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#169: Ruined

#169: Ruined
Odd Spot - The Age - 04/08/2022

Peter was standing at the bar, nursing his pot. The afternoon sun slanted in through the windows on the western side of the pub. The grime on the window produced a varied pattern against the sticky floor.

The other men all sat in their own silences. They were all, probably, just like him. In their own ways, each broken. The breaks were clear in their hunched postures and ragged beards. They all looked like stray cats cornered in a dead-end alley.

One wrong word or look could cause them lashing out with fists. Peter has gotten used to the ways inside this forgotten pub. As long as you drink your thoughts in silence, no one bothers you.

He prefers the company of others to the mind-numbing television. He walks out at ten o’clock tipsy, but feeling connected to something bigger than himself. Connected to the way the world just is. Not all men can live with women. These men crave company when it has been ripped from them. So, they share an open space with each other, as a way of knowing it wasn’t just them.

Peter pushed forward a ten-dollar note. The bar tender, a wiry man with a ponytail streaked with greys, reached for the note. In a practiced move, he picked up a pot, filled it with VB.

Peter drank the dregs of his beer, ready for another onslaught of rumination on his ruined life.