A Guy Walks Into a Pub By Steve Vermillion

February 11, 2016 Comments Off on A Guy Walks Into a Pub By Steve Vermillion

A guy walks into a pub and orders a pint from the horse who is taking the place of his friend the Barman, the Barman who is off celebrating the Barman’s Holiday. The horse is a fool, and in this constrained, narrow space, he is hobbled and he is more than awkward and self-conscious. His hooves make him clumsy and unable to turn around, restricting him to walking backward and forward, and his tail keeps getting in the way. Sadly, he can only fart and make horse noises with his lips when customers speak of lost love, missed opportunity, and sports. Worst of all though, he can’t stop shitting on the floor. The drunks find him rude and oafish. They mistake him for someone who doesn’t care, someone who isn’t hurt by their remarks.

Just over there, near the lady’s room sipping her ale, sits a slack-breasted, wrinkle-endowed Lady Godiva, her hair cropped boyishly short. She is past her prime. Still, through the lingering smoke of her cigarette, she smiles and demurely winks at the horse. She is here hoping for her big comeback, foolishly praying to be rediscovered, a curtain call in this, her post-equine dotage. She is old, useless, and ugly; the horse, near-sighted and forgetful. He recalls nothing, no one, and the hula skirt the barman has forced him to wear looks mawkish, clownish, stinking and itchy.

There is nothing more to it than that: A horse. A lady. Alone.

Still, if they could, they’d be young again, be somewhere else again. They’d ride that ride over the cobblestones in celebration of the Trinity Great Fair. The eager, cheering crowd; the shop keeps; the milliners; the street sweepers; the gut wagon man; the surgeon; the cartographer; the children with molasses faces; the perverts; the fops; the dandies; the bloodletter; the macaronies; the fools and the Draymen; the Shire-reeve; the Ladies; the Bishops; the scrivener; and the King’s guard . . . all of them, glaring in awe once more. Just one more time. After all, it’s only metaphor. All symbolic. A lesson for the learning. A Three-Penny Opera. A tale of parable proportion.

© 2015 Steve Vermillion

Steve Vermillion is a writer and editor living in Northern California. He is a contributing editor at tNY Press. His recent work appears in print and online in a variety of magazines. In 2014, he was nominated for a ‘Best of the Net’ award in Short Stories, as well as receiving Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train Magazine’s Short Story of the Year.

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