Old Dogs

DOWNTOWN


after a few
warm flat beers
a necessary elixir
to ease the system
back into
the drinking mode
and a reviving shower
to start this late
Saturday morning
I felt enough courage
to confront the daylight
and its dreaded denizens
but only for the time
that it would take
to stumble
the several blocks
to a dark tavern
my haven

nearing noon
people were out
doing what people do
meals on their minds
a sick society indeed
my meager energy ebbing
with each tortured step
every once of concentration
needed to maintain
the upright position
usually favored
by the moral
majority

finally
to Main Street
a few blocks more
then through the door
to head for the end
of the bar my home
presenting
a low profile
for the rest of the day
possibly to reemerge
once the savage sun
had dropped
from the weary
sky

on the sidewalk
I kept close to the curb
allowing the sober crowd
the right of way
staring down the foolish
who would dare to gaze
upon these bloodshot
eyes

another half block
to salvation
I could already taste
that first cold mouthful
of life giving liquid
which would glow
in my veins
like an injection
of euphoria

strides away
from refuge
my reverie was broken
by an eruption of noise
and ballistic glass
blasting forth
from my destination
a tumbling barstool
completing its trajectory
through the plate glass window
then bouncing off
the sidewalk
to collide
with a parked car
at the curb
before finally
coming to rest
in the gutter

seconds later
Steve came flying out
the newly made opening
defining an arc
all his own
but not bouncing
upon the cement walkway
landing instead
with a sickening thud
like that of a ripe melon
but thankfully without
the subsequent
mess

the bartender
bellowed well worn
invectives of banishment
as Steve rolled over
to give me a diseased
drunken grin
which last night
I had found so amusing
but now could only connect
to the hungover misery
of my recent
hours

I walked up
to his supine form
and planted the toe
of a size nine and a half
squarely into his ribs
hoping to relate
my displeasure
at his performance
then entered the establishment
doubtful of finding
that dreamed of
sanctuary
of a barstool

he would not
be missed
after all
he had shattered
my hope of serenity
and richly deserved
whatever ugly fate
befell him