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One Day at a Time

It was a few hours after dark. I couldn’t say how many, time is one of those things that fades into nonexistence once no one is there to remember. We were sitting on the stoop of Paddy’s pub in Cambridge. Someone had told us we would get a hundred bucks each for jumping a couple of Italians from Eastie. We had no idea who these guys were, and that was the way it was meant to be. Our young and undeveloped patience brought us inside, where Morrigan, a haunting man, black Irish with a gypsy look in his eye glared us down. We weren’t twenty one, but who the hell cared. He told us to leave, which we politely declined with f*** you, Morrigan. His thick arms, like two boughs of an invincible tree were hanging over the bar. His eyes were venomous and what he lacked for in words he made up for in presentation. I saw my dad at the end of the bar, while I ignored him, my friends did not.

He can’t show up for a job, but once happy hour comes around he’s the most predictable man in the world, Mickey says, his pale face red with laughter.

F*** you, I say, but I pay no attention to his words. I’ve learned that emotions go away, but scars do not. Then they all poke fun at my dad, a fat red faced man with thick white hair and clear blue eyes, dazed with the years of poison filtering through his liver. Morrigan stares at them.

Little bastards… He says. I nod my head. While Morrigan was a brute, I always could find myself agreeing with him. Some people just made sense. I could pick out Mickey’s mother, with her bleached blonde hair, strutting around and addressing everyone who would listen in her sing song voice. She was a whore, Mickey wouldn’t admit it, but I knew. How else could a young woman without a job support herself and her son. My companion’s parents weren’t the least bit more satisfactory then the next. They only cared about themselves, but soon their children became unaffected by their poor parenting skills. If anything, the kids learned how to fend for themselves. Where their parents lacked strength, the kids earned it. I had only looked away for a second or so, but when I looked back, Rusty was picking a fight with a college student. They were around the same height, same dark red hair, Rusty’s was darker. Their tempers were running loose, the only difference being that Rusty was having fun while the student was only trying to prove himself.

God dammit, don’t even start, Morrigan demanded. But once again, no one paid attention to his words of wisdom. And in a vengeance of fists and anger, Rusty and the kid were all over the room. They fought like rabid dogs under the threat of extinction. They had only met moments ago. And then the room’s atmosphere had changed, from that of a depressing booze den to a rowdy and energetic snake pit. Morrigan and I watched as the room was crowded to the door with men of all ages, fighting each other like their life depended on it. Some had ripped barstools up from the floor to beat their comrades. The jukebox was used as a platform to hold people down while another pummeled their face. I sat on the bar and watched the chaos unfold, knowing that all to soon, it would be over.

F***in tinkers, Morrigan mumbled.

Tell me about it, I said. And then old Winter was in the room, screaming up a hell storm. He went on about how we were a disgrace to God and our families.

I left the homeland for this very reason, you shameful beasts! He shouted to anyone who would listen. The fun was over, but people continued to fight. Bar side brawls didn’t disperse so easily. Then old Winter had his gun and he shot a few rounds in the ceiling. Morrigan was angry, but was another few holes in a ceiling full of them. More men brought out their guns, so I slid to the floor, pressing my back against the grimy bar. You could never be to careful, I didn’t want to become another statistic. I had lost track of my friends, they weren’t even old enough to drink, but they were plenty old enough to fight. While I couldn’t see what was going on, I could hear every angry word. The drunken men soon settled down and the only sign that this riot had taken place where the bloodied faces and chairs scattered over the room. But the chairs were soon back in place as everyone sat down and ordered another round of drinks for the men they had savagely beaten. I saw Rusty through the crowd, he hadn’t so much as a scratch. Neither did Mickey, but I assumed this was because he didn’t actually involve himself in a fight. My father was gone, I didn’t care to find him. If he stayed and fought, and got himself killed, or he left because he was a coward, I could really care less. Because you don’t lose by being beaten, and you don’t lose from running away either. You lose from being at the pub in the first place.




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