Green Beer Hangover

The guy sitting at the other end of the bar looked familiar, somehow. As I stared at his frizzy red hair, he smoothed out his front cowlick and let out a belligerent belch.

“Whatcha lookin’ at, asshole?”

I shrugged. “Sorry. I thought I knew you.”

“Gawd! Not this again. Can’t you people ever leave me alone?” His bloodshot blue eyes met mine above the rim of his over-sized mug of green-tinted beer.

“Hey, you’re the one drinking green beer. Paddy’s Day is over, man.” I turned away to check the football scores, but a commercial was playing instead. Suddenly it all clicked in my head. “Oh, you’re. . .”

“Don’t announce it to the entire bar, ya wanker,” the red-headed drunk snapped.

“Nobody in here but you, me, and the bartender.” I looked around the dingy interior.

“And that hobo in the corner booth, but he’s passed out.”

“Sez you. Can’t you just leave me alone?” He slammed down the last of his beer and signaled for another. The bartender brought more green beer, snickering under his breath as he set it down.

“There you go, little guy!”

“Watch it with the personal remarks or no tip for you!” He pulled a real gold coin out of his pocket along with a five spot.

“Sorry, boss.”

“Yeah, yeah. Keep the change.”

“Did you just mean to give that guy a $1300 tip?”

“What’s it to ya?”

“Look, I don’t want any trouble. You just seem like you’ve been knocking back that green piss for a while, and I wouldn’t want to see you get taken advantage of.”

The redhead stared over his head at an aging St. Paulie Girl sign, then his gaze meandered to a flickering Bud Light neon. Finally, he turned his full attention my way, and I found myself riveted to my seat.

“Whoa, there, little guy! I’m a friend.”

“Taken advantage of? TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF? You wanna hear about being taken advantage of? I came to this stinkin’ country on a work visa in 1964. Nobody could do what I can do, see? They needed me. And I did it. I sure did. I sold the HELL out of their devil-spawn marshmallow abomination. I pretended to be happy for the camera, every damned day, while arsewipes like you call me “little guy” and “shorty” and these days, “dude”. Dude. Really? I was a GOD in my homeland.”

I looked at him skeptically and took a long drink of my thankfully not green beer.

“Okay, a Demi-god.”

The Bud Light sign gave off a tinny buzzing in the silence.

“All right, All right! A magical, mythical creature with amazing powers, revered by all! Are you happy now?”

“Mostly,” I admitted as I finished my second beer.

“I’ll never be free of my corporate overlords. My home country is ashamed of me. They won’t even let me back in on holiday.” He started sobbing. The barkeep brought him a wet bar towel to wipe his face.

“Well, see, that’s where I come in,” I said, sliding off the cracked vinyl barstool and approaching him with all the caution due to a very drunk, magical creature. “You know the Keebler Elves?”

One blue eye peered up from his bar towel. “Yeah, we used to play horseshoes. I haven’t seen them around in a while.”

I put a hand on his shoulder. “We’ve got a fine magical person protection program. We can help.” I dropped my WDC business card next to his empty beer coaster. “Give me a call when you sober up. I’m sure we can find a place for you in the Small World Exhibit.”

green beer glass

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Dream Trees

There is a Place
where the Trees dream.
If you go there
with Your Secrets.

All will be Laid Bare
among the Branches
there Nothing can Hide
the Forest is Truth
do Not be Afraid!

The Trees are Life
The Trees are Gentle
They’ll take Your Heart
And Return it Whole.

You’ll wish to Die there
You Will Live there
Even when You leave
You’ll be There still.

ivan-torres-376149

Photo by ivan Torres on Unsplash

 

Body Positive

For decades she has been on a quest
to be all she can be by being less
The extra pounds that cling to her frame
diminish her sparkle, make her plain.

If only you’d lose twenty pounds more
says the clerk at the health food store
You’d be a stunner, one of the best
Have you tried our new whole juice fast?

Her kids should do it. They are fat too.
If only they’d try, she knows they could do
the thing she’s attempted for many years
She would spare them the angst and the fear

Of being too much to be worth anything
Of having a body to which pounds cling

I’d give her a gift if she’d let me
A day of rest, one day to be free
Some time to see the beauty she owns
To enjoy herself, for herself alone.

 

 

Sunday Wattpad Feature

Hey all, I’ve decided that on Sundays, I’ll review a Wattpad story that I especially like. First up is:

Bloodlines

https://www.wattpad.com/story/115952641-bloodlines

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Completed: Yes

Mystery/Thriller/Crime Fiction are not my favorite genres, so it takes something pretty special to catch my attention there. So far I’ve enjoyed Bloodlines so much that it’s one of the stories that I actively monitor for updates. The author has a real skill with ending each chapter on a cliffhanger or similar pausing place that leaves the reader with questions, curiosity, and dread.

Zane, our protagonist is a young guy with a lot of problems. The story opens with him fired from his job, his mother dead in extremely questionable circumstances, his young teenage sister homeless and parentless, and the girl that he loves slipping away from him with ever increasing speed.  The modern day poverty-stricken Oklahoma setting is dark, and it continues to get darker as Zane tries to navigate his way through the maze of pit-traps that his life has always been while the traps just keep getting deeper.

Atmosphere is a big thing in any genre of suspense writing, and lynnlipinski writes the Oklahoma setting with an insider’s knowledge, but with a clear eye that neither sentimentalizes nor sensationalizes the problems of rural poverty.  H.P. Lovecraft once recommended that the sense of place or “atmosphere” can almost become a character in its own right. This is certainly true in Bloodlines.  There’s a literary feel to Bloodlines that takes the already gripping storyline and moves it up a notch.

I also have a great deal of respect for the author’s portrayal of Zane’s Native American father and Zane’s own half-blood status. As the daughter of a Native American myself, I appreciate portrayals of Native Americans as individuals and not tropes. Zane’s father is a complicated person not only because of his culture and the crushing poverty of Reservation life but also because he’s a complicated and flawed person due to his own choices and circumstances.  Zane is a flawed protagonist who makes the frustrating kinds of mistakes that a young man in his position might make no matter what the color of his skin. He’s likeable despite and because of his flaws, and all the more believable as a character because of them. Zane’s accompanied by a supporting cast of secondary characters who are also all drawn that a sympathetic but clear-eyed view that brings them to life so sharply that they feel like people you know.

You can see other Wattpad reviews of mine at Island of Lost Toys, my Wattpad review book.