Thursday, February 24, 2011

Closing

It was 3am when ‘Beer Mugs’ Moran locked the doors at the One Lucky. The oak counter had been wiped and shined. The ash trays emptied and polished. The floor swept and mopped. He had done the inventory with an uneasy satisfaction, however. Beer sales had been good lately. But that meant he had to carry more large kegs of draft up narrow stairs and it hurt his shoulders.

This especially bothered ‘Beer Mugs’. He’d get sharp pains that
ran from his neck and through his shoulder blades and down into his sides. Sometimes when he twisted his torso slightly there’d be an unexpected twitch of hurt.

The bartender knew he wasn’t as young as he once was. A couple of decades ago he could carry beer kegs all night; bounce tough guys onto the street; clean the One Lucky in a hurry; and then dance late into the morning.

But in the last year or so his temples had turned gray. He had difficulty making a tight fist and throwing a steady punch against trouble makers. Like an aging prize fighter he began to have doubts about his life on the floor. In quiet moments he’d wonder if he should sell the One Lucky to a younger man and leave gracefully. But it was difficult for ‘Beer Mugs’ to admit to his mortality. So he did his best to put these thoughts of old and young men out of his mind.

It took a couple of tries for the lock to close. In the morning the aging bartender would get a can of oil and lubricate the rusty parts. He promised himself he wouldn’t forget to do this as he walked into a cold wind. But at the edges his memory wasn’t what it once was.

6 comments:

Old Ollie said...

I still wouldn't cross this fading fighter. Grey temples or not!

Beautiful story SC.

Fisheye Lens said...

Nice to see that the One Lucky is still under the same management. They're going to have to bury Beer Mugs behind the bar! Good story.

Human Paradox said...

Great description. You deal with a lot in this short story SC. Aging is an issue that is hard to resolve.

Juice Box said...

A great work about life and its finer moments. Good job on this SC, I like Beer Mugs quite a lot.

PhotoDiction said...

You've captured quite nicely the feeling that we all have of regretting how quickly we age. And though we try not to give in to the reality around us, there is no denying the doubts that seem to forever lurk, ready to sap the strength and fortitude one needs to turn back the clock - if one ever can.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I love this one. And I so relate!! You draw such a real portrait of this person, SC!