The Barman and the Businessman

A nascent story idea that will likely become a future project. I like this idea too much to not use it.

“The barman watches:
People ducking in, away from the downpour.
People leaving, often with others.
People falling, whether asleep or from drink.
People getting up, laughing and swearing.

One man catches the barman’s attention:
He is ducking in, away from the water.
He is leaving trails of moisture in his wake.
He is falling heavily into a barstool.
He is getting up, shucking off his damp coat.

He returns to sit, the barman finishes his polishing.
He asks politely:
A stiff whiskey, please.

The barman obliges, a drink created with ease.
Cheers, the man toasts.
How’s your day?

The barman glances up, smiling amusedly.
Can’t a guy ask? the man says.

The barman chuckles.
Of course, he answers.
What’s there to say?

Curious for curiosity’s sake.
His drink is three-quarters full.
His smile is warm, inviting.
His gaze is level, steady.
His hand is open, honest. 

The barman lowers his guard:
He has had a normal day, he says.
He has had a good evening, he says.
He has had a peaceful shift, he says.
He has had no excitement, he says. 

Peace, the man sighs,
How lovely she is.
Do you know what else is lovely?
His drink is half empty. 

The barman shrugs, invites him to continue.
The ripples in stormy eyes, he says.
The rough voice of a demand, he says.
The richness of satisfaction, he says.
The romance of a morning, he says.

The soul is lovely, the man smiles,
Dark and deep.
His glass is three-quarters empty.

The barman begins to close.
The man finishes his drink.
The people leave for home.
The others stagger away.

The barman and the businessman leave together.
The glass is left empty on the bar.”


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