Kickoff written by Inane

John Valasco

A conversation in a bar

Off in a small mining town in California 1901, a certain drunkard could be found every afternoon between two pm and two am, in a barely standing saloon. The old man had silver hair, wrinkly skin, yellow teeth, a tattered cowboy hat, and crystal blue eyes.

The man never said a word before nine pm, every day, he'd sit in silence sipping the same bottle of whiskey he ordered hours prior. If it hadn't been for his friendship with the owner, he would've been kicked out long ago. In the rare instances where he would speak while sober, a pile of pain could be heard in his voice. The only word I heard him say while sober was "another".
Despite the man's experienced glare, he held a soft smile. One afternoon, in particular, I felt the urge to strike up a conversation with the man. I didn't know how to start a conversation, so I hailed the bartender and shouted: " A double of your finest for my friend over
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there". Despite my kindness, he didn't say a word.

Instead, the man offered me a glare. I took it as a sign of acceptance, so I sat next to him. With a voice like gravel, the man grunted: "what do you want kid". Besides the pain, there was no emotion in his voice.
Even without emotion, when the old man said "kid", I felt my life only had moments to continue. Despite this, I swallowed my fear and gulped " I've seen you here every day for weeks, I'm curious". A hallowed laugh dances across the room. "That's rich, kid. Thanks for the whiskey". The conversation was over.

I knew I'd never get him to speak sober, so I gave him an offer he couldn't refuse. Before heading back to my spot, I said: " how 'bout this old man, you tell me about your life and I'll pay for your drinks". A smug smirk replaced his lips as he laughed wickedly "why didn't you start with that?".

He chugged the bottle in front of him
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and the next two that he ordered. Not even a minute in and I lost 3 dollars to the drunkard. He laughed maliciously" The names John...". As his first name lingered, I asked, "Just John?". With a rugged smirk, he muttered: "I only tell my last name to friends".
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