and signaled for another. The guy sitting next to me continued to drone.
“Yeah, I didn’t believe it myself at first. I mean it’s kinda unbelievable till you think it through. Finally I googled it and there it was, big as life. I knew then it had to be true. I mean, shit, I read it on the internet so it must be real. Right?”
I shrugged my shoulders by way of an answer and looked at him. I was attempting to convey that I wanted to be left alone. I was attempting to do so without being rude, but my patience was wearing thin. The man simply would not shut up.
He finished his beer and Edie brought him another one without his even asking. She shuffled through the stack of bills that he had in front of him and took enough to keep the tab square. He handed her a couple more. She thanked him, grinned at me, and moved away. I scowled back at her.
He started up again. This time, apparently, on a different subject, “Well, my wife told me the other day that I wasn’t ‘kind’ enough. She said I needed to be a kinder, gentler, man. I’m not sure what that means.” He looked at me, waiting for an answer.
I can recognize an opportunity when one’s presented, so I took advantage of it, “Yeah, yeah I do. She means that you should be kinder to her. She means that you should stay at home more. You should sit on the couch with her and watch TV with her. I’ll bet she would love to share some of those ‘Housewife’ shows with you. She’d much rather you to be at home with her than have you spending your nights in some dive, bending the ears of strangers.” I raised my glass and took a long pull, and then I slowly turned my head, looked at him, trying to appear earnest.
He was staring at me with his eyes open wide; the whites were visible all the way around the irises. His mouth was open and he had a handful of peanuts frozen halfway to his mouth. Edie supplied salted peanuts in little bowls along the bar to keep us all thirsty.
“Ya think?” he asked. “You might be right ya know.” I could almost see the gears turning inside his head.
“Of course I’m right. Go on back home, go now. Tell her you love her. Stay out of dive bars that serve watered down whiskey and warm beer.”
“You’re right.” He said. “I do love her. I’m going home now.” He dropped the peanuts back in the little bowl, and leaving his beer, pushed his stool away from the bar. He left hurriedly out the back door to the parking lot but paused with the door open. “You should be a marriage counselor or something.” He hollered back over his shoulder.
Edie moved back down the bar towards me. She picked up the bills he had left, and his glass, tossed the bowl of peanuts, looked at me and raised her eyebrows, “Watered down whiskey, huh? Warm beer? What are you on about, anyway, Preacher?”
I laughed silently and Edie was grinning back. “Are you gonna be at choir practice tomorrow night, Edie?”
“I’ve dreamt about that before,” she said, “but you know I can’t sing a lick. You can count on me to be sleeping in a back pew on Sunday morning though. You know that.”
I nodded and finished my beer. “Another?” she asked.
“Nah, don’t think so. I’m going home now too. See you when you get off.”
She reached out and gave my hand a squeeze. “See ya later, honey.”
I nodded and smiled; then headed for the door.
Written in response to OLWG #10 – the prompts this week were:
- Well, my wife told me…
- I’ve dreamt that before