After Midnight

After midnight, thats when it all goes down.
When the downtrodden find the lonely in hopes of mooching a free beer.
When the room is still crowded but the space between people is as dark and long as the wet walk home on a rainy night.

After midnight, when honest folk are asleep and the disturbed and sleepless seek refuge in a glass of intoxication and some meaningless laughter.
All assembled in a house built to allow the broken spirits of lost men and abused women to find one another in the dark and decide which is the more unfortunate.
Misery loves company and there's plenty of company here.

'How much to take you home? '
'More than you got Pops.' She replies.
Pops, must be the grey hair and the beard. It's the phase after the young start calling you 'Sir' and you know you're no longer accepted as one of them.

It's after midnight and everybody but you knows it.
Times running out and the bar tab is running higher than you can pay.
The Spilled glasses of beer soak the bar and wet your sleeve so that you take the stink of the place out into the night with you.

The bubbles in my beer dance for me and I giggle to myself like some lunatic sitting in the corner tugging at his restraints.
It's O.K., it's enough for now.

I stare off into space until the bartenders voice jolts me back to earth.
'How about one for the road, pop? '
'Sure'

by S.MICHAEL DOWNS

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