The nurse walked by pushing a computer on wheels. He stepped out and watched her grow shorter down the hall, an optical trick, like the moon being larger as it’s closer to the horizon. I guess it’s all an optical trick, he thought, like that computer being able to save lives and Jell-O being considered food and that every day it’ll get easier.
He walked out of the hospital and saw a rabbit hopping around the lawn and the man on the lawn mower pack it up into his truck. The air was syrupy in that Colorado way before a storm comes in. The flag flapped in the breeze and as it hit the pole a metallic ping reverberated out across the quiet plains.
He wanted to get drunk; not really drunk, he just wanted a beer, right now, cold as can be, with the beaded moisture dripping down the glass. He crossed the street to a little dive playing loud country music. Not the kind of place he likes to find himself in, but nothing was these days.
The bartender walked over. She had fake blonde hair that screamed at you from across the room. On her right shoulder was a tattoo of a palm tree that made him want to walk out and not have that drink, then he remembered his father tied up to machines with a mask over his face that made him look like some horrible Science Fiction villain-to-be, and the world made no sense and the ache in his being screamed for one.
“Hey, sweetie, how are you doing?” She asked, masticating a piece of gum in her mouth like a wolf chewing through deer flesh.
He wanted to open up and tell her.
This is what he said: “I’m American. I’ve got two lungs and one liver and I’m not afraid to put either of them to the test tonight. Pour me a Fat Tire and let’s talk.”
She laughed as she grabbed a glass and poured from the tap. The jukebox switched from one country song to another one that sounded identical to it. For the moment he had nothing to say. He just watched with silent awe his mug filling up with amber waves of pain.