Chapter 1:

Chapter 1

The Gentleman and Old Man

“And with that we have the sad news that the protests… Er, sorry. Riots in various cities across America with the recent election results. Reports verify that there have been muggings, vandalism and a large assortment of other crimes during these riots. Some riots have been far more peaceful such as the one in Portland but authorities’ recommend-”

“Hey bartender! Can you change the channel?” The old man called out. But there was no reply. Glancing around, the old man comes to a startling revelation; no one else was in the bar. He just sat there, hunched over beer glass in hand and a solemn expression upon his face as though his only child had just died. “Fine, I’ll just do it myself”. The old man got up and observed the empty bar; empty glasses rested on the tables, a cigarette with smoke still emanating from its dying embers laid abandoned in the an ashtray, the bathroom door lay half open, as though everyone in the bar had just disappeared. It was late Tuesday night and so not uncommon for the bar to be near empty but the utter lack of anyone, even the bar tender whom had just served him his beer only a mere hour prior, stunned him. Hobbling over to the TV he used his old style wooden cane to press the power button, silencing the news broadcast. “Heh, much better” he said with a small smile.

Once again he hobbled back to his seat. “What’s wrong old man? Miss me?” The voice came just as he was about to make contact with the barstool. He glanced over to the door, open it was. And out from the void came a sly looking man. He wore a business suit and hat, his eyes obscured by the rim around his hat.

“N-no. I was actually hoping you’d not show up”. The old man said horrified. “Aw, well gee. I was rather looking forward to our talk”. The Gentleman said with a sly smile. He slunk over the old man moving almost serpentine like. “So what’s wrong? You look rather depressed old ‘chap”. The Gentleman took a seat next to the old man.

“Nothing really. At least nothing of your business”.

“Come on now”. The Gentleman said with that striking smile, leaning closer to the old man “If something is on your mind its best to tell others”.

“I don’t need advice from a snake like you!” The old man lashed out at him. But this rise in anger did not disturb the Gentleman, or even faze him. He just sat there and stared at him.

“Well” The gentleman reached over the bar top and grabbed for the nearest bottle of alcohol he could reach as well as a glass. “I was hoping to have a simple chat but if you’re going to be like that then I guess some booze is in need” He poured himself a cup and held out the bottle. “Refill?” He motioned at how the old man had gone through about half of his alcohol prior to the Gentleman’s arrival.

“No thanks, I don’t take stolen goods.”

“Oh please you and I both know that bartender isn’t coming back” the Gentleman said with a small laugh.

“That’s not funny and you know it.”

“Aw come on old fart who cares about a little old human giving up on life?” He said with a swig of alcohol.

“I do.”

“Oh sure ya do” The Gentleman said sarcastically “I’m sure all the starving children in Africa would agree with that sentiment”. The old man bit his tongue to hold back the flurry of expletives he wanted to unleash on the Gentleman. The old man motioned to open his mouth, forming the words on his weary, crackled old lips and replied,

“You know how I feel about the situation in Africa and you know I would do something IF I could but-”

“You can’t yeah yeah. Heard it a million times.” The old man merely shook his head in frustration.

“Then what is it that you want?”

“To talk.”

“Then leave there’s nothing to talk about!”

“I disagree with that.”

“Ok then let me rephrase it. THERE. IS. NOTHING. I. WANT. TO. TELL. YOU!”

“Sounds like bullshit” The gentleman said with a smile, drinking some of his alcohol. “You absolutely sure?”

The old man lamented for a moment. There were indeed a large amount of things on his mind. Even though he knew he had to get these out of his head he knew that he could not lose to the man beside him.

“Why should I tell you anything?”

“Because I’m your only friend?” The Gentleman said with a smile that could instill fear into weaker hearted people.

“You’re far from my friend.”

“Then acquaintance it is!”

“Not that either!”


“Hell no.”

“Oh the irony with that one!” The Gentleman began laughing almost manically.

“Are you drunk?”

“A bit tipsy but not full on drunk I’d say.” The old man just responded to him with a look of pure disgust. “Hey now, no need for that look. I didn’t look at you like that when I had to drag your ass back to your house that one night.”

“That was a different time. I was young and naïve.”

“Eh whatever.” The Gentleman took off his business jacket revealing his plain white shirt underneath and threw it over into the nearby booth. “Sorry it gets so bloody hot in that thing.”

“Eh whatever” The old man said mockingly.

“Well” The gentleman said rising from his seat and began walking backwards toward the TV “Seeing as you don’t want to talk at all, I think I’ll have a friendly chat with my good friend the Television”.

“I’d rather you leave it off” The old man was watching the gentleman as he continued to walk backwards to the TV “And why are you walking backwards?”

“To practice for the role of Michael Jackson in a play” The gentleman called back to the old man, half laughing from his own sarcastic response.

“Yes yes, very funny joke.” The old man took a swig of his alcohol.

“Goddamn old man does nothing make you laugh?” The gentleman said with a swerve of his heel as he grabbed the remote for the TV from behind the counter. With another flick of his heel he proceeded to march back to his seat. “So” the gentleman promptly jumped into his seat, eager to continue the discussion. “What’s your favorite TV show?”

“I don’t watch TV.” The old man retorted bluntly.

“Oh come on” The gentleman put his arm on the old man’s shoulder in a playful manner “Everyone has a favorite TV show.”

“Good. Put it on yours.” The gentleman scowled a bit before turning the seat towards the TV and resting his feet onto the seat adjacent of his.

“Hope you like cooking shows.” He said with a small laugh, flipping through the channels before finally settling on a competition cooking show. “Hey this one’s good. The main cook cusses out everyone who enters this competition.”

“Who’d want to be on a show like that?”

“I dunno. Gluttons for punishment I guess?”

“Sounds stupid.”

“Eh, maybe” The gentleman replied with a shrug before flipping through the channels again. “Oh hey, a documentary where they debunk creationism” He glanced over at the old man and continued with a grin “Bet you’ll love this.”

“Are you purposely antagonizing me?” The old man too another swig of alcohol, finishing his glass.

“Nah, just small talking with you.”

“I’d rather you not. I just want to be left alone.” The old man glanced down into his empty glass.

“Well, being alone is fine and all but why bottle everything up?” The gentleman poured more alcohol from the bottle into the old man’s glass.

“Ugh, I just would rather keep to myself than talk about my problems.” The old man scratched at his bald head in frustration.

“Look. You can’t keep all your emotions bottled to yourself” He gave the old man a reassuring look, barely opening his sickly yellow eyes. “Tell you what, you have until I’m done with this bottle to decide if you’re gonna talk, and I’m already half way done.”

The old man took a long pause considering the words of the gentleman. The two knew each other well but while the old man had difficulties reading the Gentleman’s motives the Gentleman could read the old man like a book. He thought about the positives, negatives and any other outcome talking with the Gentleman would have.

“Ugh.” The old man made a bit of a grunt sound as he finally came to his decision. “Humanity worries me.”

“Oh? Finally talking?” The Gentleman capped his alcohol and turned to the old man. “Very well. How do they worry you so?”

“Sometimes it seems like everything is a lose-lose situation for them. Whether it be due to their own choices or pure luck of the dice it’s one thing after another, like violence and humanity just go hand and hand.” The old man laid his head back as he lets his thoughts reach him. “It’s terrifying really. No one can tell the future and I fear one day humanity may lead itself to its own destruction.” The Gentleman sat there, listening to the old man discuss his thoughts. “Well that’s a depressing outlook on humanity.”

“You wanted my thoughts, there you go.”

“Look” The Gentleman moved closer to the old man. “You need to give humanity more credit old fart. Human’s while, capable of great evil and destruction are also capable of even greater creation and kindness than any God could ever do.”

“Oh really? Name one thing humanity has done for the greater good.”

“The atomic bombing of japan-”

“That was far from good.”

“You need to let me finish” The Gentleman gave the old man a look that could melt the Artic. “After the U.S. nuked Japan, do you know what America did? They helped Japan rebuild and protected them from outside invaders.”

“Yes after killing thousands of people and forcing a new form of government onto them.”

“Ok then how about something more recent? The Haiti earthquake. Countries all across the globe came to Haiti’s aid to help them recover from that catastrophe.”

“OK! I get it.”

“See? There ya go. Jesus Christ try and have some faith in your darling little creations will ya?” The old man shot him a quick glare. “Well, I hate to do this to you but I gotta get going. Nice talking with you old’ chap.” With that the Gentleman rose from his seat, grabbed his jacket and waved to the old man as he left.

And with the closing of the door the old man was left alone to his thoughts once more.