A to Z 2017: JERICHO

"What's your name?" He had seen the man come in earlier with a group of friends. The loud, rowdy type he assumed, but they hadn't yet stirred up any commotion. Apparently the need to split off from his entourage to join him at the bar to strike up a conversation struck his fancy. The man's breath wreaked of liquor and cigarettes, but he figured his own wouldn't be much better. He couldn't even remember the last time he had brushed. "You can talk, can't ya, Buddy?"

With a sigh, he replied. "Yes, yes I can." His words came out low and raspy. It didn't seem to matter how much booze he knocked back, his throat was always yearning for more, just as parched as his chapped and cracked lips. Never satisfied. He turned his attention away from the television mounted above the bar. Rows of luscious liquids displayed underneath, positioned on shelving with mirrored backs. Always tantalizing. His own reflection caught in the mirror, however, not so much.

"Then speak up! What do I call you by?" The persistent drunk must have caught a better glimpse of his visage in the dim lighting, his goofish smile wavering.

He gave a look to the bartender for assistance, but he was busy wiping down the counter at the far end of the bar. Blissfully ignorant. Or playing it off as such. "Jericho." He returned his stare to the man befriending him. Again, the man's expression faltered. "Yeah, I know I'm pretty. But I'm not in the mood to dance. Besides, the news is on." He threw back another shot of whiskey, slamming the glass on the counter harder than normal in an attempt to signify he wasn't going to put up with the bartender's bullshit. He wanted another refill.

Jericho caught the drunk seeking some kind of guidance from his friends, who appeared to be goading him. The rest of the man's party situated around a small, square table, multiple empty glasses adorning it. He paid little attention beyond that. He felt certain there was about to be a shift in mood.

"Dance?" The man scoffed, scratching his balding scalp underneath his cap. "What kind of name is Jericho?"

"The kind of name given to a man like me." He rapped a knuckle on the countertop.

"Man...," the drunkard paused, "I'm not quite sure you qualify as a man. You're one ugly, sorry son-of-a-bitch."

"Take a picture if you want a keepsake or aide for when your wife refuses to fuck your arrogant ass, because she's already spent from the sexcapades with the local paperboy." He didn't miss a beat. He was sure that last comment had the potential to trigger his opponent into taking a swing. Instead, it just rendered the man speechless.

The other three men from the patron's original table, however, simultaneously slid their chairs back and made their way to join them at the bar. Two was a couple, three was a crowd, but Jericho wasn't quite sure what five made.

More bodies. That was a fact.

Thanks for reading! What did you think about the piece? Any constructive criticism is welcomed!