Johnny Come Lately

The bar wasn’t too crowded, which gave a sense of relief to Gary. A crowded bar wasn’t what he needed, although in any other situation it might have. This would do nicely. It was low-key, with a nook to sit and think. The anxiety of “making your own fun” was creeping in again. He didn’t want to go back home, but was hard pressed to think of alternatives.

Leaning forward, he felt his anxiety build. This anxiety was also making him want to use the restroom. “Being this high strung sucks,” he spat and adjusted his posture on the seat.

“What the Hell do people do around here?” The question wasn’t original. He had heard it from more than one person, and found it a valid enough question to adopt after they all shipped out. What did people do? To him, there had to be more than met the eye… a gem of an idea that would be worth hiding.

The cell phone told him it was six o’clock, which provided some comfort. “The workers won’t be piling in here for another couple of hours.” He was proud of himself for remembering the habits of those wretched line workers, and his ability to adapt to it. His beer sweat it out in front of him, almost terrified of being drunk. He would not be drunk though. Oh no. He knew that the Otterville police would be out en masse on a Saturday night. The notion that he knew the schedule of Otterville’s finest also made him feel better. He could easily outmaneuver anyone in this town. “Wouldn’t they like to ride me out on a rail,” he muttered and frowned at his drink.

With a handsome job offer in hand, Gary moved into this sleepy little town just shy of two years ago. The economy was garbage, and still was to this day. Anything that glittered was gold to him. Had he known of the abject isolation he was in for upon arrival, he would have seriously reconsidered the move. There was no way he could have known the company turned down five of the locals for the position. It was obvious they were bitter about it, but would never be confrontational. Cowards.

Virginia was a much better place for Gary and hindsight is, of course, 20/20. At least he had people to talk to back home. The jury here was still out on Gary, and probably wouldn’t return for a few decades. Even if they did, it would be hung, no doubt. Rough, rough, rough.

In a moment of frustration, he slammed his fist on the table, which caught the attention of a few townies watching the football game at the end of the bar. They only took a few seconds to identify the source of the noise and resumed watching the game. They kept their air of disinterest well.

Looking out the window, Gary could see the smoke from the Miiratek factory rise into the 5 degree Fahrenheit evening. Winter was such an obvious presence in Otterville. There didn’t have to be any snow on the ground to know how cold it was at any given time. He felt the wind burn on his cheeks just thinking about it.

Gary finally finished his beer. The lack of a successful resolution to his problem made his pint hard to swallow. “Damn it all,” he said aloud. He didn’t care who heard this time. He was frustrated with his equation: no life, no wife, no home and alone. It all amounted to nothing. With bitterness and townie envy, he picked up his possessions and and left.

As the door shut, a group of guys each gave one another a sick smile. At this rate, they figured it wouldn’t have to worry about the transplants in a couple of years. All the beer mugs clinked together. Let the good times roll!

© 2013 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

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