Sunday, March 3, 2013

21. Aftermath and Prelude

Into the tavern, up to the bar.

"Mike," he said with a low bark - almost a moan if such a thing is possible.

The man behind the bar gave him a look and shook his head.

"Loretta's gone again, huh?"



"No sir. My nerves call for whiskey. Five years of this shit, and I've definitely earned whiskey."


"What else?"

The bartender complied, and almost as soon as the glass hit the bar, Jake snatched it up and high-tailed it to a back booth. The bar was empty this morning except for the usual crowd, who went by the name of Abner and who had lived through a mustard gas attack during the war, much to his regret. Once in the booth, he kicked up his feet, tasted the whiskey (he hated it) and pulled a small book and a pencil out of his coat.

Twenty minutes later found the glass empty and a few pages of the notebook filled with bits and pieces about love lost and the rarity of pure and true love and all the other things that cross a poet's mind after his wife has left him for, he was assured, the last time. In fact, he actually believed that this time was the last time. He read it in her face and even now could feel the hollow ache in his heart. The ache of finality.

Another hour would pass in Pete's Place, two more glasses of whiskey, a somber conversation with Abner, who was foolish beyond his years and wonderfully sad, before Jake was ready to continue with life. He had appointment with a Mr. Brown this afternoon, which promised a fee that would help him pay for the whiskey and the office/apartment and his secretary's salary, such as it was. Jake's heart wasn't in it, but his stomach was insistent.

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