The Flamingo Lounge sits a half block east of Lane street. Respectable is not a word often used to describe this neighborhood. Even in the most generous of prayers, potential is the closest it ever comes to a compliment. The windows are blacked out, making it seem always appropriate to be drinking. It’s not until you open the door and let the burning light of day rip through the darkness that you realise it’s only noon.
He wears the face of a man who gave up fighting years ago. Some men stand taller than others, and although he is easily over six foot, I wouldn’t put him past 5’10’’. Some men never learned to rid themselves of the slouches their mothers all so badly hated. He was one who thought he fit better into other men’s shadows. Men who stood tall, men who fought for things. He never stood a chance, he tells himself. He blames where he’s at due to fate. He was just never dealt a good hand, he just never came up aces. He never stood a chance, he says.
He looks at his watch. The kids who he never gets to see anymore are probably at recess. He wonders how they are doing. He wonders if they ever miss him.
There is a weight to defeat that he carries on his shoulders. There is a smell of loneliness, two parts fear and one part gin. And there is a look of despair that is eternally caught in his eyes.
What stands out at The Flamingo Lounge is the silence. You don’t notice it right away. It sort of sits there, an unnoticed guest. Then all of the sudden at once you realise, this bar is quiet. Not a library quiet or a peaceful quiet. This is a quiet like your mother is doing the dishes for the first time alone since your dad died. There is the sound of glasses clinking, hard breath, and emptiness.
Then out of that emptiness comes the sound of a phone ringing. Equal parts of confusion and curiosity creep onto his face. He looks at his phone. Clears his throat.