T W E N T Y T W O

16 3 0

"Forget everything I'm telling you, you hear? I guess I just feel like talking to something other than the bottom of this empty glass. Matter of fact, pour me another. Black rum," he said, lighting another cigarette. "Dry." He hit it in one gulp as he stood up and reached in his pocket. He took a fist of whatever he had in there, and tossed it on the bar.

"Dont worry," replied the bartender, reaching under the counter for a bottle. "That's part of my job."

The man looked like he had gone through Hell, which was nothing new to see in this bar. Most of its patrons had. But he looked like he wasn't done yet. He was still there. He hadn't slept in ages it seemed; consumed, half-mad. A discrete tremor stirred his quiet body, like it had been conjuring a storm inside. Whatever he was preparing for, the rum couldn't cure. But like the shameless apothecary, she continued to pour, acquiescing to his savage desire for the poison that fueled his bleak machinations. She dared to glimpse in his shiftless eyes, as if the boldest black could be as harsh as the blazing sun.

"There's no way she could've known what I'm about to tell you," Mr. Goode finally began. "Because I've never told anyone this. Not even my ex-wife. My mother died when I was young. I still remember when and how my father told me, and we visited her in her hospital bed. It destroyed me. When I got home, the sun was shining just like this. I turned on the TV and it had the same silly cartoons playing as they always did. Didn't the cartoon people know my mom was gone? It made me angry. But it taught me a hard lesson down the road. Back then, the day stopped for no one. Nowadays, they could make the sun shine on a birthday, they could make the streets flood when someone dies. I bet they could," he gave a haughty chuckle before sinking again. "I tell you, nothing invalidates sorrow like a bright sun and a cloudless day."

He ran his palm over the waves of his short and smooth black top. "And it makes you feel..." he struggled to find the words. "It makes you feel like there's something in the air that no one talks about. And you wonder if somebody else can feel the way you do, but you don't know the words to unlock that part of 'em. People are disconnected. So, I know she couldn't have known. But for a moment I felt weird wishin' she did."

Northland ✔️Where stories live. Discover now