The bar is nearly empty when 2000 walks in, shaking the remnants of snow off of his jacket. He rambles up to the bar as ramblers do, taking a seat on a stool a couple stools down from the only other patron, a frosty looking gentlemen with a salt & pepper beard. They make eye contact and trade head nods as the bartender- skinny, squirrely and occasionally shifty, asks 2000 what he’s drinking.
“Yuengling,” 2000 replies. “With a shot of Jack on the side.”
The only noise in the bar comes from one of the televisions perched above the shelf displaying the handful of domestic bottles the bar has to offer. Sportscenter is on- nerds making quips about the upcoming Super Bowl. The bartender returns with the beer and the shot.
“One more story about Ray Lewis retiring and I might commit a murder I’m not formally charged for,” 2000 says. He throws back the shot, letting out a short grunt.
“Ray Lewis didn’t kill anybody” The Only Other Patron in the Bar says.
2000 turns to him.
“He was charged with murder,” 2000 says.
“But that doesn’t mean he actually killed someone. It just means someone thinks he might have.”
“I’m not entirely sure that’s accurate.”
“Irregardless, he wasn’t formally charged. Way I see, it was all just a big misunderstanding. Which can happen on a wild night in New Orleans.”
“Irregardless isn’t a word.”
“He said irregardless isn’t a word,” the Bartender says.
The Only Other Patron in the Bar looks first at the Bartender and then at 20o0. He shrugs, then turns back to the Bartender, making a motion that he’s ready for another beer.
“Regardless, that dude was never charged with murder. He’s not a murderer.”
“But didn’t someone die and he was involved?”
“I don’t know the specifics.”
“I think that is the specifics.”
“I think he might have been in the vicinity when someone was shot outside a bar.”
“Stabbed,” the Bartender says, sliding a beer in the Only Other Patron in the Bar’s direction.
“Someone was stabbed outside a bar,” The Only Other Patron in the Bar says.
“Didn’t Ray Lewis stab him?” 2000 asks.
“I don’t believe so.”
“So why was he charged with murder?”
“Maybe he was culpable?”
“In the vicinity.”
“Well, either way, I’m sick of hearing about him, his retirement and the did he/didn’t he debate about his murder mystery. Shit’s played out.”
“It’s the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl- too much time passes. Media runs out of things to talk about.”
“That’s true. We’re only a day away from a profile on that 49er Quarterback’s pet turtle.”
“Yeah. He has this turtle; the thing is like over a hundred pounds.”
“It is. Crazy thing is, is that no one buys a hundred pound turtle. You buy a turtle and it’s usually only five, maybe ten pounds. So he must have had that thing for a while. Like at least five years. Probably more.”
“Well I can’t speak on behalf of his pet-tendin’ skills, only his football skills, and that boy has them in spades. He’s a hell of a player.”
“Goddamn rocket launcher of an arm.”
“I don’t have a problem with that.”
“Just doesn’t look right.”
“Lots of players have tattoos.”
“Not quarterbacks, though.”
“Position shouldn’t matter.”
“QB is the leader. Leaders don’t have tattoos.”
“That’s ridiculous. Lots of leaders have or have had tattoos. I think we’re past the point that as a society, we think only bad seeds have tattoos. Lots of good seeds have tattoos too. Probably just as many as bad seeds.”
“Just doesn’t look right.”
“Yeah, you said that. I don’t have an issue with it. I think what looks right about Kapernick and ultimately what’s important is that he looks like a hell of a football player.”
“Flacco doesn’t have any tattoos.”
“Flacco has a uni-brow. You could say people feel weirder about uni-brows than they do about tattoos.”
The Only Other Patron in the Bar turns to 2000 again, this time showing him all of his face. He has a uni-brow.
“Whoops,” 2000 says upon noticing the uni-brow. “Disregard.”
The Only Other Patron in the Bar turns back to his beer while 2000 finishes his.
“Another, please?” 2000 asks the Bartender. “Uni-brows, tattoos, gigantic fucking turtles aside. I think Kapernick will be the difference in the game.”
The Bartender hands 2000 his beer.
“You know the coaches are brothers?” The Bartender asks.
“Everyone knows the coaches are brothers,” 2000 responds. The Bartender sheepishly walks away. “But as I was saying, that Kapernick kid is the ball game, easily. He plays well, 49ers win. He looks like a frightened little young buck, which he is, then I think it’s the Ravens’ game to lose.”
“Ravens will win,” the Only Other Patron in the Bar says. “By a touchdown.”
“You don’t think the 49ers have a chance?”
“Nope. Ravens by a touchdown. Flacco and his uni-brow will be the MVP.”
“I think it’ll be within a field goal. The teams are too evenly matched. Both have a great defenses, killer fucking running backs and some play makers at receiver and tight end. The big difference is that Flacco has shown he can do it. Kapernick? He looked baller in that game against the Packers. Not as baller in the Falcons’ game. But overall, has looked good. I just don’t think he’s shown the consistency Flacco has. That’s why I think he’s the difference.”
“Ed Reed is the difference.”
“No way. Reed is only the difference if Kapernick is.”
“That doesn’t make any sense.”
“Uni-brows don’t make any sense.”
The Only Other Patron in the Bar once again turns to 2000.
“That was a joke.”
“It was a shitty joke.” He turns back to his beer, finishing it in a slightly perturbed swig. He motions for another.
“You want to hear a good joke?”
“How do you make a tissue dance?”
“I said I didn’t want to hear a joke.”
“You put a little boogie in it.”
“That’s a dumb fucking joke.”
“I think it’s funny.”
“Fine. Comedy is subjective anyway.”
For a few minutes, the men sit in the silence. Sportcenter does a brief story about Rajon Rondo being out for the season.
“That’s a damn shame,” 2000 says. “I love Rondo.”
“I’m not a fan,” the Only Other Patron in the Bar says. “He’s too ornery.”
“Yeah. I don’t care for how he carries himself.”
“He’s a hell of a basketball player, though.”
“So is Kevin Durant. Not nearly as ornery.”
“Ornery is a weird word.”
“So is Rondo.”
“Rondo’s his name.”
“Names can be weird words too. Kapernick is a weird fucking word.”
“I guess that’s true.”
The Only Other Patron in the Bar slugs back the rest of his beer, nearly have the bottle. He stands, revealing himself to be nearly seven feet tall.
“Good talking to you, buddy,” 2000 says.
The Only Other Patron in the Bar looks at him, then at the Bartender. He tosses some bills on the bar then starts for the door.
“Saying goodbye when leaving is a common courtesy, you know,” 2000 says.
The Only Other Patron in the Bar stops a few steps before the door. He looks back at the bar over his shoulder.
“So is respecting other people’s privacy. Their Goddamn alone time.” The Only Other Patron in the Bar then turns back to the door and leaves, leaving the bar somehow even quieter than it was before.
“Let’s be honest, ” 2000 says to the Bartender, “Uni-brows are pretty weird.”
“I know. Just shave ’em.”
“Who do you think is going to win? 49ers or Ravens?”
“Oh, I don’t follow real football, only Friday Night Lights. I’m a huge Dillon Panthers fan. I think we might win States this year.”
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