Friday, December 23, 2005


November 30

Dear Wichita,

I woke into a bad mood today, a fighting mood if I wasn't so hungover from trying to erase memories. I went in to work, at the bar, and didn't say much of anything to anyone, including the customers. You want a beer, you got a beer, no small talk.

"You in a bad mood today D, or what?" asked the boss, a woman named Cheryl who had spent too much time in smoky bars. Her skin was lined, her eyes weary. She was on the downside of 40 but hanging on to youth with every treatment known to man.


"Mind me asking why?"


"Fine, I don't care. Look just don't be a prick to the customers ok? That's all I ask."


Cheryl was mad now but she would get over it. I wasn't important enough in her life, a life of social events and casual encounters, to matter. She walked back into the kitchen and I turned to face the crowd waiting for their soma.

"I'll have a Bud," said a jock-looking guy. He had a jarhead haircut and not a whole lot of neck. I figured he had butted his way to the front of the line.

I looked at the pretty girl standing next to him. She was wearing a tight black tank top and wore her dyed hair in a flexible way. It was done up bar-style tonight, a Friday night.

"Hey I said I want a Bud," the jock said, his jaw clenching slightly. I looked at him with a rather withering stare, just brief enough to let him know I truly didn't care what he wanted.

"What can I get you?" I asked the pretty girl. I figured that she wasn't with him, she seemed smarter than that.

"Hey, what the fuck man? I was here first," stammered the jock.

"Dude, ladies first, have you no class?"


"Plus she's better looking than you."

His buddies howled at that one. He even smiled a little. I enjoy calling a musclehead ugly and not getting my ass kicked. Definitely not in Kansas anymore.

"I'll have a rye 'n' ginger," she said, smiling slightly, her brown eyes dropping to the floor.

I poured her a generous one. "That'll be $3.25."

She handed it over, a small tip included.



"Hey," I stuttered, suddenly awkward, "What's your name?" Awkward.

I wasn't supposed to 'fraternize' with the paying customer, but Cheryl was in the kitchen, probably berating Julio, the illegal immigrant who we called a cook. Poor Julio, but Cheryl would make it up to him later. So said the rumor mill. Fuck it then. I asked.

"Anna-Marie. Most people call me Anna."



"Nice to meet you Anna. I'm Dan."

"Nice to meet you Dan."




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