I play pool okay, but I never win. After a few beers, I pocket the eight-ball way too early. I’m better belting out, “Here You Come Again” and “Jolene,” wailing like Dolly Pardon. Stuff a juke full of coins, gimme a few shots of tequila and I’ll light up a room.
Last thing I want is stickin’ to a barstool with my mouth shut, listening to my husband bullshit the night away.
So I tell him, “Honey, I got to go, I’m too tired to stay.”
He says, “You’re not goin’ anywhere. Finish your damn beer.”
“Been a long day,” I say, “don’t need dinner.”
He thumps his pool cue on the linoleum, “You stay put. Larry’s takin’ us to dinner at the café.”
I slide my purse off the bar. “You go with Larry. I’ll take the truck.”
Minute I step off the stool, he’s got my elbow. “Don’t you walk away from me.” Sidling up close, he escorts me out of The Round Up. The OLYMPIA beer sign throws pink light on the sidewalk and snowbanks.
I clutch the pickup’s doorhandle, but he yanks my hand away. “Get your ass to the other side. It’s my rig.”
But I pull away, scramble around to the tailgate, screaming, “I’m not ridin’ with you, I’m not gettin’ in.”
“Fuck you,” he says, “get your ass in!”
“You go back to Larry! I’m walkin’.”
“Fuck – a – wild – man!” He says, pitching a full can of beer with each word over the truck. First one lands inches away from my boots. Second one clips my shoulder. I dodge his Budweisers until I reach shadows at end of the road then hightail it into the stubble field and haul my ass home in grey frozen fog and drifted snow.
Margaret Plaganis is a visual artist, writer and educator; recent poetry is published in Pure Slush Lifespan anthologies. Digital views of her hand-built, collage/poetry books are in the Brooklyn Art Library collection: https://www.sketchbookproject.com/libraries.