He sits hunched over, bar stool. Room dim, lights scarce, his arms resting at the table he’s hunched over. He walked in. His shoes are gray suede. Socks tightly bound to his ankles, leaving their impression. Pants tight around the waist, white, creased when first purchased, but the crease faded as years went on. A belt, cinturon, brass buckle bound by makeshift loophole. Arma virumque cano flavum qui nunc est mortuus. I sing of arms and a dead white male. His shirt is tucked in, white, shell, pastel, his pouch of belly folded over and under the belt. His elbows ache at the table. A brush of the hand across an anxious forehead. Bead of sweat, or moreso a remembered mark of dried sweat scraped by poor fingernails. Aliquid ardet. Something’s burning in the kitchen. A man walked in. All things made are made on purpose. The TV is on for the dog who feels lonely when no one’s around. He’s waiting for something to happen. A coat draped over scrawny shoulders. Elbows once padded are now thinning. In some lights the coat is green, in other lights it is gray. His elbows ache at the table still. We don’t speak of certain things. Bar stool. Dim light. Pool table behind him. No one is playing and yet looking at it brings back the memory of sound and feeling. Dark green felt table, the balls are kept hidden underneath. Four booths, one quite larger, one quite smaller. The bottles behind the shelf are all half empty, or half full. A bathroom in the rear, and the bartender at the other end of the bar attending no one. He breathes. A man walks in. The last whimper of mediocrity. His watch, his reloj, his band, leather, watch face staring back at him. Ticking, reminding, always louder than it needs to be. Quiet. Echo in the dark, laughter in the dark. The room seems to have gotten dimmer, but the door has only just closed. The cage door is always open. The door closes. Two now seated, another in the restroom. Bartender attends to no one. The TV plays for lonely dogs who feel uncomfortable when it gets too quiet. He experienced the extreme quiet of the building. What happens in this room happens elsewhere. A man walked in. We don’t speak of certain things. Obesa cantavit, the fat lady has sung. Canto, canto, we all sing in a cantamos. Cantavit, obesa. Homme, man, Homer, he has sung though blind. His elbows ached at the table still. Tiffany’s painted glass hung up on the ceiling, lighting the pool tables and the booths. The bartender moves forward. He sits down and attends to no one. All gathered in a similar or aspiring nature. Clinging to inches of the past that help to determine how we slink forward. A series of A, E, I, O–the pattern made by logicians. One goes backward and forward, and the other seeks to go left but is hindered by right. Immortalizing itself behind minute gestures validated by others. He leans forward at the table. The room is quiet, spare the TV. There is no dog here and now someone is talking, but as he talks the TV drowns him out. A game is on. The kitchen is on fire. And one fell swoop, the game is concluded, one man leaves the bar, having not bought a single thing. The team that won was a bit washed up. He walks in. Hunched over at his barstool. He stares into a glass. Half empty? No, half full. Non sequitur. A colloquialism as old as time itself. Time which moves both forward and backward. He’s tired. He wonders what’s going on outside. Everything that happens in here happens outside as well. The TV changes channels at another man’s request. Rise, O Lord! O God, lift up your hand! Forget not the afflicted! Demitrius seeks the friendship of the Jews. Frogs cover Egypt. Frogs die. Plague of sciniphs. Plague of flies. Seventh seal, silence, and so came forward seven angels, all carrying trumpets. The TV volume grows louder. Whirl your liquor round like blazes. Do ye think I’m dead? A man walks in. The TV volume stays the same, and then it’s muted. Seven trumpets play to the tune of something we’re all familiar with. The being which exists finds itself in a room of beings who also exist. He hunches over. Finds his legs fallen asleep. Prostrate, he stands up now. He leans forward. The bar tender rinses a cup and pours a drink, and then another, one for him and then for another. The other drinker drinks and the bartender follows. Shots poured from the bottle into the glass and into the mouth as though it were cast from a great mountain burning with fire which was then cast over the sea. The earth to be burned up. The earth to be burned up. The sea (liquor) became blood. A friendly piss at the urinal, he sojourns from his seat. He finds himself in the restroom. He’s pissing. A man who’s been shitting now farts and grunts. And the man who was once sitting at the bar and found himself in the restroom zips up his pants and washes his hands only after they’ve touched the zipper and the buckle. Cinturon. He goes back to the bar. A glass poured at his seat. The bartender looks towards him with gray eyes, gray in some light, green in the other. The other man has gone. The TV has been turned off. More people have entered. He sits down again. He leans forward. Hunched again. Although the music plays and although the people talk the biblical silence emerges from the cup. Horses made ready for battle; he reaches his hand forward. Ra vera, potus bene. Ora! Ora! Unclean cuticles, clean spirit. There’s dirt under your fingernails and yet no one notices, not even him. He picks up the glass and takes a drink. He—

Britain Rodriguez is a writer and painter from Santa Ana, California. He has had work published in The Senseless Words, as well as Fullerton College’s literary journal LiveWire. He is currently working on a stage adaption of Marquis de Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom, as well as an as of yet untitled maximalist novel. IG: @unitedstatesgovernmentofficial

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