Gil walked over to Fleming and said “you must have struck a nerve.”
Fleming looked at him and said “no…that was foreplay.”
Gil laughed out loud. He was thinking that he wasn’t the only one who could read people. Then again, it could just be that Fleming had a delicious sense of humor.
Fleming wondered aloud to Gil, if the man on the last stool at the end of the bar would come back. She wondered if she had been too intrusive. Gil said “only time will tell.” She said “I have pretty good instincts about most things and I have a gut feeling that he will be back.”
Gil was torn between wanting the man on the last stool at the end of the bar to come back, and wanting him to be left alone. On the one hand, it would be interesting to see the interaction between a man who was fighting demons…and losing, and a woman who was like the National Enquirer. She had an “inquiring mind who wanted to know.”
On the other hand, sometimes inquiring minds are not allowed to know. Sometimes, a person is already dead inside. They’re just waiting for physical death and Gil had never seen a man who was more ready for physical death than the man on the last stool at the end of the bar.
The next night, Fleming walked in and there was the man on the last stool at the end of the bar. She sat next to him and ordered her usual Club Soda.
After he served her, Gil was covertly eavesdropping as he pretended to be wiping glasses.
Once again, without looking at her, the man on the last stool at the end of the bar said “do you have any more questions…about my story…or my heart?”
She looked at him and said “do you have any more insults?” He motioned to Gil for another drink and said “stick around. I’m sure I can cut you down to size.”
Fleming didn’t miss a lick when she said “take a break. You don’t have to be a prick every day.”
As Gil poured another glass of whiskey to the man on the last stool at the end of the bar, he knew he was witnessing a game of “one-up-man-ship.” It was just a matter of who won and he was giving them even odds.
Staring at his drink, the man on the last stool at the end of the bar turned to Fleming and said “you remind me of someone.”
Fleming asked who, and he almost inaudibly said “someone I used to know.”
His answer was fraught with obvious pain and anguish and it was clear that the man on the last stool at the end of the bar was not one to bare his soul.
Still, Fleming knew that he had a story but for now, she would be patient.
Her sense of humor again caught Gil by surprise when she asked the man on the last stool at the end of the bar “so…should I call you Mr. Prick or do you have an actual name?”
Gil hoped his little snicker couldn’t be heard.
The man on the last stool at the end of the bar, stood up, took a twenty out of his wallet, tossed it beside his empty glass, turned to Fleming and said “My name’s Forrest Gump. People call me Forrest Gump.”
To be continued______________________