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The Guy Drinking Alone

Short Story

by Bob Buckley

ERWAHe wasn't dressed like the usual clientele of the Courthouse Pub, lawyers. Instead of their expensively tailored, dark suits, he wore a sport coat that had seen a lot of service, cheap, right off the rack. And while that didn't exactly make him stand out to Ben the bartender, the way the guy tugged the tie off his neck, like it were a snake strangling him, told Ben he was in a foul mood. Bartender's ESP. Ben would keep an eye on him.

 

He had already tossed back his second shot of bourbon and silently gestured to Ben to refill him.

 

"Hot one today," Ben said, "the AC is barely keeping up." It was Ben's way of stalling before he poured a fresh one and getting the guy to slow down a bit.

 

The guy nodded. "Yeah, pretty damned hot."

 

Ben poured the drink. "Maybe you better pace yourself."

 

The guy replied with a mirthless chuckle. "I just saw my wife sent off to prison for at least eight years."

 

"Huh? Jesus. That's a tough break. Wait a minute ... that trial ... they've had TV trucks outside all week. Your wife ... she wasn't ...?"

 

"The school teacher ... the one that had ... a thing ... with three 13-year-old kids."

 

"Jesus ... she's ... don't take it the wrong way, pal, but, well, she's a gorgeous girl. What the hell was she thinking?"

 

"You can answer me that, brother, ... I'd be forever grateful."

 

Ben poured him another. "This one's on the house."

 

His customer raised the glass as if in a toast. "One of them got her pregnant."

 

"Wow, sorry, man. Are you sure ...?"

 

"Yeah, it isn't mine. They did a test, so it had to be one of the kids. They wouldn't say which one. Had to protect the little shit's privacy, on account of he's a juvenile."

 

A gaggle of five attorneys sat at a nearby booth, three men and two women, nattering like a bunch of kids at middle school lunch.

 

"They sure didn't have teachers like that when I was going to school," said one, his belly resting on the edge of the table and his jowly face flushed and moist.

 

"Oh, please, Sydney," one of the women said. "You'd be scared shitless."

 

"You kidding? That girl looks like a cheerleader herself, right out of high school."

 

The others tittered.

 

Ben leaned toward his customer. "Hey, I can go over there and ask them to quiet down. I'm sure they don't know you're here."

 

"Don't bother yourself, my friend. Doesn't make any difference to me."

 

Ben wished he could believe it; he didn't need a fistfight breaking out. He took up a tray, intending to have a word with the people at the booth under the pretense of collecting their empties.

 

His customer took his arm, gently, but emphatically. "Really, let 'em talk. I'd rather listen to that than have the place go dead silent because of me."

 

"Okay, sir."

 

"It isn't like I haven't been hearing such shit for more than a year."

 

"Yeah, I guess."

 

"There won't be any trouble. Just keep pouring and later maybe you can call me a cab."

 

Ben poured him another. "That's a comp too."

 

The guy nodded. "Thanks. But don't go bankrupt on account of me."

 

Ben chuckled and shrugged. "Hey, if you don't mind my asking ...?"

 

"I'm pretty much beyond minding anything."

 

"Well ... what's it like? I mean ... being married to a beautiful young girl and then ... uh ... then ...?

 

"Having her cuckold you with a bunch of kids who haven't even finished puberty?"

 

"Yeah ... I guess, yeah. Look, I'm just being nosey. Tell me to fuck off. It's just, she was a teacher; she's married. Jesus, pal, you're not any kind of mook yourself; you're a good-looking guy."

 

The man smiled. It was wan and sad. "I read this book ... there was a story within the story, about this detective who tracked down a guy with a perfectly normal life: wife, family, house, good job. Then he disappeared. Turns out, one day he left his work to get lunch and a fucking girder fell out of the sky and nearly hit him. Right then he decides, what the fuck, if a girder can randomly fall out of the sky and kill you, then what is it about life that makes any sense? What the hell is normal, and how the fuck does normal protect you from having the ground yanked out from under you?"

 

"Uh-huh."

 

"Yeah, so that's how I feel right now. Nothing makes sense, and I don't care that it doesn't. Fuck it. I feel ... man, I've never felt so free in my life. "Anything, any strings, responsibilities, job, family ... none of it is real, it's all bullshit. Here, fill this again, will ya?"

 

Ben obliged him. "Sure, pal, but you can't just go on like that. You jump off a cliff you're gonna feel free as a bird, but eventually you're gonna hit the ground."

 

"Well ... at least all the nonsense comes to a crashing halt."

 

Ben studied his face to see if he were feeling the effects of the drink.

 

His customer looked him in the eye. "You're a damned good bartender, friend. I promise I won't get ugly, knee-walking shitfaced. I won't make a scene."

 

"Okay, but if I cut you off, that's it, right? And I get you that cab."

 

"You got a deal. You know, I haven't talked to anyone about this, not friends, not family. Not that it makes it any better to talk about it. But, I like talking to you."

 

"Hey, cheaper than a shrink."

 

The guy laughed. "They sent us to a shrink, you know, while she was awaiting trial. I mean, they sent her, but I had to go too. Talked a lot then, but it didn't make me feel any better."

 

"Did she ever ... I mean, she ever try to explain why?"

 

"Yeah, she did. And really, what she said made a lot of sense."

 

"Huh?"

 

"She's twenty-nine, but like that fat shyster over there said, she looks like she just got out of high school; a perfect vision of a pretty blonde cheerleader. So she's teaching math to these boys who are what? Just beginning to hair over and get pimples and waking up to puddles of cum in their beds, frantically trying to clean it up before their mother finds it?"

 

He lifted his glass to his lips, but this time just sipped the liquor. "Anyway, here's this living, breathing wet dream of a girl and they have to spend at least an hour a day watching her stroll up and down the aisles, reaching to write something on the blackboard and checking out her legs, and she knowing they're watching her every move, every gesture, keeping count of how many breaths she takes because her bosom rises with each one. It's not just having a crush on the pretty teacher; she realizes they all have hardons, she knows they're all jerking off to her image in their heads when they go to bed at night. So, she said ... that realization ... it was like a drug; it was like some power she had over them. And so, she began to give in to it; she began to fuck with their heads, until finally, she had to fuck them."

 

He lifted the glass again and swirled the liquor. "Those kids worshipped her; fucking her was how they paid homage to this ... goddess, this angel. They'd have killed for her, and it was the greatest high she could ever imagine. Well, that's what she said, anyway. And I believed her. She was addicted to having power over other human beings. She had the magic pussy."

 

He stopped and lowered his head before he looked up at the bar clock.

 

"Damn, time's really snuck by. I'd appreciate it if you'd call that cab now, friend. Like I said, I don't want to get so drunk I can't function."

 

"Yeah, sure thing." Ben made a quick call on his cell.

 

The man stretched his arms.

 

Ben said. "He'll be here in five minutes."

 

The man nodded.

 

"Look, pal, I can understand how you feel ... well, I think I can. But you're a young guy, you have time to put this behind you. After a while, no one will even remember ..."

 

"I don't care if they remember or not. Fuck they. You know what I'm gonna do now?"

 

"Uh ... no."

 

"My next door neighbor's wife. A sweet girl, shy in that sort of endearing shy girl sort of way. She's been trying so hard to offer consolation, sympathy, a hug. Her husband's a nice guy – fucking clueless as a bag full of rocks. I had my hand on her ass this morning and it didn't even register with him. She was saying goodbye to us both, telling him to have a safe trip – he travels on his job a lot. Then she was telling me to be strong, and that I could talk to her any time. ... Talk to her. ... What she really meant, but doesn't even realize it, is she wants me to fuck her. Not out of sympathy, though she's sympathetic about my situation. She really just wants to get fucked, and get fucked dirty, you know? Rough, hard, mean."

 

Ben cleared his throat.

 

"She bought herself a vibrator; the husband doesn't know about it because she hides it. How do I know? I watched her from my window the other night. She was on her bed getting herself off. Her window was open. I could barely make out what she was saying while she must have been imagining some lout pounding her, crying, 'please don't say that ... that's so dirty ... don't make me do that'. By god, I nearly shot my load out into the yard. She really wouldn't want her dirty little fantasy to actually happen and fuck up her comfortable life. No more than she wants me to really fuck her, but she imagines it."

 

"What are you going to do, mister?"

 

"You know." The man winked.

 

Ben gulped. "But ... maybe you ought to sleep on it."

 

"Appreciate your concern, my friend. But I'm going home, then I'm going to strip down and jump into their pool, and Kathy's going to come out and find me naked doing a backstroke. Oh, that's her name by the way, Kathy. And I'm going to seem just drunk enough to convince her that it's the liquor that's making me crazy. But then I'm going to pull her in and strip off her clothes – she'll be all wet before she even hits the water, of course. And she'll put up a little bit of a fight, but then she'll let me lift her out of the water and carry her into the house and toss her down on the bed ... their bed. And I'm going to fuck her; I'm going to fuck her and call her a filthy, cheating little slut, and she's going to cry and moan and plead with me to stop, but silently she'll be thanking God that she's being properly fucked. And in the morning when we wake up naked together and she's beside herself with guilt, she's going to tell me we must never do that again – it was just that I was drunk and not knowing what I was doing and I overwhelmed her. Yeah – she'll figure that'll let both of us off the hook. But then I'm going to fuck her again – cold sober – and tell her she can never go back to her lovely little ordered life. And then I'll tell her I'm going to take her to a sleazy bar ... not a classy joint like you got here, pal. But I'm going to take her to a grungy working man's bar, preferably one with a pool table, because I'm going to tell her she's going to suck every cock in that bar before she gets tossed onto that pool table and fucked in her cunt, in her ass, in her mouth ... and then, maybe, I'll take her home after she's leaking cum like a maple leaks sap. Or maybe ... maybe I'll just sell her to the local pimp. And you know what? It'll mean as much and make as much sense as my wife fucking a bunch of kids and one of them knocking her up."

 

"Jesus, friend. You ... ain't really going to do that ... really?"

 

A cab's horn blared outside.

 

He smiled. "Gotta go. Thanks."

 

"Pal?"

 

The man stopped, chuckled. "Have a good night."

 

Ben watched the door close behind him.

 ____
© 2014 Bob Buckley. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.

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ERWA Storytime

Short Stories

The Guy Drinking Alone
Bob Buckley

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