Sunday, March 06, 2005

Bar-room story

You may wonder what led me to write a story set in the Mid West USA; I certainly do.

Well, I was sitting in the bar, moping 'bout Sally, who'd turned me over, an' 'bout the fact that it's raining, an' that I couldn't afford another drink. I was the only one there, 'part from Bill, the barman, who was scowling thru the dusty window at the rain. Sam, the alleycat, walked past, lookin' even thinner and raggeder than usual, an' all wet; he's so desperate he comes in the bar, which he did rarely, on account of the uncouth elements of the cli-ent-ell who would kick him out, or set fire to his fur, an' such like. We was all feeling low, when in comes a man, not 'xactly mournful, but angry to get drunk. He looks at my face, and my glass, and he deduces something, and calls out "How 'bout some drinks in this place?". Bill pours 'em out, and the stranger sets by me: I recalled now that he was Tom, a farmer from ten mile away, lived on his own since his wife died, so I said hello.

After a while, he says "You've seen troubles, I bet". I nodded. "Well, I bin courting a lady for some time now, not necessarily for marrying, you understand". I nodded again, havin' been occupied in a similar way recently. "Well, we was just going along swell, til today, when she says there's another man she knows, who's keen for her to marry, and 'less I's about to do the same, we're finished". And I nods again, having heard the same speech myself, and said out loud "Yep, that's Sally, alright". This makes him jump, all right. "Not Sally from River Farm?". I nodded.

"Well", he says, "I guess we've both been took, 'less she has 'nother swain in mind!". An' then we had another drink, and after a while things didn't look so bad, and we's feelin' generous, an' even get Bill to give Sam some food.

So the night warn't as bad as I'd feared, an' turned out okay after all. Except for Sam: next day he comes in the bar again, only Bill and me ain't there, an' he was kicked proper, an' still walks with a limp. But he's tough, an' used to bruises, I guess.

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