Wild Green Pastures

By Mike Moreschi

7.1 I-small needed a drink. It was a long, wonderful day. Work and women, the usual; both making me work harder and longer than I felt necessary. But, so is life. Horse shit. I went to a bar someone had suggested to me once. “Two for one drinks.” You can’t beat that; and if you could, it wouldn’t have mattered right now. I forget the name of the place. All I remember about the spot is a sign outside that said, “Pub.” It was an ashen, old painted sign. It wasn’t a great first impression; either way I went into the Stygian affair. Somehow it was bright – it was strange. It had the typical dark lighting drunks prefer where you can see everything perfectly. Some bullshit was playing on a muted TV, witty signs were on the wall extolling the standing policy that if you didn’t tip well, you’d be shot. Along the wall behind the bar was a mirror that reflected all the fine liquors, behind which was a sun-faded menu of haute couture items such as hot wings, sliders, bar pies, and mild wings. How bourgeois. I sat on one of the empty stools at the bar and the barmaid came over to me.

“Hi! I’m Stephanie. And who might you be?” (She said this with such enthusiasm that I wanted to vomit already.)

“Thirsty.”

She laughed and slapped the bar.

“I bet you hear that one a lot.”

“Still gets me,” she snorted, “What can I get you?”

I ordered a rum and coke – my drink of choice as of late. I opened a tab.

“Just make sure you let me know when I hit $100?”

“Ah, no problem.”

“I wouldn’t not want to be able to tip you.”

I planned on being there a while.

Across from me was a man quietly drinking his tears. It was so cliché that I couldn’t help but respect it. There was someone who knew life. He walked in and out every day stoically and finished it the same way each time. That is a man. That is a man who has lived. Genuine as dawn – a toast to life. Good for him.

Stephanie laughed and went to make my drink. She wore some sort of black plastic square glasses and was a curly haired strawberry blonde wearing a Jaguars shirt – the free kind from the games. How she ended up in Jersey as a Jaguars fan is beyond me. Clearly, this was something worth future investigation; after a few drinks of course.

She came back still laughing, this time at something the cook had said. As I sat drinking I overheard a few guys at one of the tables that overlooked the dartboard champion’s picture. One was a cop or a detective, and was telling his friends about a case he had just worked on.

“Another pitcher over here? Oh, a couple bar pies too? … You want one? Three of ‘em. So, yeah, it was a fucking brutal looking scene. I have no idea what this guy was thinking. He killed his wife and kept her for about a week. Fucking her – talking to her for all I know – then finally put one in his forehead, fucking disgusting animal. I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns up he was eating her toes or some sick shit. He left a note though; I guess he was trying to rationalize whatever the fuck it was he was thinking. It starts with him talking about hearing the screams of a woman who lost her husband. Apparently it kept him awake for days, until he just completely lost it. Talking about how he knew the man was dead but it wasn’t his job to tell her that. Then he gets in about how he didn’t want that to happen to his wife – having to deal with her husband dead and alone in the street surrounded by people who wouldn’t talk about it. Then, he decides he’s going to film himself eating dinner. He decides his last meal is going to be a raw steak, and the fucker just let the blood drip down his face. All this while he’s talking about jerking off in peace in the bathroom, so he wouldn’t have to clean up the jizz – just flush it down the toilet. Then he takes the fucking camera in there with him while he jerks off – talking the whole time about how he wanted to taste everything the cow ate. ‘All the corn and shit covered grass,’ he goes. Then the tape stops, and we find him a day later wi-”

He was cut off by Stephanie bringing out his order. Well, that was fucking bonkers.

. . . Shook me all night long . . .

AC/DC. Nice, Jukebox. Good job random setting.

“Need a refill?”

“Please.”

Rude people talking about wild people. Untamed in every sense. The ant and the firestorm. In a fight, who is the better man? Even sinners believe in the atavistic god of their intentions. Stephanie went to get me another drink as a young couple walked in ensconced in rutilant youth. Hipster, yuppie douchebags – just what an ennui congested day needed. S’wonderful, s’marvelous. S’bullshit.

Stephanie brought my drink, “Here ya go.”

“Thank you, kindly.”

She had a balsamaceous spirit.

“Nice spring rain we had,” the one started.

“Yeah, it even smells like spring.”

They each ordered a PBR.

“I can’t believe we’re really doing this.”

“I know! It seems like a dream, Moopie.”

“Moopie! I love it! We should name our kids Moopie!”

“A boy and a girl, both with the same first initial, I can do.”

“M’s.”

“Madison and Morgan.”

They kept going, and I was getting drunk. The Camelot that was renamed Free Cuba. It seemed as if the modern era had caught up with the animals. I ordered another drink. I finished half of it almost immediately. An aperçu of the situation suggested that Stephanie was trying to get me drunk; or at the very least get a good tip. That, is fucking s’marvelous. What? Amen, brother. Gauche. Fuck it. Just then the drunken man at the other end of the bar started talking. And me, thinking he was one of those respectable heroes you never hear about, but live each day, in and out – you heard it in old jazz songs. Instead he reached an idiotic climacteric and motioned for Stephanie to come over and started rambling, disbosoming himself as the phantom he was.

“Man, I haven’t felt this shitty in a while. Better to feel shitty than nothing, eh?” He took a shot and she poured another. “Fuck it – I didn’t need that shit stress anyway. It’s like they were setting my hair on fire. Their neighbor! Set his hair on fire with gasoline . . . You know, I was just reading about some experiment they were doing on rats. Get them all hyped up and pissed off somehow. No fear left in ‘em, just aggression. Anger, just . . . sitting and waiting right in the broad daylight of the middle of their cage. Then they get these other rats addicted to dope. They’d stop eating and just push their little button for the dope. After they’re good and hooked they put the two groups together, and the pissed off ones charged the drug filled ones and clawed their stomachs open . . . This other time I watched a TV documentary about eggs. You know that you can stand on an ostrich egg and it won’t break? Some tribal people out in the middle of nowhere cook ‘em in dirt and some people in the Midwest carve these intricate patterns into them and decorate their homes like that. . . . You serve ostrich burgers here? They’re probably out of season . . . Yeah, listening to the jukebox reminds me of something I heard once.” He took his shot and another one appeared. “They say the sound between radio stations – the static – is actually where you can hear ghosts talking. Something about the frequency – they can control it. Bits of thoughts scrambled through the sound waves, going out into space. You ever think what it would be like going into space? Flying high about the Earth, floating there, looking at all Creation. . . . I wonder what it would be like, floating up there, and touching the Sun. How you think that would feel? You think you’d feel any part of it? Maybe too dazed to notice . . . Maybe your blood would start boiling and cook your skin. Imagine the smell of that! Something only outer spacemen who got too close to the Sun would know. Maybe they’d turn their backs on it, and look out into the universe as their organs cooked and bubbled out their noses . . .”

And now this grave sitter. This, idiot, drinking to mourn what never is. I got Stephanie’s attention and got myself another drink. She was making them strong. I looked at everyone in the bar. Like animals down at the watering hole. Looking with blank eyes, sniffing each other out, hearing nothing. It was vulgar. We are animals. We are vulgar. We are the wild green pastures.

Do you, kind people, know the way home? And I sat there, pulling at my hair and pounding my own chest too. Waiting for when those cowards would die and it won’t mean a thing in this savagery. Hold on with your burning flesh and flightless songs – cut off from those merciful wings of Heaven. You miserable pieces of shit. Why misuse the order of things when you can breathe underwater? I downed my drink. I had had enough. I left some money on the bar and walked out. Down the street I heard two pigeons in a gutter, standing under the world, talking.

“I’m dying of thirst.”

“So have a drink.”

“I learned a card trick the other day.”

“What are you talking about? It’s the middle of the night and you don’t have any thumbs.”

Just then, a little grey mouse in a little grey suit appeared and said, “The meeting is about to start.”

 

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Mike Moreschi is a Northeastern New Jersey native with a BS in psychology and psychiatric rehabilitation from Kean University. In addition to writing short stories and poetry, he has been working in email marketing for nearly two years.


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