Jeb sat at the bar counter as he had done many a time before.
This time, however, was different.
He looked at the faceted glass of Guzzling Gary rum in his hand. The clear glass was beautiful. The rum a warm blanket of color. He felt like he could curl up under it and fall asleep.
That was his normal.
It had been his normal for years.
For too many years.
He raised the glass.
The bronze liquor swished and swirled from his hand’s tremor.
That was something new.
That was far from his normal.
He set the glass down.
His mouth yearned for a sip. One more sip. Always one more sip followed by always one more one more one more one more.
He licked his dry lips.
Just one sip to wet his whistle and that would be the last one. Just like he promised her.
“I’ll never do it again.”
How many times had he made that promise?
How many times had she come to rescue him from one predicament or another?
How many times did it take before she grew sick of the worries and the uncertainties and the rescues?
Now, he was alone.
He was alone and his hands wouldn’t stop shaking. Why were they shaking so bad?
I need to get out of here.
I need some fresh air in my lungs and head and hair.
He looked down at the glass waiting for him.
He licked his lips again and they seemed to be a whole lot dryer.
If I have a sip, just one sip, my mouth won’t be so dry anymore.
But his hands continued to tremble.
And that wasn’t right. That wasn’t normal.
Something was broken.
Something was wrong.
I need help.
I need to get out of here and get some help.
Maybe one last sip.
What harm could it do?
Just enough to wet my whistle.
Barely enough to spit back out.
His hand embraced the faceted glass.
Just a last…
He raised the glass.
His hand tremor pitched the glass out of his grip.
The glass flew out of his grip.
It spun out of his grip.
It hit the counter.
It shattered on the counter.
The rum splattered and spread like blood.
“I guess that settles that.”
He grabbed his hat and coat.
I should order one more.
One last one.
For the road.
For the memories.
For old times sake.
He looked down at his trembling hands.
I’ll get one after I find out what’s wrong.
He smiled at the promise.
Maybe he would break it this time.
Maybe he could make things right.
Or maybe he would fall all over again.
He pulled his coat on and jammed his hat onto his head.
He turned his back to the bar counter and all of its beautiful alluring bottles.
He didn’t look back.
Jeb didn’t look back.
He walked to the front door and left.