If I Were Caught

Procrastination gets the best of me, especially when there is always something else to do. My deadline is a week away but at the moment all I care about is grabbing a cold beer and watching the game. I was at my neighborhood bar, walking distance, just a few blocks, no reason to drive—I knew I was going to end up drinking. I ordered my beer and walked to the nearest table examining the room. At the bar, to the far right, were a couple and their friend Pam, who was visiting from Arizona.

“Now Jerry, you have to keep em comin’!” Pam encouraged the bartender as she wiggled in her seat.

She looked uncomfortable by the way she wore a snug pink top and an even snugger bra. This poor woman’s threads were holding her whole foundation to the brink of eruption. I imagined her ordering another drink and then as soon as she took her sip, SNAP, there goes the bra. I snickered to myself as the couple kept entertaining their friend.

“The word is sancho. It’s the Mexican word of the day.” Jerry enthusiastically shook his voice when saying Mexican and handed Pam the beer. Pam took a sip but no snap. Disappointedly, I panned to the left of the bar and there sitting alone was a middle-aged man, graying hair on his sides and his bushy eyebrows accented every facial expression.

“Go back to Cleveland, you big sissy! What a crybaby… I’ve never seen such a crybaby in my life.”

The man is flustered and even worse frustrated as he watched the game and criticized how the player he called a crybaby would sink basket after basket after basket. “Goddamn it! Can someone just injure this man? For Pete’s sake, he’s one man!” His face was brick red with all his frustration and his eyebrows wiggled across his face tracing insults. Crybaby makes another shot and this man cursed, yelled, turned around, “Are you guys seeing this?!”

I am. I was. I saw it all. A grown man was having an emotional breakdown over a basketball player, who he despises, probably because he’s an incredible athlete, and it became apparent who the true crybaby was. The man, out of frustration, closes his tab and stomps outside. “Goddamn, Cavaliers! We’re just gonna have to get’em in the Finals!” As I follow him with my gaze, analyzing his steps and what upsets him, I begin to think about the deadline and how it’s still something I need to finish. I stand, finish my beer, and walk towards Jerry.

“Jer, hand me another would ya, and grab this guy one too.” the bald man says to me on my left. I thank him for the beer and he asks me where I’m from.

We discuss southern California and their beer scene. The conversation fizzes down and we notice the game is back. We nod to each other and sip our beer and I go back to my table. The lights outside the bar are on and the night crowd begins to pour in. A group of large men enters, the leader wearing Giants gear, and the rest baseball caps. They approach where I was sitting and asked if they could join. “What are you doing sitting here by yourself?” “Watching the game, enjoying my beer,” I simply respond.

“That’s my cousin, Oz. And that guy over there is Sam, that’s Fari, and I’m John. We are from Fiji.” I had never met anyone from Fiji. All I knew about Fiji was their impeccable drinking water. “The place with the best water on Earth?” I asked jokingly. “That same place!” John responded proudful. “What brings you out here?” I took a sip of my beer anxiously awaiting a response.
“Why is anyone else up here? Work. Have to work, have to make a living.” We all jointly grabbed our beers and drank them in agreement. 

“Who’s got the next round! Oz, it’s all on you!” Fari ordered as he arranged his baseball cap once again and tucked his shirt in even more to make sure his muscle shirt was extra tight. Oz looks me over, I raise my glass, he nods and goes on to ordering us all another round. I approach the bar with Oz; I see the bald man again. “Hey, you’re back!” Grinning, he pulls me towards him. “So how old are you, you single, you ready to get married?” he dozed off and viewed the beer list.

“Nah, I’m about to graduate. Don’t know where to go from there. I’m going back home.”
“Look, take your time. At your age, I too thought that I wanted to get married and all that stuff. Take it slow. You find a good piece of ass and you—” A middle-aged Asian woman sneaks behind him and gives him a kiss on the cheek. He turns and winks at me. I walk back to the table.

From beer, it moved to old-fashioned. Five chugged cocktails later I’m outside with the Fijian cousins taking long drags of Camel menthols. “So what brings you guys out here?” I drag on my cigarette again. “Commerce,” John responds, “There’s not much out there in Fiji. Now don’t get me wrong but it is paradise. It is the most beautiful place you can ever lay your eyes on but the homeland doesn’t pay and now we are here.”

Oz stared at the concrete floor. Sam was staring at his phone. John stared right at me. “Let’s all go back inside, it’s cold out here.” We walked back and Fari examines me, “You, me, let’s arm wrestle.”

“Alright, man, but I think you’re going to beat me. Let me guess, you work out a lot?” I already knew the answer before he gave it to me. “My cousins and I are all weightlifters back in Fiji, that’s what we would do.” It all made sense, their stoutness, muscle shirts, the backward flipped baseball caps, all of it. For the rest of the night, I was slammed. We went right, left, left, right, and so forth until my shoulders became tired. In-between slams of beers and arms, I exhausted my way to leave. I think I said goodbye and stumbled on my way home.

KNOCK-KNOCK

I peek at my alarm clock, it’s 9:00 AM, I wipe my face with my hand and between my lips and nose, I faintly answer, “Yeah?”
“You alive in there?” James, my roommate, sarcastically inquires as I hear his voice smirk.
“Oh yeah!” I stretched and yawned. “Just come in, what’s good?”
James opens the door and enters with half his body, “You were smashed last night.”
“I was faded?”—I was faded.
“You were fucked up. You ate a whole lava cake. You know, the little ones Jolly brings from work.”
“I ate a lava cake. I hate lava cake. Damn, I was faded?”
“Straight smashed,” James walks towards the kitchen, “I’m gonna make some eggs, you want some?”

I get up from the bed and stare at the ceiling. Another day of procrastination and another day closer to the deadline. I walk to my nightstand and examine my belongings: cell phone, wallet, keys. I see a piece of paper sadly tucked in between the sleeves of my wallet. I pull it out and unfold the piece.

Written on one side was:
If I were caught

I have no idea what that means.

 

By Derrek G

 

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