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|deacon reuel arsenault||
Posted on: May 14 2017, 11:45 AM
the animated world
oh i tried so hard to change
is it too late to believe?
but the devil locked my door
Deacon came through the swinging door from the back just as the jukebox was switching records. Sounds of clinking glass and low conversation filled the bar before the twangy notes of an old Loretta Lynn song buffered it. Although he couldn’t quite make out the words, Deacon knew what the song was by heart -- from all the hours he had spent at work even if he hadn’t personally selected every record in that old music machine. Even now, when closing time was drawing near and there was still a laundry list of tasks to finish before he could leave, Deacon looked out over his bar with a sense of pride. It had been a long time coming. A long time of hard work and far more jars of coins than he would care to admit. The old three story building of red brick had been built in the early 20th century, marks of the old industrial neighborhood still markedly visible in its architectural style, had definitely shown its age.
Deacon didn’t think it had seen a single renovation since it had been built but the day he had signed the papers and received the keys had been the best day of his life. If there was ever a time he could look back on and be proud of himself, it was that day more than any other that stuck out to him the most. Even more than finishing culinary school, definitely more than getting out of prison early. Truth be told, there wasn’t much in his life that he was particularly proud of at all but the bar…the bar he was proud of. It had taken more hard work and more than a little elbow grease to get it up and running and, at some points, it seemed like it never would be. Now, though, even tired and ready to turn out the lights, he was caught off guard by it all. The exposed brick and wrought iron accents, the jukebox and long, wooden bar of repurposed black oak, the mismatched light fixtures from the twenty’s – all of it was his.
Across the walls, in frames that didn’t match but somehow still worked together, were old tintypes and various black and white photographs of the city. He’d bought them in bulk from an antique store but it had been his sister who had put them up. If you’d had asked him six months ago about leaving New York City for anywhere other than Louisiana, he would have given an emphatic no. Period. End of conversation. Somehow, though, California was growing on him. Little by little. Replacing the employee tending bar, Deacon made swift work of clearing the dirty glasses beginning what closing tasks he could do. Which wasn’t much aside from cleaning, but between it and the few customers still coming up for drinks, it passed the time. Slowly, but surely, the atmosphere changed in the bar. It gradually grew quieter, the songs on the jukebox turning slower and sadder. Only a few stragglers remained, waiting for last call.
He knew from experience that it was going to be one of those nights that the lonely ones came out for company. As tired as he was, this was one of the reasons he’d opened a bar instead of a full-fledged restaurants. He knew what it was like to need a kind ear to listen when you felt like your very existence was more of an inconvenience to the world. So, he waited, prolonging the inevitable closing bell…just in case.