He’s been going to the same tavern for 30 years,
always sits on the same stool in the same spot.
The bartender has been working since the day
Clinton and Monica got caught. He remembers
watching the news on the bar’s TV. On her first
night, the bartender walked up behind him
and pinched the loose skin on his elbow between
her forefinger and thumb. “I like the way elbow skin
feels on old people,” she told him. “It’s so soft
and sometimes I can see a face in the wrinkles.”
She’s done this many times. Now she’s moving
to Sarasota. She married a black ops guy from Bragg.
The other barflies like telling the good one about
how her husband would have to kill you if he told you
what he did in the military. This is her last night.
The place is smoky. These people pay no attention
to state law. He orders a Fat Tire and she pours it in
a pilsner glass. He flattens his forearm on the bar
and she lays hers next to his, elbow to elbow,
crazy bone to crazy bone. He rolls the loose skin
on her elbow between his thumb and forefinger.
“Do you see a face?” she asks. “Yeah,” he says,
“mine.” And they laugh together like people
who’ll never see each other again.
Stephen E. Smith