Saturday, June 13, 2009


there was a big band playing
right up there on the stage
fifteen of them
on horns and strings and drums
and at the bar sat one customer
maybe in his late fifties
a quiet, lonely fellow
who’d mostly given up on life
you could tell it by the arch
of his eyebrows
and by the lack of gusto
with which he drank
his Jim Beam and water.
well, I’d already achieved quietly and lonely
and wasn’t even thirty
and figured that giving up on life
was just around the corner
so I thought I’d make things interesting
and stand right across the bar from him
watch him eat his club sandwich
stare at him chew each bite
and see how he did it.
the first time we made eye contact
he jerked back a bit
because I was making it a point
to keep my eyes wide open, staring
after two more glances up at me
he started to sweat
and began to chew faster
then he began to swallow bites
which he hadn’t fully chewed
and he washed them down with his drink
all the while I leaned in closer and closer
until he devoured the whole sandwich
pushed the plate across the bar
and furiously wiped his hands
with a large paper napkin.
before he cleared the last of his drink
and asked for his tab
I leaned right down into his face and said,
“can I get you anything else?”

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