The Sweat of the Brow (iii)

I don’t keep a private pod. I certainly don’t keep a car. I go to the curb and get into an empty pod, the next one in line. I get a mark-feeling, acknowledge it and watch a travel menu come up against the wall. I stare-select the second destination, which is home.

The first destination is work. They’re ranked by how often I’ve chosen them. I wonder how long it work stay number one.

The third destination is the Cove. It takes me about ten seconds before I decide to go there instead.

It’s a few minutes before a bus comes past. There’s a little jerk and a little squeak and my pod gets snagged by a tender-arm. I don’t bother doing anything while I wait. I just stare out the little window, watching the world go past, watching my pod get shuffled from one bus to the next, until there’s a little shudder and I find myself in front of my bar.

I get out of the pod, step down onto the wooden dock. The floor’s nothing more than old trees lashed side by side. The ceiling’s the same. There aren’t any walls. The far side of the bar’s held up by wooden piles where a dune slopes down to a little beach. From the shore to the horizon is a stream of light spilling out of the setting sun.

It’s quiet at the Cove. It always is. There’s nothing for miles but nature preserve and the nature in it. There are a dozen other people there, mostly couples, mostly old. There’s a human bartender and filament bulbs and no music and it’s been my bar for more than three decades.

I used to come there when I wanted to get away from my wife or when I wanted to let her get away from me. Now I just come.

They have their own distiller unit, make their own rum out of cane and fruit. You can have it neat or with water or with fresh orange juice or with spicy ginger beer. There’s a wooden ladle next to the bar if you want to go down to the surf and add a splash of sea.

I tried that the first time I came there. That was a long time ago and I haven’t tried it since. I order a tall glass of rum. Take my glass, take the ladle from its peg, go to the edge of the sea and dip and pour.

I take a sip. It’s better than I remember. It makes me thirsty. Which is what I want.

I walk back up to the bar, take the empty chair next to Ben, and start drinking.

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~ by davekov on 27 September 2011.

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