The bar has become more smell than noise.
It is late. She is charming and pretty. The conversation has hit a lull. We’ve been drinking a while now.
“Tell me something,” she says.
“Anything?” I ask.
She smiles, she nods. I think, for a moment.
“Okay, so, when I was eleven, I had a dog,” I begin, suddenly and with drunken charisma, “her name was Lucy. One night, my school was having some festival. For exotic foods, or something. We were about to leave and my mother asked me to let the dog out.”
I pause. Somewhere inside of me a sober man frowns.
“Uh, so, I let her out. But, she was the kind of dog that likes to jump fences. So, we had a lead to put her on. Well, I always forgot, and I forgot that night. I was too excited and rushed. So, Lucy jumped the fence, of course.”
She is smiling, hand to chin, obviously unaware of where this is going. Yet, I continue, “so, I run around to the front. I see Lucy dash down the driveway. She heads straight for the road. I called out to her. She turned. A car ran right over her.”
When I finish, the woman is staring at me. Bless her, she is still smiling. A fragile, slipping smile. A smile, waiting for a punchline. I open my mouth. I close it. I look down at my hands and sigh. I look back at her.
“Anyways, uh…yeah–I loved that dog,” I add.
“Oh,” she says. She frowns, still trying to smile. It looks painful. She stands up.
“That was weird,” she says. I nod. She leaves.
I put my face in my hands. I look up and see the bartender, staring, mouth open.
“What the hell is wrong with me?” I ask him.
He just shakes his head then, he too, leaves.