Hollywood Harry’s Bar
The waitress said, “After he
retired, Hollywood Harry owned this bar. He was the greatest guy in the whole
world when he was sober. But his drinking cost him his marriage.”
The waitress said, “Harry
was always a drinker. Then he got a job being a bartender, which didn’t help.
Then she walked into the bar, got a job as a bartender, and it was love at
first sight. Didn’t help him that her mouth could suck thirty pounds of
pressure per square inch, sucking water through a straw.”
Chris said, “He married
“Whenever you do something
because it's the right thing, always ends up being the wrong thing.”
"You got it."
“Still boozing heavy, Harry
and his new bride had a fine life, even a couple kids, for a few years. Then
she got religion, went on the wagon, took the kids with her when she jumped on
board, and left him alone crying in his beer. That’s when he took to very heavy
“Harry worked weekends at
the church. An usher, he passed the collection plate. He had been in the Knights
of Columbus for
years. But at a Knights meeting his wife shows up. Looks good at first for them
getting back together. He got drunk. They start talking, voices getting louder
and louder. But then he smacks his wife in front of everybody, punches her to
the floor, and then kicks her.”
“He choked her so hard, she
couldn't speak for three weeks.”
“She have him
Janice shook her head.
"But she got an uncontested divorce. Well, she walked out on him first.
She said she was going to the store to buy some Coca-Cola and Twinkies for her
kids, only never come back.”
"He had to raise the
kids on his own?"
"He sucked at it, too.
He used to lock his daughter in the attic when he went to work. Admittedly,
being a cop, he could come home at odd hours, let her out, but she grew up
"He tried strangling
her once. Well, he beat her up bad first."
“She ran away, right?”
“Long gone and never a
"He'd bring these women
home, say to the kid, this is your new mother. Harry went through many women
who wouldn't stand for that shit.”
Chris shook his head.
"After their divorce,
he lived the rest of his life with a huge hole in his chest. He tried to fill
the hole with whisky, writing, friends, other women, and frantic trips between
Detroit, Chicago, and Youngstown, but it never went away until he put a smaller
hole in his head."
“Ate his gun,” Chris said
Janice shrugged. “It’s
what cops do when they get
Fred Zackel has published more than a
hundred stories, poems & essays, and a dozen or so novels. Most all of his
writings are on Kindle or the Web.