At my first bar-job I couldn’t understand why the old men would stand at the bar every night and order a measure of whisky with a glass of beer.
I understand now.
It happened quickly.
These things usually do.
Six leaning on a high-table, all drinking.
Blood soaks through the laughter and the man reels back, crashing into the jukebox.
He probably doesn’t realise that cheek is now separated from bone.
The broken tumbler lies on the floor, its use in this world, over.
The man would be back two nights later, returning to his place at the high table.
He had no other choice.
The tall, thin man was having a discussion at the bar with two men he didn’t know.
He was a lecturer from the nearby university and came in often for a drink after work.
I’d never seen the other two before, but they were drunk and didn’t look the type you would discuss either politics or religion with.
I turned my back, and in the bar mirror I saw the punch connecting with the tall man.
He bent his head down, holding the side of his face.
The two men finished their drinks and calmly walked from the bar.
I reached over and handed him a wet towel.
He had the look of someone who couldn’t believe that these things actually happened.
I wanted to tell him – but didn’t – that an education doesn’t count for much if you don’t know when to keep your mouth shut.
About the Author: Garry Crystal
Garry Crystal is a freelance writer living in the UK. His short stories and articles have appeared in print and online including Expats Post, The Andirondack Review, Turnrow Journal, Roadside Fiction and Orato. br> His first book Leaving London is available on Amazon and other retailers now. br> View My Profile