This week, I was challenged by Trish at 3 Kids and a Breakdown-
“A drunk man sits next to you in a bar and thinks you’re his friend. He starts confessing “the truth” to you. What is the truth?”
I challenged Major Bedhead.
However. I have a confession to make. I cheated. Like a damn punkin' eater, I did! For reals, yo. My mind completely went blank on this. I super suck at fiction anyway, so I was really suckin' wind here. So what did I do? What any self-respecting homeschooling mom would have done. I made my kid do it for me. Damn straight.
So, this is from the mind of my 16-year-old son who has never had a formal English class in his life, is full of piss and fire, and a marvelous writer in his own right.
If you're interested in reading more of his stuff, here's his profile on the Writer's Network and his brand spankin' new blog Spawns Of My Imagination. Prepare for your sensibilities to be offended!
The date is Thursday, January 23rd, 1975. I was sitting in a booth in a dark corner of Richie's. For those of you that don't know – Richie's is a bar that appealed to us poor types. As I drank my large mug of beer, the heavy wooden door swung open and slammed up against the wall.
“Hey, be careful!” The bartender's raised voice swam across the cloud of smoke conjured by the annoying drunk bastards talking about their failure of stepsons and such. A large burst of wind blew snow into the bar. “In or out, come on man.” He said.
A middle-aged man walked in dressed in a durable camouflage jacket. He stomped the snow off of his black boots and slammed the door shut. He slowly swayed lightly to the bar; he was obviously already drunk. As he ordered his beer he peered around the bar. His search stopped when his eyes met my face. He walked over to me with the beer in his hand and slid into my booth on the opposite side.
“Um...excuse me. Do I know you?” I asked, confused.
The man stared at me. “No time fer games, Darrell. I'm seriously fucked up, I jus' need someone to talk to about it before I go insane.”
“Darrell?” I questioned.
“Goddammit!” The man raised his voice. A few people looked then turned away. He leaned in whispering. “I got something to tell you about the night we were alone. Do you remember? It was 1945 – we were in Japan. Don't tell me you forgot.” The look in the drunk man's eye was terrifying. “There was something that happened differently than what you thought...and I need to tell someone.”
I took a minute to think. This man thinks I’m his friend, he thinks we were in the war together, he thinks he needs to tell me something that no one should probably know about. A curious storm took over my brain and the words just came out of my sneaky mouth. “My memory is really foggy, start from the beginning for me?”
“Your memory has always been a pile of shit. Alright, here's how everything happened.” He started. “It was the middle of the night, we had accidentally moved away from our group of soldiers. We were lost in the woods, remember?”
“What weapons were we using again?” I interrupted.
“M1 Garands...you know that.” He said with a little frustration. “Anyways, we were both too scared and too smart to yell for the group – so we continued walking for about an hour until we were taken to a Japanese base by a couple of gooks hiding in the trees.” He sipped his beer. “They took us into a small room with multiple people; there was three or four. They took you into a separate room. You escaped somehow...”
He wiped his mouth on his jacket and continued. “I took one of their handguns from the table and shot every damn one of ‘em. This next part is what I didn't tell ya....." He took another sip and glanced around, as if to make sure he was not being overheard.
"I shot the three soldiers on my way out of the hut. And as I ran, right in front of me, was a woman. She was pregnant and about to pop any second. She saw me and opened her mouth to yell. I snapped. Snatched her by the hair and covered her mouth so she wouldn't scream. Four drunken soldiers came out, saw me and pointed their guns at me. I took the woman in front of me by her neck and remembered I had a grenade on my belt.”
I sat there shaking in my seat, dying to know more. “So what happened?” I asked
“I grabbed my grenade, pulled the pin, and rammed the goddamn thing in her mouth.” He took a big gulp. “I kicked her towards them and took off the other way. I ran as fast as I could til I found my group on a trail. That's when we met back up.”
I leaned back in the booth and folded my arms across my chest. I was floored. Confused. Morbidly curious. I watched him down the rest of his beer in one long draught. His hands were shaking, and there was a slight twitch in his right eye. I was desperately trying to find a place in my brain for this, decide where it fit, how to process this. A confession never meant for me. This blister on the ass of this guy’s life. A clearing of conscience. It felt wrong, as though he was looking to me for a kind of forgiveness I was not qualified to give.
I asked him what he was drinking.
His eye twitched. He blinked a couple times and looked away without answering.
I pulled a couple wadded dollar bills from my pocket and slid out of my seat toward the bar. “Whatever he’s drinking.” I told the bartender, waving my hand in the general direction of where I’d been sitting.
“Who?” asked the bartender.
“The guy I’ve been talking to for the past half hour.” I said, pointing towards my table.
The bartender’s face contorted into a quizzical shape, the corner of his lip raised in a half smile. “Damn. You serious? You’ve been passed out on that damn table for the past 2 hours. Maybe I should call you a cab."