I finally ran out of money on the jukebox and went back to the counter. The bartender had disappeared off somewhere, and I sat humming along to Chet Baker, watching the street. Thinking, the faces here are so different.
Nice people, at least the one's I've met, but they look so different, and I don't just meant the lack of Mexicans. I mean the people carry differently, they walk differently. Small things that make me miss home. The yard. The family. Notes that burst. A snare cracked down my consciousness. Buried in the slinky bass lines. The loss. And wishing I could be there. Thinking of Lucy buried in the yard.
"Hey Jesus," I hear called out from down the bar. A big voice from a big man.
I don't answer. And drink again.
"Hey Jesus!" he yells a little louder.
I'm not going to answer. Trying not to show that I'm laughing a little cause Abe is the one who is usually called Jesus. Some guy thinks he's being hilarious, gonna try and yell out to me cause I have a beard and longer, dark hair. And even if he doesn't mean anything malicious, though they usually do, it is so annoying. Best to wait it out.
But he stands up. Grabs his pint and starts walking my way, stuttering a "Hey, hey, hey," with every step he gets closer. Until he puts his big hand, palm down on the bar next to my drink. And his hands a rough, and his rings are dirty gold, and his knuckles flat as Nebraska. "Hey Jesus."
And he's breathing now. Hard. He's got a wheeze, that sends a shiver down my spine. And I'm looking at his fingers. The dirt under his short cracked nails. Jesus.
"I don't think I know you..."
"Probably not," I answered calmly. He said nothing, "I'm just passing,"
"Well Jesus," he put a hand on my back and smiled, "You've got good taste." He threw his head back towards the jukebox. "Love Baker... Let me buy you one?"
"I really need to head back,"
"Come on Jesus."
"Nah, nah thanks but I," my mind stopped I had no excuse. "Gonna go." I put down a 20, and went out towards the street. The evening was late. And the air was cool. I took a breath and started walking back to the bus.
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