An unknown bar in Plainfield, Illinois is near empty as Maroon 5 plays lowly from the speakers. The bartender is a dark-haired gem twenty years past her PRIME, but you can tell she had a few good years as the shell of beauty remains. Her teeth look like those good years were followed by a lot of bad ones as the meth did its damage, and life went on.
The large hands of the man at the bar shake with every breath as alcohol has consumed his motor skills. Bronze whisky in his hand, bronze Olympic medals around his neck, and amber currents flowing through his veins. Tonight, is a bad night.
Fargo: Shot of Malort for you and me darlin.
Bar Keep: I’m not drinking that nasty shit.
Fargo: Fine, shot of Malort for me.
The bartender pours a single shot of the horrible tasting Chicago staple. Fargo pounds it down spinning his finger for another.
Bar Keep: I think you’ve had enough.
Fargo: I come here so I don’t have to listen to my wife bitch about bills, and my job. How about you cut me a break and give me another round?
Bartenders easily swayed are as old as time. She pours him another shot.
Bar Keep: Aren’t you a wrestler?
Fargo: An Olympic wrestler. I represented this country. Now I’m the guy who opens the show in “Pro” wrestling.
Bartender: I know the feeling. I’ve been a bartender for 20 years and here I get the opening shift where I get no customers, no tips, and I have to do all the prep work for the younger hotter bartenders who make all the money at night.
Fargo cracks a smile.
Fargo: Yea, something like that. You know what you call a guy who almost made the NFL but had a “knee injury”?
Bartender: I don’t.
Fargo: A gym teacher. My next match is against a guy who is a potential future gym teacher. He says he’s going to make me shit myself, from what I heard.
Bartender: Keep drinking Malort, and it’ll give you the shits first.
The bartender pours Fargo another shot.
Fargo: Can you imagine striving to be one of the best in the world at a sport only to have it taken away from you because your body couldn’t handle it? Now you put him in the ring with a master of the lockup who can twist and stretch a man’s knee to the point of critical failure. You know what I mean? I’m going to end his wrestling career before it really gets going. I’m sick of holding back. I’m sick of being…me. Why would you want to make another man shit anyway? I mean you risk getting it on you and the smell. Naw. I don’t deal with shit I deal out anterior cruciate ligament injuries. ACL’s are my thing.
Bartender: Well I don’t know about all that. What’s his name?
Fargo: Felton Bigsby
Bartender: What the hell is a Felton Bigsby?
Fargo: A Texan, should have been aborted.
Bartender: Well, they can’t.
The politics of it all goes over Fargo’s shaggy head as he sips from a glass of Bullet Burbon.
Fargo: “Bad Knees” Bigsby has a manger who will be watching from the ring apron as I lock down his clients’ legs, put pressure on the knee until I hear a “pop”, not from the crowd but from his ball joint. I’ll smile a dental pamphlet for teeth whitening style smile at his manager letting him know it’s over. I don’t care anymore….you know what I mean…I want to see others suffer. I’m sick of pretending to be a happy man.
The bartender turns her attention to her iPhone and indifference as Fargo just stares off into space. He takes a hand full of popcorn from the cardboard boat. He puts one piece on the tip of his tongue and lets the salt get soaked up. He slowly cracks his neck and fishes for something in his tight jean’s pants pocket. Seasonal depression shines from his blood shot eyes as they focus down on a piece of paper he’s holding.
Please let me help you. You’ve ignored all my calls and e-mails please call me. We can take you to gold. I know what you mean. Please 588-2300
“The Great Communicator” Burton Howell III**
Fargo: Where’s your payphone?
Bartender: Don’t you have a smart phone?
Fargo: Oh yea.
Jack pulls out his phone and begins to dial…