Prompt: Three people walk in a bar after an earthquake
A Death of Relief
“I said nothing.”
They sit down at the table. Or what once was a table.
The second man slams down his fist.
“Why don’t you finish your sentences anymore?”
He is met by silence as the first man looks down. It continues until the door creaks open, letting in a haggled figure. Another man.
“Looks like I’m not alone.” The third man glances at the other two men gruffly, sitting down at their table uninvited. Dust racks up around them and the first man coughs slightly.
The third watches them intently before he reveals the bottle in his hand.
“You two didn’t expect to find a bartender here did you?”
“A bartender?” The two men both look up surprised.
“This is a bar.”
“Nonsense.” The first man replies.
“Blasphemy.” The second man agrees. “We are proper men.”
The third man laughs, shaking the table. He glances at them.
“You don’t look like proper men.” He pops the bottle open and places three wine glasses he seemed to have whizzed out of nowhere down on the table. “Lucky you, I brought extras.”
Pouring out three glasses, the man slides two towards the them.
“A toast to surviving.”
The two men look skeptical at first, wondering if they should touch the glasses or not. But the deep magenta liquid eventually caves their will and they each take a gulp.
“A toast to surviving.” They nod to the third man who is smiling now.
“That’s more like it.” He says, taking another swig. “So tell me, what is your story?”
“Our story?” Both men look surprised at the question, not understanding what it means.
“Oh.” They both remain silent. The third man waits patiently until the second man speaks up.
“I lost my home, all my money. Most of my family were safe, but we’re as poor as hell and starving.” He stops short, unable to proceed. The first man rests a hand on his shoulder, but keeps silent.
“And you?” The third man looks directly at the first man.
“I- I- d-don’t know what happened.” He mutters. The third man shakes his head, leaning back against his chair.
“I’ll tell you what happened to me then.” Both men nod eagerly. “I had a wife. She was a lovely creature. Her hair, her eyes, her voice. Everything was just so great and beautiful. I adored her. She was my everything. When we got married, I spent all I could to give her what she wanted. After our marriage, I tried my best to fulfill her. She wouldn’t allow for children. She thought they were annoying and getting pregnant would ruin her physique. Oh, how I adore children…” The man sighs. “Well, how unfortunate that it is for my wife to be lost in the earthquake, but I only feel relief. Do you understand?”
Both men nod reflexively.
“Now can you tell me your story?”
The first man nods and begins.