By Richard E. Noble
“Jerry ... ah ... I don’t say things like this too often ...
... Hey Ernie?! Another round over here ... Now, where was I?”
“You don’t say things like this too often ...”
“Oh yeah … well I’m not the kind of guy who forgets things.
I appreciate you, my friend.
Put ‘er there. I mean it, Buddy.
I wanna shake your hand.
A guy don’t have too many real friends in this life,
and you are one, pal. I mean it...
Hey, talk about real friends!
Look across the bar over there.
You see that guy all dressed up in that fancy suit.
That man and I have really been through some times together.
I mean, I grew up with that guy.
We lived on the same street.
I’ve known that guy since we were this high.
I mean, I knew him when he didn’t have a nickel.
And look at him now! Dressed to kill.
He must of hit the jack pot.
And I’ll bet he don’t even recognize me.
I mean, I haven’t seen him since we got out of the Service together.
HEY, you old rascal! Where the hell you been?
Look at you! You look like a million bucks.”
“Hey, don’t I wish. Don’t let these duds fool you.
I’m about as flat as a pancake.
Lost every damn cent I ever had.
I’m wearin’ this suit because it’s all I got left.
I mean things have gone really sour for me, Bob.
I’ll tell you how bad it really is.
I don’t even have enough money to buy another drink.
You wouldn’t buy an old fightin’ buddy a drink, would ya Bob?
I’d really appreciate it.
You just don’t know how thirsty a guy can get, old friend.
It’s like a desert out here.”
“Ah, gee Georgie, I really wish I could, but I’m flat broke ...
[Bob leaned forward, and with his elbows,
covered the bills and change lying in front of him on the bar.]
“Oh come on, Bob ... for old time sake?
We were two of a kind, we two.
Just one for old time sake?
And I swear to god, I won’t bother you again.”
“I really wish I could, Pal, but I’m out ... flat out, Buddy.
[Bob’s well dressed friend across the bar,
raises from his stool, shakes his head in anguish at the floor,
then heads for the barroom door.]
“I thought he was you’re old time friend?
Your bosom Buddy?
Your best pal? You went through thick and thin together?
Old Army Buddies ... Lived on the same street? ...
Never forget the time you and he did so and so??”
“And you wouldn’t even buy the poor slob a drink?”
“Hey, he’ll find another sucker ... besides,
once a drunk, always a drunk ...
you know what I mean?