#225 Sometime Between Late and Early

by Brad Potts

A forlorn bartender slides a bourbon across the bar toward me. It’s so hot the ice is already melting. Smoke hangs suspended like fog. The air is thick with a salty, primal odor. My feet make little ripping noises when I try to lift them off the floor, refusing to come up until finally giving way with a snap. Some hopeful person opens a window; no breeze enters, only a cacophony of laughter and shouting spilling in from the street. A sure woman answers with a guttural, longing bellow. A pale chain-smoking man drops his cigarette in an empty beer bottle. He plays a painful note on his guitar. A small group begins to dance wildly out of rhythm. She glances at her band, the tempo speeds. More dancers appear, their hips and hands stumbling through some semblance of motion, none caring.

Another bourbon slides into my arm. I must have ordered it. A man across the bar glares at me. I nod. He ignores me. I sadly tear my napkin. A white girl manages to fall gracefully after snaking around a table. She weeps soflty as her friends lift her up, muttering “I ain’t goin’ home. They ain’t no home to go to no how.” I drink my bourbon for her, shifting my feet again. I should go home. Maybe one more bourbon. It’s too god damn hot to walk, too early for despair, and too late to be sober. What a perfectly wonderful time to be lonely.

1 comment:

Kelly Robinson said...

Wonderfully evocative. Stings like cheap bourbon.