They sat in the bar watching Wheel Of Fortune on television up in a corner close to the drop ceiling. Vanna turned letters. Pat made some witty remark. The contestant spun on Bankrupt, leaving him with nothing. He was a service man. All dressed up in his Air Force uniform from Lexington, Tennessee. The old lady thought he was cute. Her husband just ordered another beer. He shook some salt in it and watched the foamy head rise. She kept on drinking gin and tonics.
Isn’t that a shame, she said. A military man goes broke on Wheel Of Fortune. It’s bad enough he has to go fight a war,she shook her head. A gray hair fell to the bar.
He ain’t got no war to fight in, the old man said. We’re not at war right now, he laughed. Next you’re going to tell me he was drafted, he pulled out a comb and slicked his greasy salt and pepper hair back.
Well, he’s in the service isn’t he? You’re always saying we’re fighting somebody somewhere, she slurped her drink.
Not him. I’m talking about Special Operatives. Navy Seals. I’m talking about men who don’t have time for Wheel Of Fortune, he stated. They’re probably killing somebody right now as we speak, he tipped his stein to a flag on the wall above the mirror.
There they looked at each other in the glass. Him, with lines in his face. Her, with drawn on black eye brows. They just stared for a moment.
Do you still find me attractive? she asked. He sat still. I found this book at the library on senior sex. Said couples in nursing homes were still doing it, she smiled. He took another drink of beer. Said couples could be happy forever. What do you think about that? she asked.
I think I need another beer.