pretty much every morning the first thing he did upon dragging his ass out of bed was to grab a beer out of the fridge. he’d drink several swallows at the kitchen sink and stand there for a bit just to see if it was going to come back up along with last nights tacos and whatever he’d washed them down with. most mornings things stayed where they belonged and he’d make his way back down the hall to take a leak.
it was sunday morning and his usual day at the pool hall/country store just a few houses to the north of his. he’d spent nearly every sunday there for the past 7 or 8 years. 7 or 8 years since his emma had passed. he still ached for her but knew in his heart it wasn’t helping much. though the day shooting pool and drinking brews and shooters of patron seemed to help a bit.
sundays also meant making some cash off the other locals while he drank, told stories, and beat them all rather handily. for some reason or another they never seemed to mind losing to him at pool. sure he was pretty good but maybe his stories were better and the money was just their way of unconsciously paying him for the day’s entertainment. whatever, he didn’t care.
more beer and a few old hard boiled eggs with some grits were his breakfast. he always had grits, usually made up with pepper, butter, and grated parmesan cheese. an old italian guy he’d met on a freight long ago had told him how to do it. he’d tried it and came to like it.
after he washed up a bit he lit a joint and smoked it while reading the morning paper. nothing in the paper worth reading but you never knew when you’d find something of interest is what he always said. sports scores and their related bullshit were generally the most interesting things he came across.
though this morning, a story about something going on in the next county caught his eye. something about cops and national guard or something being called out to put and end some damn thing or another. already too drunk and stoned to focus on anything resembling hard news he tossed the paper aside and put on his sandals. time to hit the pool hall.
the slim patron bottle fit nicely in his back pocket. unobtrusive as well. he’d buy beer with his winnings. he left and didn’t bother to lock the door. he never did. deep down in some sad place he always hoped his emma would return to him. why make it hard for her?
the day was clear and almost warm. the sugar magnolias were beginning to show signs of flowers. life was almost alright. making a c note or so playing pool would make it righter. he stepped into the country store/pool hall to find the usual sunday crowd. yeah, at least a c note this day for sure.
the patron was gone. a six pack or so of beer chasers as well. the $125 folded up and stuck in a front pocket. he was feeling good and feeling no pain, hell, maybe he’d even eat dinner before passing out on the couch. saying his good-byes he stepped outside. something crackled in the not so distance and for some reason it sounded familiar. familiar in that long ago familiar. a bit staccato. what was it?
he let the feeling go and hit the gravel lot and turned south to his home. he heard boots on gravel behind him. did he forget something and a friend was bringing it to him? he heard the metal on metal sound of a rifle bolt. no mistaking that sound. drunk. stoned. or sober. he turned to the sound. the butt of the AK-47 hit him squarely between the eyes knocking him into the ditch beside the road. he heard the first of the three shots. it was the last thing he ever heard. although after it happened he thought he heard his emma calling to him.