“The man tires too hard. You can’t befriend everyone, it’s stressful. I’m telling you,” he ranted on, “One of these days, he’s gonna shit himself…I’m telling you; our lives, our relationships…It’s all one big show wherever you go. You always gotta watch what you say, and you can’t fucking play every side. You can’t bloody befriend everyone!” He ranted on, and burped, and ranted, droopy eyed, hammering his fist up and down, his imaginary gavel echoing through the air. “People try to play both sides,” he kissed his teeth, “Man…”
“Anyways, as you can see, our friend here is rather drunk. This is what we do here at the pub, Jack. We rain fire down on whoever aint around, while we’re drunk. Well, Nick does. Just look at him,” said Jon, pointing over to Nick’s droopy eyed face, as he swayed from side to side in his seat, “Just look at him, so full of fire. The boy’s got judgment day inside him,” he chuckled, as he reached over and grabbed Nick by the face, squeezing his cheeks together and shaking his head. Charlie and Jack both laughed, Nick pulled away violently, swinging his arms as he usually did…Charlie’s pint had it coming, nearly full, most of it hit the floor, for he swept it clean off the table. They were still laughing, just differently, quietly…
“What the fuck man!” said Charlie.
“Sorry, so sorry.”
“Jesus,” Jon laughed.
“He doesn’t like people touching his face man!”
“Full of fire,” said Jon.
They all laughed again, as Olivia the waitress walked over to the table, smiling at Nick, who was still saying, “Sorry, so sorry,” as he swayed in his seat.
“Nicky, it’s been a long day, hasn’t it?”
“Every day is long. Life is one long day…I’m sorry.”
“I’ll get you another,” she said to Charlie, wiping down the table. “I don’t have to cut you off, do I Nick?”
“I’ll cut myself off. I’ve cut myself before,” he burped, “I’m sorry.”
“Ok buddy, relax yourself.”
A thin and brief stroke of silence fell between them, but laughter wasn’t far.
“I don’t mean to be judgmental, I just am. It doesn’t always bring me pleasure, just sometimes…” said Nick, as he retired his head from swaying and dropped his eyes.
“Dude, are you crying?”
“I don’t know what’s happening,” he whimpered.
“It was just a pint of beer Nick, no need to tear up,” Jon laughed. “Let’s go for a smoke.”
Out on the sidewalk, Nick began to sway once more, drunkenly lighting his cigarette and staring at the sky.
“Lotta hot chicks in this area,” said Jack, “but parking’s a bitch.”
“So sick of it all,” said Nick, grunting and spitting. “This whole fuckin…” He paused, his mouth partially open with the signs of a fresh rant ready to erupt, and his eyes fixed hauntingly on the grass across the street.
“Whole what?” said Jon, as he followed Nick’s stare and spotted the rabbit that was sitting on the grass. Without a word, Nick dropped his cigarette and went running after it. “And there he goes,” said Jon, “Just like back in the day.”
“Is he okay?”
“Oh yeah, pretty sure his troubles are forgotten at the moment. I always thought he’d be happy living on a farm, where he could chase rabbits all the time.”
“Was he really crying?”
“Who the hell knows,” said Jon, “Who the hell knows?”
They finished their cigarettes and went inside. Nick did not return to the pub.