Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Jerry by Hobie Anthony

Hey folks:

Glad to see ya. Here is a subtle piece of flash from Mr. Flash himself, Hobie Anthony. What I love about Hobie's work is that it isn't flashy. It doesn't showboat, but there's always a razor or two that'll cut you. And later that day you'll wonder why you're still bleeding.



Jerry paced back and forth, a towel wrapped around his left fist, waiting for another customer to walk down the stairs to the basement bar for a drink. He wrapped the towel tighter and let out a sigh, all he had was two barflies, a couple of low-lifes who couldn't see fit to leave him alone on a Sunday night. It was getting on to 2am and Sports Center was showing the same old highlights it had for the past, well, for a while. He pressed play on the cd player and Whisky River came to life.

He checked his watch. No call from Marnie. He tightened the rag.

Jerry poured more brandy and refilled his glass of beer. He wrapped the towel tighter. Jerry looked at the television to see another incomplete pass from Favre and punched the bar.

The door opened and a group came in. He knew their drinks from memory the second he laid eyes on them, a few different beers and a couple highballs; he gave them a good price and made a clean fifteen bucks on the tip, putting his jar at about fifty bucks, judging from the looks of the jar so far. He could maybe break even for the day if more people came in, and came in quick.

The two barflies at the end looked around nervously and ordered a pitcher and two whiskys each.

At two fifteen, a crowd started streaming in. More bar people from up and down the street. There was the buxom blonde with the big, Cheshire-cat grin whose laugh echoed off the drop ceiling and popcorn-covered floor; the kid with his arm in a sling; the guy with awful bleached-blonde hair that he had cut himself after too many cocktails; the guy who usually kept quiet except for when he was too loaded to know better. There was the girl with the lazy eye and dreadlocks who propositioned him one night, a blow-job if he'd give her drinks for free after hours. That offer stood good.

He talked to the Cheshire-cat blonde. About Marnie. She gazed into his eyes and told him to bring shots for the two of them.

The tap poured and shots were filled and refilled again as bottle caps went flying towards of the trash, landing on beat to the jukebox. Games were played and change was made, and the tip jar filled with ones and fives and tens. No time for brandy. No time to think about that young thing who split, left town without the courtesy of a good-bye. Nothing to do but tighten the bar rag, wipe up spills and empty ashtrays until last call.

Hobie Anthony writes prose and poetry in Portland, OR. A native of the South, prodigal son to Chicago, and new NorthWesterner, he seeks to understand this America. He can be found or is forthcoming in such journals as The Los Angeles Review, Crate, Prime Mincer, The Other Room, R.kv.r.y., Ampersand, Pank, Prime Number, and Soundzine, among others. His novella Silverfish can be found here: SILVERFISH

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