Woe Is We by Kevin Litwin
I sat despondent at a remote bar in the middle of nowhere, a full drink in front of me. The unyielding weight of the world pressed hard upon my slumped shoulders.
Suddenly, an unkempt loudmouth-of-a-man named Bacchus climbed onto an empty barstool beside me, settled in, rudely snatched my drink, and gulped it down.
“W-What are you doing?” I asked him, shocked.
“Oh, was that your drink?” Bacchus said with sarcasm.
“Yes…I was getting ready to drown my sorrows.”
“Your sorrows?” he said with derision. “Why so glum, chum?”
“I lost my job today. That’s why I came here to drink. Why did you drink my drink?”
“You lost your job?” Bacchus said, showing a smidgeon of sympathy. “Alright, don’t worry, pal. I’ll buy you another.”
“That’s not all. I totaled my car two days ago and don’t have insurance, and I can’t afford another vehicle. That’s why I came here to drink.”
“You totaled your car? And you lost your job?”
“There’s more. My wife served me divorce papers yesterday, and I have no place to go. That’s why I came here to drink.”
“Man, that’s really rough,” Bacchus said, displaying true signs of pity.
“One more thing. I just went to the doctor and was told that my body is filled with cancer, and it’s inoperable. That’s why I came here to drink.”
Bacchus looked down to the floor before looking up at me.
“Geez, you poor guy. All that you’re going through. Your job. No car. Divorce. Cancer. You poor guy.”
I sighed and reflected a few moments before looking the stranger straight in the eye.
“But really…why did you drink my drink?” I persisted. “I came here to drown my sorrows, but you drank my drink. Why did you do it?”
“Listen…I’m sorry. I guess it was a stupid impulse on my part. I wasn’t thinking – I was being a jerk. Let me make it up to you. Let me buy you another one.”
“I don’t want another one,” I said.
“Again, I apologize, but what’s done is done. C’mon, let me buy you another.”
“No. I wanted that drink.”
Bacchus gave me a confused look.
“Hey, pal. I admit I was wrong, but a drink’s a drink. What was so special about that particular drink?”
I stared into his eyes, which began to haze.
“That was my drink,” I said. “You drank my poison.”