mirror

atownend_20130810_3829

 

Once more, I chose to explain this post before I begin, and not add one of my cryptic, and often ambiguous, notes, after the piece.  This time, it is the end of the piece that may, for some, appear ambiguous.  For which, I do not apologise.

This is my response to day seventeen of the Writing 101 Blogging U. course run by WordPress. The course will end on Friday.

The brief, came in two parts.

As usual, a prompt, with a twist.

Today’s prompt

“We all have anxieties, worries, and fears. What are you scared of? Address one of your worst fears.”

And, the twist?

“Write this post in a style distinct from your own.”


The man sat at the bare wooden table. In the corner. Heavily. He was exhausted. It had been a long day. Again.

For him it was always so. Each day the same.

Alone. Contemplating his surroundings. The bar was dim, dingy after the searing sun in the street.  A long mirror behind the bar, an empty hatstand.

And cold. Very cold. The floor, stone, covered in dust and the remains of well chewed cigars. And other stuff. He didn’t want to think what stuff.

Turning, signalling to the bar tender, with a single raised finger.

The bar tender looked across the room. Blankly. No response. His head seeming to sweep slowly across the bar. And its solitary occupant. His reflection, in the long mirror behind the bar, completing the circle.

“Hey, what do I have to do to get served around here?”

The bar tender appeared unmoved by the request. Not a shrug. Not a raised eyebrow. Nothing. At all.

The man pushed back his chair, legs scraping through the detritus that covered the floor.

“Hey. I really. Could. Use. A. Drink. Here. Yeah?”

Nothing. The bar tender turned away. A finger rubbing his chin absently.

The couple entered the bar. He, sombre, miserable looking, black tuxedo, open white shirt, top buttons missing, unshaven. She, tight fitting little red dress, little else. Or so it seemed to the man, his attention distracted from the unresponsive bar tender.

The tuxedo and the red dress stopped, looked. Moved past his table. Saying nothing. At all.

They sat, fell, into a plump sofa pushed against the wall. So close, he could smell their heat, their lust. It disturbed him.

He looked away as the tuxedo explored the red dress. He didn’t need to see what he guessed was inevitable. Hearing their grunts and hot heavy breathing was enough. More than enough.

From the corner of his eye, he saw the tuxedo and the bar tender exchange a glance. No words. A nod. That was all.

Their drinks appeared quickly. Left on the low wooden table. It was covered in stains. He watched the ice melt in their glasses.

The man turned away. Looked directly into the bar tender’s cold grey eyes. Sought to hold his gaze for a moment. The bar tender turned away, his eyes drifting to the battered old TV set flickering, buzzing, in a corner above the bar.

Coughing, the man stood up. Walked to the bar. Angry now. Very.

“Listen. Can. I. Have. A. F******. Drink. Mate!”

His fingers, dry and twisted, drumming on the edge of the bar.

The bar tender turned. Checked out the tuxedo and the red dress. His face twisted in a sneer, one that made it clear he had seen it before. Seen them before. Knew how it played out. He walked away from the bar, past them. Towards the door in the corner. Left the bar. The door closing behind him. Slam.

The only sounds in the room, the TV, the moans from the couple on the sofa.

“What the f*** do I have. To. Do. To get a f***** drink in this bar!!!”

In a red veiled rage, he reached across the bar, fingers grasping for the bottle of whisky that lay there.

Bottle in hand, he splashed a heavy shot from the bottle. Filled the glass.

“I’ll f****** well help myself then!”

He raised his glass, looked directly into the mirror, saw the tuxedo, the red dress.

And nothing else.

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