A soldier walks into a bar. He finds that he must be a hero.
|A soldier walks into a bar where all the patrons ignore him. This is not the first time he has been here but it will be the last.
He looks at the tender and is greeted with a poorly drafted beer that has too much head and doesn’t fill up the dirty glass that it was poured into. The soldier doesn’t care. He sips his way through the head and places the pint onto the bar gently.
He turns his head as if expecting to see someone that he might know. He knows all of these people in the bar. He doesn’t know their name, but he knows who they are. Their essence, their personalities are known to him.
There is the crier. She always wears the discolored white winter jacket. The soldier supposes that she wore it last year, and quite possibly the year before that. She usually starts with one beer and a shot of whiskey. By the time that the third beer is brought around the tears are welling up. How can she do it? The soldier asks himself. She is here every day that I am here, and she is always crying after that third drink. What is she crying about? What pains her so? And why does she cry here? The soldier asks himself but he does not have the desire to find the answers to them.
To the left of the crier is anger. There is no other way to describe him. The soldier looks at him in the same way he looked at the crier. Anger fists his beer tight and is always looking at everyone in the eye ready to react to anything at a moment’s notice. His pale blue jacket with salt stains at the trim is fixed to his chair. He rubs his gristly beard as he slams down his empty glass and looks around angrily for the waitress to order another. He doesn’t wait long as the waitress is walking toward his table with a fresh drink in a dirty glass for him. She places it down and says some sort of endearment that the soldier cannot hear while taking away the empty glass. Anger just grunts and returns all of his attention to the new drink.
What if anger talked to the crier, thought the soldier. What if they stopped looking into their own lives and started looking else ware? Then their problems would be over, mused the soldier. And a million more would arise, he scoffed.
There are other people that the soldier has named in the dirty bar this night. The soldier does not want to think about them. He is looking at the crier and wondering what he could do to make her stop.
The soldier finishes his beer and pays for it. A tip that is far too much for this establishment, he knows. As he goes near the front door, he stops and looks down at the crier. She is just finishing her third beer and like clockwork the first tear is crumbling down her make up heavy cheek.
“Is she with you?” The soldier says as he looks at anger.
“Wh-wh- What?” Stammers anger while white knuckles grip his beer.
“I asked it this ugly girl is with you. She is always crying and it makes me sick. She is too ugly to be crying here. If she is with you then shut her up.”
It was as if the entire bar was on a record and the needle scratched the music away. No one ever spoke to anyone here but they like the soldier knew each other. Words like that were never said.
Anger stood up with rage boiling his neck red. He didn’t say a word for what words could contain his emotions. He pulled back and started to swing. The soldier saw the arm recede and then come slowly to his face. He could have lit a cigarette in the time it took anger’s fist to connect with his face. He stood there and took the weak punch. As his face moved to the left he saw crier staring blankly at the display of idiotic behavior before her. Even though the soldier knew that she was smarter than one who is impressed with violence for her sake, he also saw that she was astounded that someone could stand up for her.
The punch was not that hard but it was harder than the soldier thought it was going to be. Falling over the chair was easier that way. He fell and got up, uttered some words that might have been an insult but were lost in the commotion. Anger, with his adrenalin flowing, yelled at the soldier to get out and to never come back again.
The soldier obliged and when he was passed the window of the bar he saw the crier crying harder than he has ever seen her cry, but anger is there holding her hand.