Raise Your Hand / by Cyle Talley

"Can I get another one, Mike?"

"You've got it," Mike throws the bar towel over his shoulder. "What about you, Reed?"

Reed quickly drains the last of his bottle. "Yeah, you'd better gimme another."

"Boys Night?" Mike sets two bottles in front of us on the bar.

"I spent all day with Alex on his class field trip so Lydia gave me the night off."

"And I," Reed cracks open a peanut. "Haven't furthered my line, so every night is Boys Night. Hey look!" He holds the peanut out in his open palm. "A threenut!"

"You went from chaperoning your kid to chaperoning this asshole?" Mike takes the towel off his shoulder and feigns like his going to whip Reed with it. He picks up a wet glass from beneath the bar to dry. "Where was the field trip?"

"Archeological ruins outside of town. Same place we went on our first grade field trip."

"Oh shit. I'd forgotten about that," Mike laughs. "Was that the day Meeghan pissed himself?"

"Ol' Peein' Charlie Meeghan!" Reed slaps the bar. "Worst right guard in the history of Rush High School Football. Couldn't block a child. I was always running for my life. Whatever happened to him?"

"He's an insurance salesman in Bernard," Mike says. "He came in last week. Bald as a cue ball and just as white. Lost a ton of weight, too. I didn't recognize him."

"Shit. I wonder what kind of money is in selling insurance."


"It was weird being with my kid on his field trip. Sorta overlapping his experience on mine, you know? Except for that some of his friends had goddam cell phones, it was pretty much the same. Same tour, teacher pretty much talked the same-"

"Was there another pisser?" Reed pops another peanut.

"Do you ever shut the fuck up?" Mike says.

"They did something I'd forgotten about, too. We're on our way there and a kid goes, 'Who wants to be my friend? Raise your hand!'"

"Did anyone raise their hand?" Mike says.

"Coupla hands shot up. Doesn't that just beat the band? Shit. How much easier would life be? 'Who wants to give me a job? Raise your hand!'"

"Who wants to repave my parking lot? Raise your hand!"

"Who wants to fuck me? Raise your hand!" Reed says.

Mike actually whips him with the towel this time.