With, Without (Another)

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Alone. But not a wolf. Not even a loner. Just someone. Remains of his hair pushed back beneath a black beanie. Sensitive. Overtly sensitive. Seen as weak. Weaknesses are openness. Orders a beer. A craft beer. Something with taste. Football on the television. Sound turned down. Couples sitting in booths. Except for the guy standing at the bar beside him it is a man and a woman. He doesn’t exchange words or glances with the solitary drinker. Plates, mostly empty, on the tables in the booths. It’s gone three thirty in the afternoon. It’s late to have been eating. When did they eat? What did they eat? The specials in white chalk on the blackboard are all puddings and desserts. He looks back at the plates. At the remainders, the left overs. At the zealously overloaded ketchup and mayonnaise that decorates the plates. He laughs. Maybe if this was Berlin it would be curry wurzt. Half eaten potato wedges and the drained bottles of rosé and white wine bottles and the near finished beer glasses adorn the tables. Squints his gaze outwards to the fish and chip shop across the street. Too late. It’s too late he’s ordered that beer and the change won’t be enough to buy him chips. Let alone with a slice of battered fish covered in salt and vinegar. He lifts his glass and goes over to sit on a stool by the window. Opens a Knausgaard novel. Death. Fuck that. No, no, no. He’s come back to town to celebrate his father’s birthday. If only the old guy drank beer. But he never really liked bars or so he said. They would share a bottle of red wine and listen to jazz later.

For AnOther

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