Drunken

November 5, 2010
By , Appleton, WI
As I approached the lonely man slumped in his bar stool, I asked what I could get him. “Scotch with a splash of water” he blurted out. As I made his drink I watched from the corner of my eye, shoulders sulked in his wrinkled button up, hair in a slight mess. The dim light making him look older than he was, highlighting every wrinkle and line on his face and neck. He was staring off into nothing. I set his drink on the bar table. Slowly he traced his finger around the rim after a moment he lifted the scotch to his lips and drank until it was gone.

“Round two” he said without looking up. “A little less water this time, make it strong”.
Bub was our daily customer here, always coming in by himself after work having a few or more. He occasionally cracked a joke or two or had small talk with the other common customers. Some days Bub looked worse than usual, hair mess, slacks in a bunch and eyes droopy. But Bub had a home and a family, he did what he needed to as a husband but nothing more.

I placed his drink in front of him. “Bub talk to me, what are you thinking about?” I asked. I could see he didn’t feel like talking but he responded. “Ahh nothin’ just holding off as long as possible till I have to go home. The wife and I got in a small argument before I left for work this morning. She told me I had to do more around the house, I disagreed of course.”

He stood up and walked over to the TV, he forcefully punched the button to turn it on. Clicking through the channels multiple times, he quickly realized there was apparently nothing to watch. Bub hit the power off button again and angrily walked back to his chair.

“One more drink for today,” he said as he sunk back into the bar stool. Reaching into his walled Bub tossed a five on the table. “Thata cover it, and if it don’t throw it on my tab.” Bub was always short on cash.

Bub half stood reaching into his back pocket, pulling out a pack of cigs then lightly fell back into his seat. Lighting one he said, “You know sometimes I think about quitting considering my wife don’t like me smoking much, but its to much work, its hard to stop a good habit.” It seemed Bub wasn’t talking to anyone, just to himself. For as long as I had known Bub, he always kept to himself. As Bub was sipping his scotch he loudly mocked, “Is the glass half full or half empty?” Replying to his own question he slipped out the words “Half empty.”

Slamming his empty glass on the table, Bub stood and loudly slid his chair back on the wooden floor. And without a word he walked out the door.





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