Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Last Saturday Night

by James Babbs

I remember
I was talking to this woman
trying to tell her
how good I thought she looked
I told her we weren’t used to
seeing women like her around here and
it was just about that time
when he came bursting through the door
with this big wave of excitement
rushing in behind him
he was laughing and
talking really loud and
he started buying everybody drinks
we had all called him Buck
for as long as I could remember
I guess because
he never seemed to have any
but tonight he was throwing money around
like it was nothing more than sand
he’d gathered from the playground
over at the school and
he kept saying my friends
like he wanted to give a speech
but then he’d just laugh and
buy us all another round of drinks
he threw handfuls of quarters at people and
told them to go play
something good on the jukebox and
word must have got out somewhere along the way
because people kept pouring in all the time and
whenever I found my glass empty
another drink would magically appear and
at some point during the night
I thought I heard people singing and
I don’t remember how I got home

when I returned to the bar on the following Wednesday
the bartender hurried over to me and
asked me if I’d heard about Buck
I started to laugh
thinking about last Saturday night
they found him this morning
the bartender said
I guess somebody went to check on him
because he hadn’t been to work for a couple of days
the bartender slid me a beer
then he said
I guess he hung himself in his garage
I already had the bottle to my lips and
I took a long drink

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