March 24, 2013

The Santa Monica Bartender From New York


I remember when we met in that Santa Monica bar,
I had stopped in to use the bathroom,
Saw the drink specials,
And decided to stay for a bit.

The beach isn't going anywhere, right?

Well, it is, but that's not what I meant.

"Can I help you?" You asked from the bar.

"Uh, do you work here?"

You were blazed by the sun,
And blazed by whatever you had been smoking,
And drinking,
And after a few hours,
I was, too.

"You know," you whispered, "everyone who knew me before that day thinks I'm dead."

Huh?

You point to a grainy television in the corner of the bar.

I glance up at the screen and you lower your voice again; you repeat what you said in a slow, California drawl that I have come to expect.

Ten years ago. About half my life.

What did he mean?

He turned off the coverage and motioned to my drink.

"I'm done," I said.

"It's on me."

I looked at him closer and saw him clutching the remote control behind the bar.

"Just don't ever forget what I said."

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