Civil Discourse Now

Where the far left and far right overlap for fun and enlightenment

A hot, Hoosier 105% humidity day had glued the polyester suit I’d worn for the nonexistent job interview to my skin via sweat, but at least I looked presentable. A mask dangled from an ear. The bartender kept track of beers vs money on the classmate’s tab. 1/9

Mid-afternoons on weekdays are “down” time in most bars, even more so in a club. The 2 other habitues were playing gin as the TV played sports. One gin player, in his 60s, looked familiar. He bitched for another round. Bartender said “Yessir Mr Umtell!” 2/9

Hey! He was on TV a lot lately! Those watery eyes & florid face underlaid with veins that looked like a road map! Hard booze was the guy’s liquid diet & pro football gave him his nickname: the Shakedown Artist! He’d set a record for number of times a franchise relocated. 3/9

His opponent at gin stood in disgust and called him a cheater. “So what? I got your $. And I’m a member here. You’re not! So get lost!” Not only did he squeeze various cities for money to move his team, he also was an ... well, jerk. 4/9

The bartender grabbed a bottle, dumped scotch nearly to the brim of a 16-ounce tumbler & sidled around the bar & over to his table. He smacked his lips and began to drink when I said he didn’t have good taste in whiskey. He only now noticed me. 5/9

“Who the f ...” Well, he asked who I was. “Killing time. Had a job interview. Job fell through.” He grunted. “Fine private club that serves the unemployed.” I couldnt let the insult pass. “You drink scotch, a blend and not a good one at that. Never heard of single malt?” 6/9

He asked, so I explained the differences between a blend and a single malt. He grunted (grunts were his means of communication) and demanded the bartender bring him a single malt. One taste & he liked it. He asked me my life story - sort of. 7/9

“Just got out of college. Had a job for my family, but my old man retired.” His tone less snide, he asked what the business was. “Waste treatment.” His watery eyes brightened: “That’s what my old man did! Until I started my own & put my old man under!” 8/9

He chuckled, took another sip & said I’d been right about single malt. I realized I’d converted a cretin from the mundane to the sublime. He arched a brow, grinned & asked “You play gin rummy?” 9/9

c. 2021 by mark small. Any similarities between people living or dead is possible, but so is everything in a quantum universe.

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