The Loser: Part 1


Pops was a bartender here back in the 80′s. He was the father of four. Three of them drug addicts, the other being Arnie, my uncle, who is now The Loser’s lone bartender.
One day, a beer bottle broke over his head while he was working and a piece of glass cut him good. He would get around in spite of his eye.
Sometimes an unknowing family ventured into The Loser. They’d think it’s quaint or something, strutting into a dive bar with a kid “on break” from college. They’d ruin the very atmosphere they’re attracted towards.
So they sat next to me of course. Uncle Arnie ignored them. The suburban-brat-child tried ordering an “abortion.” The cheeky father laughed and asked for the same. Uncle Arnie turned around from his imaginary business.
Get the fuck out.
As the duo shuffled out the door yelping about how “no one on the internet” will ever see a good review of this place, I started getting an awful headache. That wanna-be edgy middle-aged father mentioned the internet in such an unfamiliar way, with the kind of tone that implied a successful wielding of power.
Uncle Arnie knew the antidote to my ailment. A pint of lager in a glass which has never been washed. A special glass saved just for me. The dirt minerals or the unknown whatever stained within did something to dull the pain.
It still wasn’t enough. I sat there, at the edge of my stool, waiting for nothing. It was noon, as I could hear those church bells chime their extra tolls only a block away.
My uncle and I would get along because we both don’t talk much. We never really needed to communicate with words.
I often lied to myself. The only one I never lied to was the only one I could trust. A stuffed animal in the form of a bear, under a broken floorboard beneath my unmade mattress back at home. I had to hide him from Arnie’s pill-head sister who gave birth to me.
I lit up a cigarette. I looked around inside The Loser and realized that life could be worse. I could picture him with his crooked, soft brown eyes, his pudgy belly, and his stubby arms. Even though my relationship with him was a secret, it wasn’t because I was ashamed. I kept him secret in order to protect him from this grimy world. And he protected me from myself.
As I took my final drag, Arnie gave me a foreboding look. I thought he was angry about me smoking in the bar. Sometimes he would get upset about it and blame it on the owner noticing the smell. I knew he wasn’t mad because it was against the rules, but because he was worried about my habits. One time when he was really drunk, he told me that drinking had a purpose, but that tobacco was a pointless, overly addictive drug. I knew it was really the smoke I exhaled that was bothering him. The sight of smoke around a relative reminded him of the 80′s, when he witnessed his brothers succumb to the crack epidemic.
He said nothing that time about me smoking a cigarette. I looked at him as he stood there silently. As soon as I opened my mouth he spoke.
Your mom called.
He didn’t have to say anything else. Without a word, I left cash on the dusty bar and walked out the door.

About Sean William Lynch
Sean William Lynch is a poet from New Jersey who was born in 1992. Lynch's first book of poems "the city of your mind" was published in 2013 by Whirlwind Press. Frank Sherlock, the poet laureate of Philadelphia, called Lynch's debut poetry book "visionary." CA Conrad claimed that the book was "marvelous!" S.W. Lynch's writing has been featured in numerous publications online and in print, including Milkfist, Poetry Quarterly, and Tincture Journal.

4 Responses to The Loser: Part 1

  1. Peruzzi says:

    Good narrative. An overwhelming desire to get out would be the only redeeming quality produced from exposure to that environment. .

    • S. W. Lynch says:

      Exactly, the character talks more explicitly about wanting to get out in the second part which I will be posting around midnight tonight. He ultimately does get away, but not in the way that one would conventionally think.

  2. Sandi says:

    I like the picture you’ve painted, here. Nicely done without overdoing any part of it. And I’ve never heard the smoking v. drinking thing put that way. Cool.

    Thanks for checking out my site. :)

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