Bill pulls the ring off another Miller Lite and pours it into his sole remaining beer glass.
Next to him, mutt stirs, looks at him with one eye open, then settles back down again.
Bill is bored. He also weights 15 pounds more than he did 2 months ago. He is pissed off because the baseball season is not starting, so he cannot watch the Pirates. His parents were born in Pittsburgh, and family loyalty, you know how that is.
Bill is also fed up, because the bar is closed. Those damn social distancing rules. Who the hell does that stupid damn governor think he is anyway? Screwing over honest working people like himself to allow all of those suburban folk to behave like scared wimps. Did the United States win World War I and World War II after helping all of those wimp countries, so that those people can cower in their expensive houses?
Bill takes a big gulp of his beer. As he does so, his back speaks to him once more, and not in a good way. Bill was told over a year ago that he had herniated disks in his lumbar spine once again. Haha, your spine is made of wood now, said Randy the barman. More like a set of carving knives, said Bill. Some days getting up from this sofa is a struggle. This is one of those days.
Bill spoke to his son last month. It was an odd conversation. His son and his daughter in law are hiding out in New York, unable to go out because of the damn virus. Bill doesn’t understand all of those big city folk. New York was supposed to be all brave and resilient (that’s the word that Randy uses when he is being snarky about somebody for being a wimp). Now they are all either hiding indoors or supposedly dying like flies.
Something does not add up. This is not America. This country is supposed to be great. Those New Yorkers are clearly wimps. Tucker said so. Bill remembers that his son was not pleased when he told him he intended to go shopping without a mask. Something about him catching Coronavirus, or as Randy calls it, Chinese Flu. Randy thinks it is an invention of the Democrats working with the Chinese, and Bill agrees. It was the usual conversation with his son, who seems to have gone totally liberal.
Bill idly flips to another news channel. More guff about Covid this Covid that. Everybody seems scared of this. He rang Randy the other day to ask when the bar was re-opening, and was amazed when Randy said “possibly never”. Apparently the owner is out of state, because his mother is in the hospital with Covid.
Bill wants to be in the bar now, instead of here. This is no fun. At the bar he can shoot the breeze, talk with Randy, who seems to be able to sum up the people who are not patriots with a single word or short sentence. Bill thinks Randy should run for political office. We need more plain-talking folks like Randy and Donald Trump.
Bill doesn’t understand what has happened to Donald. He does seem to be talking in circles a lot these days. But those silly women asking him damn-fool questions. Why don’t those bitches just shut the fuck up and go visit a kitchen, or something. Donald is clearly upset by the Chinese Flu. He is showing he cares about us. They should give him a break and back off. Sheesh.
Bill moves to get up to go get another beer. His knee says “Hello Bill, I am still here and I think you need to know that”. Bill curses under his breath as his knee objects to the walk. This damn body is falling to pieces. Some days he can barely move. He hobbles to the kitchen with mutt following. Bill looks down at mutt. Mutt is everything a dog should be. Faithful, obedient, knows his place, and barks up a storm whenever strangers approach the house. Mutt looks out for others. What happened to that? All Bill was hearing at the bar before it closed was the story about the developers now building townhouses on the site of the furniture factory. Great. More of those damn yuppies with their Priuses and cats. Goddam it. Cats. Horrible creatures. You can’t get them to do anything. Use ’em for target practice. That’s what Bill and his buddies used to do in high school.
Bill opens the fridge door. Hmm. Not much there apart from the beer. He will have to go shop tomorrow. The only good thing is that he was able to put gas in the car for almost no money last week. The bad thing is that everybody in the supermarket will look like they are about to go rob a bank. Those damn masks.
Bill takes another can of Miller and walks back into the living room. Just in time. Sean is on talking about disloyal Democrats. Geez, those guys are scum. Still taking their orders from that bitch Hillary and Hussein Obama. It is time for a clear-out. They released a lot of prisoners from jails. Time to put the real criminals away.
Bill’s son was talking about how they cannot visit Europe this year. Based on what he is seeing, who would want to visit Europe anyway. Bill does not understand why people want to leave the United States. The rest of the world definitely is a shithole. Especially China. Those guys are trying to screw us over. Cheap goods, now this damn virus. Donald should just nuke them. Time for a clean-out.
Bill tries to get comfortable on the sofa, but his back keeps talking to him. Mutt curls up next to him.
Bill puts his hand on mutt’s back. Warm, soft, fluffy. Bill remembers the time when life was good, when the furniture factory paid good money, before he wrecked his back, when his wife was still being nice to him. What happened to all of that?
He takes another big gulp.