Inspiration Monday is back over at Be Kind Rewrite - five prompts, endless possibilities. This is only my second posting for InMon, but I must say, I believe I am already addicted to the challenge! I highly encourage you all to check it out; it’s amazing how many different stories can arise from a single prompt.
This week, I used the prompt no tomorrow. Hope you enjoy! As always, comments and criticisms will be happily taken on board.
“You gotta live like there’s no tomorrow.”
Marcus blinked idly as he forced his gaze away from the lazy trail of bubbles within his beer glass. He turned his head a fraction to the right; sure enough, the newcomer at the bar was looking at him. “I’m sorry?” Marcus enquired, trying not to slur his words.
“I said you have to live life to the full. No fear; no tomorrow. You get me?” The older man gestured for a drink, oblivious to Marcus’s bemusement. He took a long drag from the glass, downing half the beer in one swallow. He sighed contently and smacked his lips. “That hits the spot. So, you come here often?”
Marcus shrugged one shoulder, turning back to his beer. “Nah, not too often.”
“Not often enough, eh?” the man chuckled. He offered his hand with a crooked grin. “I’m William, but you can call me Bill.”
Marcus inhaled deeply and forced a tight smile. “Marcus. Nice to meet you.”
“You too, mate, you too.”
Marcus was silent, hoping that Bill would continue on his way and leave him in peace to drown himself in alcohol. His beer was chill and light. If you’re gonna drown, this would be the way to do it…
“If you don’t mind me sayin’,” Bill continued, despite Marcus’s hunched shoulders and blankly uninviting gaze, “You look like you’re having some troubles.”
“Aren’t we all?” Marcus muttered noncommittally. He drained the dregs of his drink and called for another, despite the slight frown that the barwoman offered him as she sat it before him.
“That we do, lad … But I’m a good listener.” Bill turned away with that comment, tapping his foot lightly to the bluesy rhythm of the jukebox.
Like a rat to cheese, Marcus could not resist the gently-laid bait.
“It’s just …” he trailed off as Bill turned wise blue eyes towards him. Marcus rocked his beer back and forth, watching as the soft white head dripped onto the counter and spread like spilt blood.
“Have you ever done something bad, Bill? I’m not talking about flipping the bird to some jerk on the road, or nothin’. I mean really bad. Something so bad that it eats away at you for days, for weeks …” Marcus turned imploringly to his unwanted drinking companion.
“Well, I dare say we all end our lives having done something bad,” Bill said softly. “And in my experience, those bad things stay with us forever, Marcus. Not for days or weeks—forever. It’s just the same as when something bad is done to us. We never forget, do we?”
Marcus again lifted his shoulder up in a helpless shrug. Bill finished his own beer, sighing heavily as he lowered the glass. His entire, elderly frame seemed to quake with the effort.
“I’ve had bad things happen,” Bill murmured. “In fact, just last month, my daughter died.”
“I’m sorry, mate,” Marcus offered quickly.
“S’not your fault,” Bill said, then laughed weakly. “Don’t you hate it when people say that? ‘Not your fault’. It’s empathy, not guilt that causes us to say ‘I’m sorry’.” The older man turned in his chair until he was facing Marcus directly. “Unless, of course, it truly is your fault.”
“I’m sorry?” Marcus repeated, this time with an undertone of confusion.
Bill raised his eyes to the heavens for a moment, then simply closed them. “We’ve all done bad things, Marcus. And we have to live with them. Unfortunately, my daughter did a bad thing, too.” He opened his eyes—icy blue stones of disgust. “She did you, didn’t she, Marcus? But she didn’t get to live with that mistake. She didn’t get to live at all.”
Marcus rose quickly. “Man, I don’t know what you …”
“You know exactly what I mean,” Bill said calmly. He, too, stood up from his stool with a cold air of determination.
“We all do bad things at some point in our lives. We gotta live with them,” he reminded Marcus. With a stiff, weathered hand, he drew a gun from his waistband and cocked it with a final click.
- Love The Bad Guy