by April 3, 2015 0 comments

there was already a line
to the back of the liquor store when he came in

the only black face in the entire place

we were somewhere in the upper middle
drunk from an afternoon in the grassroots tavern
but wanting more to kill the night

the wine store kept the smaller bottles of alcohol
behind the counter at the register

it was the store’s way
of teaching drunkards the value of patience
or to stop them from being so damned cheap

he found me right away

my wife claims that i have that kind of face
it’s welcoming and the antithesis to the fiber of my very being

he said, hey man, you know how it is
then started motioning up toward the register

of course i knew how it was
but something about him rubbed me

it was rare that i found a face in this world as welcoming as mine
most people were ugly without even trying

i said, i know how it is, man
that’s why i’m standing here with all of the other stiffs

i said, getting in front of me won’t help your cause any

he said, look, man

so i said, why don’t you go and ask each
and every person standing behind me
if they’re cool with you cutting then i’ll clear you a space

well, he just stood there with kind of a crooked grin

i wondered about the type of person
who found his face a soothing salve to come home to at night

he said, what if i just cut you in line

a man must do as he must, i answered

then he leaned in
he reeked of vodka as i reeked of beer

we were brethren of a sort

i thought to myself that i should’ve let him cut me
but then he called me a peckerwood

ain’t nothin’ but a peckerwood, he said

hear that honey, i said to my wife
now i’m the victim of racial intolerance

he went to the front of the line
cutting each and every one of us

the cashier sold him a pint of rum without hesitation

the hoi polloi held their bottles and gasped
their conceptions of law and order thrown to the dogs

someone called him an asshole
as he waved to the crowd on the way out

the woman behind me
threatened to get the manager

everyone else just stood there
checking their phones

a pack of peckerwoods

waiting on anarchy
waiting their turn in line.

editors note:

A slice without a knife; a line, a pint and a hapless pack… – mh

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