Whiskey and blood is a good mix.

There’s a moment in a movie ( I forget which one, but I think it was Kurosawa) where this old man is dying. There is a cherry orchard. The old man is musing. He has spent his entire life looking for a perfect cherry blossom. It’s only now, now admits, that he realizes that they were all perfect. People turn their eyes away from the horror and look for the beauty without ever realizing that they are the same thing.

I listen to Ritchie Havens in the dark and wonder about the things I have forgotten.


“Common sense. Fuck.” Macgregor took a deep pull from his beer and slammed the bottle back on the table. The room was dark and the air was more smoke than oxygen. It was one of those dank bars where sad old bastards drank during the day. Macgregor was sitting at a small table in the corner. Across from him was a man who called himself Billy Watkins. Billy looked like he belonged in a Jim Thompson novel. He had a long, angular face marked by what appeared to be a dueling scar running jagged down his left cheek. His shirt was sealed by snaps coated in mother of pearl and his jeans bore oil stains. When Macgregor had first noticed him he had been clomping across the room. His worn down boot heels had echoed and sprung as he walked. There were a hundred just like him here. Macgregor would have ignored him had it not been for his left boot. That was the thing that Mac had noticed. As the man walked every other step made an odd, hollow noise. Mac had looked down at his boots and seen that one heel was different than the other.

“What’s up with your boot heel?” Mac had asked.

“That one’s crystal,” the man had said.


“My left boot hill. It’s made out of crystal. It’s a long story.”

“I bet.”

“My name’s Billy Watkins,” the man with the crystal boot heel said.

“Macgregor. Call me Mac. Buy ya a beer?”

Then they were sitting at the table talking like men who had known each other for years.

“Common sense. Fuck,” Mac said.

“What do you mean,” Billy asked taking a puff from his cigarette.

“What’s the shortest distance between two points?” Mac took another drink, sat his empty bottle on the scarred table top and lifted his hand to get the attention of the bartender.

“A straight line I guess.”

“okay. That’s common sense, but it’s wrong. ”

“It is?”

The bartender brought two more beers and took some crumpled bills from Mac then vanished into the shadows.

“Yeah. I mean, sometimes it is. If the two points are on a sheet of paper then yeah, the shortest distance is a straight line. If they’re on a curved surface, like this planet, then that isn’t necessarily true. Sometimes the shortest distance between two points is a curved line. That’s non-Euclidean geometry.”



Billy took a long pull from his beer. “So, where you heading?”

“What makes you think I’m heading somewhere/”

“You just look like a man on his way somewhere.”

“Guess I must.”


They talked for a while. The conversation meandered between weather, politics, sports and the other crap men in bars discuss when they don’t really have anything in common. After an hour and several beers Macgregor excused himself and went back to his motel.


Whiskey and blood is a good mix.


1 Comment

  1. first paragraph pow.


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