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g r a v e l
A L I T E R A R Y J O U R N A L
Flap, flap, the bartender’s hands annoyed the flies and stirred the dust. He had given up his hopes and dreams a long time a go and his steely eyes revealed nothing. A woman had once called him steely-eyed, pretending he’d broken her heart but he knew different. He did not have that capacity and she was a cheap liar and about all he deserved for a long whiskey-stink weekend. He had regulars and knew their names but never used them, except in emergency situations including anything involving blood. Slap, slide, bar rags were disgusting and you had to hope alcohol really did kill germs as he was forever slopping them back and forth, no doubt adding to the microbe population. He looked as if he could smack the crap out of any mouthy lugs who might stir up trouble and he had. This was a useful quality for a bartender and had served him well. He hadn’t been drunk in fourteen years. Occasionally he had a beer and let it go at that. After a night when his t-shirt with a provocative phrase had provoked a customer with anger management issues, he only wore plain t-shirts in subdued colors. He figured why risk disturbance. Life is offensive enough.
An Economic Tale
The rumor mill broke down, putting countless folks out of work. How could they afford new raincoats now? And cereal? Cereal was instrumental to life in America–the boundless choices, the endless flavors, colors, shapes, nutrients and lack of. And the
escalating prices–a mirror to modern times! Perhaps it should it be eaten as a dessert or only on special occasions? The situation was somewhat altered as sadness rolled into town, nicking appetites before it evolved, as all emotions must, into a deeper version of itself--not quite despair, but edging on it. The absence of livelihoods did not bode well and those in the surrounding towns whose rumor mills were merrily chugging along in productivity, could have cared less about their unfortunate neighbors who were thus, cold and wet, as well as hungry, for lack of a suitable wardrobe.
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