This is Entry #1 for the GF Records Best Writer contest. ** ** ** ** I felt a slight tension as he walked through the doors. The doors were those of a small town pub located on the main floor of a shady motel. The bouncer at the door checked my identification. He didn't show any hint of recollection at the name he saw. This did little to ease my tension. The bouncer handed back my identification. I surveyed the pub and it wasn't at all as I imagined it to be.. In fact, it was rather bright and colourful. The band on stage was playing a cover of some pop band's latest song. He didn't recognize it off the top of his head but he knew it was another one of those songs that the radio stations overplayed. On one wall, there was a fireplace of sorts. There were a few tables setup near it, and a group of older fellows were happily chatting and drinking. Along two of the other walls were booths, and most had one or two people sitting in them, conversing and sipping their drinks. Spanning the length of the last wall was the bar. It seemed almost out of place with the rest of the bar. It's black marble counter top clashing with the wood paneled walls. The brass mouldings seeming tacky compared to the dull, tarnished bar stools. Even the lighting in that corner seem a little brighter. It was in this corner that the other man sat. Wearing a worn out baseball cap, and a faded jean jacket. His hair was long and his beard was untrimmed. The man sat hunched over a mug of beer, and he seemed to be muttering to himself. I made my way across the room and sat on a stool at the bar. Only one stool was between me and the bearded man. The bar tender asks me what I want. I tell him to pour me a shot of whiskey. As I wait for the bartender to bring me my drink, I glance over at the muttering man. At a closer glance, it is obvious to see he is an alcoholic. His trembling, veined hands, his skinny state and the way he was hanging onto the beer mug as if someone was going to steal it. As I was looking at him, he glanced up and caught my stare. I quickly looked away, and luckily the bartender was bringing my drink. I sucked back the shot quickly and grimaced when the burn hit. I asked the bartender for a simple beer to follow. As I asked, the man in the corner spoke up "Charlie, put it on my tab" he said "Are you sure Sid? You already have a pretty big one stacked up" the bartender said. "I'll just work it off" Sid replied "I have some bigger jobs ahead of me anyways. It won't take long" "Alright man, whatever you say" Replied the bartender as he popped the cap off the beer and set it in front of me. "This one's on the house." I turned to the older man and expressed my thanks. It seemed that it wasn't going to be that simple though. "Ah ah ah, I did you a favour, and a simple thanks isn't all I want in return." Sid said displaying a toothy grin. "I tell you what, you move on over to this stool next to me, and we'll have a chat alright?" I really wasn't in the mood for talking. I hadn't come into the bar with any intentions of chatting. This man only made me feel worse. But I couldn't refuse his offer, it just didn't feel right. So I moved a stool over and offered my hand as I introduced myself. Sid quickly gobbled up my hand with his own in a handshake of violent proportions. His hand was cold, clammy and bony and his touch sent shivers down my spine. The smell coming off of him confirmed his alcoholism. His eyes were very furtive, and eye contact was completely out of the question. I was still feeling pretty tense and unsure, but I could sense his excitement and out of kindness decided to at least hear the old man out. The bartender handed me a beer, and for at least 10 minutes I sat there sipping it, waiting for the man to say something. He seemed to be struggling to think of something to say. At last he turns to me, and opens his mouth as if to say something, but then turns away muttering. At this point I'm getting a little impatient, and so I try to get the conversation going a little. "So do you follow football at all?" I asked He looked up at me, and a curious look overcame his face, but then a confused look came over it. He seemed unsure of where he was almost. And then he spoke all of a sudden "You know. You know what?" he asked "You know why I bought your drink for you?" I just shrugged my shoulders in a silent gesture of ignorance. "Something about you voice made me do it." He continued "Something about the way you asked for the beer, and something about the way you fired back that shot of whiskey. There's something familiar about you that I just can't put a finger on. It's almost as if I can see some of myself in you. You understand what I'm saying? "I really don't know how that could be possible" I replied "When would you have seen me before?" Sid took a chugged the remainder of his beer mug and slammed it onto the bar, signalling for more. He grew silent as his eyes went out of focus and he sway against the bar. He seemed lost in thought, however I knew it was drunken stupor. Finally he replied. "I - I - I can't put my finger on it --- but --- Oh! I don't know anymore!" His words died off into a mutter. "You know what?" he continued "That doesn't matter, what matters is that I'm here and you're here. God planned this you know. He wanted you to come here, because he knows that even though I'm a senile drunkard, I still have something I can say. I still deserve to be heard. I'm still a human. You believe me right?" I started to feel pity for the man. I answered back "Yah, I guess. Yah I do. I believe you." He leaned real close in to me, and I could taste is breath in my mouth. He pointed a finger real close and cocked his head as if in thought. Suddenly, he leaned back quickly as if he'd had a sudden revelation. "I ran away from a trouble once. I ran away because I didn't want to deal with. I hid from it, I hid from it good. It isn't a problem anymore I've hidden so well. Hiding made more trouble though. So I got to hide from that trouble too. I'm hiding from the troubles of troubles. Its a hard life but I'm hiding from that too. Now I'm done hiding, no more trouble to hide from. Nope, no more trouble. But I have nothing to show myself too eh. I have nothing to go back to. Everything changed while I was hiding. I came out of hiding, and there was nothing for me. I had kids, but I'll be damn if I remember what they look like. I had a wife, but she left me and took my kids. I came out of hiding, only to go back in because everything had changed. Everything is changing. changes. CHANGES! GOD DAMN FUCKING CHANGES!!!" He punctuated those last four words with a pounding fist on the bar top. He swayed a couple times, and muttered under his breath a little more. Then he straightened up and look straight at me. His eyes for once still, his face tightened into an angry frown. "You aren't hiding anything are you!" He snapped at me "Don't hide! Face your problems. Your troubles are like rocks on a path. You can just climb over or go around them. If you can't do that! Well, get a big fucking hammer. Bash those fucking rocks with ALL YOUR MIGHT!!! Make them into gravel. That gravel of broken turmoil is going to line your path. Instead of hiding, you're going to be treading on your trials. Your tribulations!! YOUR TRIBULATIONS!!! Under your feet. I can see a bit of me in you. I don't know why. But I'm warning you. Don't hide. DON'T HIDE." With his last statement, he lurched forward and collapsed against me. His weight pushed me over backwards and him and I tipped over onto the floor. The bartender rushed around the counter to help, while the rest of the people in the bar looked on. The bartender helped me to my feet. "I'm really sorry man. Good old Sid Johnson here. A real nice person if you catch him sober. Very hard to handle drunk. John! Bruce! come take Sid up to his room. Put a glass of water on his nightstand. He'll need it in the morning." I let the bartender know that it was perfectly okay. My nerves were pretty shot at this point though. It was too much to handle. I left my beer sitting on the bar and hurried out the door. Luckily I didn't have far to go to get to my car. As I was unlocking the door, I heard the bouncers voice yell out behind me. "Sir! Sir!" He called out "Sir! You dropped your ID!" I sighed in frustration, and walked back to the bouncer. I thanked him and turned around to head back to my car. As I was stepping into my car, I heard the bouncer call out again. "Have a goodnight Mr. Johnson, drive safe" I sighed and drove off. In my rear-view mirror I could see the cheap motel fading into the darkness.