Thursday, July 9, 2009


we were in the bar
and I was just killing it
on the pinball machine
I hadn’t played pinball
in over a decade
but I couldn’t miss the ball
I was the pinball wizard
and it felt pretty damn good
to just be kicking ass at something
but then there was a THUD
and everybody gasped and shrieked
and said, “holy shit! Did you see that?”
but I didn’t see it
because I was killing it
on the pinball machine
but I did know what had happened
I knew from experience
my own and by witnessing others
that a THUD like that
could only be one thing
it was the very hollow sound
of a man falling off his barstool
immediately there was panic
madness and chaos
that was soon relinquished
by some women in the bar
who were in the medical field
they spoke to the man
made him squeeze their fingers
made him look around
and talk
but his talk was sloppy
like he had had thirty shots of whiskey
but he hadn’t
or he claimed he hadn’t
and the bartenders agreed
“he only had four beers.”
he’d had quadruple bypass heart surgery
two months before
that was verified by his slurred speech
and the bartenders
and all the patrons in the bar
well, the ambulance came
and all the medics
and they carted him off
while I finished up my game of pinball
the whole time wondering
whether he was just drunk
or that he’d had a stroke
or another heart attack
anybody with any sense pledged
it wasn’t that he was just drunk
that it was a stroke
or a heart attack
but the following night
I saw him out at another bar
with a beer in hand
and I smiled and said,
“you’re still here?”
and he smiled back and said,
“I sure am.”
I walked away and laughed
because he’d gotten right back up on that horse
like any old fighter should do

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