Barstool Tale

Part I

He was there, on the stool at what might have been the end of the bar taking some pretty hefty sips at what might be vodka, but could have been water. At this point he couldn't tell. At this point it really didn't matter.

"Half full or half empty?"

"Wha...?" A fuzzy mass rested before him. After a moment of serious contemplation he moved the glass from infront of his one open eye. Spying something left in the glass, he downed what was left and carefully set the glass down on whatever resembled a level surface before him. "Positivly empty."

She (he counted three-and-a-half breasts) might have smiled. He tried to smile back, but couldn't get both sides of his face to coordinate. She maneuvered into a chair or stool or maybe a bench across from him. "Trying to remember or trying to forget?"

There was a cup of something hot and dark before him. Eyeing it, he idly wondered if she had brought it for him. Perhaps it had been there all along. "Right now -- remember." He found the cup in both hands, creafully held to prevent it's hand worn slipperiness from getting away from him.

"She must have been something." The blur wasn't there anymore. His view flopped to some sode, then the other. There she was. He tried to nod, but wound up blinking his eyes to keep the nausia down.


"When did she leave you?" He thought he heard a click and contemplated what that black box might have been. For some reason, its presence bothered him.

"Donno... what is the date?" She seemed ammused, leaning onto what he figured had to be a bar.


"And the year?" He tried to take a sip of coffee, but the cup was empty.

"The year?" He nodded. She might have shrugged, she might have just shifted in her seat, he might have slipped in his. "Ought-eight."

He tried to figure out the math, but settled for a shake of the head and a wave of nausia. "It's been a few. I remember her like yesterday, though." He must have been smiling since she reflected it back to him.

"What was she like?"

He thought a moment, picturing her. He remembered the brown hair, the beige eyes, the featureless skin that was neither fair nor dark, height not tall not short... then he remembered how unnaturally ordinary she was. How amazing was it -- this extrordinary person who was so clear in his mind and he could barely remember what she looked like.

By the look on the hazyness of her face, he knew he'd been talking that entire time. Did it matter anymore? He was here because of her. Looking at this woman before him, he recognized old thoughts, old feelings. Perhaps it was time to let someone else know. Perhaps it was time to share. The woman saw this as he wabbled into a more stable position. "Perhaps it all began when there was a tremendous explosion, the gases from which collected and cooled to form plannets, stars and the like. Perhaps it began when the first cell split and created its own offspring. Perhaps it began when monkeys came out of the trees to create these neat digital watches. Perhaps it began when God figured having a universe in the back yard was something. Perhaps it began when..."

"Hey!" A voice, a woman's voice, walloped him upside the head, nearly spinning him around with the sheer force of the impact. Blinking hard, he half-turned toward the voice. He nearly didn't see her storming across the room. It was the workers moving out of the way -- people carrying lights, people carrying struts, people carrying clipboards and wearing headsets and pointing and shouting through mikes subconciously opening a hole that she moved through. It was as if they wouldn't see her -- or couldn't see her. Then there she was -- right infront of him.

"What are you doing?" It was the same voice. Creepy, but he shook it off.

"String's busted." He motioned to the frayed wire on the guitar in his hand. "Wuz just replacing it, ya know."

She was quietly pucker-lipped, moving from foot to foot in a fasion that almost made him forget she was there. For a moment he went back to replacing the frayed string only to find the guitar was gone. Looking about he found it in her hands as she inspected it then threw the strap over and under and arm, checking the tune. After making a couple of adjustments she walked back the way she came. Concentrating, he was able to watch her go.

"You didn't stop her?" It was definitly a tape recorder that she had put just enough below his view that he wasn't to see it. He shook his head without quite so much discomfort. She noticed this and motioned for a couple more drinks. "Why not?"

"At the time there wasn't any point. Well, I was a little occupied trying to remember she was there. That had something to do with it." He took a sip of something that was the usual watered-fown. "I kept an eye out for her during the show. That wasn't easy with all the disco lights and laser effects -- that was all the rage along with black lights and lava lamps. Thank God we weren't wearing bell-botoms."

"But you did see her again."

He closed his eyes. "Right after the show..."

The drizzle was light and warm -- the kind that seemed to weep out of the air about him. For a moment, he stood there letting the rain seep over him. For that moment -- that small moment -- there was something calm. He walked though it, imaging he could feel out to everything beyond him through the moist thickness of the air. Closing the door to his car, he let the engine warm for a minute.

The heater started to kick in but wouldn't drive away that feeling for a while. Turning on the headlights and shifting into first, he pulled through the next partking space. He hit second turning left out of the parking space and third before the turn 'round back of the stadium. Edging it into fourth, he saw her.

She was right infront of him.

He breathed hard, trying to remember if he'd heard a thud. Calm, breath in... no out first. In, she was crossing the road. Out, the tires squeeled -- he must have hit the brakes. In, the engine died -- he didn't hit the clutch. Out, the engine shrieked as it absorbed the last of the momentum. In -- a breath he hadn't let out yet. He looked out, checking for signs, expecting a smear of blood across the parking lot. Hearing a noise, he turned and looked. There she was on her side with the blood pouring from her face.

She moved.

He was there and her hand was warm -- not that it had time to cool. The blood was flowing through her wrist -- not that her heart had given up yet. Air was moving across her lips -- not that her lungs were issuing dieing gasps. He sat there for a few hours -- minutes -- watching for irreprible damage to take over and the last moments to occur.

She was still breathing.

He drove off.

His mind blanked for a moment, lost in the world of memories. The expression he had was obviously unfamiliar to her.Pain? Sorrow? Longing? Relief? Perhaps.

They were at a table. He didn't remember leaving the barstools, but it must have happened. It seemed a little thing, but it gnawed at him a little. "So what happened?"

"Huh? Oh, I just drove. Wasn't sure where I was going -- at least not until I got there."

"Where was that?"

"The next closest thing to..."

Home. It was a strange thing to do, he told himself, but she hadn't stopped breathing and the bleeding has slowed enough to leave a large, sticky mess down to her neck. A little of it had gotten on him in the three-story climb. With the rain the elevator was out.

She was heavier than she looked, which made getting to his keys an interesting feat without dropping her. Kicking the door shut, he managed to swipe the light switch before depositing her on the rellic that served as a couch. Laers of green navy-surplus duct tape kept the springs from escaping. Locating a reasonably clean rag and a bottle of peroxide, he bagan dabbing at the drying blood.

It didn't look so bad underneath. Probably just a cut from falling out of the way. It bleed a little more so he dressed it with a reasonably clean old t-shirt that didn't have so many stains. She just seemed to be sleeping. Relieved at last, he allowed himself to sigh and sit back against the trid stand where he could finally take a look at her. She had brown hair and dressed casually in the fasion that was popular, but not outrageous. Any fasionable nightclub in town wouldn't let her in instantly, but wouldn't stop her either. She looked -- twenties -- but he couldn't really get a good gague. He had the impression that she was older earlier by her eyes, but with boutique cosmetic surgery it was hard to tell. She looked tidy, even with her hair dischevelled and a couple of rips in her jeans and jacket. Offhand there wasn't one feature he particularly noticed about her. Most people he meet had a sharp nose or short fingers or fingernails a little jagged from chewing on them. She was just... there.

And in the morning, when he awoke still slumped against the trid, she was gone.

Except for the occasional thump, he had the impression that everyone in the place was listening to his tale. As she used both of her left arms to pour them both a drink from different bottles, he took the oportunity to glance about and found it was dark as well as quiet. The bartender was wiping up tables and chairs before turning the chair upside-down and placing it on the table. He gave them a little nod. He didn't seem to be going anywhere.

"So where was she?"

The question made him laugh in a little amused way. "Ah, there's a good question. I just started..."