/ Two Bouncers

In the queue for a bar in a town I barely know, and this one looks like a mean bastard. Pinched face, pockmarked scalp, checking everyone’s IDs. He’s the type to say something about the cane, look suspiciously at it, make some quip (which I’ll laugh at, glad nothing worse has happened). I get to the front, hold out my passport. He looks at it, then at the cane, then at me. Lines on his face, the top of his head gleaming. He leans in close, confidential. ‘Let me know if you need any help in there mate,’ he says and holds open the door.

Then this other one, in my local. I’m by the arcade machine, getting ready to leave, putting on my coat, unfolding the cane. I don’t see him — don’t know he’s there — until he speaks from the shadow near the door. ‘You’re not really blind, are you,’ he says, ‘where are your dark glasses?’ The arcade machine lights run up and down, up and down. ‘What did you say?’ I ask. He repeats himself, smiling. My pulse is in my ears. I hold myself very still. My anger rolls out against him, crashing wave after crashing wave. Something flits across his gaze. He blinks.


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