Brazen by Captain B

Brazen

Brazen
Itching

Good thing he only has his fists
His guns and knives are at home
(Well, anyone checked his damn boot?)
There at the tavern
He isn’t more than a three-minute walk
That itching, that gnawing
It hasn’t been right for a long, long time
He hasn’t won a fight anyone’s witnessed
In quite some time either

Just weeks ago
His ex-wife told me over the airwaves
Of how my once solid, brickhouse of a friend since youth
Made that way from hundreds of thousands of bricks and blocks
(Had he reached the million mark?)
Huffed and tossed around for most of his working life
Had quit eating. He’d quit working too.
We used to go out for prime rib or thick porter houses
With ale before a night of hitting the hard stuff
But he neither works nor eats any longer
He couldn’t even pick me up
She said
And that was six months ago, last we were together

The last time he brewed coffee or had breakfast in the morning she couldn’t say
Just grasp for the remains of the previous night’s bottle
If empty or out of stock, the first order of the day

Recently
He got violent with the police
When it took them ten minutes of prodding and poking
And shouting in his ear
To roust him from the coma
He’d fallen into at the cinema

He’d still had traces of the shiner
He’d received whispering all sorts of threats
And promises into the random bar patron’s ear
One or the other had saddled up next to
One or the other

You get violent with the police
You know who gets the final say
And how much that hurts
Something to think about
If the cold and discomfort of the cell and slab you’re
Less than sleeping on
Don’t turn your thoughts to those also pressing concerns

He hasn’t been right for a long time
Didn’t think he was going to make it through the winter
He himself, ex-wife, and his poor mother who has already lost two sons
Two of four
All speculated last fall
Four days ago was the spring equinox
But nobody go crossing yourself just yet
Praising miracles
Okay, warding off evil
Is another thing

It’s only noon
He’s been at the Schulz Haus since before ten
Where he waited in the still cold weather for Junior to open up
Junior’s a bit old school, a bit wild midwest
He doesn’t cut people off
But just wait for my friend to come across a face
He doesn’t recognize
Or one he despises
And someone’s getting hurt
Flip that coin

***

WHO IS CAPTAIN B?

Captain B. Seafarer. Lover of shore leave. Collector of heads. Disseminator of tales. Twitter: @NPeligeiro

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