The river Lethe

He had a tattoo on his ring finger and his hand held the glass comfortably. He had a look of stone, so men, usually, left him alone. Women, however, wanted to break that look. And, usually, they succeeded.

‘What’s up with you tonight, Vice?’ the woman behind the bar asked him. ‘Having a dark night of the soul?’

‘Why would you ask that?’

‘Because you are awfully quiet.’

‘And normally I am an awful asshole?’ They both laughed.

‘Normally you are an adorable a-hole.’ the woman behind the bar flattered him. 

‘I’ve come down of my throne tonight.’

The bar lady gave him a seductive look and went to the other side of the bar to do her job. When she came back to Vice he continued.

‘You know…women’s attitude changes peculiarly when I tell them I write stuff and sing. But yours never changed, young lady. Why is that?’

‘You are not here because you can write and sing, Vicy.’

‘Then why am I here? It feels like forever since I last saw the sunlight of the outside world.’

‘You are here because you choose to be here rather than anywhere else.’

‘I don’t remember deciding.’

‘That’s where it usually gets tricky…Maybe you drink too much to remember. Just like I talk too wisely for a bar lady.’

‘Oh, don’t talk to me like that. It makes my thoughts turn to a dirty direction’

She went to the other side of the bar again to serve another customer. When she came back to him she asked

‘Are you holding on there? I don’t want you to slip away tonight.’

‘Hell yeah I’m holding on…to the bottle! Pass me another round, please.’

The bar lady passed him the next round. He sat there, awfully sad.

‘So what are you suggesting, young lady?’ Vice asked the bar lady when she got to his side of the bar again. ‘I cut out my soul and feed it to the darkness, so I would feel no more and do bad no more.’

‘You just have to get your shit together. Don’t dramatize things.’

‘And how do you suggest I get my shit together? With broom and a dust pan?’

‘With water and wine.’

‘What is that supposed to mean?’

‘You figure it out. That’s why you are an artist, right?’

‘Your words won’t let me sleep tight tonight, young lady’

‘Alright, good.’

The bar was like a river and the glasses were flowing like little boats, and the stream was everywhere and the fishes were with faces of women.

‘A glass of Pinot noir, please.’ A woman’s voice called the bar lady. Vice turned to the direction of the voice. There was a woman sitting next to him. She was alone and he looked at her curiously. The bar lady served the wine to the woman.

Oh, and excuse me, a glass of water too, please.‘ The bar lady passed the glass of water. ‘It’s so hot tonight, isn’t it?’ the wine lady turned to Vice.

‘Awfully hot,’ he said.

                                                                                                       July 2016


Artwork by Adam Lupton


%d bloggers like this: