i met him: the bartender
Everytime the bartender handed me a straw, I pretended it was something new.
The first time, I just opened my mouth and pretended he was lighting me a cigarette.
“These damn things’ll kill me yet”, I muttered, taking a long drag of black plastic.
The next straw, plucked out of a drink he made me, was a flower. I tried to playfully tuck it behind my ear, but instead dropped it on to the sticky bar floor.
He rolled his eyes and plucked me another straw from a bouquet of ‘em he had stashed in a whiskey glass.
I opened my mouth and planted it like a daisy, square between my smile. Turning to survey the bar, I found my friends and opened my mouth to call them over.
Out fell the straw.
“Mister Bartender, please don’t kill me but I -“
He was ready this time though, a new straw already dangling between his fingertips.
I clicked the end of this new straw with my thumb, imagining it a ball point pen, and began to ink my next poem in the soft wood of the bar.
“What’re you doing?” he laughed.
I chewed on the edge of my straw-point-pen, sipping inspiration for it’s next manifestation.
“Writing about you” I said, holding out my palm, hoping he’d understand what I wanted.
He reached behind the bar and presented a handful of straws, rolling them on to my outstretched hand like a pile of Lincoln Logs.
I smiled at my handful of cigarettes and flowers and pens and Lincoln Logs. I could really build something with this.
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