The story of time and whisky
I was in town again, sitting on a stool in that crowded bar in a shirt dress; resting my feet on the iron rail to avoid having my slippers touch the grease stained floor. I was shimmering in a bar where women had black layers of dirt under their nail beds and the men smelled of fish and bad whisky.
It was hot, enough to make you want to murder someone in the bar just to get more air space. I was sipping whisky with ice, looking at the fat barman trying to polish the glasses, convinced that the grey cloth he was using had been white once. The stool next to me was vacant for one good breath — the man with the handkerchief tied around his bald head had left — before I could see another man taking the stool from the bar mirror. He ordered a whisky while holding a pipe between his lips. It smelled good.
We sat very close to each other; there wasn’t any other way to sit. I could hear the men behind me betting on who would manage to get their head in a fish one of them had caught. I did not turn around to look at any of the men but I assumed the mouth of that creature did not have to be so big to fit the head of any one of them.
“Is this scene not entertaining enough for you Madeliene?”
He had removed his pipe to say this. I refused to turn and look at him, so I caught his gaze in the bar mirror; he was holding his whisky glass near his dark whiskers.
“It could be better, but there isn’t time.”
“Don’t be a fool Madeliene, you’re making excuses.”
“And what of that? Sometimes there isn’t enough time to paint a good picture. Sure, I could have said more about the fat bastard behind the bar or of the man who was sitting beside me before you came, but then what?”
“There’s always time Madeliene, stop making excuses. Does a little heat make you so weary?”
“No, I’m weary of you! All of you!” I smashed the glass on the bar and left, without having ever looked into his eyes directly — I couldn’t do it. Not him, especially him.
Story credits: The Paris review: William Faulkner, The Art of Fiction No. 12; Blog.whiskydisks for the image.