The Hammer – A Short Story

“He’s got a hammer!”  Jamey yelled.
Which to me seemed like an unnecessary statement, but people say stupid shit all the time under stress.
“Yeah.” Was all I could muster up.

The asshole wielding the hammer is a regular.  He is in here six days a week and rests on Sunday.  Which is fitting, because his drinking binges are biblical.  Tonight is the first time the hammer has come out.  His usual weapon of choice is a pool cue, which means he must have worked today.  Double Bourbon is a construction worker.  That is what we call him.  Bartenders tend to forget names, but rarely do they forget someones drink of choice.  This asshole with the hammer is Double Bourbon.

Double Bourbon liked to drink with Old Fashioned.  Even though they don’t really get along, they considered themselves good friends.  Old Fashioned was a drunk of thirty years or more.  He was educated and in his late fifties. Thin and frail, from a life time of booze.  Physically he was no match for Double Bourbon who was in his late forties but still in relatively good shape from his part-time construction worker occupation.  Their usual arguments were over politics or sports.  This time though, they were arguing about martial arts, or in particular martial artists.  Double Bourbon was a Chuck Norris guy, which seems like something that should go unsaid.  Even if you had never met him you could walk up and say “I bet you’re a big Chuck Norris guy?”  Old Fashioned, well he was more of a “Jean Claude Van Dame fellow”.  This combined with the fact that he drank old fashions was enough to convince Double Bourbon he was queer.

“Come here faggot!” Taunted Double Bourbon.  Swinging his hammer like a drunken carpenter.
“Go and diddle yourself you homophobe.”  Replied Old Fashion.  Only expert bar tending knowledge would diffuse this situation.

“Look, either put the hammer away or never drink here again.” Jamey said.  That should do it I thought.  Simple and right to the point.  Weirdly enough, it worked.  Had Double Bourbon had a moment unclouded with drunken rage?  Probably not.  He just realized the repercussions of his actions were too severe.  Because to a drunk all you have is your watering hole.  If you fuck up in the place where everyone tolerates you for being less than human then you really have nowhere else to go.  Those other drunks are your fucked up family and without family you are alone.  And lonely drunks don’t live long.

The sad reality is they all fuck it up sooner or later.  They just find a new watering hole and a new fucked up family to argue with.  Until there are no more watering holes to be eighty-sixed from.

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