Carson Smithers sat on the bar stool as the clock struck the eight o’clock hour. He had been on that bar stool for the last three hours staring at the now warm beer on the ratty coaster in front of him. The day’s work had ended in shambles along with a verbal tirade from his boss in front of his co-workers; even Jenny, the hot girl from the cubicle at the end of the hall.
“Hey, buddy, you gonna drink that or do you want a fresh one?” The burly bartender asked as he wiped the old, wood bar down with a wet rag. Carson watched as the bartender methodically picked up coasters, wiped, put coasters down, and wiped all the way to the other end of the bar without missing a piece of the bar or spilling a drink.
Carson looked up sheepishly and nodded while he pushed the perspiring glass to the edge of the bar and pulled his cigarettes from his pocket.
The jukebox started playing an unfamiliar country western song as someone broke the rack on the pool table. Carson counted three balls that dropped into the pockets without looking at them rattling around on the fuzzy green felt of the table.
His eyes gazed across the pool table, across the jukebox, across the blonde-haired woman with the heaving breasts and over to the repaired wall to the left of all the action. He remembered making that hole over ten years ago in a drunken rage over a different blonde-haired woman so long ago.
The bar stool shrieked as he pushed it back with his legs to stand up. All of the memories that flooded back reminded him of all the reasons why he stopped drinking and took steps to change his life.
The bartender rushed down to Carson, “hey buddy, you leaving already? You bought two beers and didn’t take a sip from either. What gives?”
Carson tossed a ten-dollar bill on the bar and said, “Sorry, man. I got to get to a meeting.”