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In Fletcher’s Honor

In Fletcher’s Honor

by Geoffrey Jones

So I’m here again at The Raven waiting

For my wife to join me for dinner… The

Bar is a little slow tonight… It seems that

The world hasn’t quite gotten back up to

Speed since masks became a vital part

Of everyday living… My favorite waiter

Fletcher passed away last month… Like

So many others he couldn’t catch his breath…

The place isn’t the same without him… The

New guy behind the bar is named Edward…

He’s a nice enough guy for sure… But he’s

No Fletcher…

 

I order a Martini… It’s my pain killer of

Choice… Sometimes a Martini is my

Appetizer, entrée, and dessert, depending

On the mood I’m in… But I’ll save my

Wife from the boorishness and the slurred

Speech… I’ll take it easy tonight…

 

It’s at times like these… Alone and idle…

That I often find myself talking to you

Know who… The Commander in Chief…

 

No, I’m not freakin’ crazy…It’s not some

Earth to Mars connection…And I don’t

Believe in UFO’s… But God does tend

To pop in for a chat from time to time…

And most especially when I’m here… At

The Raven Grill… And when He shows

Up I listen…

 

God: “So tell me Geoff, are you pleased

with yourself?”

 

Me: “What d’ya mean?”

 

God: “Well, you’re moping around and don’t

seem to be having much fun. What can I do for

ya?”

 

Me: “I dunno know. I’m aware that the clock

is ticking. It’s a quarter till midnight if you

know what I mean.”

 

God: “Of course I know what you mean. I’m

God for Christ’s sake. Wake up.”

 

Me: “Well the whole goddamned world is

falling apart.”

 

God: “Watch your language, Geoff.”

 

Me: “Sorry about that. Anyway, are you

paying attention to what’s going on down

here?”

 

God: “Paying attention? Are you kidding me?

I set everything in motion.”

 

Me: “You mean to tell me that you’re

responsible for all this. The disease, the

wars, good versus evil. All this stuff?”

 

God: “Nope. You’re responsible. I provided

you with options.”

 

Me: “I was afraid you were gonna say that.

Hey, give me a second to clear my thoughts.”

 

God: “Take all the time you need.”

 

Man, I wish I had a smoke… Nasty habit that

I kicked years ago but sometimes I get the urge

To light one up… A Martini and a cigarette

Are the perfect match…Edward sees my glass

Is empty and begins to shake another see-thru

Without asking if I want it… His intuition is

Right…

 

I sip the drink and mull over my options…

Do I eat the olive now or wait until the last

Drop of vodka is gone… Life is filled with

Tough decisions like this… It’s my choice…

 

I once dated a girl who asked me if I would

Convert… We might have had a future

Together but I told her “no”… Conversion

To me seemed like shopping at Neiman’s

For a better version of God… As houses of

Worship often become discount stores where

Salvation is sold by clerics who forgot why

They were there to begin with…When you

Get right down to it God is God no matter

The brand or flavor… And all the rest of this

This stuff is background noise and window

Dressing… I made my choice… I exercised

My option…

 

God: “Excuse me Geoff… Welcome back.

You’ve had plenty of time to gather your

thoughts.”

 

Me: “Oh. Sorry. I lost track. It’s easy to do.”

 

God: “I know. I know. It seems like it was

only yesterday that I created the universe. Now

that was a helluva project, let me tell ya.”

 

Me: “Look, here’s the deal. My bones ache.

The stock market’s a mess. There are things

to do. Places to visit. Apologies to be made

to people I’ve hurt.”

 

God: “Jesus, stop your whining. Don’t be

a jerk. Do you know how lucky you are?

Take a look around?”

 

Me: “Yeah, but…”

 

God: “There’s no ‘yeah, but’ to it. Your life is

the result of the choices you made. Deal with it.”

 

Me: “Yeah, but…”

 

God: “Did you hear what I said? I’ve had

enough of this already.”

 

Edward: “Geoff, you okay. You look pale.”

 

Me: “I do? I was lost in thought. You don’t

wanna know what I was thinking?”

 

Edward: “Didn’t mean to pry.”

 

Me: “No worries.”

 

My cell phone rings. I’m certain it’s my wife.

 

God: “Are you gonna pick that up, or what?”

 

Me: “Hello. Is that you? You running late?”

 

Wife: “Traffic. I’m fifteen minutes away. See ya’

soon. Order me a Cosmo.”

 

Me: “Okay. Keep it in the road.”

 

Hmm… There’s no sign of God… Where’d

He go… Maybe He’s using the men’s room…

Or there’s a good chance I pissed Him off and

He’s had enough of me for the day…

 

Edward slides another drink in front of me…

So much for moderation… My table manners

And speech will suffer tonight… But my wife

Will grit her teeth and bear it… I hope without

A scene…

 

There’s an attractive middle-aged blond sitting

At the bar just a few seats away… She’s dripping

In diamonds and wearing a sequined MAGA cap…

Quite the fashion statement, I suppose… She

Smiles in my direction… Lucky me… But my

Libido’s been in lockdown for years… And I’ve

Got enough on my plate without fouling off wild

Pitches in the bottom of the ninth… Settle down

Big boy… Use your brains…

 

Damned MAGA cap… When exactly did

We stop being great… Beats me… I shiver

And shake… My mind wanders…

 

*****

 

And the perp with the orange hair and

Jump suit waves a magic wand over a

Top hat and produces a dead rabbit from

Within… Political prestidigitation… It’ll

Keep you on your toes… LMAO at this

Three ring circus…

 

As a man bereft of honor or virtue claims

That “I alone can fix it”… And indeed he

Has… He’s fixed outcomes and results

That run contrary to tradition and the most

Noble of our convictions… It’s the Big

Orange that needs fixing…

 

And there might not be a way back from

Here… As invertebrates and deplorables

Pay homage to the autocrat with extra wide

Pants… And exceptionally long neck ties

That obscure a midsection of seismic

Proportion that implodes beneath the

Weight of its own deceit…

 

And in the end, you are what your rap

Sheet says you are…

 

*****

 

God returns from the men’s room…

 

God: “For Christ’s sake Geoff. What are

you worrying about that guy for? I’ve got

my eye on him. I’ve got a lien on his soul.”

 

Me: “Wow. That’s extreme. But you get

what you deserve, I guess.”

 

God: You got that right. So, Geoff, what am

I gonna do with you?”

 

Me: “Well to be honest, I could use a little

direction. All this religious stuff and the politics

have me scratching my head. Oy, the bickering.

Everybody hates everyone else.”

 

God: “Yeah. It looks pretty bleak. Not to

worry, though. I have everything figured out.

All this chaos is a distraction, but I’ll have

Things cleaned up in a year or two.”

 

Me: “What about now? What am I supposed

to do in the meantime?”

 

God: “That’s easy. Do your best.”

 

Me: “You cannot be serious. That’s the sum

total of your wisdom? That’s it?”

 

God: “Hey, mind your manners. What did you

expect me to say?”

 

Me: (silence)

 

God seems to be losing patience with me.

 

God: “I’ll see ya’ here again next week. Don’t

be late. And check the cynicism at the door.

Do you copy?”

 

Me: “Understood.”

 

Edward returns with another see-thru and a cup

Of black coffee which I slowly sip… It tastes

Awful but it must be endured… My wife gets

Pretty testy when I start to speak in tongues…

 

She approaches the bar… I greet her with a kiss…

Edward delivers a Cosmo right on cue… We toast

Each other… We toast Edward… And the three of

Us toast Fletcher… RIP…

 

God: “Be of good cheer.”

 

Me: “And you as well.”

 

Wife: “What did ya’ say, hon?”

 

Me: “Nothing. Not a thing.”

 

I slowly retrieve an olive from the bottom of

a slender glass…

 

Like everything else, it’s a choice I make.

 

It’s my option after all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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