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September 23, 2002

A Jew Walks Into A Bar

So there's this guy, let's call him....Israel, lived in the same area all his life, the same place his parents lived in, and his grandparents. They've recently come up in the world, enough so that Israel was able to move into the old Balfour house at the edge of town. It's a small town, got no police to speak of, and only one bar, the Dew-drop Inn. Like it or not, when Is wants a beer that's where he goes. It's not what you'd call a fancy place, and the clientele is kinda rough. They tried to kick Is around when he first started coming in after work. Is ain't real big, but he's wiry, and he took up boxing lessons a while back. After he bloodied a few noses, they mostly left him to drink in peace, and every now and them a couple of them might even nod when he came in.

There is this one old drunk, Yasser, that just hates the sight of Is though. He used to live on part of the Balfour property, till the court awarded it to Is. He didn't fuss much at the time. When you live in a shack, drink all your money and beat the wife regular, what does it matter where the shack is? Now, though, that's a different story. He spends most of his time down at the Dew-drop, drinking down at the end of the bar with a couple of his cronies, staring into his whiskey. Every now and then he tries to tell some of the other regulars what a great man he'd a been if the courts hadn't screwed him, how rich he'd be otherwise. They've heard it all before, so they mostly ignore him.

People figure Yas is on disability from some government job; he gets a regular check from somewhere, that's for sure. Not that he spends it on anything useful. Drinks for himself and his posse, such as it is. Every now and then he gets a fancy new car and runs it around town. It never lasts, he just doesn't take care of it. Doesn't spend any of that check on his wife and kids, either, and he's got a passel of them, too, running around snot-nosed and shoeless, eating whatever scraps they can buy with the money they bum from tourists. Some of them go to work for Israel and his family; you can bet that burns Yas's ass something fierce.

Now whenever Is stops in after work for a beer, Yas starts muttering to his cronies, and they start drinking on his tab, ordering all kinds of fancy drinks, tossing them back. Kamikazes, mostly. And the muttering gets louder, and Yas and his boys get madder, and sloppier. Whenever Is gets up to leave, they follow him outside, all full of booze and spleen. They yell at Is until he turns the corner, then they go back inside and tell each other how they showed him.

Course, now and again they do more than talk. Sometimes they fling a bottle at Is, too. They're drunker than skunks, so mostly they miss, but occasionally they get lucky and one breaks near Is. On one or two rare occasions they've hit Is on the head, almost knocked him out.

And without fail, every time they throw a bottle, whether they miss or not, Is turns around, walks back up the street, and beats the everloving shit out of Yasser. Now the way Is figures it, it don't matter who actually threw the bottle. Yas paid for it, so it was Yas's bottle what flew by his ear, or smacked him in the temple. It's gotten to be a pretty regular thing. Yas or one of his boys flings a bottle at Israel, and Israel turns around, walks back up to Yas, who is too drunk to even run, by god, and beats on him until Yas is lying in the gutter, bleeding like a stuck pig, with his eyes rolled back in his head. Then everything is kinda peaceful for a while, until Yas heals up and pays for another round.

People used to watch a good bit. It was pretty entertaining, placing bets on where the bottle would land, or how long it would take Israel to smack Yasser into unconsciousness. Not so many do any more. It's gotten too predictable. Beside's, they're both about as dumb as stumps, when you get right down to it.

Yasser...well hell, ain't it obvious? Man get's the shit beat out of him all the time, yet he keeps on flinging. Israel? Pretty much everybody agrees that if he's tired of all them bottles, he needs to take Yasser down once and for all. Yea, some people might screech, but it's a clear case of self-defense. There's not a jury in the land that'd convict him. He'd get some bad press, but he's used to that. The editor of the local rag found out real quick that bashing Is sells papers. But Israel just beats Yas up, and goes home. And that's stupid because Yas ain't gonna stop throwing. One day he might even wise up and throw a full bottle. All he needs to do is knock Is unconscious, and he's home free. Damn near everybody in that bar what was beat up by Israel will come looking for payback on that day, and it won't be pretty. Probably trash the whole damn town, come to think of it.

People are starting to ask him. "Is, what's it gonna be? You gonna let this little shit keep taking potshots at you until he really hurts you? Until he destroys everything you worked for? Or are you going to take him out, once and for all?

Is doesn't say a thing. He looks them with his haunted eyes and keeps on walking. And Yasser? Yasser keeps on drinking.

Posted by Bigwig at September 23, 2002 01:34 PM | TrackBack
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