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Fight Song Of The Party Store Patrons

I waited in line with a six-pack, a bag of chips, and a carton of sour cream in my arms. The woman in front of me with washed-out blonde hair, pink sweats, jerky, and two packs of Doral cigarettes talked about her truck. She did not say each life is an irrevocable act, but her eyes were wizened yellow moons that said this. Some pair we are, I thought, as the beer cooler hummed. She cashed out and left; her white Dodge Ram started with a catarrhal cough. She may as well have told me that a flock of mourning doves visited her truck each evening and feasted on its self-regenerative liver. I thought of an old friend who would stick a length of garden hose in his Ford Ranger's tank and huff gasoline until collapse. I thought of multi-chambered city fountains bending city light. "Needle in the arm" sounds too easy. "Cirrhotic hemorrhage" sounds too easy, and each day's ephemeral resurrection is subject to the planned obsolescence of a timing belt. At gloaming when the dogs quiet and achieve a sort of enviable senescence we come here, and because Eddy gladly takes our money does not mean he is not woefully tired of seeing us rattle in with our cans and bottles and turn our capillary-spidered faces up to him, and just because we make him tired does not mean he differentiates among us while we spout non-sequiturs about automobiles and weather, some of us shaking slightly, some of us just nodding on our feet while lotto numbers spit from his machine and the football game struggles through the snow and sibilance of that little grey TV mounted above a convex mirror that reflects us cartoonish as we are, and small.

Story by:

Cal Freeman

16 June 2014