Written by Forrest Maynock
Conrad sat at the bar slouched sipping on a gin tonic. The bar was mostly deserted and rather poorly lit, but it had a certain homely quality that was hard to deny. On a weekend one might expect to see a bar like this full of heavy drinkers and tired workers, but this day was a Wednesday. As Conrad continued to sip his beverage and stare almost longingly at the sticker odorened wall the front door opened letting in a cold breeze of air. Conrad felt the draft and heard steps approach.
The bartender, busy taking inventory, looked up and greeted the new patron. “Pat, how are ya? The usual?” Conrad glanced to his side to see Pat taking the seat next to him; this was tradition.
“Hi Mike,” said Pat in his typical sing-songy voice, “yeah, the usual, and I’m doing great all things considered.”
“Oh, were ya lucky with that interview?”
Pat smirked slightly, “Probably not, but it’s not the end of the world is it?”
Conrad turned to face Pat. “How are ya Conrad, it’s been a while.”
Conrad’s cold face adjusted slightly to reveal a faint smile. “It’s been a few weeks Pat, not that long at all.”
“Well sure, but ya know, just an expression.”
“Yes, but a poor one really. You can only use it in the case of long distances of time; it’s only been a few weeks for us.”
“Fair enough, I don’t want to get bogged down again in a definition argument though; you know what I came for, right?”
“Yeah of course, the same reason you come every week; you want an intellectual spar.”
“Yeah, but specifically I want to go back to our previous topic of discussion…the whole death thing…” Pat paused as if waiting for a response. Conrad took a long swig of his drink and continued the silence for a moment.
“Well? Have your piece. I felt like I made myself clear last time.”
“Sure, but that’s what I want to argue. I want to know-”
“Now, I told you already, I’m not going over it again.”
“Pat, you have been harassing me on this point for far too long, and all you do is attack my point of view and let your own crumble and blow away in the wind…back up your own arguments for once. I’m not arguing with you about this anymore.”
Pat’s demeanor shifted. The rather pleasant looking man who stepped into the bar moments earlier was now a man of determination. His smirk was replaced with a stone jawed expression, and his eyes piercing Conrad’s very soul.
“You are wrong.” Hearing this Conrad glared back at Pat.
“Then prove it…if you are so confident that I am wrong, then prove it. We have both made our points and we have both provided our evidence, it’s up to you to follow through.”
Pat froze. His face contorted slightly as if hit by a strange smell. “After all of the conversations we’ve had you know I’d do it, and at this point I have nothing left to lose…”
“So it is the end of the world after all isn’t it?”
Pat stood up from his barstool and looked at the bartender, a smile returning to his face. “I won’t be needing that Mike. I’ll be leaving now.”
Mike the bartender nodded knowingly saying, “good luck kid.”
Pat returned the nod, “I will,” and then to Conrad, “I hope you’re wrong.”
Conrad returned his gaze to the bar wall. Pat slowly turned looking around the bar one last time before leaving on his long journey.
As the door shut Conrad turned to Mike saying, “Where do you think he’s headed?”
Mike paused for a moment, and then responded, “A failed interview is never good. Considering your conversations he can’t accept his own death, so getting to where he needs to go will be difficult…at least he’s accepted the journey.”
Conrad placed his glass down near Mike and said, “I’ll have another one Mike…let’s hope the next lost soul in here pays their tab.”
Both Mike and Conrad chuckle as the endless Wednesday night drifted on.
Artwork by Nelly Amosova.