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Can’t believe she threw me out, all because I kicked the cat once. Maybe a few times. Damn thing should’na gotten in my way, running under my feet like it’s in charge. I’m in charge.

Marcus thinks he’s in charge here, just because he knows how to pour drinks. Better pour ’em faster if he wants me to tip tonight.

Aw, what am I saying. He’s the best bartender I’ve ever known, ‘sides his dad. Now that guy knew his stuff.

Those guys in the corner, they don’t know jack. Think they deserve respect just because they wear leather and ride around town all tough. They wanna see tough, they oughta try teaching middle school science for thirty-seven years. That’ll make you tough.

Teachers are the real heroes. Teachers and firefighters and soldiers. At least they were back in my day. And Batman. Batman woulda been able to handle a room full of twelve year olds. Those guys in that fake leather couldn’t.

Who’s the heroes nowadays? Fake wrestlers on TV. Computer-generated monsters. Rappers with their pants around their ankles. I was a hero, when I was younger. I was tough. No one messed with me.

The old lady should’na messed with me either. Wanted me to fix the TV so I asked her, do I look like a damned electrician. If she didn’t want a smartalec response, should’na asked a smartalec question. Woulda kicked her too but that’s not what heroes like me do.

Those guys in the corner, they ain’t heroes. Not the way they’re treating that lady.

Got my attention now, doncha? If I was twenty years younger, I’d have your rear ends out on the pavement faster’n… well, faster’n something. I put up with Joey Albertson’s crap for four years, and you ain’t nothing compared to him.

Look at that, the way he’s got his hand on her. That’s no way to treat a lady.

Ain’t nobody coming to her rescue? Bunch a cowards is what they are. Old drunk cowards, afraid to stand up for truth and justice and a lady’s honor.

Well, I ain’t a coward. I may be old, and I may be drunk, but I ain’t gonna let nobody treat a lady like that.


Damn barstool’s higher than I thought. That’s okay, just gonna pick myself up and show those jerks who’s boss.

Old? He thinks I’m old? Yeah, I could be his father, but he ain’t no spring chicken either. Which makes him old enough to know better than to treat a lady like that.


Is that the best he got? My granddaughter can hit harder than


A lady’s honor is at stake. I can’t let him


Damn that burns my eyes! Lady, where are you going? Why are you leaving with him?

Another drink, Marcus. I swear, I was just trying to help. How was I supposed to know that was her husband and they were just joking around?


Make that a double.

E.D. Martin is a writer with a knack for finding new jobs in new places. Born and raised in Illinois, her past incarnations have included bookstore barista in Indiana, college student in southern France, statistician in North Carolina, economic development analyst in North Dakota, and high school teacher in Iowa. She draws on her experiences to tell the stories of those around her, with a generous heaping of “what if” thrown in.

She currently lives in Illinois where she job hops while attending grad school and working on her novels. Read more of her stories at her website.

Writer with a knack for finding new jobs in new places. Read more of her works at

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