It’s been four hours
at least, the time you’ve spent on this bloody road. The cacti never seems to
change; the same three pronged cactus at the left side of the road - it’s
always the left side - sticking up from the dirt like the Devil’s pitchfork.
You decide to pull over at the next pitstop, a small bar
tucked away in the middle of nowhere. A dim light flickers at the porch,
illuminating an unread newspaper at the glass door. You park beside the water
pump, and make your way inside.
hey there, chum! The
bartender, a boisterous, chubby man, looks overjoyed to see you. Yer
the first customer since, like, forever, man! What’s yer name, and what can I
You introduce yourself politely and decline his proposal of
a drink, asking instead if it was possible to spend the night out at his bar.
says. Tell ya what, yer first drink’s on me, being the first customer
and all. I’ll share one with ya.
You accept his freebie awkwardly, and inquire about how he
manages to keep his business afloat if there were no customers.
ya see, I built this place meself. Always wanted to run a bar, me and me wife.
No rent out here, and nobody bothers sending anyone over to catch lil me. I’ve
lived here alone for the longest time.
gently ask about his wfe. The bartender grunts. She left this cursed
place, early on. Nobody ever comes in, and when things get too bad, people
leave. But somebody’s got to keep the business running, see.
The two of you sip your whiskey quietly, and you apologize
for his wife.
don’t be sorry, lad. It’s for the better. I forced her to leave, and to make
sure to be happy always.
A wide grin split his face, startling you.
upstairs. There’s food in the pantry; help yourself. Now, if you’ll excuse me,
I’ll be making a move, he says, grabbing a hat and coat from a bunch of
hooks, shutting the glass door behind him.
You get up of your chair. Something’s not right. You grab at
the door, but it’s locked tight somehow. The barkeeper ignores your frantic
pounding as he reads the newspaper. You can barely make out his mumbling.
November… 2015? It’s already been fifty years?
You scream at him to open the door, but he merely surveys
you, immense sadness in his melachonic eyes.
what I said about the place being cursed? Well… somebody has to stay back to
run the business.
His shoulders stooped as though from a guilty load, the
barkeeper turns and faces the dark night.
if there’s nothing else, I really must get going.