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The flies in my place don’t know how good they have it till they’re dead. 10 year single malt Irish whiskey, 9 year small batch bourbon. In the summer I tend to lose more booze that way, but what a way to go. Drowned in booze.
I try to keep the words flowing and ignore the thought of a mostly full glass of scotch gone to waste, and it works for a few minutes, but then my windows start to rattle. God damn it. Now my train of thought is flying off the tracks and there will be no survivors. It’s a blood bath. The sad remains of an idea for a short story lies strewn across the overcast countryside of my imagination.
There will be no writing (or drinking) in the near future, so I go for a walk. I walk past the kid with the magnum tailpipes on his four-door truck, just leaning there against the bed of the truck with the stereo thumping, rattling every window within forty yards or so.
What an asshole.
I’ve seen this kid driving around in that four door truck, alone, slowly canvassing the neighborhood like a Jehovah’s Witness without a partner, thumping out that ridiculous music house by house whether the folks inside want to hear it or not. Then he gets home and leaves the engine running and the stereo at full volume and he stands there, clutching a beer like he’s the center of the free world.
It took me a while to understand his purpose, but now I know he’s waiting for a fight. I’ve even seen it happen. One time the hippie neighbor, the one whose yard always smells like shit because he uses that organic fertilizer, he shouted over the fence to turn the music down. That sunglass wearing ape almost jumped over the fence and tore him apart. I wasn’t sure who to cheer for, I hated both of them so much at the time, but I found myself pulling for the hippie. I have a thing for underdogs.
Another time the kid backed out of the car port so fast he almost hit Salvador on his bicycle, but the old man was quick enough to dart out of the way. Plastic bags of bottles and cans spilled all over the place. First the kid jumped out and pretend to find scratches on his bumper, but when he saw how old the man was he jumped in the cab, smoked his tires and sped off like the world was about to end. I helped Salvador with the bags, made sure he was all intact, and then we smoked a couple cigarettes and laughed the whole stupid thing away.
In the mornings, the kid lugs out his duffle bag and throws into the backseat of his truck. I’ve never seen him haul a damn thing in the truck’s bed. I’ve never seen a speck of dirt on the body. I’ve never even seen anyone ride with him. A two ton, four door truck with the loudest pipes, the loudest stereo you can imagine; it’s all a status thing I suppose. He leaves every morning at six or six-thirty in his military uniform, the truck so loud it sets off car alarms and wakes the babies. So the mother’s console their children and curse the kid under their breath.
Then he gets home and stands there, waiting. He’s a coward, through and through, but I don’t talk to him. I don’t even look in his direction. Maybe I’m a coward, too. I’ve been called worse. All I know is behind those little mirrored sunglasses, he’s just looking for an awkward eye.
So tonight I walk far enough to get out of earshot, two blocks, and then I find a bar. I think about ordering a whiskey, but the bar is too loud, too packed. Too many flies. No way a man can have any of his own thoughts in a place like that. That’s why I drink at home. That and bar fights. I hate bar fights.
I take the long way home. There are people walking their dogs, children on bicycles, day laborers waiting for the bus, even flowers and bushes with birds flitting around. No matter how long the long way gets, though, someone’s music is still audible. When I round the corner for the apartment the kid is still drinking and leaning on his truck, and when I get inside my windows are still rattling. Nothing ever changes.
I start writing something else and I start drinking from the bottle. The words don’t come. When I’m not drinking I put the cap back on the bottle hoping to outsmart the flies. Or maybe the flies are the smart ones. They only have about twenty-four hours to live anyway. What a way to go. I leave out the glass with the dead flies hoping their buddies will join the party. Thin the herd. Yeah, maybe we’ll all drown in booze tonight.
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© Anthony David Jacques MMX