Away

He took a pre-emptive swig from the bottle of indigestion remedy, put it back in his pocket and strode with a sigh into the bodega. “Now listen here, compadre” he said, as patiently as he could. The barman looked at Johnny. “Sì?”

“I DO NOT WANT PIGEON PIE WITH MY FINO, DO YOU UNDERSTAND?”

The barman looked at him. So did the other people in the bar. Johnny belched quietly. He heard himself being too loud. He did not want to seem unreasonable.

“Yes, of course, mister Johnny. No pigeon pie this time. Nothing to eat at all? I recommend –”

“There is only one thing I want. I told you last time but you gave me that pigeon pie. It’s lying heavy, let me tell you.”

“Senor?”

“Doesn’t matter. Just give me what I asked for before.”

“Of course senor. Here is your fino. And this one is on the house.”

Johnny flushed. “Thank you. But to eat?”

“I am sorry mister Johnny. But here we do not have the macaroni pie.”

Johnny sat heavily on the wooden stool and closed his eyes. He sank the sherry in front of him in a swallow and a single tear squeezed from his eye. He rubbed it into his cheek. He had been away too long.

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