This place used to be something to see. On special nights, the chairs and tables would be cleared so couples could dance. There was a group of musicians down the street who would come in and play and play. Sure the laws said they had to stop at a certain hour and everyone had to clear out. But those were the days when a person could be a happy rebel.
The tables are cleared out now, but there’s no dancing. Looters have left the place in a miserable state. All that’s left is a few boxes stacked up in the middle. It makes for a functional table, but function isn’t what’s important. There used to be a place for extravagance: beautiful lathe work that ran up the legs. Tops that were polished so perfectly that the younger, vainer girls would do their makeup in them.
There were years, when the patrons were so numerous here, that a person couldn’t possibly remember all their names. Now, just three and their names are still a mystery. There’s the gentleman, the boxer and the flower girl. That might not be their actual stations, it’s just what they look like. Remy brings them another bottle.
“I don’t think I could drink anymore.” The boxer says.
“Sir, my boss says that if you drink it, he’s going to use it to mop the floor. Anything to make sure it never touches the lips of a single greycoat.”
They all share a laugh, not realizing the seriousness of the statement.
“Well then, we certainly can’t let something of this quality fall to that destiny.” The flower girl says as she grabs the new bottle and re-fills her glass before raising it.
The gentleman follows suit, but the boxer hesitates.
“Is there really time for this?”
“Remember who you are. Even if hell is only a couple hours away-”
A low rumbling courses through the room, shaking some dust from the rafters.
“An hour at best.” The flower girl corrects.
“Even if hell is only an hour away, there’s time for a drink, it’s our heritage.”
“I’m an immigrant.” The boxer says. “But okay.”
He joins their toast.
“To the honorable regime.” The flower girl says. The sarcasm she oozes isn’t lost on anyone.
“To the honorable regime.”
The bottle is emptied not much longer after that. It’s nice to see. Back in the day, the glass would pile up behind the bar. The alcohol would pulse through everyone’s veins and their eyes would glimmer. Sure there were some who couldn’t handle it, but even they had their place in the swirling joy of people, young and old, living out their minutes. It’s a shame that there isn’t just one more bottle.
“Well, I suppose we should be going. See you all here in a two years?” The gentleman says.
“You mean we’re not sticking together.” The boxer asks.
“Of course not. It’ll be hard enough getting out of this damn country by ourselves, let alone as a group.” The flower girl says.
“She’s right. It’ll be okay though, we know what we have to do and I have the uttermost faith that we have the knowhow to get it done. Right?” The gentleman says.
“Right.” The boxer says.
“So once again. Meet here in two years?”
The gentleman places a hat on his head. He takes a casual stroll towards the door as another rumble makes it’s way to the room. The other two follow shortly after. That was always the saddest part of those days gone by; watching everyone leave. Of course, they had their own lives to live and the little bar could only hold so many of their memories, only so many choices.
Remy returns to the backroom.
“Sir, we should really get going ourselves.” He says, his concern is genuine just like everything about him. There aren’t too many like him anymore.
“Go on.” I tell him.
“I can’t just leave without you.”
“You heard those three. It’ll be hard enough by yourself. I can’t risk you not making it.” I take a drink from the glass I shamelessly stole from my last three customers. “Someone needs to be here when they arrive in two years.”
“You really think they’ll make it?”
“I have to or else these last few moments will be excruciating.”
“Goodbye sir.” Remy says before leaving.
I lean back in my chair. It’s hard to sit as the rumbling grows louder and more frequent. But I’m able to concentrate just long enough to think about Collette a few more times.
I’m not sure if Tidbit Thursday will be a regular feature, or if it’ll be the actual name if it does. But for now, it works. Basically, I just want to be able to write something short and sweet once a week and share it with you guys. This also gives me a chance to be a little more experimental. You have been warned. Perhaps these little things will eventually become something more. I don’t know.