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Archive for the ‘Fletcher’s’ Category

“I don’t care if people think differently about me because I’m black,” Lou said, half-turned on his barstool to face Murphy. “Hell, I don’t even care if they like me. They don’t have to like me.”

Murphy chuckled uneasily as the bar went quiet. Karen and Cindy had been talking but now looked over, and Emil who had been musing quietly looked up. Only Ron moved, methodically ringing up a charge and making change, but you had a sense he remained deliberate to maintain a certain calm.
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The lean, 30ish man stood on the corner, scanning the street as if looking for something familiar, as the wind whipped long blond hair in his face. Shaking his head, a bemused smile pulled a corner of his thin mouth up toward his left ear as he read the street signs. Evening commuters brushed past him as if he were a signpost or a news kiosk, oblivious to his banner headline: Where did it go? He had been away from the Financial District for years and now, after accepting a job offer, was looking for a place to celebrate. He walked around the corner, spotting an alleyway and heading for it.
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“I’ve got fifty bucks on this game,” Murphy told Ron, “All I ask is for Johnson to just keep hitting his receivers, using the pass to control the game, is that so much?”

Murphy had his elbows out wide, staring enrapt at the football game on overhead. Emil sat nearby in gentile dishevelment, nursing a pint and squinting up at the tube occasionally, while Aida sipped a glass of wine and flipped through a magazine, occasionally smiling at Ron and rolling her eyes when Murphy erupted into cheers or tirades.

“C’mon, Carter, go baby! Yeah! The Redskins got nothing.” He pounded the bar, shaking his jowls.

Ron mouthed the word “nothing!” to Aida in mock anger, and she decided it was time to give Murphy the needle. She brushed mid-length black hair back and looked at the screen then spoke slowly, the careful drawl Ron loved. “Redskins, that’s just about the worst of the nicknames, isn’t it? I mean, Indians and Braves are bad enough, but it’s disgusting that Washington, home of the federal government that directed the genocide against Native Americans, calls its team the Redskins.”
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It was Thursday shortly after 5 PM, and Ron had just finished restocking the coolers; he was ready for the evening crowd. He stopped to re-fill his coffeecup, noting the place was already half full, and took a moment to scan the customers dispersed along the bar.

Jim Garvin, the only regular in so far, had arrived early and met someone. The first thing that Ron noticed about her now was her high cheekbones. She sat erect, shoulders back, proud, with clear green eyes that watched Garvin sidelong. Crinkled skin at the back of her hands and the wrinkles on her neck and face gave her maturity, accented by silver jewelry with gaudy clear stones over her purple khaftan, which gave her a well-traveled air, rich in experience, discriminating yet vulnerable.
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