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Old 06-06-2010, 01:22 PM
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Devon (Offline)
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As the Law States - by Neil

It was 10:45 at night when the young man came into the pool hall and sat down at the bar. He had intended to play pool but decided against it when he entered the building. He did not know why. The leftmost seat of the bar was unoccupied, and he sat down and folded his hands on the counter. The bartender, a young woman, approached him. She wore a football jersey, much mascara, and her hair was straight, though not naturally, she had used something to produce her look. It was one which many women wore and which always reviled him. But he said nothing. He smiled and nodded. She walked toward him.


“Hello,” he said.

“What can I get you?”

“Just a glass of water, please.”

She looked away from him, then. Her eyes went to some point over his shoulder, as if something important lay in the distance. “I’m going to need to see your I.D.”

“Excuse me?”

“I need to see your I.D.” She made a square with her thumbs and forefingers, briefly met his eyes, then looked back over his shoulder.

“All I want is a glass of water.”

“I still need some I.D.”

“Alright,” he said, still smiling. “Yeah, sure. Here.”

He gave her his license. She looked at it then returned it to him. “You have to be over 21.”

“What?”

“You can’t be in here after nine o’clock unless you’re over 21.”

“All I want is a glass of water.”

“I can’t serve you anything unless you’re over 21.”

“Alright,” he said. “Okay.” He smiled and shrugged. “Well, that’s a bummer. Can I at least get a table?”

“Not unless you’re 21.”

“Excuse me?”

She sighed. “I can’t serve you a drink or give you a table unless you’re the required age. It’s in the rules, guy.”

“What rules?”

She looked at him. “State rules.”

He stared at her.

“Oh,” he said. “Well.”

“You can’t be in here, is what I’m trying to say.”

“Really?”

Some of the men and women at the other end of the counter now looked at him.

“You actually have to leave, yeah.”

“Yeah?”he said.

She looked at him. “Yes.”

“Alright,” he said. “I’ll leave, I’m sorry. But first I’d like a glass of water. Just one glass. I’m parched and I could use just a tiny drink. It’s a long walk home.”

“I saw you drive up and park.”

“Oh,” he said. “Sorry.” He smiled. “You’re more observant than you look.”

“Kid, don’t start any trouble.” A man with gray hair and glasses leaned back on his seat and faced him.

“You’re gonna have to leave,” she said. Now the five or so people at the bar were watching him.

“I can’t get a glass of fucking water because I’m nineteen?”

She was walking toward the phone. She picked it up and looked at him. It was at her ear. “Please leave,” she said.

He looked at her mascara and fake hair, and then at the people at the other end of the bar, who all looked at him, the conversations they had been carrying on were paused to watch him. He turned away from them and stared ahead at his reflection. He rolled his tongue in his mouth.

“Sure,” he said. “Just a glass of water, then I’ll leave.”

“Kid, just go.”

“Excuse me?” she said. He looked up. “Hi.” She was talking into the phone. He looked at his hands. He began to suck on his lips. “I’m calling from Fats, on Sawmill. I have a kid here who won’t leave. Excuse me? Yes, he’s underage. Yes.” She looked at him. “Yes, he’s hostile.”

He leaned his head back and laughed. It was odd to hear such laughter in that dark place, and he laughed so wildly that the other patrons briefly looked away from him, then back, then at the bartender, who stared at him with the phone still at her ear.

“I’ve asked him to leave and he won’t.” She watched him while something was asked of her. “I don’t know,” she said. “I don’t – wait.”

He had stood up from his seat. He was walking down the bar.

“Never mind, he’s leaving.”

He stopped between the chairs of two patrons and reached over the counter. He extended his arm to her.

“Let me talk,” he said.

“Kid.”

“Let me talk to them,” he said.

The woman stared at him. “He’s asking for the phone. What?” She looked at the receiver. She put it back to her ear. “Okay,” she said. “Okay.”

She gave him the home.

“Hi,” he said.

A man’s voice came through. “May I ask to whom I’m speaking?”

“I’m the hostile kid.”

“Your name, sir. What’s your name?”

“Oh,” he said. “Johnny Johnson.”

“Mr. Johnson, you’re going to have to leave if you’re underage. You can’t be at the bar after nine o’clock.”

“It’s a pool hall.”

“It’s also a bar, sir. I know the place.”

“Why?”

“Excuse me?”

“I mean, why does my age matter?” the young man asked. “I wasn’t causing any trouble. I asked for a glass of water, and now this chick is trying to kick me out. I can’t play pool? I play pool here all the time, and this is the first time I’ve seen this chick.”

“Who are you talking about?”

“The woman you were talking to. First time I’ve seen her.”

“Sir, you’re going to have to leave. As the rules state, people under 21 can’t be in the bars after nine o’clock, and if you refuse to leave, we will have to send someone down to restrain you.”

“Restrain me?”

Some of the patrons smiled. A young man who wore a beret and thick glasses said something to a woman at his side, and she smiled, then the two of them looked back at the young man.

“Yes.”

“I asked for a mother fucking glass of water.”

“Kid.”

“Man, shut the fuck up!” the young man shouted.

“Sir, I don’t know who you’re yelling at, but please calm down.”

“Fuck you too, faggot.” He dropped the phone onto the counter. The woman picked it up and said something, but he didn’t hear her. He sat down again and looked out the window. When the cops came, he was still sitting.

A woman and young man dressed in uniform came through the door. The bartender pointed him out before either could ask about the person in question, and when she identified him the two cops walked over to his chair and stood so that he could not have got up and walked away if he chose to do so then.

“Come on,” the woman said. “Let’s get up, son, let’s go. You can go home.”

“This is so fucking stupid.”

“This whole situation or the way you’re acting? Because the way you’re acting brought it about,” she said.

“Right.”

“You can still just go home, kid. Don’t be dumb.”

The young cop said nothing. The young man rolled his tongue and watched his hands.

“Guess you’ll have to arrest me,” he said.

“Are you this intent on being an idiot?”

“Yes,” he said. “I’m very stupid, I admit.”

They asked him to stand, and he did. The young officer cuffed his wrists and they walked him outside. He said nothing as the three of them walked. They sat him in the cop car then took him down to the station. They asked for his possessions and asked if he had any immediate family he would like to call.

“I live alone,” he said.

In the morning they returned his phone and wallet and keys. He got lost while trying to find his way back to his car. Then a half hour later he recognized a street and followed it down to the pool hall, where he found his car as he had left it. He drove home. He checked his cell phone only after he had gotten inside his apartment. His manager had left a message, asking where he was and to please check
in if he was sick.

“Hey, Everett, this is John, just checking in with you. Ah, it’s ten thirty, you were supposed to be in at nine, so ah, just making sure everything’s all right. Please call me when you get this, just want to make sure everything’s all right. All right.”

He sat at the foot of his bed and stared at his phone. He put it on the nightstand then stood up and looked out his window. Outside, he watched a couple walk hand in hand down the sidewalk. They were laughing about something. The girl was beautiful and smiling and the boy looked very happy. He watched them go. He watched the place where they had been for a long time after they were gone. In this way he fell asleep, leaning against the window, and when he woke it was six o’clock. He checked his phone. Two more voice mails had been left while he slept. He read her name. Then he deleted the voice mails without listening to either.

The End
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Last edited by Devon; 06-16-2010 at 01:16 AM..
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