And That Was That

by Geoff Jones

A priest and a rabbi walk into the
Raven Grill and belly up to the bar…

“What’ll you have”, asks Fletcher the
Bartender…

“A little peace of mind”, the rabbi
Replies…

“We don’t serve that here”, says
Fletcher…

They order drinks anyway…

And that was that…

***

And there are those who wonder if
There is a god when all the while the
Proof is in the pudding… The universe
Is in shambles… And they argue that
We’re in the shape we’re in because
God checked out eons ago… But
Don’t kid yourself… We wouldn’t
Survive an hour or a minute if left to
Our own devices… And therein lies all
The proof a body should need…

The flat screen near the corner of the
Bar flashes the images of the latest
Crop of presidential wannabes who are
Busily doling out their respective
Absurdities while fighting to outdo one
Another… And away they go…. Teasing
And probing partisan erogenous zones
Until someone finally screams…

“Yes”… “Yes”… “Oh my God”…“Yes”…
“Harder”… “Yes”… “Please”…

After which a Marlboro is lit in a
Bedroom somewhere… Or in the
Backseat of a car… And in conquest
Or in surrender someone just got
Screwed…

Fletcher grabs the remote control
And trolls for better news on some
Other channel…

Good luck with that…

The room is half full… Masked diners
Put on their best faces but who can
Tell… Their smiles are obscured by
The only thing that presently gives us
Hope we’ll all get through this alive…

But not everyone abides… Renegades
Abound…

And we’ve seen this sort of behavior
Before… Second hand smoke… A cough
And a wheeze… Drunk driving… And a
Mother’s grief… It’s all the same… But
By all means exercise your personal
Freedoms… Elsewhere…

But not here in this place…

And if you see things differently go
Light up a smoke at a campaign rally
And breathe deeply… It’s your choice…
But freedom carries with it a moral
Imperative… Do no harm to others…
That’s the compact we make…

And the man without a plan extolls
The virtue of voting twice in order to
Offset a rigged election … Of course
Voting twice will result in one… And
Here’s a tip for anyone inclined to
Double dip…Think twice and vote
Once… It’s common sense…

You wouldn’t set up a beach chair in a
Funeral parlor, would you…

Meanwhile life goes on… In precincts
Bereft of wisdom and wealth where
Bigotry openly thrives… And a dream…
Is a wish… Is a prayer… Never to be
Answered by scholars or a smart-assed
Pitcher in the fescue… In places
Where the twin privileges of leisure
And knowledge are routinely denied…

And then there’s the reliable insistence
Of the paradox that simply won’t go
Away… As people who are otherwise
Bright politicize the effects of gravity
And the speed of light while ignoring the
Efficacy of masks… Really… Such a tragic
Waste of life and time…

And so…

***

The priest and the rabbi rise up from
The bar.

They split the tab two ways…

“May peace be with you”, the priest says…

“Thanks for the thought”, replies Fletcher…

He reaches for the remote control and
Changes the channel…

The world fades to black…

And that was that…

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