Hello, hello, hello, all you rock and rollers! This is Guy Hogan reporting for duty. It’s around 4:30 a.m. here in Pittsburgh and I’m in high spirits. Why am I in high spirits? I’m in high spirits because in about 30 hours I’ll be back on my regular beat in Little Italy looking for inspiration at the bottom of a 16 ounce can of Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer as I sit on a high stool at the bar in Armand’s and watch Liberty Avenue beyond the front window and think deep thoughts about blogging and writing and life. This is no exaggeration. I actually do go to Armand’s in Little Italy for community and inspiration.
I usually find myself in Armand’s around ten-thirty in the morning. The bartenders on duty in the morning are baby boomers like me. And several of the customers who drift in this early in the morning are baby boomers, too. We have plenty to talk about among ourselves. A few of the baby boomers are veterans like I am, too. I don’t stay too long. I watch Liberty Avenue and the television at my end of the bar and I shoot the breeze and drink my beer (usually two or three cans) and eat peanuts and I’m usually ready to leave by the time the lunch crowd starts drifting in.
Has Armand’s actually inspired me to write a flash fiction story. Yes, it has: Dead Boyfriends which you will find below.
Hail to Pitt!
This is Guy Hogan reporting for the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette. Today there will be a mix of clouds and sunshine in The ‘Burgh with a high around 80 and an 80% chance of rain. The photos of the topless model used for this blog post were sampled from Egotastic All Stars. If you don’t have one already, sign up for your free email subscription today.
I sat down at the bar and the woman who sat on the stool to my left began to tell me about the death of an old boyfriend. She was a senior citizen like me and her old boyfriend had shot himself in the head. I knew her to see her. She was a regular. She used a cane. She said I knew him, her old boyfriend. She told me his name. I didn’t recognize the name. She said I’d probably seen him in the bar; and now he was dead.
The bartender came over and took my order. He brought back a large draft and he told me that sure I knew her old boyfriend. Reddish hair. A short reddish beard. Always wore a Steelers cap and football jersey.
I said I still didn’t remember him. And I didn’t.
The bartender wandered away. The woman kept talking about her dead boyfriend. I guess she had to get it out. I looked around at the other customers and then looked at her. Drank my beer and nodded as she talked. I forget what was on the televisions, one at each end of the bar.
The poor bastard shot himself in the head.
It happened only a couple of days ago. He had tried to call her on her cellphone, but since they had more or less broken up months before she wanted to make a clean break and didn’t answer the calls. Then he shoots himself in the head. She just couldn’t understand how people could kill themselves. Okay, maybe pills. But to shoot yourself in the head? To jump off a bridge or out of a window? Now he was dead.
The bartender wandered over and said he should have known something was wrong. The night before he shot himself he was in here and he asked me if I wanted some of his stuff he was getting rid of. I didn’t want it. Something told me, he’s going to do something. The bartender walked away.
The woman said, I’ve outlived all my old boyfriends. They’re all dead. One had a heart attack. Another died of cancer. And this one shot himself in the head. I just don’t understand how you do that.
A friend of mine shot herself in the head, she went on. The two kids were upstairs and her husband was in the living room. She walked into the living room and put the barrel under her chin and pulled the trigger. How do you do that to little kids? What kind of mother does that?
She finished her draft, got off the stool, slipped on her coat and gathered up her purse and cane. She said, “It’s good to see you.”
I caught the bartender’s attention and paid for another large draft beer.