.22 Caliber Bar Conversations

An Old Fashioned has a certain symmetry to it, no?

 

The twist of the orange peel and the overly large single ice cube are solid accents to the amber poison in the glass, decorated salve for the stupid that swirls around us.

 

I stared at my glass sweating into the cocktail napkin on the bar at Habanas, sounds of Cuban jazz intruding on my contemplative thoughts.

 

Still waiting for my empanadas, I found it difficult to concentrate. Don’t they know I am working here? I need my empanadas!

 

Sigh… Why couldn’t the French have colonized Cuba instead?

 

“You look lost in thought,” Delany, the blonde Asian barmaid, said as she wiped down empty glasses attempting to look busy for those prying eyes who seek evidence of laziness on the part of wait staff.

 

“I am, I am confused. I am dealing with a lot of stuff right now. I feel conflicted.”

 

“I know what you mean, things are tough right now with all of the…”

 

“What the hell am I supposed to do with a .22!?!”

 

“What?”

 

“My God, woman, don’t you see the existential threat to my very identity.”

 

“I don’t know what you are talking about.”

 

“I self identify as a man… or is it I have male genitals?… Well, most of them anyway… I don’t know anymore… aren’t there certain expectations for me?”

 

“You mean like stoic aggressiveness and a sense of divine purpose?”

 

“Figures you would bring God into this… I’m having a crisis! Where are the empanadas? I need my empanadas!”

 

“They’re coming, Steven, just nurse your Old Fashion for now. What do you mean, ‘What the hell are you supposed to do with a .22?’”

 

“The current Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States once told us that all we needed to protect ourselves was a 12-gauge shotgun. He suggested that if we hear something outside, we should fire two rounds into the air

from our porch, and then retreat inside. If someone tried to come in, we should then just shoot them through the door.”

 

“Hmmm… I seem to remember something like that, but that is not exactly what you teach, is it?”

 

“Oh my God, no! But it did come from his mouth, and now he is telling us that 9mm ammo will blow out someone’s lungs.”

 

“Blow out their lungs?”

 

“Clean out of the body! BAM!!! I am assuming he meant this would result from a shot to the chest, but I’m not completely sure. He might have been suggesting that if someone gets shot in the leg by a 9mm round, they will cough up a lung.”

 

“Can that happen?”

 

“I don’t know! I thought I did. I thought I was a professional, but I don’t know anymore. Maybe it can… does… can you check on the empanadas?”

 

“Oh! You are talking about Biden’s thing last week about people only being able to have .22 guns since the doctors can pull the bullets out.”

 

“Yes! Yes!!! And what does that now make me?”

 

“Yeah, you mentioned that… I’m not sure what that means.”

 

“We are always being told that our fascination with guns is compensation for our lack of sexual prowess, that the firearm, like the sword before it, is the ultimate phallic symbol for those who are nervous about their manhood.”

 

“But I own a gun and I am a woman!”

 

“Are you?”

 

“Excuse me?”

 

“I mean… do you self identify as a woman?”

 

“Oh, this again.”

 

“I don’t know the protocols anymore. I am rudderless.”

 

“So what is the problem with the .22?”

 

“What is the problem with a .22?!? It’s a .22!!!”

 

“Aren’t they still dangerous?”

 

“Of course they are! We’ve been assassinating people with .22s for over 100 years.”

 

“Oh… so you are concerned that people will listen to what Joe Biden said, think that they are underpowered firearms, treat them as toys and this will lead to greater deaths due to negligence.”

 

“I don’t have time to think about that right now… I need my empanadas.”

 

“So… if this whole gun thing is men trying to compensate for a lack of… er… well… trying to compensate, then tell me what do you normally carry?”

 

“A 1911 in 45ACP.”

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Franternité

I like Old Fashioneds. I like whisky and bourbon. I enjoy congenial conversations with night nurses who are troubled with what they encounter on their

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