ALONE WITH YOUR OWN DISASTER by Nick Kolakowski • Cleaver Magazine
By the day after the storm, the owner of the bar where I worked had fled the city, leaving me in charge by default. I kept the place open, mostly to serve those volunteers clearing the muddy streets of wreckage; I refused to take their money, because I’d always hated the owner. This far downtown, there was still no electricity, so I improvised my own mood lighting. By one-thirty on the morning in question, the candles along the bar had burnt down, hissing and sputtering, to pools of molten wax in their dishes. The last drinkers had left; I was spending an idle moment at the liquor shelves behind the bar, rotating the bottles so the labels faced outwards, when I heard the front door open again. “How goes it?” I said, eyeing the pale blur of the visitor’s reflection in the nearest fifth of whiskey.