His wife was in the hospital, but I’d wager you’d find him at the track on any given night.  He’d walk his little shamble up to the bar and bleat “my wife is dyyyying”—always trailing—then chit-chat and an order of clam chowder and whiskey in water. “I love her so much and
she’s dyyying.”
            “So sorry to hear that, sir,” muttered, keying the order in the POS. “$5.75.”
            Wednesday.  Thursday.  Friday.  Saturday doubles.  Sunday matinees. I didn’t work Monday or Tuesday, but if I did I’m sure I would’ve caught him at the bar crying about his wife dying like any other day. “So sorry, sir. Getcha another refill?”  I wanted to ask why he chose
this—bar whiskey and clam chowder and skinny dogs on TV—over her in a hospitable room with buzzing electric beds and disposable sheets. But there it is, isn’t it?
            He was at the track the day she gave up ghost. Of course he was.  He did his walk of shame to the bar before collapsing on mold-riddled forest carpet.
            “Benji?” His lips quivering, kissing my hand as I pulled him to his feet. “Benji? You’re such a sweet boy, Benji.”
            It wasn’t half an hour before he was back in his chair, eyes cemented to a wall of TVs, bellowing “C’monyousonsabitches” at the scared, skinny dogs running in wide ovals.

B.R. Yeager tended bar until he lost his mind. His work has appeared in FreezeRay Poetry. http://bryeager.wordpress.com