A woman walks in to a bar. She walks into my bar, and fourteen men turn twenty seven eyes toward her. Mickey’s only got one eye. He says he lost his right eye in a knife fight back east, and wears an eye patch because it makes him feel like a pirate. At least that’s what he tells everyone. I know he actually lost it in an accident at the plant back in the day when he was fucking around without his goggles on. I know this because my old man and Mickey go way back, but I don’t tell anyone. Mickey’s been good to me, and I let him tell his stories however he wants. So twenty seven eyes turn towards the door, towards this silhouette framed by the harsh afternoon light. This is a factory bar, full of blue collared losers, and its only two in the afternoon. These are shift workers though, so two in the afternoon doesn’t mean much. The silhouette, however, means something. Clearly a woman, and we don’t get many of those in this bar, especially at two in the afternoon. She sauntered up to the middle of the bar and ordered a whiskey. We all watched as she tossed it back, and ordered another. She tossed that back too and slammed her glass on the bar; clearly something was going on here. The glass clinking against her huge diamond wedding ring as she grabbed the next one, and then a jarring thud echoed out as she drank it down and slammed the glass hard on the old worn oak one more time.
I told her she might want to take it easy.
She said that I should mind my own business.
I told her that she didn’t look like she was from around here.
She said that we’ve all got to be from somewhere.
I told her that she was a little out of place here.
She said there’s no place like home, and we’re all drifters.
I told her I liked her style.
She said I was just a child.
I told her that sometimes life gets weird, but that drinking like that could cause her problems.
She said I didn’t know anything about her problems, or her life. She said that she’s only 28 years old, and married to a man her father’s age. She said she’s a prisoner in her own life, and if she wanted to get drunk at two in the afternoon with a bunch of union men, then she’d do it. She said I was welcome to go fuck myself.
I told her I didn’t mean anything by it.
She said that someday I might understand that life doesn’t always work out, and sometimes we have to take it as it comes, there’s no other option.
I told her there are always options.
She said that sort of optimism was for suckers.
I told her we’ve all got problems.
She said that she wasn’t interested in hearing mine. And she ordered another drink.
I told her she was certainly a bitch this afternoon.
She said she was sorry, she was sure that I’m a decent person, but that she wasn’t looking for a friend.
I told her she ought to runaway with me.
She said that I couldn’t afford her.
I told her that we wouldn’t need much, as long as we had each other, we‘d be alright.
She said that she’d gotten used to the finer things in life and that she wasn’t sure she wanted to give them up to runaway with an uneducated factory worker. She said it wasn’t personal, but that she’d cast her lot in life, she was a West Hills housewife, a second wife, a trophy wife.
I told her she must have had bigger dreams than that.
She said dreams were for suckers.
And then she left.