D.B. stepped up to the bar. “Bourbon and water,” he said, with a nod to the bartender.
“Sure. Got a particular flavor?” the bartender said.
D.B. shook his head and the bartender busied himself with a bottle of his cheapest. His sleeves were rolled up to this elbow and his arms were lined with tattoos. D.B. found himself staring at them.
“You like the ink?” the bartender asked as he passed the bourbon over.
D.B. shook his head. “Never much cared for it.”
“No?” the bartender said with a smile. “Guess not many folks your age have them.”
“You’d be surprised. I was in the navy. Lot of the boys had them then. I never did. And it was a good thing. Easy way for people to remember you.”
“Some of us want to be remembered,” the bartender said.
“Sure,” D.B. said. “Some do. Some don’t.”
By his tone he made it plain which he preferred. The bartender looked as though he were about to reply but another customer, a young woman with large glasses, entered and he went to her. D.B. took a sip of his bourbon and cast about the room with a studied eye, noting the exits and the few people present. An old habit, one he did not intend to lose.
There were no more than a half dozen people in the place at this hour—a grubby little bar with pretensions to being hip, that didn’t quite manage it. Most of them were young—D.B. had a half-century on all of them, he would guess—and absorbed in the heat of their lives. Only the bartender paid him any mind, with, what seemed to D.B., a genuine curiosity as to why an old man was having a bourbon in his establishment at two in the afternoon.
When D.B. was finished his first bourbon the bartender made his way over. “Care for another?”
“Sure. I got the time.” He could feel a twinge of his old accent coming back into his voice as he spoke. It was always there, hidden, but visible. Something he had to watch for.
“Great. Big plans for the rest of the day?”
“Can’t say as I do. I’m done with big plans.”
Read the rest at Circumambient Scenery.
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