He’d just scooched his ass down into his favorite vinyl booth for a celebratory drink at his favorite Republic bar, had just signed half his life away to his bitch of an ex-wife (and the other half to his lawyers), and now it was her asking him why he had called.

His large hands fumbled with the thin phone as he tugged it out of his back pocket, nearly dropping it twice as he turned and twisted in his seat to better hear over the din of bar sounds and bar voices.

“It was an accident,” he said.

“What was an accident?” she said.

He watched a young couple enter—the woman with a radiant smile and large expressive eyes and the young man smiling in her wake.  He envied their happiness in these “salad days” of their relationship.

“Jim?”

He’d forgotten her for a split second while in reverie over the young couple, now making their way down to the other end of the bar to visit with another happy young couple, hugs and kisses all around.

“What?”

“What was an accident?” she repeated.

He turned away from the happy couples and stared blankly at the hockey game on the television behind the counter.  A terrible urge came upon him—to call her a “slutty whore” and “cunt” for putting herself before their kids and family.  But then a wild and sinister and better idea came to mind.

“This call!” he said.  “It’s a butt dial, bitch!”

Glancing up and down the bar, he spread his fat thighs, then cupped and lowered the tiny phone into the little vinyl amphitheatre he’d created there and let out the loudest and happiest fart of his crazy busted life!

 

Dave Barrett

Dave Barrett lives and writes out of Missoula, Montana. His fiction has appeared most recently in Midwestern Gothic, Gravel, The MacGuffin and the Scarlett Leaf Review. He teaches writing at the University of Montana and is at work on a new novel.

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