An unexceptional night in the lives of Sabi Duría, Mu Erte & Amo R.
When he walked in I gave him a glance; a disinterested glance but a glance nonetheless. That was my mistake. Newbies to the bar always gravitate to those who make accidental eye contact, like a fleeting moment of Seeing makes us more likely to protect them if the shit hits the fan. Which it doesn't. By the time he folded himself anxiously onto the dirty leather stool beside me I had torn the sodden BrewDog beer mat into tiny irregular squares.
"Hey." He was trying to sound tough. Definitely a newbie. I nodded in response and scratched my jaw through the wiry beard in the hopes that a continuation of my disinterested demenour would translate as barely disguised hostility and get this guy off my ass. Which it didn't.
"It's my first time here" he said, leaving the end of the sentence trailing like an empty windsack. Windsack, I chuckled roughly as he told me his name, thinking about him only as a Windsack. My Mam taught me to play nice though and he wasn't giving me no grief so far, so when he offered to buy me another beer I traded it for my own name. "Sabi" I said roughly. and that's all your getting from me, I thought.
He started to tell me a story that I think was about his motorcycle. It was an attempt to impress me. I started to lose focus and found myself watching Moira through the distortions of my glass. She wasn't particularly beautiful in the traditional sense, she was no Cindy Crawford, but she was patient, most of the time, and knew how to defend herself on a Tuesday night when things often got leery. We had slept together a couple of times in the past two years and lately the pressure had been building in me to initiate it again - fuck. I let my mind wander in this manner lazily; I wouldn't do anything about it tonight. I'd already had way too much to drink.
Windsack stopped talking when young Amo sauntered in around 1. I didn't look up but I knew he had arrived because in the corner of my field of vision I could see Mu straighten up in his chair. Those two had a long standing rivalry and most nights this happened. It didn't take long for the frenzy to thrive in the bar, the air was thick with it. Mingled in with the cigarette smoke and the rancid stink of unwashed scabby skin, you could smell it. Windsack was looking all around the place like a kiddy on crack. It made me a little dizzy to watch him trying to watch everybody else. I took the opportunity while Windsack was distracted to rest my head on the sticky bar and watch the nervous bubbles through the smeared glass in my hand.
The familiar cracks and slams as the furniture was shifted aside fell into a dis-cordial melody as I gazed on, only roused occasionally by a cheer or the roughly hewn sound of men roaring with almost adolescent violence. I thought about Moira's dainty little ankles as I heard her sharp metallic voice calling for order. "Same rules as always lads," she cried "Elbows on the table, no spittin' and no glassin'. I'm sick of clearin' up after yous".
There was a soft thud, reminiscent of the saying 'you could hear a pin drop' and the bar erupted again. Whilst I'd been dreaming my beer to a de-carbonated state the other regulars had arrived and Windsack had even gone over to get a closer look at the arm wrestling eejits. I reached over and picked up his beer, slipped the beer mat out from underneath it and left the grimy glass on the bar. If he was lucky it wouldn't stick to it.
As Amo and Mu wrestled and the grunts of their efforts got drowned out by the crowds growing excitement, I picked apart another beer mat. Idly hoping that Moira wouldn't get angry. She could be a real firecracker when she was angry. I started wondering if perhaps I did want her to get angry after all when there was a loud wet thump. It reminded me of when animal carcasses are dropped onto palettes before being loaded into trucks and I knew that the fight was over. I ordered another beer from Timmy and let my sight blur hazily with the lights smashing into the many coloured bottles behind the bar.
"Fucking hell!" Windsack was back. "Did you see that?" he asked eagerly. Ah, one of those. Some men got all excited seeing other men's violence. What people like Windsack didn't understand was the mutual respect between those two men. The understanding of each others needs and hopes. I sighed heavily and sipped my drink, wiping the froth away from my mustache with the back of my sleeve.
"Did you see those two wrestle?" he asked again, and I looked up because its rude to ignore a question twice in a row I suppose. I glanced over at the table turned over and watched Mu and Moira righting the chairs as Amo rolled down his shirt sleeves and prepared to leave. I shook my head. I hadn't seen it, well not tonight anyway. It was nothing special to me.
"You didn't even look up -" he stated. There was a tone of wonder and confusion that made me look up blearily into his shiny red face. Puzzlement passed over his too-square features "how come you didn't even look up? You didn't see them fight? I thought they were gonna tear the whole goddamn world apart!". I sighed again and for the sake of peace for the rest of the night I summoned all my remaining cognitive powers to answer the excited little boy that was hiding inside this great hulk of a man beside me. I spelled it out for him "El amor siempre vence." It felt like swallowing gravel; I seriously considered having some water. My mouth felt like an ashtray.
"What?" he said stupidly. Exceptionally stupidly. I rolled my eyes. Like it was my fuckin' business to explain Mu and Amo's deal to this Windsack? I finished my beer and pulled myself to my feet using the tacky bar counter as a balance before I tried again; with the air of someone who really wants to go the fuck home and not talk about this; "I said, boy; 'Love always wins.'"