Bar Tales

It was just talk. They spoke to each other. Some of the words made sense. Then there was just silly words and lies. Made-up stories. Whole life histories told on the spot. Didn’t add up. They were both trying to out do the other in terms of life experience. Who’d done what, where, and when? They wanted to believe these fictional tales. But, something was holding them back. It was truth.

He was famous for his story telling. She was known to tell a few tales herself. They sat at the bar with drinks in hand, telling some whoppers. The boy said he’s been all over America. Said most recently he’d been out West working on a cattle ranch in Oklahoma. He told her about drinking cowboy coffee at five in the morning. Roping steers. Said he could ride a horse bareback if he had to. Just like an Indian.

She told him she’d been out East. The short, squatty girl said she’d been working as a plus size model. Told the boy she did photo shoots in New York and was on her way to Paris.

I call bullshit on that, he said. You ain’t going to no Paris. I doubt if you’ve ever left Albion, he laughed.

Well listen to you Mr. Cowboy. I doubt if you even know how to tie a rope, she flirted. I know all about men like you. Telling women some adventure story like a romance novel you’d buy at the drug store. You think you got me fooled, but, you don’t, she warned.

The boy put his hand on her hip. She didn’t seem to mind. He looked her square in the eye and said, I been out there. I’ve seen some shit. I’ve seen men shot dead in a war zone. I’ve seen women and children slaughtered. I don’t need some woman like you telling me I ain’t seen shit, he said. I served this country. I got the scars to prove it.

She laughed. Show me your dog tags soldier, she put her hand on his chest. Show me your ID. Next you’re going to tell me you’re some kind of war hero. Ain’t that right?

That’s right. Gotta a purple-heart. Shot behind enemy lines. Captured and made a prisoner of war, he said.

I’d like to see that purple-heart, she smiled. What war were you in?

I was over in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban, he paused. Still don’t believe me? She shook her head slightly. Well, you either do or you don’t. Nothing halfway. That’s my motto. Next time I see you I’ll show you my medals.

Uhhuh, she said. Sure. Why not tonight?

I got business to take care of. Top secret. Can’t tell you, he smiled.

The two finished their drinks. He leaned in to kiss her and she turned her red cheek.

Is that all I get is some kiss on the cheek? he asked. She stared him down.

Well. ‘Least it’s something.

Yeah. It’s something alright.

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