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the loud muzzle of nothing going down

i walked into
the bar
and it was
neon dark.

the jukebox
sounded like a
forty-year-old stripper
doing the same old
routine again

while the pool balls
kissed each other
in the corner.

i took the
nearest barstool
and charlie
the barkeep
came limping over.

charlie lived
with his mother
and kept bringing
prostitutes home
with him
after work
which made his mother
very angry
and she kept threatening
to eat an entire bottle
of sleeping pills
if he didn’t stop.

he sat
a beer
in front
of me.

“if yer gonna want
another one
in the next
fifteen minutes
ya better order up now”
he said.
“got me a real looker
in back
‘bout ta give me
a blowjob.”

i ordered
four more.

*

i was
halfway through
beer number two
when my current
live-in
sat down
next to me.

she grabbed one of
the untouched beers
in front of me
and began
working on it.

“you smell like
perfume again”
she told me.
“where’d you go
before you
got here?”

“look
i told you
i was coming
straight here
and i did”
i replied.

“just ‘cause
you say it
don’t make it true.
god knows
i’ve learned that
enough times about you
by now.”

“hey
i don’t need
the shit tonight
baby.
let’s just sit here
and drink our beers
without fighting
for once
okay?”

“that’s right.
sit there and drink
while i have to
wonder about
where that damn
perfume came from.
like hell!”

she finished
her beer
without saying
anything else

then
walked
out.

*

as i was finishing
the last swallow
of the final beer
charlie came
limping out
from the back room
zipping up
in mid-stride.

“anything happen
while i was gone?”
he asked.

“yeh.
i finished
my beer.
how was she?”

he poured me
another one
and told me
all about
his blowjob

while i sat there
pretending to be
interested

smelling
beautiful
again.

- terry everton

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